Woolly Days

As much as the winter and I are not soul mates, I have to admit that it has its charms. As a fellow Canadian and I agreed on a plane the other day, winging our way back to the frozen north, away from the charms of a warm place, at the very least, freezing your arse off does feel rather patriotic, whether you can feel your arse or not. (I have not yet technically frozen my arse, although the other day I did notice that I couldn’t quite feel my thighs, which is a little alarming, when you think of it. Those are big body parts.)  There’s other bits too – it can be pretty, when the sky is blue and everything all sparkling, and I can freely admit that there’s no better time and place to be a knitter.  All of our goods are pressed into service, and inquiries are made regularly about the availability of mittens and hats, cowls and scarves.

spectral4 2015-01-16

I’ve been wearing all of them, and none so much the last week as my finished Spectral.  I knit it on the little trip that Joe and I took, and it was the perfect company. Simple enough to work on while I chatted and visited, but still interesting, thanks to the colour changes.

spectral2 2015-01-16

I knit this one (it’s the second I’ve made)  out of Wonderland Yarns in “Mad Hatter” and changed the pattern ever so slightly.  This yarn is a little heavier than what the pattern called for, and had a little less yardage, so I cast on a few less (after a cleverly executed swatch told me what number) and I didn’t divide the yarns as the pattern suggested. It ended up a little narrower than the original, but the same length, which pleased me to no end.

The original has you split up the colours of your gradient, so that it goes dark to light and back again, but I decided just to cast on with one, and move my way through them, light to dark.   I love the result. It’s long enough to go round my neck twice with a double twist in front, and it matches both my coats, and most of my clothes.  I’ve had it on non-stop since I finished.

spectral3 2015-01-16

It’s soft, warm and cozy, and almost makes up for the fact that yesterday Sam stole my best hat, and I haven’t seen it since. The Miss had the audacity to steal it, then text me a picture of her wearing it – which normally would have annoyed me, but now, in the depths of winter? I’m just glad she’s into my knitting.  I’ll make another – and see if I can swap her for it.

(PS. Should I be a little worried that you can’t tell the difference between my hair and the fur on my parka in these shots? I hope it doesn’t mean anything.)


87 thoughts on “Woolly Days

  1. Totally lovely cowl – the greens are right up my alley, and you look very warm! I also want to drop in a shoutout to the less freezing cold Canadians who are still Canadians. That’s right, Vancouver Island/the left coast. It’s NOT freezing here! It rarely is; but we’re still hella Canadian 🙂

  2. I did notice that in the first pic, but not to worry. The scarf is lovely. As for the hat. If she’s wearing a wool hat, you’ve trained her well. Cozy up and keep knitting.

  3. So it’s settled! You look best in colorful items contrasted with dark. I did wonder about the fullness in your hair, and was going to ask if you would be willing to divulge that hair product.

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  5. Thanks for the laugh-out-loud. I’m in San Diego, so the woolies aren’t as welcome here except by those of us who spin and knit. I know, we’re totally bizarro for doing this here when it’s over 70F outside and people are wandering down the sidewalk in shorts. But then I’ve never been accused of being “normal,” whatever THAT is.

  6. when I saw the first picture, I thought it was your hair and thought “No humidity” and had to go back and look again after reading the post. I love the scarf though, you did a bang up job. Just ’cause we aren’t frozen doesn’t mean we don’t like wooly things here in the (way) south. We just don’t need the big things like sweaters. Scarves, cowls, hats and (fingerless) mits fit our needs just fine, thank you very much. If you ever tire of that scarf though… give me a shout, I am sure I can find SOMETHING to swap… 🙂

  7. I get jealous when I see beautiful cowls like this because we don’t need them in South Louisiana but I’m dieing to make myself one.

    • I know it gets cold enough in Baton Rouge for at least several days each winter to wear a cowl, especially if it’s made from fingering yarn. My daughter had me knit her a longish scarf from sock yarn when she was living there.

  8. My monitor setup is such that hair/fur is just a darkness that does not matter! No wonder my wool internet buys are so disappointing and unexpected.

    I am just pleased she thought forward (I was going to say ahead, but the pun is too awful) and took a hat with her to ward off the (to me) extreme cold – I have understood over the years of YarnHarolot blog-reading that a Toronto winter can offer a little experience in the matter. You mean children really do grow up and start making better decisions… I’m looking foward to it.

