The baby and I are in a race. It needs to be born before Teresa explodes and I need to have finished a shawl to wrap it in.


See the snowflakes of increasing size? (Please say yes. Now is not when I want to find out that I’m knitting a very accurate yarn-over depiction of a giant squid. I have stress.)

Last night I accidentally fell asleep with it in my hands and only got three rows knit.

It’s that time of year when my whole family is engaged in the “heat game” again. This means that nobody wants to be the first one to snap and turn on the heat. (My sister may actually have turned on her heat. That’s ok. My brother and I have excused her from the more extreme levels of this challenge because it seems harsh to involve Hank.) Ian though, Ian shouldn’t be taking me on. All he has going for him is determination, spunk and this one pair of wool socks.


This is, by the way, Ian’s sock camping in Algonquin. Do not be fooled. Just because Ian is the kind of guy who would be camping, canoeing and portaging his way across a chunk of Ontario in the autumn does not mean that he is equipped for the heat wars. (I do, however give him points for thinking of photographing the socks I made him by the campfire on his trip. It’s good to know that my knits continue to see the world after they leave me.)

I on the other hand, am a knitter. I have a multitude of sweaters, afghans, hand knit socks, mittens and they are all made of warm, delightful wool. I was made for this challenge, I have prepared for years and I even have a team of wily knitters on my side. See this?


Those are beaded wrist warmers that Laurie (That Laurie) made for me. Ian has nothing! (Well, I admit that making him that pair of wool socks was likely a strategic error, and I deeply regret the afghan, but he is my brother. It was Christmas. I got carried away.) Other factors to consider…

-five people live in this house, only two people live in his house. We create more warmth and can huddle together.

-four out of five of the people in this house are female. Joe points out that the release of heat from all the talking should help.

-I have to make several meals a day to feed the ravening hordes. This ensures that there are fairly frequent bursts of warmth coming off of the stove. I have been “roasting” a fair bit, and I am not above baking bread or slowly dehydrating apples or something if it gets any colder.

Nobody here has asked for the heat yet (although Ken, while he absolutely did not ask for any heat at all, did wear his coat in the dining room, despite the somewhat cozy warmth of the pasta bowl placed near him.), but I was talking with Ian’s wife Ali and she was busy putting plastic over the windows in their house, which tells me that she is feeling it. We shall see.

(I’m really only aiming for Hallowe’en. That’s when Ian and I called it a truce last year and turned on our heat at the same time. There was no other way to save ourselves. It’s pretty darned cold in Canada by now.)

Back to the shawl, my point (and I do have one..though that was the long way around for sure) is that because the house is so cold I keep falling asleep and not knitting much on the shawl. For a while I thought I was just tired, but now I realize that it’s actually that I keep slipping into some sort of cryogenic state. (It also doesn’t help that my hands are numb, but that borders on whining and I realize that I am choosing this out of some sick need to trounce my brother just like we are kids again and as such, since this is nobodies fault but my own, I will not whine.)

I will say though, (without whining) that sometime really, really soon I am going to have to choose to either beat the baby, lose to my brother or start breaking the ice in the toilet in the morning.

131 thoughts on “Ready…set…

  1. Stephanie, I thought of you yesterday morning when I reluctantly turned on our heat for the first time. Not much — just enough to be able to bend my fingers again. I’ve become a southern wimp. . .

  2. I was wondering if you had turned on the heat yet but figured you hadn’t. Be strong. We haven’t turned ours on either but it’s not nearly so cold down south from you. We have had a couple of fires in the wood stove, though. Does that count?
    Of course the snowflakes are visible! You’re working your way north and it looks great.

  3. while i absolutely sympathize with your situation, please stop writing “beat the baby” as an option for keeping warm. it’s just disturbing.

  4. Very pretty, recognizable snowflakes. I remember last winter’s heat-off well. I don’t recall ever seeing an update on the back of the house. Was it finished? Is it filled with wool (a fine insulation)?

  5. They definitely do look like snowflakes πŸ™‚ And, just think! If you manage to stay awake, you can start flinging water drops in the frigid air and using the resulting icy flakes as further inspiration for your design…

  6. I turned mine on about a week ago but I went longer than last year because of you. They are predicting snow in Ottawa for tonight. I figure if it is going to snow, you should have the heat on.

  7. The shawl looks great.
    I’m sympathetic on the heat issue as I’m being stubborn and trying to hold off turning on the furnace until Nov. 1. My friends are pointing out that I have a fireplace, plenty of wool clothes and afghans, plus a heavy down comforter and expedition weight thermals to sleep in. But it was 38F at in my neighborhood last night and the next large town to the west actually had snowflakes. The only good news I’ve seen is the Oct gas statement arrived and I used about 33% of what I used last year.
    Predicted high for today 48 and raining, predicted low 35.

  8. Being a less experienced knitter, I turned on the heat yesterday. But it was my husband who started it. He lit the furnace.
    See.. he is an enabler.
    Plus it’s pouring down rain and the closer wood pile is not covered, so I would rather not trapse out to the further one in the pouring rain to get wood.. it would cut into my knitting time!

  9. I totally see snowflakes. We turned on our heat last week. Surprisingly, no whining from me or the child in the house. My husband did it of his own volition. (Surprising since he considers 30 degrees farenheit to be perfect weather.)

