Thursday, January 23, 2014

In the Not-So-Bleak Midwinter

It's the "dead of winter", according to our local newspaper. The air temperature when I went out grocery shopping yesterday was -28C. In fact, there was no noticeable wind and, with the sun, it wasn't all that bad. In case you're wondering, what do I wear for these almost daily treks on foot to keep us supplied with fresh food?

1. Handknitted socks, of course. These, specifically:

2. Shearling lined leather boots.

3. Leggings. You really need a soft layer next the skin. The idea is to build light layers to trap air, so leggings plus a second layer do the job quite well.

4. An ankle-length skirt. Everyone knows that jeans are just about the worst thing to wear on a cold day.

5. Some extra warmth for the neck:

The Bandana Cowl was the first project I made with my spindle-spun yarn. The BFL is soft against my neck.

6. My thickest cardigan with the tallest neck.

When it is buttoned all the way up with the cowl underneath to support the collar, it sits quite satisfactorily around my lower face, all the way to my nose. If I tuck my head down, I can cover my nose entirely.

7. Hand protection. Everyone in Canada knows that a single pair of mittens offers little of that. So, I wear these,

inside of these:

Of course, these mitts are already stranded, which makes this combination of gloves and mitts actually triple-layered.

8. More stranded protection, this time for the head.


9. A long wool coat over all.


It takes about five minutes to suit up before heading out the door at this time of the year. It's rather like getting ready for a space walk. Pity the kindergarten teachers who have to ready their charges for recess--all those boots and mitts and scarves to be tied around faces. At least it keeps us knitters in mind of exactly why we need wool and knitted things. It's not just about keeping our hands and our minds busy,

however enjoyable it may be to knit by a fire with a mug of tea in the bleak midwinter.


  1. Do you ever wonder how much we weigh when we go out in the not-so-bleak mid winter?

  2. Wow. I moved from Orlando, Florida, to Georgia, on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina to recapture my youthful memories of living "up north". I cannot beLIEVE your temperatures! Well, yes, I can but MAAAAAN! Love the knitting. I wore hand knit leggings and scarf and sweater today, but the temps did not go below -11C for us AND I do not walk to the store. Thanks for the heads up about the jeans. I wondered what was going on today. They felt like ice sheets around my legs. Southern girls just ain't gotta clue...

    1. I walk because it's easier than dealing with cleaning off the car, getting it going, and freezing all the way there while the heater kicks in. It's only about 12 minutes or so each way, so I get a bit of exercise in the bargain. I use a pull cart and need to shop five days out of seven to keep our family of four stocked up. Plus, I get to walk by a wool shop on the way!