Raising the roof

Ok. It’s cold. There was even snow yesterday and today, but yesterday the snow only met the conditions for “level one snow”. Level one snow flies about, looks like snow but does not accumulate. Level one snow makes children happy and makes you feel a little festive, but it is not, I repeat, it is not REAL SNOW.

Today we had level two snow. Level two snow is characterized by the following criteria.

– it is accompanied by cold severe enough to make you look for a hat, if you had not already done so, having been spooked by dumb level one snow. Note: If I’m telling you to look for a hat then I’m pretty cold. Hats, all hats, make me look phallic. Do not tell me that I have not yet met/knit/tried the right hat. It is all hats. I have witnesses who can attest to the incredible unflattering effect that hats have on me. If I’m looking for a hat it is because I think that loosing my ears to frostbite would only make me look more phallic. It’s about the lesser of evils.

-it causes a little fleeting depression as you realize that winter really is going to happen again this year and that it’s really only a matter of days until you are freezing yourself stupid everywhere you go and wiping up melted snow all over the house while you try to get around in level 4-5 or 6 snow for the next five months.

-the defining difference between level one and two snow is that level two snow stays on the ground. Should you encounter level two snow you will hear Canadians say this. “Yup, look at that. It’s staying on the ground.” So defining is this characteristic, that Canadians will ask each other this question to determine snow seriousness. “Is it staying on the ground?”.

-finally, level two snow is accompanied by general panic for me, as I must say….



Sorry. I’m a little worried. Jean is back on my roof, freezing his arse off and trying to…well, make SOME KIND OF A ROOF. ( I know that it looks like I might have a roof in this picture. That would be an illusion. That roof is just some boards laid across the thing. That thing is to a real roof what Martha Stewart is to Erma Bombeck. Not real). Sorry. I’ll take a deep breath. It’s just that it’s so cold and yesterday it rained and all I can see are the BIG OPEN PARTS TO MY HOUSE.

It’s ok. There’s a door between the back room and the kitchen. That should stop the level two snow from piling up on the DINNER PLATES and leave only the bitter arctic wind and aching vicious cold. I know that Jean is working as fast as he can, and this is really a part time thing for him. He’s a full time carpenter, but he’s a friend of the family and is doing us a favour, so it’s not like I can STAPLE GUN HIM TO THE BACK OF MY HOUSE. Sorry. It’s the stress. Jean helped Joe and my brother install my entire new kitchen a few years ago and I paid him with three pairs of hand knit socks. Seriously.


I showed him the Estonian Mittens. Maybe we can cut some kind of a deal.

(Please don’t tell him that the deal I’m thinking is that he makes the back of my house back into THE BACK OF A HOUSE and I will knit him anything he wants for the rest of his life without question or regret. I’m too vulnerable.)

The computer sock (I highly recommend this method of Christmas knitting. The sock sits there and whenever I’m reading email or waiting for things to load or …well, thinking, I pick it up and do a few stitches. A sock a week, for sure. ) is bigger.


You can sneak knitting into everything. The key is for me to avoid Christmas knitting panic. Slow and steady wins the race. No need for things to get ugly. Right?

I finished the second skein of grey laceweight. It came out to be 130m. Together with the other skein it’s a grand total of 320m.


I’m really pleased. I was especially proud last night when I asked Megan to pass Ken the handspun and she said “This one? The soft one?”

Hear that? SOFT. I’m thrilled. My clutching, overcontrolled spinning style often leads to very fine yarn that is like wire, but this is soft. Really soft.

Happy thanksgiving to all my American friends. (Note to Canadians: why don’t we have any holidays on a Thursday? All of ours are on Mondays. Do you realize that this means that they are getting 4 days off? We need some changes.) Before you give thanks today for the incredible over-abundance we enjoy, why don’t you click on by Deb’s or Wendy’s and contribute to their Knitbloggers drive for Heifer International. It will make your dinner taste better. (If you are Canadian click there too, the warm fuzzy glow it gives you will take the edge off the snow and arse numbing cold. If you are from somewhere warmer…well, just do it. It’s good for you.)

33 thoughts on “Raising the roof

  1. Ooh!! I’m first!
    I hear you about the fine-but-wirey handspun. I’m not sure I can spin anything else. I haven’t masterd the long draw and do the pinch-and-inch method. It works but I’d like to spin finer without thinking that my yarn will fall apart in the plying process.
    Looks great. And so does the back of your house.

  2. We need to work on the hat thing. i don’t look good in them either.
    Of course, now you’ve given me an overwhelming fear that ‘looking bad’ may actually be looking phallic. Shit.

