It has been especially cold the past weekend. The infotainment industry has dubbed it the “polar vortex” because when the rest of the country is dealing with the kind of temperatures Minnesota gets as a matter of routine (to say nothing of Canada’s), it’s apparently the kind of crisis that warrants a graphic and a suffering reporter.

I don’t mind the cold so much. This hasn’t always been the case, even though I am technically Yankee (and northern European) stock, and even though I’ve been knitting a few years now. No, I really didn’t start with the attitude “the colder the better” until I started walking to work, which is something I’ve only been doing since October.

I love my commute. I love it a little less now that it’s dark, and instead of a nice, paved path through the park, I have to walk in the grass next to a busy 6-lane highway. (I mean, I don’t have to do this, but I know sometimes there are shady dealings after dark in parks, even in nice neighborhoods, so why tempt fate?) But I put on some layers of knitwear, pick a podcast, and it’s really fairly enjoyable, as well as being a nice little 25-minute bit of exercise.

What I don’t love is freezing inside my own house. I’ve been wearing two layers pretty much all weekend: pants, shirts, socks, plus a sweater and a big chunky cowl and a blanket on my lap. My hands were still cold, though, as I’m pretty much unable to knit with a blanket over my hands, and then I had the same brilliant idea I have pretty much every night at work when my hands are freezing: “why don’t I make some fingerless gloves?”

I don’t really like fingerless gloves. I mean, I’ve made gloves as well as toe socks, so I understand the aversion to making five (well, ten, really) separate tiny tubes. Plus, I too understand the cold office conundrum, where you need something to keep your hands warm but still be able to use them. So I did try to make a pair, about a year ago, but I lost interest literally halfway through: as soon as I bound off the first one, I threw it in a corner and used the rest of the yarn for other things.

I guess I just wasn’t using the right pattern or something. I cast on for a pair of Susie’s Reading Mitts with the delicious Cascade Cloud 9, and with a pair of size 8 needles, I had them done after a few hours of knitting. I’m still getting the hang of typing and knitting in them, but as far as softness and warmth goes, they are absolutely glorious.

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In terms of yarn, I had a very fruitful Christmas. I told my husband that if anyone asked what to get me, I wanted Webs gift cards. I’ve actually grown far more fond of Paradise Fibers lately, but yarn.com is far easier to remember. However, aside from an A.C. Moore gift card, I didn’t really get much in the way of crafty stuff. Mostly what I got was cash, which was perfectly fine with me, because it gave me the opportunity to check out a new (to me) yarn shop. I actually paid full price for some yarn (String Theory Caper Sock), which only really happens when I have money to burn indiscriminately, although I did get some Lamb’s Pride Worsted on sale. I was about to leave when I saw these:

IMAG0980-1They are pretty much the perfect pair of scissors, especially if you have a Folca box (as I do). The Folca is the perfect notions case, except for the fact that it’s hard to find an appropriate pair of scissors. I’ve gone through three pairs of them so far, including a pair of fold-ups that was so difficult to wrangle with that I rarely bothered with them. The center compartment is both the largest and the most shallow, so it’s not easy finding items that will fit in it, and the two previous pairs of tiny needlework scissors were too wide at the handles, which was why I bought the dastardly fold-ups in the first place.

It’s not often that I make a checkout-counter impulse purchase (especially a $10 one), but I think these are well worth it, both for their usefulness and for being the final piece of the knitting-supplies puzzle.

I also finally got myself a skein of Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock. I have had my eye on it for a while now, although I couldn’t really articulate exactly why. I know the dye is supposed to be deep and lovely (and the one I got definitely is) as well as hard-wearing. But I tend to get these fixations, where I have to have Yarn X, and I won’t stop drooling over it in stashes until I have it, and once I do, I probably won’t use it. (See also Skinny Bugga and Mountain Colors, although to be fair, I think the problem is just that I can buy much faster than I can knit, and I’m easily distracted.) However, I think I will crack into this one fairly soon, since I also bought a Sweet Georgia pattern to go with it. (Yeah, like I need more of those too.) This makes the second time in a month (maybe in my entire knitting career) that I’ve used a pattern’s suggested yarn, although I really only bought the pattern because I loved the name and the song’s been stuck in my head pretty much since I saw it. I’d like to cast it on for the SKA January challenge, so it’ll probably get used before the end of the month.

Finally, on the last day of Christmas, my Regia came to me. I ordered two balls of Extra Twist Merino back on December 12. This was not one of those “see it/hear about it = must have it” things. I actually saw a coworker making socks out of it, and it was love at first fondle. However, it seems to be discontinued, but only in the US. It’s still orderable on many European websites, however, that means you have to pay European shipping. The order went out the day I placed it, with a 7-10 business day delivery time (and a directive to contact customer service if not received by 14 business days). Business days are few and far between in December, though, plus everyone in the first world is sending things to people, so I figured it would be a while before I saw it.

Still, it’s hard to be patient when it comes to yarn, and on day 15, I finally decided to be a bit of a squeaky wheel and sent an email before I went to bed this morning. And wouldn’t you know it, guess what was waiting in my mailbox when I got up? And the USPS party isn’t over yet: I ordered a proper drop spindle too, with the few bucks of allowance, some Paradise Points, and a free shipping promo on their site. Not that I dislike the one I made, but I need something with a little more weight to it.

So I’m fairly sated for the moment, in terms of fiber. At least until I decide I desperately need to spin my own sock yarn.

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