  10. They look just like the snowflakes that accumulated into 5″ in my yard a couple weeks ago and that caused my husband to cave and turn on the heat since he gets up at the arse-crack of dawn to get ready for work and he claimed that turning on the heat was the only way to prevent icicles from coming out of the shower head. (Also, since the cat and the 4yo were burrowed under the covers in our bed between us, he claimed he was doing it for them!)

  11. You’re amazing not to turn the heat on yet! I had to succumb a few days ago…brrrrrrrr!! And I just moved to Ontario from Alberta…what’s my problem? I should have more gumption than that!! Good luck with your challenge…hope you win!

  12. Bake bread before you give in. Or better yet, cookies while the bread is rising, then the bread. Warms up the entire house. I know this for a fact.

  13. C’mon, Stephanie, you can do it! More hats! More scarves! Get that double-knit 100% wool sweater made from polar bear fleece out! We’re all rooting for you, hurrah!

  14. I know what you mean about the baby chasing you. I am making a shawl for my friend, and she is due in 4 weeks and I still have 2 balls of yarn left before it will be complete.

  15. We are having heat wars of a different kind here. Last night my husband turned the air conditioning on again, despite the fact that I was gamely trying to deal with 80 degrees in the house to lower our electric bill. We’re supposed to be in the mid 80s here all week. Where the heck is fall?

  16. Lovely shawl, lovely snowflakes.
    I don’t know how you stand it-my heat was turned on long ago. I am a wimp, but at least I am warm wimp.

  17. Ha! My husband and I also have the heat wars- first one to suggest turning on the furnace loses. Last year we wore our hats inside and this year our guests “politely” have hinted that it might be chilly in the house by using the decorative throw blankets in our living room. Suckers, say I. When I left the house this morning, it was 38 degrees and there was wet snow. Tonight the weather forecasters (heh) are calling for more snow. But I refuse to give in, even if it’s until I can see my own breath in the house.

  18. I wondered aloud this morning if you were participating in the heat wars. I am considering relenting if the toilet freezes though. I mean I’d hate the splashback.
    I think the snowflakes look marvy. I again bow to you oh champion knitter.

  19. I’ve been thinking about you lately and wondering when you’d talk about turning on the heat. It became winter here in Austin the other day – seriously, in about two hours, winter arrived. I just couldn’t take it anymore and turned on the upstairs heat today, and totally thought of you. The funniest thing: the toilet seat was COLD, and … I thought of you. πŸ˜‰ And then I had to laugh, out loud of course, because I thought of you. Good times.

  20. Heat? That’s for sissies. Though if just a smidge is needed in order to bring a proper gift to a newborn babe, who would blame you?

  21. I admit to turning on the heat in the mornings, just to get the edge off. And I’ve built a couple of small fires in the fireplace, but they’ve been very small, and just in the evening. For some reason this year, I’m not tolerating cold very well. I noticed this was not just my own burden when I realized that my hands are so cold the cats run when I reach to pet them.

  22. We just turned ours on last week, but only to 60F. I’m too lazy to look up the conversion. But let me put it this way: My mom won’t come over, and Vincent is cold. But those pulsevante Laurie knit you will help a LOT. They’re gorgeous. I’ve been positively living in the ones that Katy made me. They are my favorite wardrobe staple. That, and Plain Vanilla and the socks Cari made me. Cassie’s I save for special occasions.
    But I could have sworn you held out much longer than Halloween last year. I thought it was the first of December. Seriously!

  23. Yes, they look like snowflakes. And you must produce a pattern for this. I love all things snowflake and this shawl might be the inspiration for me to start knitting lace.
    As to the heat wars, would it be possible to decamp to a warmer place, say the library, to knit the shawl so you can knit in comfort and not worry about falling asleep? (Run on sentence much?)

  24. Pretty snowflakes.
    I live in Calgary, home of crazy weather, so the furnace may be on in August (it snowed) and off in January ’cause it’s 20 C (68 F) outside.
    Today it’s off, but last week my daughter insisted on turning it on when the thermostat read 17 C (63 F). Of course, since she shaves her head, she does tend to feel the cold a little quicker.
    Liza {who’s off to look for some hat patterns}

  25. My parents, who living in Burlington, ON, have already capitulated… and funny enough, so have I (even though I live in Virginia… guess I’ve been down here too long)

  26. Yes. They look like snowflakes. And I love the way they grow as they move up the shawl. Heat? I don’t need no stinkin’ heat! Actually I do – it was turned on this morning. There’s a child in the house, and that’s my excuse.

  27. Ummm…. I have a question?
    You said:
    Last night I accidentally fell asleep with it in my hands and only got three rows knit.
    Does this mean, as I suspect, that you are now knitting in your sleep? (It DOES increase the available knitting hours in that 62 days, ya know)

  28. I broke down this past week, and have turned on the heat for short periods of time to take the edge off. Of course this morning I got to wear the Handpaint Original mittens I just finished, since it was SNOWING (central PA). It still is snowing. Good thing I started (and finished) another mitten yesterday.

  29. What a lovely shawl! Yes, they do look like snowflakes. The one thing I am dreading to see around here, but know it’s only a matter of time.
    Like Liza, I’m in Calgary too (Hi Liza!) and have had the heat on already this year. It’s off again today (20C our high today) but I don’t hold out much hope that this trend will continue.
    Keep up the wonderful work! Love your blog & knitting!

