Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter-warming color

When I first came to the United States, I hated the cold. I lived for the 3-4 weeks in the summer when it was hot and humid. I loved the crispness of the fall but it presaged the cold, dark winter so I didn't welcome it. Over the decades, my body has changed 180 degrees. I like the cold and dislike the heat. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons but given the choice between summer and winter, I prefer winter. Very strange, I know, but that is the way it is.

The only problem with the winter is the lack of color. I love crisp white snow but most of the time, it doesn't last. The trees are bare and brown, the grass is brown, the only color comes from the sky, the houses and the evergreen trees. All in all, it is rather dull and not very inspiring. At such times, I love color in my clothes, in my knitting and even in my food. A salad with carrots, tomatoes, multi-colored peppers and celery is like sunshine on a grey day.

Unfortunately, I am currently knitting a white garment so my color needs are being met by books and by yarn in my stash right now. I am sharing some recent acquisitions with you to bring that color to you to warm your heart and your eyes.

I missed Magnificent Mittens when it was first published because I wasn't into mittens then. Therefore, I was very thrilled to see it republished with some new patterns. It has gorgeous designs in it. Anna Zilboorg is a wonderful knitter and designer. I had the privilege of sitting next to her at a Stitches East many moons ago and was impressed by her, even though I didn't know who she was at the time. She is a lovely, warm and articulate person. I jumped at the chance to aquire the new paperback version.
Keeping with the theme of this post, here are some of the colorful designs in it. The designs can be adapted for socks and hats as well as mittens but the stranded work makes warm and windproof mittens.Another book that I ignored when it was first published is Handknit Holidays. In general, I don't buy pattern books unless they have some significant technique sections in them. Handknit Holidays has a wide variety of unusual patterns but nothing that attracted me at the time. However, times change...
A friend of mine made the Swedish Heartwarmer Shawl from Handknit Holidays and I fell in love. It is colorful and has incredible depth of color due to the handpainted yarns used in it.
It starts off plain and then switches to a stranded set of borders. Again, the stranded colorwork adds warmth and heft to the shawl. The images are also inspiring in the winter - suns, roses, wavy vines and stars.
Once I got the book, I started looking around for sales on the yarn. I was fortunate in finding a couple that had the colors used in the shawl. For a change, I am going to make this exactly as written so I am kitting it up!
The yarn is sock weight yarn from Mountain Colors. It is called Bearfoot and is a combination of superwash wool and mohair. For a shawl, this is durable and warm. I am starting to become a fan of sock yarn for shawls because of the nylon content. I am a klutz and I have holes in two lace shawls already. So durability and strength in the yarn is a good thing.I end this with a close-up of the colors to warm you up. If you are in a warm place and don't need any warming-up, use it to warm your heart and mind, if not your body!


Colleen said...

I love magnificent mittens! I have made two pairs, and sprang for the new book for the sock instructions.

When you line the mittens with angora (or even mohair), they are WARM! I have to take them off fairly quickly, as the car starts to heat up, because my hands get hot! Now, given how cold I always am, that is saying something!

Preeti said...

I am just like you I love the cold and knitting makes even the frigid outdoors seem so warm. I like the selection of knit reading you've got going especially the mittens book.