    Delicious cowl, I would have done the same thing with the gradients. How big was the swatch? (I would have made the cowl the swatch, or about half if I was really having qualms. Lovely texutre, lovely colours.

    My children excitedly went to see Fun for Louis at Auckland, NZ airport last night (said hello, and have been filmed for the video). In preparation for the trip they told me, ‘you wouldn’t understand Mum, … but it would be like the Yarn Harlot was at Auckland airport… I think after all these years they are beginning to get it.

  9. I would love to know how many stitches you casted on! (and your guage too I guess 😉 I have the same yarn in the blue colorway and thought of trying to use this pattern too!!

    • I would also love to know how many stitches you cast on as I just purchased the purple colorway of this yarn on Saturday and was wondering what to knit with it. This is perfect!!!

  10. Didn’t notice the hair thing (not until you mentioned it), only your smiling face (until y, so that’s good, right? Beautiful cowl, but I confess that in our Ontario January I need something that cuddles right up over my chin and under my ears, with mouth and nose coverage as an option. Wondering if that would work with this cowl…

  11. You can totally tell the difference–though you might have to be cold-experienced to realize the need to check! It’s the same skill set that allows us to accurately recognize one another, even at a distance, when 98.4% of our skin is entirely covered with insulating garments…even had a friend get a new jacket mid-winter? Disorienting!! =)

  12. I have to admit that at first I thought “wow, she’s got big hair today” and then “oh that just the hood fur.” Never mind, your hair doesn’t look bad even if its big.

  13. It’s a lovely cowl. I looked up the pattern on Ravelry (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery) and found that several people had commented that the edge rolls rather than lieing flat. How did you prevent that from happening with yours?

    • Yes, I made the spectrum cowl, and yes the edges did roll, even after blocking. I love the pattern though, so I thought I would knit it again, but this time make the edges garter stitch instead of seed, and also cast on less, it seemed that the length dragged it down a bit.

  14. I found your blog a month or so ago, and I went back and started at the beginning. Living in Sydney (Australia, not Canada) there is just not that much use for warm woolly stuff. But my daughter has just left for a year in England, so when I found the thrummed mittens – I had an excuse to whip up a pair. Yay.
    Loving the blog (and we have the same birthday!)

  15. After the last post, I’m curious if your mom showed up at the airport to give you a lift home. Love the cowl. Excellent knitting.

    • I am not speaking for the Yarn Harlot. But there is a Canadian manufacturer of parkas which uses sustainably-farmed coyote fur as parka hood trim. The fur has some qualities that make it ideal for trimming hoods. Look for the Canada Goose label, and beware there are counterfeits out there. If you are shopping in Canada, or by mail, MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-Op) is the place to go.

      • “Sustainably farmed coyote fur” — made DH and me laugh so hard I cried…sorry! They’re not well respected animals around here.

    • I had the same problem with the parka “fur”and my hair until my hair turned gray/white and then you could see where one ended and the other started.

  16. If anything, I think it means the fur-hooded coat manufacturers have good taste. (coming from someone whose hair is flatter than a pancake is all weathers)

  17. Great cowl and yes, all my knitted stuff is out also and being used. My son even asked me to make him a hat and he wears it to bed, to work, to ….everywhere. It has not snowed in CT much and I do hope it stays that way.

    Miss should knit her own hats. One day, she may marry and have kids and they will steal her hats from her. It will become a family tradition!

  18. People are banging at the bathroom door asking why I am laughing so hard.
    When I read “fur” I had to go back and look for it. “Fur? There was fur? Oh yeah look, she has a hood on!”

    Thanks for making me smile or laugh or cry every time I read one of your posts.

  19. Your hair looks much better than the fur, so there was no confusion on my part.
    You need some green mittens to wear with your lovely cowl.

  20. Thanks for mentioning the hood fur – all I could think of was *wow* – her hair really is out of control today! (Since you often complain about your hair.) I didn’t see the hood until you made your comment. Let’s hope that shows I’m just more interested in the knitting. 🙂

  21. Love the green, it reminds of grass and new leaves on trees, which are now covered by several inches of snow and frost. Oh well, I switched needles on the sock I’m currently knitting and I am amzed at the difference it has made. Stay warm and happy knitting!

  22. I was trying to think of a really nice way to suggest a trim when I realized it was your coat. Love the cowl, great colors!

