Snow Day Survival Guide for Knitters
Call me crazy, but I love the snow—which is great when you consider where I live. My hometown of Rochester, New York, is one of America’s 20 Snowiest Major Cities according to The Weather Channel. We rank #3 on the list, averaging more than 100 inches of snow a year. That’s a lot of snow!
In yarn terms, that’s about 10 average-sized twisted hanks of yarn lined up end to end, or 25 4″ x 4″ swatches laid out in a row. Granted, the snow doesn’t all fall at once (usually), but it’s not uncommon to wake up to a fresh foot of powder and news that school is cancelled.
Snow days can be such a blast—in both terms of air and fun! But when they’re too cold, we have to pass the time indoors until the kids can get back outside and play. Sure, you could watch movies, drink hot cocoa, and knit away the hours, but what to do when 10–12 hours is just too much knitting time? How else can you have a little fun when you’re going stir crazy?
I’ve got some ideas.
Your Snow Day Survival Guide
When I was young, I loved building blanket forts. Remember having to balance the blanket just so, or piling a stack of books on one corner so it wouldn’t slip off the chair holding it up? Now that I’m an adult knitter, I’ve got an alternative to heavy blankets. The next snow day in my house, we’re going to build a shawl fort. I can’t wait to sit under my shawls and admire all the different colors and stitch patterns from an entirely different angle. Once we dismantle the shawl fort, I can also reblock some of the more well-loved shawls—a fresh blocking can bring new life to a tired knit. Don’t have enough blocking mats to do all your shawls at once? We have tips for what to do when you don’t have a blocking board.
Yarn Ball Fight
I have a jar of small skeins left over from finished knits sitting idly in the corner of my living room. I was thinking the other day, getting hit with a yarn ball would be so much nicer than getting hit with an icy cold snowball. For some serious fun, grab a leftover yarn ball and chuck it at a family member or housemate. (Wear some mittens when you do.) I suggest avoiding hand-wound balls, as they’re denser and can hurt; stick to those wound on a ball winder. Or, better yet, you could turn all those scrap yarn balls into pom-poms. Pom-poms can substitute for snowballs, too, and then they’ll be ready and waiting when you’re working on your next knit hat.
Scavenger Hunt and Pick-Up Sticks with DPNs
If you’re anything like me, you’re not great about keeping your DPNs well organized. I’m always misplacing my needles in various spots around the house (or rather, in random places I tend to be located when finishing projects). There are DPNs in the bottom of knitting bag, on my nightstand, in my office desk drawer, and the drawers of my card catalog. So for this survival tip, go around the house and gather every DPN you can find. Haphazardly drop them on the dining room table as you collect them. Once you’ve got them all, start pulling them from the pile one by one without moving the other needles. As you go, pop your needles into a needle case and by the end of the game, you’ll be properly organized. If you find you’re missing any particular size, we’ve got plenty to choose from here.
Take Some Snowy Selfies
A day with nothing to do can be the perfect time to catch up on your FO photos to update your Ravelry pages. Often I’m so excited to start a new project, I forget to photograph the one just finished. I have several Ravelry project pages for completed projects that lack any FO photos. Snow days offer a chance to finally get some showoff pics. Take a shower, do your hair and makeup, and style some fun outfits. Grab a camera with a timer and snap away. You can even download a camera timer app to your cell phone to take selfies!
This next survival tip might be my favorite; I do this kind of thing any chance I get, not just snow days. I love organizing things by color. Have you ever organized your yarn stash by color? Take it a step further by then putting the skeins in rainbow order. It’s what I like to call a “stash-bow”. Yes, stash + rainbow = stash-bow. Creating beautiful, inspiring color collections can do a few things: remind you of skeins you might have forgotten, reveal certain color shortfalls in your stash that need filling, and give you the opportunity to destash skeins you no longer love. The stash-bow I keep on the shelf next to my desk shows me I’m quite fond of darker colors and I don’t have nearly enough red, orange, or yellow yarns.
Become the Abominable Knit Monster
Have you every tried putting on all your knitwear at once? It’s so much fun, I guarantee you’ll laugh yourself silly trying it. Once, here in the Interweave offices, we took on this challenge. If memory serves, one of my coworkers was able to wear over 40 pieces of knitwear. With that many layers, you don’t need a coat to venture outside to get the mail on a snow day! Your neighbors might think you’ve lost your mind, but who cares? I’m sure you’re having a way better time than they are and when you’re back inside, toasty and warm, you can take stock of your projects. Did you find you have 15 cardigans and only 6 pullovers to put on? Sounds like it’s time to find a new pullover pattern.
If you already knit every chance you get, take a snow day to break your routine and do the unexpected. At the end of the snow day, you’ll have organized your stash and needles, blocked a few projects, picked out new ones for your queue, and had some laughs doing it. Plus, you’ve still got time to wind down with your stitching.
Editorial Director, Books