  30. Lovely snowflakes.
    My heat has been on for a month. I’m a wimp. (but I have a sick kid in the house who kicks off her blankets at night. She needs a bit of heat in her room, right?) I really don’t like it when my house temp drops below 70F.

  31. My goal for turning on the heat… Thanksgiving.
    Granted I live further south than you but a lot further north than I’m used to… It got down into the 20s the other night. I was tempted to run out to the car to warm up then realized that diesel isn’t any cheaper than natural gas so I found another blanket.
    Snowflakes… definitely snowflakes…. πŸ™‚

  32. Understand the need to finish an item before the intendee arrives – and battling cold fingers to do so.
    Our heat is on – at times – but thermostat is set to between 60 and 64 F (can’t find a conversion chart that goes low enough right now) during the day. We wait to turn the heat on until our old house can’t sustain 60 F on its own anymore (solar gain, cooking, etc). It usually happens around mid-October here in Duluth, MN. More power to those of you that can last longer!
    Thanks for the inspiration – on so many fronts!

  33. I’m trying to hold out too (see blog for details)… but I have company coming for the weekend. She’s an old friend from my hometown. I’m not sure I want her going home and telling my dad that I’ve lost my marbles (or do I? He might fund a wood stove.) But really, how much time are we going to spend in my house? We’ll be out on the town… they still heat restaurants and the mall, right?

  34. Heat would be lovely. Our landlord has yet to call the plumber to turn the radiators on, so we don’t even have the option of turning on the heat. I swear when I woke up this morning I thought I saw my breath.

  35. Yup, they’re snowflakes and they’re beautiful. I thought I’d be the first one to say that I know this because they look just like the ones in the inch of white stuff that covered everything here this past weekend. But I see I’m not. πŸ™‚
    I gave in and let my husband turn the heat on last week when it dropped into the teens.

  36. I have two excuses for having caved already on the heat issue: (1) My man was born and raised in Bombay, and despite having lived in the midwest and northeast of the US for the past 8 years, has never quite gotten used to wearing a hat indoors; and (2) We live in a condo complex that requires everyone keep their heat at a minumum of 60F lest the neighbors’ pipes freeze and wreak havoc on the walls and ceilings of multiple homes. Me? I’ve been known to spend a month and a half camping in Nunavut, so I’m perfectly happy to wear a hat, scarf, mittens, and socks to bed. I’m only bowing to external pressure, I swear. πŸ™‚

  37. Holy cow! Just looked Toronto up on…it IS cold there! Sure you don’t want to come to Arizona on your book tour? πŸ™‚ Today’s high will be 85 with a low of 67 tonight.
    Shameless, aren’t I?

  38. My husband could totally compete in this competition, but if it’s alright with you I won’t tell him. Don’t want to give him any “crazy ideas”. What about those gloves without the tips enclosed (I think they call them fingerless gloves, but they have fingers, but I digress) – they’ll keep your fingers warm and you should still be able to knit. I’m hoping for a safe ending to this competition.

  39. I can never fall asleep if I’m the least bit cold. Have you been using those Magic Bags (wheat bags) that you can microwave to heat up? I have been known to wear those around my neck when it gets too cold. Just helping you out here; I think you’re crazy for not turning on the heat but I’m willing to aid and abet the bet( say that 10 times fast)

  40. The snowflakes are lovely! You do come up with some of the prettiest designs.
    Heat isn’t an issue yet for me – top floor, south-facing equals lots of passive solar heat, in spite of the cold, gray rainy days.
    My money’s on Stephanie to win the battle of the heat, though…

  41. We turned on the heat weeks ago but now it’s warm here again. Why do we deny ourselves comfort and warmth? It took me a week to give in but shivering and lace just don’t mix. Get warm and comfy before you turn to screech!

  42. You know, we thankfully, don’t pay for heat in our place, so we turned it on weeks ago! No holds barred over here!
    You do know that the weather man used the “f” word this week? Flurries are coming, baby, and not just on that shawl either.

  43. We just turned of the air conditioning Saturday here in South Carolina! It may be necessary to close the windows tonight, though. Hang in there, you can win the heat war!

  44. Is it just me, or does it seems like just last week when we had the conversation on whether or not to turn on the A/C? Ah well, we can’t have everything!

  45. And here I am trying to turn the heat OFF. Oh, it’s cold enough here in Geneva (NY)–43 degrees F, feels like 36 (that’s pretty darn close to 0 centigrade), and it’s been raining for something like three weeks straight. However, the heat in my building kicks on full blast, for no reason whatsoever, regardless of where the thermostat is set. We have it set to OFF right now. Why, then, does the furnace turn ON and continue pumping heat, even when the thermometer on the thermostat says it’s 80 degrees F (no kidding) in the living room? Favorite time for the heat to go on full blast: 3 a.m. And I can’t sleep unless I’m a little bit cold. Drat.
    The new owners of the building are trying to fix this–they pay for the heat, after all–but I’ve lived here three years, complained about it every winter, and it never seems to get fixed.
    Maybe I could just set up a pipeline from my house to Stephanie’s (hey, it’s only what, about 150 miles and one large body of water away). Then you could warm up, but still win the Heat War on a technicality (it wouldn’t be YOUR heat that was turned on). What do you think?

