Friday, March 09, 2007

Whatcha Knittin'

People who live in different climates need different knitwear. And perhaps it also depends on what they do for a living or for recreation. I was thinking about this when I was reading about double-thickness hats and thrummed mitts. We don’t need those here in Vancouver. Not to say that it doesn’t get cold, but not bitterly cold. Heck, there are guys who never wear long pants but run around all year in shorts! It’s usually wet instead. So you can use a hat but not a really heavy one and scarves are a big item but mostly on females and for style rather than warmth. Gloves are not that common and mittens are only worn by small children. Sweaters are good though, since you can get away with a thick one instead of a coat. Or wear a thinner one under your Gore-Tex jacket. I love my wrist warmers too unless I’m carrying an umbrella and then I want my gloves on.

We also don’t have a lot of chilly air-conditioning in summer to contend with. Some malls and large stores and high-rise offices have it, but mostly we live without because really it doesn’t get that hot or for that long. Except in cars — lots of people spend time in their cars in a mini-environment of their own comfort level. If you’re just going from house-to-garage-to-car-to-garage-to-office then a light jacket will do even in the dead of winter. However I don’t drive so I need good boots and warm, dry clothes plus a functional umbrella. I rarely go out without wearing at least one or two things that I’ve knitted. I wear my handknit socks most of the year, except for the approximately 3 days when it’s really hot.

Before the recent West Coast cold snap, it didn’t really occur to me that folks in California can feel cold when it’s 20 degrees C. That’s balmy summer to us! Or that in some places it can be as cold as -40 degrees C with a wind-chill factor that can bring it down even further. And those places might be far south-east of us here as well as north. Here it never gets colder than maybe -10 C and even that is rare (luckily for the greenery). The coldest I’ve ever felt is -20 C when we were in the BC Interior skiing and that was darn cold enough that your nose hairs freeze when you open the door. Gotta keep moving at that temperature. Right into somewhere warm that preferably serves hot apple cider or mulled wine.

And then there’s your own personal body temperature to factor in. Some people are naturally warm-blooded and some people are always cold. I prefer my environment to be on the cool side. Then I’ll layer on clothing until I’m just right. I even sleep with my window cracked open in the dead of winter and pile on the blankets (several of them handwoven). I’ve woken up to a room that’s only 9 C. That’s 48 F for the non-metric. But I was still toasty in my warm nest. With T-Man for extra heating. Heh. I tend to not mind whatever temp it is but if I do get too cold or too hot it takes quite awhile to get back to equilibrium. Strangely though, I’ve never suffered from hot flashes unlike most women my age. Don’t hate me.

The point of this lecture is we all have different needs for knitwear. Whether for warmth or for style, a lot depends on where you live and how you live. And I haven’t even mentioned sensitivities to different fibres as a factor. That’s another lecture for another time.

I finished the Ocean Socks for my teenaged niece. They’re currently drying after their inaugural wash so no photos are possible until tomorrow. Of course I’ve cast on for another pair. You had to ask? This time it’s a ribby pair for T-Man in Trekking XXL colour 90 (muted browns/olive). He picked out the yarn himself and I decided on ribs because he doesn’t have a ribby pair and also I’m bored of plain socks. I seem to be able to keep to the k3/p1 rib without too much trouble. When I’m past the top rib I might add a row of plain knit every other round. Getting tricksy again, ain’t I? Yes, I’m still sick and I’m BORED!

Yesterday I forgot to mention that the new Spring issue of Knitty is up. Link is in my sidebar. Lots of socks, some sweaters, kid clothes (love those little redheaded girls!), a handspun scarf etc. Plus I got two more books to review, both on crochet. Details later.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I'm knitting a scarf from combining On Line ' Linnie 85' a synthtic fuzzy yarn along with Eros synthetic ladder yarn. Bright colours, soft and fluffy for my best coat and next winter. LYS had them on sale now and it's simply 21 stitches and plain knit. That's as tricksy as I can get being 'knitting impaired'. :)

I'm thinking of trying those beaded bracelets though....

On the loom: 8 shaft snowflake twill in all black 10/2 tencel at 36 epi. Now this is my element!

No hot flashes?? Lucky you. I could not believe how fast a person's body temp could go up! To go from normal to profusely red and moping one's brow in a heartbeat. No signs of letting up either so had to resort to some intervention.

I would like to make a correction about heat waves in Vancouver! They do last more than 3 days and reach 30ºC +/-. Nothing like the southern interior of BC where I have seen thermometers reach a blazing 47ºC ( true story!... picture to prove it too)

From yer bud up the coast in PR