Winter: At the edge of comfort

Hudson Wrap

I believe that there are three camps when it comes to winter. One is the folks who hate it, are freezing for three months, and want to eventually move to a year-round warm climate. Then there are those who like winter, who think falling snow is beautiful, who like to bundle up and take walks with the dog through a snowy part. And finally, we have winter-lovers; the hard-core snow sports enthusiasts, the daredevil drivers on ice, the snowball-thrower kids. (Most kids are winter-lovers, right?) There may be some cross-over, but I think I nailed it.

Caterpillar Infinity Cowl
Quadrille Pullover

I am a member of the second camp. I love to get out my winter wear, I get joy out of snow, and I generally like the winter season from start to finish. Except for the ice storms. I'd like to meet the person who likes those! Or maybe not.

Interweave Knits editor Lisa Shroyer is perhaps a member of the first camp, slowly dipping her foot into the second camp. Here's her winter story, and her introduction to Interweave Knits Winter.

As a southerner, I find winter a time of discomfort. Even here in the temperate southeast, the season can be tough—the short days, the gloomy skies, and the occasional snow and ice that really debilitate our infrastructure. As a distance hiker, my Saturdays in winter are wet, cold, and, more often than not, end with hot baths. But there, in the woods, on wet rock and through slush and puddle, when no one else is on the trail, I find a real beauty, an austere serenity that I actually love. I feel tough, independent, and proud of myself out there. At the edge of comfort comes discovery.

That motto correlates to so many aspects of life—and to aspects of the creative life in particular. For our photo shoot this issue, we ventured to 10,500 feet in the Rocky Mountains, up near St. Mary's Glacier. As a flatlander, I felt the altitude, and even though it was August, our crew battled cold temperatures, blustery winds, and fast-moving thunderstorms. It was not a comfortable place to spend all day, but we were able to capture some beautiful landscapes for the Outfitted story. My idea for that story was rugged, outdoorsy knits that function for winter, with generous wraps and belted jackets in dense patterns, but also with pieces that hinge on clever knitting itself.

All the wraps and cowls are reversible or somehow two-sided, which makes so much sense for accessories that don't always lie with one side hidden. We're seeing big scarves trending for the season in ready-to-wear—so cast on one of these oversized stoles, memorize the stitch, and you have the perfect, unshaped knitting for holiday travel. And they'll warm you up as they get longer and longer across your lap.

Bear Lake Cowl

From glacial altitudes, we move to the frigid north as Donna Druchunas introduces us to qiviut fiber and The Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, Alaska. We take a look at more qiviut yarn and bison down in Yarn Spotlight, and we also pay homage to the Fair Isle knitting of remote, coastal Scotland. Learn how to treat and finish Fair Isle steeks in Beyond the Basics.

Finally, author Linda Ligon shows us a day in the life of a Peruvian highland woman. The Quechua people of the Andes have been knitting for centuries in their mountain home, where life is harsh and creative arts are preciously beautiful, as well as highly utilitarian.

Take a journey to the edge of comfort with this issue: see where the warmest fiber grows in the coldest places as well as how knitters have been stitching color and joy in harsh climates for ages. Then, pick up your needles and try something new, something perhaps uncomfortable that nevertheless brings discovery to your creative life.

—Lisa Shroyer, Interweave Knits, Winter 2015

That Hudson Wrap, top right, is really calling to me. The colors and the scope of it—large and cozy—are really attractive, and the zigzag pattern just adds to the fun. This wrap will be a great TV project, and, like Lisa said, as temperatures drop, I'll enjoy the wrap warming my lap as it grows (the wrap, not my lap, hopefully!).

Step into winter with Interweave Knits.


P.S. What kind of winter person are you? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

9 thoughts on “Winter: At the edge of comfort

  1. You asked what kind of winter person. I grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado and now live in Fayetteville, AR. Winter here is definitely different than where I grew up. 20 below is the norm! The locals make too much of our recent winter weather. It’s bloody cold for sure, but that’s it. I do enjoy the first real snowstorm of the season, but that’s it and eventually I will make my way back to sunny Arizona. I’ve lived there 6 times over the past 30 years and can’t wait to be back in almost year round sunshine! I knit, knit, and knit some more no matter where I live.

  2. I embrace the cold, and keep the temperature low in our old house. I wear plenty of wool – thin merino underlayers with all the hand knit items on top. I also have an antique stoneware hot water bottle which I fill every night; wrapped with a woolly layer, it is still delivering heat in the morning due to the insulating properties of wool (plus the down duvet). I have knitted a cozy for the French press coffee maker out of you guessed it -wool! and the tea pot is similarly attired. The more cables or colourwork the better to make a more thermal fabric. Sincerely, Wendy Leigh-Bell

  3. One of your best articles so far. I used to love summer, when I played outside until Mom turned the porch light on! After menopause, I hate being hot. So where else would I live but Houston, Texas. Incongruous, right? This is where my kids and grandkids are, so here we are. I love all storms except for ice storms, but a snowstorm is the best — the purity and quiet that settles over everything. There’s nothing like pulling on a comfy sweater, sitting next to a fire in the fireplace, knitting or crocheting and, therefore, feeling productive. Oh, how I miss real winters!

  4. I unfortunately have an underactive thyroid, which means I suffer badly in the cold. I love seeing the beauty of snow, but living in south-west England, it’s rare I get to see it. It’s just cold, wet, and miserable here in winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder really doesn’t help as the short, gloomy days make me want to hibernate. Now I can knit I hope to make myself something warm.

  5. I fall into the second category. I love the cold temperatures…one can always put something on to keep cold and opposed to taking off from being too hot. I like the snow. I like the way everything is white, clean, and the silence in the air because of it.I always wish for snow on my birthday…because we had 2 feet of snow when I was born… birthday is the beginning of April.

  6. On Jan 23, 2013 Ottawa, Canada was the coldest capital in the world for at least one day with recorded temperature of -40*C (at that point it is so cold the Fahrenhein and Celcius scale is the same!). These extreme temperatures have become so much the norm here every winter that you can firmly count me in the first catagory!! No matter how bundled up I am in my hand knits, it is just miserably cold! And just to add to the misery, our winters here start early – this year our first snow fall was this past weekend and it won’t end until late April, perhaps even into May! So wish us well up here in the Great White North -if we are lucky we won’t set any records this year 🙂

  7. Snow invigorates me! Sitting at the looms in my weaving studio when the white fluffy snow is gently falling to the ground, a tranquail peace surrounds me and the energy inside me soars. Being a retired elementary teacher, there was nothing better than a snow day, or two. Nothing on the calendar and heaven on Earth happening outside my window, while progress on the loom happened before my eyes. Growing up in Northern Michigan, and now living in south western Michigan, also encourages me to go out and downhill or cross country ski, and snow shoe on freshly fallen snow. When the grandchildren come over we are outside making snow angels, building snow forts, and going for sled rides down the driveway.
    Please send me snow!