  46. I actually looked back in the archives trying to figure out when you turned the heat on last year. I wasn’t going to bother you with it when you were touring. I held out until this past Saturday. I just couldn’t bear to see the thermostat go below 60 in the house. Brrr. Now I’ve only relented a little bit. Thermo is holding steady and not coming on very often wilst set at 63.

  47. You should really speak to your friends about having babies during Christmas knitting time. What was she thinking? πŸ™‚

  48. The BATTLE OF THE THERMOSTAT is waging here at Chez Perry as well. Only MY husband will turn it on if it goes below 70 in the house. So we spend the fall, winter and spring playing the up/down game…

  49. Heat? Oh please, one year while I was attending uni in Quebec my roommates and I were too cheap to turn on the heat. We worn about 3 pairs of flannel pjs to bed along with toques, mitts and thick socks and used TONS of blankets/duvets. I’m not kidding…we were some well-insulated college kiddies. Friends refused to come over, offered to pay the bill for us if that was what was keeping us from turning it on and called our parents in an attempt to convince us to do something. It became a sick challenge to see how long we could last. It was towards the end of December (a COLD December…not a wussy, “green Christmas” december) when we gave in because we got tired of seeing our breath while lying in bed and having whatever (non-alcoholic) liquids we left out freeze overnight.
    Mind you…our marks were incredible that semester as we spent every waking moment at the school’s library. ;o)

  50. Snowflakes, I see snowflakes — yes, in your shawl, but Outside My Window today. Bleh. I’ve heard the whole point of wristwarmers is to keep your pressure points warm so you’ll be toasty! You’ll win the races!

  51. I knew winter was approaching when it got chilly enough to switch to flannel sheets and the warm comforter. Sigh. Also the fact that I can no longer sit down for any length of time without suddenly acquiring a cat, a sure sign of plummeting mercury.
    I’m in southern NH and today it sleeted. This on top of yet more bloody rain. I have heard tales of a mythical yellow orb in the sky called “The Sun”…

  52. I caved on friday and put my heat on (in my defence I was ill), which is shameful as it is not that cold yet, even in the North of England….
    The shawl is lovely, and they do like snowflakes

  53. My boyfriend caved and turned the heat on on Friday. In my defense, I was asleep at the time, or surely I would’ve talked him out of it. πŸ˜‰ (In his defense, though, the temperature here dropped a good 20 – 25 degrees between Thursday and Friday. I’m sure he was just in shock.)

  54. “Also the fact that I can no longer sit down for any length of time without suddenly acquiring a cat” How True! But at least they keep your lap warm!
    We’ve still not turned on our heat yet, either. We’re going for Hallowe’en/Nov 1st. Its been ~45F during the day here in Mid-MI; wet, damp chill and windy. This Thursday is predicted to freeze overnight, so we’ll see if we really last that long! My hand are almost too cold to type, so handwarmers are my next project. The lace is beautiful!
    Stay warm!

  55. The snowflakes are gorgeous. I would love to see a YO interpretation of a squid though. I had to turn on the heat last week. The 4 year old was complaining and the cat was 5 times his normal size (the cat is from Texas though and doesn’t have a thick coat). So, I caved. By the way, knitting faster does help warm up your fingers. Just so you know. Good luck in this year’s Heater Challenge.

  56. Okay, apparently I am a wimp. I live in VA and my heat has been on for a few days. In my defense, I grew up in Georgia and I am extremely cold natured. Even in wool, my hands and feet are always cold.

  57. I see the snowflakes! And I sure hope you’ll share your pattern. ;o)
    Our heat has been on for two weeks now, and we’re in Hamilton, so I’d say we’re getting pretty much the same weather. I don’t know how you’ve held out so long!!!!

  58. My partner and I having the heating battles too. We actually turned on the heat a couple of *weeks* ago — in Vancouver!! I keep turning it off, and he keeps turning it back on. I tell him that he would be warmer if he actually put some clothes on instead of insisting on being warm in shorts and a tee shirt, but no love. He insists that being warm in one’s own house is just a given, regardless of the season and one’s clothing choices. I tend to disagree, particularly after Peter Mansbridge tells me that the average Canadian household can expect an increase of $1000 on their heating bill!Perhaps he’s planning on winning this big lottery, in which case he can turn the heat up as high as he likes. It’s odd because usually he is quite thrifty. I suppose heat makes people do the uncharacteristic.
    I wish you more strength than I apparently had when I originally acquiesced and went out to purchase a new filter for the furnace, thus rendering it turn-on-able.

  59. Buy a mini portable heater. One that can be put close to your knitting space, but not too close, lest you fall asleep during knitting and accidentally drop your gorgeous shawl (which does not look atall like a yarn over squid, I totally see the snowflakes) into the heater.
    That way you’re not actually turning on the heat. (Or is there a stipulation in your ‘no heat” contest that disallows this sort of behaviour?)

  60. Please, please don’t beat the baby. The heat that generates is fleeting, but the remorse lasts a lifetime.

  61. Yes, we do heat wars down here too. Usually it is between my husband and I. Since we have electric heat, we get the woodstove going. When it gets really cold, then the heaters get turned on. Only this year, my husband whimped out on Sunday and turned on the heat not only in the kitchen, but the bathroom too. All he had to do was put on a sweater! Men!