  3. I’m an “inchworm” spinner too, but I’m getting better at not getting the wiry stuff. I haven’t been able to master long-draw yet… alas.
    One thing I’m thankful for is such a hilarious blog to read almost every morning!

  4. Love the handspun. Pretty, pretty. Would Jean be swayed to stay longer by grey laceweight? ;0) Best of luck with the house and snow situation. I love your classifications of snow levels – very useful.
    Happy Thanksgiving from down in Boston (where plenty of us do have to go back to work after today!).

  5. Don’t worry, dear Harlot. We’re working real hard down here in the States to bring you global warming. It’s about 70 here in Boston right now.
    It shouldn’t be too long before the white stuff is but just a distant memory . . .
    Back to the family Thanksgiving debates. Thanks for providing a bit of respite today! 😉

  6. Happy Thanksgiving from a lurker! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that your house is finished quickly. Oh, and keep the snow up north for awhile, please. We don’t need it quite yet.

  7. I would much prefer having computer socks, but because I live in Washington state and because it is Thanksgiving, I have computer brussel sprouts. My pile of knitting is sitting waiting wistfully for me to get those d**** sprouts peeled and cooked. Sending you warm wooly thoughts :o)

  8. yeah, 4 day my foot, I’m working tomorrow again too 🙂
    its a level2 snow on the ground here for days/weeks already, nothing serious. Waiting for some multiple footers (are those level5?) so I can stay home and knit! by the fireplace…

  9. Maybe Jean needs a warm hat so he can stay on the roof working longer. We’ve already had a 1 day level 2 snow, but today is rainy and chilly. I may bring up some wood and put a fire in the fireplace. My sister (home from Afghanistan for 2 wks!) is sound asleep on the couch with her head on my Dad’s shoulder (he’s asleep too), my husband and daughter are filling out scoresheets for the hockey tournament that starts tomorrow that my son and daughter are playing in, the potatoes are cooking, the turkey is roasting, a football game is on that no one is watching, and my other kids are scattered throughout the house. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for, including your blog to get my afternoon off to a great start!

  10. OK–I’m not a Canadian so maybe I’m missing something here. But, is it a Canadian thing to rip apart one’s house when the snow is knocking at the door? Is it the same sort of thinking as not turning on the heat till the fingers turn blue?
    Turkey’s in the oven–string beans are at the computer.

  11. Would this be a good time to have an in-depth discussion with Jean about why there are so many sizes of screwdrivers? I remember you mentioned your interest in this subject, a little while ago?

  12. Hey, Mary? Yes it must be a Canadian WOMAN thing. It’s this time of year that I decide that all my projects are a must and my carpenter-husband starts cursing and muttering. I too have a back porch, still open to the elements. Remember the 60cm + that some Nova Scotians were “blessed” with just over a week ago? Half that amount was in the porch area. Having a roof on the place didn’t seem to help; might have been the open gable ends. Go figure. So I am feeling for ya, Steph. Except with all that snow, hubby decided it would be safer to go deer hunting than risk life and limb on the roof. Again, go figure! At least Jean is there working his little heart out for you.

  13. Can I quote you in two weeks? “You can sneak knitting into everything. The key is for me to avoid Christmas knitting panic. Slow and steady wins the race. No need for things to get ugly. Right?”
    Your fix-it-man sounds really really nice. Give him a hat and fingerless mittens to encourage him to stay out there.

  14. I’m thankful for so many things (even given the results of the recent election) which I’ve listed on both book and knitting blogs. I’d be remiss in not giving thanks for this site which makes me laugh so hard (often coworkers check to see if I’ll die of a laughter induced aneurysm – I think more for the entertainment value than any sense of emergency care to be given), inspires me and encourages me!
    BTW – Heifer International rocks – I second the Harlot’s vote, give if you can…

  15. What is a level 6 snow? We got some level 2 here and it sure brought the cold. It got down to 19 last night and still no heat for me! Hope the hole gets fixed quickly, that’d worry me too!

  16. Here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we had our first Level-2 snow yesterday. It actually started out as a Level-1, which I found very charming and even began to sing a few Christmas tunes to myself. But as the day wore on and the snow began to stick, and by morning we had to actually shovel to get out of the driveway, I was singing a much different tune…one that included a few choice words about winter. Anyhow, I am thankful on this day that I was able to spend it with my family, but what I am most thankful for is that the back of my house has a roof. Hey, I HAVE SEEN THE BACK OF YOUR HOUSE, and it ain’t pretty. Beautiful laceweight though.

