Snow Knitting

I feel like a true knitter. There’s snow on the ground and I’m knitting. I had to go to New Mexico to find this snow, but I have become legit because of it.

I’ve been knitting for over thirty years. I’ve knit hundreds of things, and even make money selling my pieces. And yet, it takes snow falling from the sky for me to feel legit, kind of like a white Christmas adding authenticity to the holiday.

Snow on pine trees
The view outside my window.

Most of my knitting has been done in Texas, though I learned to knit when I lived in Switzerland. My children were babies, and knitting was something I did to keep them warm. There was a lot of snow knitting in those days.

Until the past few years, and since returning to Texas twenty-odd years ago, knitting was mostly relegated to our short winters. One hundred degree temps and day after day of blazing sunshine are not conducive to knitting with wool. Even worse, the kids slowly became old enough to realize that mom’s bulky hand knits were neither practical nor cool enough to wear around their friends.

But now the kids are grown and they love the things I knit for them. They’ve brought two additional adults into the family to knit for these past few years, and maybe one day there will be babies to keep warm once again.

Everything comes full circle.

snow
The kids

What is it about knitting on a snowy day that adds authenticity to the activity? Is it the same as when I felt I wasn’t a “real” runner until I ran a marathon? Just like running on an overcast day with cool temps and no humidity, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing on a rare snowy day than knitting. For whatever the reason, it makes me feel real.

Knitting. Running. Family. My top three in a nutshell.

With my daughter, Dominique while cross-country skiing–and, yes, I’m wearing one of my scarves!

Quite simply, this is what it’s all about.¬†Surrounded by my family, I knit in front of an open fire. It crackles and spits, and my knitting grows. Outside my window, the snow comes down in a steady rain of beautiful white flakes.

It’s definitely a day meant for knitting.

fireplace

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New Year, New Yarn, Same Old Mistakes

Being a Texas knitter is tough. Nine months out of the year it’s either hot, very hot, or so hot I want to bathe in a bathtub of ice cubes and stay there until January. Since I like to knit with natural materials–wool, alpaca, cashmere–this means that nine months of the year I have a pile of very warm material sitting in my lap.

Ah, but it’s those other three months of the year that are glorious. Daytime temps in the 60’s or 70’s, shorts and sandals in December, and lots and lots of knitting in the evenings.

Forget the shorts and sandals this winter. It’s been COLD, like the-coldest-winter-I-can-ever-remember COLD here in Dallas. The warm little pile of wool in my lap has actually served a purpose this winter–and that’s a good thing.

After a run of chunky wool scarves and cowls, and maybe because it was a new year, I wanted to try something different. Thinking ahead to spring, I found some beautiful, shiny, soft bamboo and silk yarn that looked like it would glide right through my fingers. It did alright, but it was a shock after all the chunky wools.

I decided to start with the plum yarn. Some type of light, airy, lacy pattern called out to be knitted in this deeply beautiful color. I cast on, knit a few rows in the somewhat complicated pattern, only to get distracted by something on TV. I made a mistake. No problem, I’ll just unravel a bit and fix it.

bamboo silk infinity scarf

Easier said than done. This is the first time I’ve ever knit with a bamboo/silk blend and have discovered that beauty comes at a price. Unraveling and fixing small mistakes turned out to be a painstaking endeavor since the stitches on such slippery yarn were very difficult to pick back up. If I didn’t pay attention, the stitches would disappear three rows deep. With such a complicated pattern–lots of K2togs, YOs, and K1tbls–it was impossible to not get confused.

I’m stubborn. After FIVE episodes of ripping everything out and starting all over again, I switched to an easier pattern. Lots of repetition and only two repeating rows. I do have my limits.

Just like all those old new year’s resolutions I never kept, I’m still making the same old mistakes when I knit.

That’s okay. I’m already planning my next bamboo/silk scarf in a light stone color. Now that I’m an expert with bamboo/silk yarns (ha!) maybe I’ll make it a little more complicated–and leave the TV turned off.