  62. I thought of you this weekend when we put the heat on. I remembered your epic battle of wills from last year, or the year before, and felt quite ashamed that we cravenly put on the heat in Boston before you did in Toronto. I’m glad to hear that you are at least thinking about it. It makes me feel a teeny bit less wussy.

  63. Ah, y’all are nuts.
    Thermostat set at 68F as of a month ago, and proud of it!
    (In my defense, I get cold very easily, and I get major cranky when I’m cold. So I’m really doing this for D.’s sake, not my own.)

  64. We have a slightly different “furnace game”. We see how long into the season it gets before the furnace comes on (it’s set about 55F). Our primary source of heat is the wood stove. Some winters, the furnace never goes on. So far, we’ve only had 2 fires in the stove, but snow is starting to mix with the rain here in Rochester, NY, so I’m sure there’s going to be a fire tonight! Good luck, Steph…you only have a few more days to go to get to Halloween! Gather that stash around you and you’ll make it.

  65. I love the snow flakes… they are TOTALLY getting bigger! Lucky baby! Umm, the heat war is on here too. My family against my boyfriend’s. We have 3 working woodstoves (we used to cook on one before we got the electric, and I live 5 miles from a MAJOR city-Boston) so, we are a shoe-in to win. Dad works for an oil distributer, we have a full tank, but also 3 cord of wood. πŸ™‚
    It was very nice meeting you in Acton… I sympathize with your airplane knitting… I would have given my arm for some circs and wool for my last 6 flights… if only to get xmas knitting done!
    thanks again for the autograph!
    Kate “simple adn irish”

  66. Dude, you already win. I caved this weekend and I’m in Dallas. Although, our weather went from 90s to 60s as the high in a couple of hours which leaves you no way to become acclimated. It’s chilly enough in the house that my three-year-old actually asked for another blanket and she’s of the spaceheater variety like my husband. Me, I’m either freezing or having hot flashes. Right now, I’m eating chocolate cookies in an attempt to boost my body fat so that I won’t be as cold.

  67. Oh now Rams, that was unkind. And potentially partially untrue – given that we know Harlot washes her socks on her feet, I’m sure both have a pleasant, or at least not alarming essence.
    I totally see snowflakes, though I gotta say that if Snowflake is a boy, the squid thing would be great. Honest.
    Having a boy in my home of the same vintage as Hank, our heat’s been on for a few weeks now. And I had the first firelog buring in the fireplace on Sunday. I’m with Rachel on decamping to a warmer location to steel your resolve (and increase your chance of winning), but may I suggest one that serves coffee, or other warming liquids? Having camped in Algonquin over Labour Day weekend and seen my breath each stinkin’ cold morning, the fact that Ian is willing to expose his foot to the elements like that to take a photo clearly indicates a fellow who’s made of strong stuff.

  68. I actually caved and turned on the heat briefly last night just to take the edge off. In my defense, the “feels like” temperature was 37F and my apartment has terrible insulation – you can feel the wind blowing in around the windows. I haven’t put up the plastic yet because it’s too early to be sure I won’t want to open them again if we get another warm spell.
    Plus, I’ve knit so many gifts, I only have one pair of wool socks! If I could keep my hands and feet warm, I could hold out longer.

  69. Beautiful snow flakes!!!
    Have your daughters have friends over – more body heat, more food to cook. You can make it past Hallowe’en – do not cave into your brother.
    I have no self esteem though and want to wear the alpaca socks as I knit them. I know this might be difficult though.

  70. i just read your post, looked out over the top of my laptop, rubbed my eyes, and had to look again. it’s snowing so hard here that i can’t see the mountain. yoiks. wish i had them Algonquin socks.

  71. Rachel H — I admit my statement likely to be up to two-thirds untrue. You may decide which two thirds.

  72. They definitely look like snowflakes.
    I thought of you when my roommate and I were discussing the heat game we seem to be playing with each other. We finally set the thermostat to 50F (10C) but it hasn’t quite gotten down there yet… it’s stayed at about 55F (12-13C). We’re hoping the heat from the apartment downstairs will trickle up.

  73. As I write, the sleet is hitting the windows, and we are moving into the territory of freezing. Have we turned on the heat? Yes, indeed. Call me a wimp, but all MY brothers are in Tennessee and would ALWAYS WIN.
    That shawl is clearly yet another cold-defying move on your part. After all, is IAN knitting a shawl that he can lay over his lap in the evenings? No way! And those are definitely snowflakes on that shawl, and they are obviously getting bigger. More intriguing still, I can actually SEE the pattern even though the lace has not been blocked and rescued from its “ramen noodle” state.
    That Laurie
    P.S. the wrist warmers were inspired by Norma and really do warm a person up! heat those pulsepoints!

  74. But of course those are snowflakes–squid have long tentacly legs. I built one this weekend.
    You have not heard from Colorado–our power was out for 36 hours due to 12 inches of snow a couple weeks ago. The heat has been on. But not today–thermostat is about 63F and it’s 70F outside so doors and windows open on the south side.