  23. hmm, i had to go back and look for the fur. he he. You look just beautiful in those cool glasses and the green cowl (and the coat).

  24. I love it! I’m knitting the “honey cowl” in Madelinetosh “thyme” – which is green and I’m looking forward to having something similar to your project soon! Love the idea of a long cowl – it’s like a hat and scarf all rolled into one!

    Love your cowl!

  25. It looks wonderful on you! This one little blog post helped solve my what-to-knit-next problem. I’m casting on immediately, after I call my LYS to make sure they have a second ball of the Done Rovings Frolilcking Feet Transitions I bought the other day. Beautiful fall colors. Thanks Stephanie!

  26. “The fur on my parka” – now there’s a Canadian phrase for you, LOL! Goes along with, “Drat, the snow shovel got buried again.” (texted from near North Bay, Ontario where all is clean and white, or as the song goes, “deep and crisp and even.”

  27. Sorry – posted it twice! First it told me I hadn’t passed the human verification test, which is always a bit of a worry…

  28. Hint for not freezing your arse off:
    This winter I had an inspiration and channelled my 5-year-old self.
    Pyjamas under the jeans.
    I am now amazingly warm and comfy when I go out. (Yes, long johns would work as well, but I have a dozen pj pants and no long johns)

    • Long johns are my friends. I work in a cement block building on a concrete slab, and I don’t think there’s any insulation. PJs under jeans are an excellent idea.

      • Look for microfiber tights-they are waaay stretchy fitting up to 2x tushies. They have a fleecelike lining and keep you warm without going up a pantsize like most long johns and-bonus-they don’t overheat you indoors. I just cut the foot off if I can’t find the leggings. I’ve worn them at -53F.

        • I bought snow pants after moving to Saskatchewan. Haven’t had them since I was 7. But I’m nice and warm and can even walk to work.

  29. Hmmmm …. have to admit I find it difficult to tell where the fur ends and the hair begins, but it all looks lovely anyway, especially with the beautiful cowl (did you know that the Ravelry page for it proudly bears the headline ‘As seen on the Yarn Harlot’s blog!’?? There’s glory for you …). I feel a bit tactless writing that we had about an hour of snow this morning in London — but it didn’t stick, all gone in an hour or so and bright sunshine …. sorry! It was cold enough to wear my handknitted gloves though.

  30. Sigh … it’s 78 degrees (F) here in So Cal today! No wool for me, that’s for sure! But, I really love the single color transition. Like it better than I think the dark to light to dark would have been. Thanks for sharing!

  31. I agree. My first thought was how great Stephanie looks in the photos. Noticing the cowl was secondary, although it is certainly lovely. In our family we’d call those pics “framers.”

  32. Arctic fashion dictates one’s furlike ruff should be similar to one’s hair color to give the illusion of a full voluminous head of hair-as one’s actual head of hair is smooshed beneath a warm woolie.
    You trendsetter, you!

  33. You just picked a hood to match your hair!

    I used to have those conversations on planes when I lived in the Wyoming Rockies. You could always tell which gate was ours when we were at the airport: everybody else was in moderate, fashionable winter clothing, and our peeps were swathed in Carhartt coats, hoods with fur, cowboy hats, and plenty of knits.

  34. We’re both children of the 80s, I think. I still have to remind myself that large hair is indeed Large Hair and not simply hair.

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  36. You look fantastic (whether your hair is blended with fur or not)!

    I also love that cowl, particularly with how the gradient worked out on it!

    I hate when you can’t feel your thighs – I had a walk the other day where I got home and my thighs were BRIGHT red from being so cold!

    Katie =^..^=

  37. I have lots of KnitPicks Palette in enough colors that I could do this in at least both blues and purples. I was wondering what my next carry-around project was going to be!

  38. In college I used to get given rabbit ear muffs every Christmas. They totally matched my hair and it was funny to see people looking at me and my Princess Leia look at the bus stop. Your hair/parka totally reminded me of those ear muffs, in the best of ways.

  39. I love the cowl! I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy some gradient yarn from Callmesally on etsy and I think this is the pattern to push me over the edge. Thanks for sharing!

    …and I will confess that at first I thought you were having a big hair day or something.

  40. I finished my Spectral too and after washing and blocking it, wore it once and the edges started to curl again. Did this happen to you or do I just need to block the heck out of it *again*.

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