  17. I think you should rejoice at the status of the back of your house. Isn’t it a wonderful opportunity to take out all your stash and build yourself some kind of barricade at the back of the house? And, if you do not have enough yarn to keep you warm when it gets up to level 5 or 6, then you have the urgent and legitimate reason to go yarn shopping! Your family’s lives depend on it! Tell Jean to get off the roof! Here where I live it finally drop to 19 celsius! I’m considering moving to colder climate so I can knit all year around. Believe, even cotton is way too hot in summer months, and with global warming, it’s getting longer and longer.

  18. i’ve been operating on a ‘slow and steady’ basis too. i freaked out last year, and got WAY too ambitious. now, i’m just… crankin’ out whatever i can, in the time i have. LOTS of computer and tv knitting too, cause i’m making as many of my projects as possible mindless knitting. whee! good luck to ya 🙂

  19. Not all Americans get four days off, says she who had to schlept to work after tripping over DH and DSS while she was getting for work today and they were still wandering around in underwear burping at eachother.
    I have two pairs of “computer socks” for DH in the works, having never knit him anything before, but they can only be done while I’m at work, so he doesn’t see them, and I can’t talk about them on my blog. It’s killing me.
    Do you do toe-up ever? Do you have a favorite heel that way? (I’m doing short-rows for one pair, but haven’t gotten to the heel on the other pair and I’m open to brilliant suggestions. I like the heel flap look, but don’t like knitting leg-down socks…)

  20. Wow. snow in Toronto and NOT in Ottawa. Nifty. We had some level one yesterday. And it was -8C this morning when we got up (so we definitely need to think about hats) but NO snow. And not a cloud in the sky from which snow could fall later, either.
    I second Patricia. Jean deserves as sweater. Though a hat and fingerless gloves immediately would also be good.
    Lovely laceweight.

  21. In Michigan the phrase is “Is it sticking?” or “Yeah, it’s snowing, but it’s not sticking.”
    As to the hat? Mobius scarf a la Zimmerman/Swanson. It’s not a scarf, it’s an environment (covers head, ears AND back of neck, besides being terribly becoming and not crushing your curls (much.) Say, Mistake Stitch in a handspun mohair-blend?

  22. I just needed to burble: I got my first spinning wheel last night! Gods bless the Pennysaver. It’s an Ashford Traditional in perfect (albeit dusty) shape. Got her cleaned and oiled up last night and figured out the basics. I’m all jazzed up while stuck here at work (supposedly) doing data entry. Gack!

  23. Now, someone might have said this already…I didn’t wade through the comments…but here in Oregon, we say
    “Is it sticking yet??” or “nah…it’s not even sticking” for level one snow…
    Cultural differences abound, aye? ;-D

  24. I have a question: how do you figure out how many yards you’ve spun? As a novice spinner (heck, as a novice human, even at 41) I have counted off twenty yards onto my niddy noddy weighed it on my ridiculously accurate chemist’s scale (my husband is a gadget freak) and then used that figure to calculate how many yards I have by weighing the whole lot when I eventually get around to finish spinning it all.
    Do you have a more simple way to do this?
    Sorry to bother you. Just ignore me if I’m a bore.

  25. Hey! You got snow! 🙂 I’m a happy American now!
    I’m going to combine 2 comments into one here, so stay with me.
    I’m loving your grandmother story. Those genes were lurking in you somewhere, but you just made them better. You know, by bringing some joy into your life! She shoulda tried it, she might have liked it!
    Nephew hank sounds wonderful. Spidey mittens, eh? Better call batman, he’d know!
    Happy Friday.

  26. Hi, this is the first I’ve commented but have been reading your blog a while now (as do a number of my fellow Australian knitters) Loved your chat with teens Nov 24. Felt compelled to write because it is 35 deg C here today in Melbourne, Australia with the hot North wind blowing. We have summery Christmases and snow is something we trek to each midyear to have our fun in. I cannot imagine it as a way of life! Good luck with the renos.

  27. Want some more of that roving? BookBookBookBook! Info = roving. Yep, I have sunk to bribery.
    Laurie (yes, that one)

  28. You guys would have a good laugh at us here in the southern US. Even the threat of Level 1 snow causes long lines at the grocery store to pick up milk, bread, and snacks. The influx of northerners has curtailed the mass work stoppages used to occur; I work for an organization that just moved here from Minnesota so I doubt I will get any snow days. It is not uncommon, however, for school to be closed for two or three days because of two inches of snow. Five inches causes a widespread panic!

  29. Poor Jean seems to have frozen off his accent aigu….
    (As mother of a child with an accent aigu that virtually everyone including her grandmother tends to leave off, I’m anal about these things. I was so impressed that, in spite of your computer-upgrade woes, you managed to get it in your earlier post about him.)

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