  75. OK, so yesterday we had a hurricane (I’m in Daytona Beach, so we had mostly 25-30 mph winds and LOTS of rain), but even then the temperature didn’t get above 64F. Whassup with that?? And the cold front that scooted Wilma across Florida so quickly took the temperature down to 48F the very same night. So this morning, when facing the inevitable pre-work shower, I turned on the heat for 30 minutes. ‘Cause anything under 50F just doesn’t mix well with water, ya know?
    Call me a wimp, but make sure you put “WARM” in front of that noun!

  76. There was a joke when i was a kid about how newfies warm their houses . . . . but I want to stay friends.
    You lot are of stronger stuff than we. It’s not even below freezing at night yet, and my New Jersey born husband already has the thermal going. Geez.

  77. We’ve already turned the heat on, and we live in MA. Are we wimps or what?
    I agree: they do look like snowflakes, and I’d love to see a squid.
    All together, Harlotettes: We want squid! We want squid! WE WANT SQUID!!

  78. Funny thing telepathy. I was wondering this morning if you’d succumbed and turned the heat on yet. I was also reading this morning about “Veni, Vidi, Steeki” and then tonight I’m catching up with you and what do I see – St Moritz. Weird.

  79. I admit that the heat is on at our house, but my parents did it, not me! (My Dad gets cold and he won’t wear wool, what can I tell you? He won’t even wear slippers on his feet, but walks around in thin, nylon socks and acrylic sweaters and then complains he’s cold . . . sigh. I’d knit him some real socks, but I know he would never, ever wear them, so why bother?) Hang in there, Steph–you can do it! If worse comes to worse, you can bring out the stash, stack it around the walls of the kitchen as extra insulation and just keep baking bread . . . the cold won’t stand a chance!

  80. Oh Stephanie the snowflakes are perfect! It is like you are watching them fall from the sky and as they get closer they get more discernable!

  81. Rams – is that sort of like a Liar’s Paradox? I do so like games. Let me think now…

  82. Since we installed a cast iron gas fireplace in the parlor I have had a very hard time not turning the heat on. I work outside, I’ll be tough in other ways.

  83. I looked close and hard and I can confirm there are snowflakes of increasing size.
    P.S. I thought I was doing good keeping my heat off until this past weekend, but man, you’re the Queen!

  84. it’s sleeting here (I’m near That Laurie) and snow is falling a short bit away; looks like I need to get my knitted objects done so I can put them to good use…(our heat came on when my roommates nudged the thermostat one afternoon when I wasn’t home yet. I grew up with the “put another sweater” on mentality and have been turning it down when they aren’t looking. This “battle” might go on all winter…) This was sent to me by a weather-watching friend:
    60-Californians put on sweaters(if they can find one in their wardrobe)
    50-Miami residents turn on the heat
    40-You can see your breath, Californians shiver uncontrollably Minnesotans go swimming.
    35-Italian cars don’t start
    32-Water freezes
    30-You plan your vacation to Australia, Minnesotans put on T-shirts, British cars don’t start
    25-Boston water freezes, Californians weep pitiably, Minnesotans eat ice cream, Canadians go swimming
    20-You can hear your breath,New York City water freezes, Miami residents plan vacation further south
    15-French cars don’t start, You plan a vacation in Mexico, Cat insists on sleeping in your bed with you
    10-Too cold to ski, You need jumper cables to get your car going
    5-You plan your vacation in Houston, American cars don’t start
    0-Alaskans put on T-shirts, too cold to skate
    -10 -German cars don’t start, Eyes freeze shut when you blink
    -15 -You can cut your breath and use it to build an igloo, Arkansas residents stick tongues to metal objects, Miami residents cease to exist
    -20 -Cat insists on sleeping in your pajamas with you, Minnesotans shovel snow off roof, Japanese cars don’t start
    -25 -Too cold to think, You need jumper cables to get driver going
    -30 -You plan a two week hot bath, The Mighty Monongajela freezes. Swedish cars don’t start
    -40 -Californians disappear, Minnesotans button top button, Canadians put on sweaters, your car helps you plan your trip south
    -50 -Congressional hot air freezes, Alaskans close the bathroom window
    -60 -Hell freezes over, Polar bears move south!!

  85. Well, being here in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, we’re heading in the other direction. Seeing how long we can go before turning the aircon or fan on (currently mid spring here and 30c days).
    I did put the fan on this morning while getting dressed to stop the sweat pouring off the face. But I have the excuse of all the windows being shut because of the massive amount of rain. If the windows had of been open, I woundn’t of needed it.

  86. Being from Australia, it took me a while to figure out the difference between a furnace and a fireplace. Australia never heard of central heating until about 10 years ago and it’s a rarity to find a house with it. Some Canadian friends spent a winter in Canberra, capital of Oz, and said they’d never been so cold in their lives with tempartures regularly below freezing and v. little to combat it. When I was a kid, the youngest of 5, my bullying elder siblings made it my job to heat up the toilet seat by using it first of a morning. Not sure why I haven’t the freeze burn buttock scars to this day… . Australia isn’t all sun!
    Not that I don’t admire the snowflakes, they’re cool (no pun intended), but there’s nothing wrong with Christmas Squid. One Christmas, an origami-expert friend o’ mine and I made origami animals to decorate my first Christmas Tree and we had a giant Squid instead of a star at the top of the tree. Just imagining knitting one…

  87. uh, I think “beat the baby” wasn’t meant as in “pound soundly to cause pain” but rather “win the race to give birth to a shawl before the baby gets born”, therefore it’s not offensive. Unless I’m not getting some kind of crazy “Canadian” reference. Quite possible.

  88. Ok, all you folks where it is snowing – what is this with “heater games”? I live in South Georgia and we are weather weenies. We turn the heat on when we need to and the low tonight will be about 37. Last night it was 39. We don’t think twice if we need the heat on. (Of course we may have to rethink that this year)
    However, I am one to turn the hot water heater off which drives the folks in my house crazy.
    Of course we have also been known to turn on the a/c during every month of the year!

  89. We turned on our heat first week of October-either it’s colder in Montreal, or we have a much lower tolerance for freezing weather. I love the way your shawl is turning out, and I only just got yarn to make the Snowdrop shawl! I guess i’d better hurry too then…thought laceweight merino is a pretty good motivator (mmm…laceweight merino…)

  90. adore the shawl, but I am with Caren, heat what heat, our landlord does not turn it on before 11/15 so it will be chilly for awhile yet, and they are saying the s word around here for late tonight!!! thank god for menopausal symptoms, I make my own heat!

  91. For God’s sake, turn on the heat! I gave up knitting for SIX YEARS cuz I wouldn’t tun on the AC (or only cooled to 80 degrees) and the yarn would stick to my slick sweaty fingers! It took finally meeting another obsessed knitter here in AUSTIN, TEXAS making a casual comment: “Oh, I just turn down the AC, and I can just knit away!” DOH! What does hardiness and toughness and cheapness (mine) have to do with the price of knitting? It’s beyond rubies, SO TURN ON THE HEAT :>)

  92. Honey, you’re falling asleep because it’s one of the signs of HYPOTHERMIA!!
    Silly rabbit!
    I always knew you Canadians were CRAZY!!!!! HA!
    My friends in Guelph head south (to Mississippi) every March to thaw out a while….Sue

  93. HAHAHA I’m a wuss. Here in San Francisco I’ve had my heat on all year. Most of the time it’s set to about uhm, I think it would be 25 C (70F).
    And I just have to say that Kristen has it wrong: Californians look for sweaters at 70, not 60. ~_^
    (My thermostat says 70 — and the heater is turned lower than that — and I’m wearing fuzzy feet, a sweater coat, and have a flannel blankie covering my lower half. Being this cold sucks.)

  94. Isn’t there a way to go to a coffee shop? That way, you could knit while the kids are at school or something, and be warm and productive, while still winning the heat war.

  95. We’re going to try to keep the central heat off all winter, to beat those gas bills. Wish us luck, we’re in northwest Wyoming. We got a space heater to heat whichever room we’re in, except the bedroom… there, we have an electric mattress pad and a down comforter. Turn the mattress pad on a bit before you go to bed, and when you get in, turn it off altogether. Toast-a-rama all night!

  96. The shawl is wonderful! Hang in there, YOU CAN beat your brother at this! (This from someone who is the eldest, but much younger looking, than most if not all of her siblings–especially a 5 yr. younger sister who cringes every time someone asks if we are twins and guesses her as the older one when we tell them that we are not, and living in San Antonio, Texas.) I will NOT tell you how “cold” it is here. After spending 7 years in upstate NY, I do know what cold is, albeit not as cold as Canada. Rochester, NY would give you a good race though, I’ll bet! The “lowest” so far is 44 degrees Fahrenheit and I have seen students at school in parkas (yes, down parkas), they have no body heat, none, of that I am convinced! Me, I am a (very) hot blooded female–or could that be hot flashes? πŸ™‚ Again, a pep talk from me, you CAN beat your brother. That is what loving sisters are for, aren’t they? (I have 3 brothers!)

  97. After hitting thr ripe old age of 50, I no longer had any shame. The heat goes on when the fingers are too cold and stiff to use the computer or to knit. I suffered too much as a child in Wisconsin with unheated bedrooms, uninsulated plastic boots and acrylic mittens!!! Bring on the benefits of civilized living–central heating!!! The shawl/blanket is lovely in the extreme, but the baby will also need the heat on!!

    Steph…listen to me. I’ve played this game, and lasted til mid January while living slightly north of Peterborough.
    Take a HOT bath. Now…let the water sit. When the bath is cold cold cold, drain it. Have child number 1 take a HOT bath. Repeat until all family members are pruny. Have bathed folks go straight from baths to blankets so as to avoid shivery-ness. Blow dry hair of any who do not have insta-afros. (I, regrettably, have an insta-afro. One look at a blowdryer, and I look like Dairy Queen’s next big treat).
    The heat from the water goes into the house. Also, when done with the oven, open the door. Otherwise, all that lovely warmth goes up out the oven vent.
    One further question: Do family bonding activities such as marshmallow roasting count as heat? If not, you might want to get a wood stove. It’s a …cooking utensil? A Mr. Washie Indoor Companion? A family bondage device(erm…you understand).
    Finger-numbly yours (hang in there!)

  99. Stephanie — I’m holding out for Halloween too, and in the meantime, we are taking hot baths, eating soup, baking cookies, and yesterday I was proud to be wearing (ta-da) hand knit socks (chunky ones at that), felted slippers, my (new) wool Wallaby, a handknit scarf and hat (hat and socks stayed on all night, along with one of those seed things you warm up in the microwave). I totally relate to the hibernating sleep thing… the only real cure for that seems to be doing dishes or cleaning the house at a frenzied pace. Meantime, I just ripped out my sister-in-laws scarf, to try another pattern – ugh. Forget Christmas – how many days til spring???

  100. Are you guys KIDDING? I’m a California girl who has somehow found herself in Central Pennsylvania (where this white stuff fell from the sky all day today). I thought I was being real tough setting the thermostat to 69F, instead of 70. Now I have to feel cold AND ashamed? Sheesh.
    Also: Stephanie, this is my first comment, but I have huge quantities of admiration for you and your writing. Thank you for all of the times you’ve brightened my day.

  101. One great thing about Vancouver…you don’t need heat until January. πŸ™‚
    Beautiful shawl, by the way.

  102. Yay! The heat wars begin again! I LOVED reading about them this time last year.
    And YES, the snowflakes do look like they are getting bigger. Don’t worry.

  103. The snowflakes are clearly visible, as snowflakes. And it’s fabulous.
    I don’t have anybody to play the heat game with, my sister lives in Texas, I live in Washington. I know an unfair advantage when I see one. However, I stick my thermostat firmly at 69 degees. The heater comes on when the house goes below that. Around here, it can be cold enough in September to have the heater kick in, then October rolls around and you will have a week of weather in the 70s and sleep with your windows open. “Keep ’em guessing” the unofficial motto for meteorologists in Washington State. Just keep thinking about how hot you were this summer, Stephanie, that should keep you going for a while longer.

  104. Yikes! I’ve had my heat on since Labor Day and I live 8 hours south of you. I think you’ll win. You have more wool insulation than the rest. Good luck. Maybe you’ll knit one of those nose warmers from’s first or second issue when it gets so cold your nose is freezing.

  105. It was 37 degrees F(as in friggin’ or Fahrenheit) where we live in north Florida when I got up this morning, so I turned the heat on FULL before we went to bed last night! We simply couldn’t survive in Canada, hey?

  106. It’s 42οΏ½F here and I haven’t turned on the heat – although I am seriously considering it – we do have a 3 year old and if I put another sweater on her she will lose the use of her arms…

  107. i hate to be so ditto-ish, but the shawl is lovely, the snowflakes are definitely increasing in size, and i’m cold.
    beautiful work and writing, as always!

  108. I’ll be thinking warm thoughts in your direction. Any excuse for bread baking is a good one imho!
    And now to completely diverge from the topic at hand, I just want to say thanks for the lightbulb moment at the Willowbooks signing. You’re attempts to uncurl my recalcitrant DNA scarf resulted in my realization that I now know how to wet-block and it’s time to revisit that scarf with my new knowledge. Here it is with cable actually visible happily drying on the college-boy’s empty bed:

  109. oh my god! you are HARD CORE! this is the coldest october in my recent memory … maybe you have some ‘heat island effect’ being in toronto but i am ashamed to say we have had the heat on for QUITE some time! you should be very proud!!
    on another note, i did a double-take when i read “beat the baby” in the last paragraph … a little harsh don’t you think … oh ‘beat’ the baby, right, the race

  110. Jealous once again…we’ve finally hit low 50s this week in the mornings, almost time to pull out the shawl, but not the long sleeves because by lunchtime, it’s 75 in the shade. The White Buffalo poncho I’m making for my pal in Salem, Mass., on the other hand, will get done none too soon, it appears.

  111. We must be related somewhere along the line because my brother and I would be engaged in the same battle were it not for the fact that we both have young kids that can’t be subjected to our fun and games. That said, I did beat him – he turned on the heat Sunday, I held out until Monday.

  112. Aah… the heat game. I’m in the midst of that right now. In fact, as I type this, I’m huddled on the living room floor, with an electric space heater mildly warming my torso, while my fingers are frozen.
    We’ve used the wood stove a few times, but it’s still a novelty, and the huge pile of wood in the backyard looks untouched. And I’ve turned on the oil heat a couple of times, but only because we’re still working off of last year’s leftover oil. Once we get our delivery, and are working off of this year’s oil, at eleventy-billion dollars a gallon, I may not want to turn it on at all.
    I swear I’m knitting for warmth, and to keep my fingers from freezing in place, as anything else.

  113. For warmth that will keep you awake and your fingers nimble, heat a rice bag. 1 lb of rice in a cotton fabric, heated for 2 minutes will keep you warm for up to an hour, if strategically placed. Love the rice bags. Much cheaper than versions available in stores. We still haven’t turned our heat on either and we are just two, now.

  114. Your baby shawl is wonderful, I love the snowflakes! I agree with heather, I also live in Arizona and your always welcome here. We have the reverse race, it’s still 83 here today and we are trying desperately to keep the air conditioner off!! And yes mealine ther is such a thing as a sun!! We see it 300 days a year. It must be nice to have real weather.

  115. Would it be cheating to take the shawl to your sister’s for knitting time? Of course, Hank might be as much of a hindrance there as the cold would be at your place, so it’s probably 6 of one, half-dozen of the other…

  116. I just read your blog for the first time after having finished your fun little book. Thank you for hours of entertainment.
    What is MSF? I would be interested in the knitters without borders thing also.
    Thanks from a new knitter…Kathy B

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