Winter: At the edge of comfort

Hudson Wrap

I believe that there are three camps when it comes to winter. One is the folks who hate it, are freezing for three months, and want to eventually move to a year-round warm climate. Then there are those who like winter, who think falling snow is beautiful, who like to bundle up and take walks with the dog through a snowy part. And finally, we have winter-lovers; the hard-core snow sports enthusiasts, the daredevil drivers on ice, the snowball-thrower kids. (Most kids are winter-lovers, right?) There may be some cross-over, but I think I nailed it.

Caterpillar Infinity Cowl
Quadrille Pullover

I am a member of the second camp. I love to get out my winter wear, I get joy out of snow, and I generally like the winter season from start to finish. Except for the ice storms. I'd like to meet the person who likes those! Or maybe not.

Interweave Knits editor Lisa Shroyer is perhaps a member of the first camp, slowly dipping her foot into the second camp. Here's her winter story, and her introduction to Interweave Knits Winter.

As a southerner, I find winter a time of discomfort. Even here in the temperate southeast, the season can be tough—the short days, the gloomy skies, and the occasional snow and ice that really debilitate our infrastructure. As a distance hiker, my Saturdays in winter are wet, cold, and, more often than not, end with hot baths. But there, in the woods, on wet rock and through slush and puddle, when no one else is on the trail, I find a real beauty, an austere serenity that I actually love. I feel tough, independent, and proud of myself out there. At the edge of comfort comes discovery.

That motto correlates to so many aspects of life—and to aspects of the creative life in particular. For our photo shoot this issue, we ventured to 10,500 feet in the Rocky Mountains, up near St. Mary's Glacier. As a flatlander, I felt the altitude, and even though it was August, our crew battled cold temperatures, blustery winds, and fast-moving thunderstorms. It was not a comfortable place to spend all day, but we were able to capture some beautiful landscapes for the Outfitted story. My idea for that story was rugged, outdoorsy knits that function for winter, with generous wraps and belted jackets in dense patterns, but also with pieces that hinge on clever knitting itself.

All the wraps and cowls are reversible or somehow two-sided, which makes so much sense for accessories that don't always lie with one side hidden. We're seeing big scarves trending for the season in ready-to-wear—so cast on one of these oversized stoles, memorize the stitch, and you have the perfect, unshaped knitting for holiday travel. And they'll warm you up as they get longer and longer across your lap.

Bear Lake Cowl

From glacial altitudes, we move to the frigid north as Donna Druchunas introduces us to qiviut fiber and The Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, Alaska. We take a look at more qiviut yarn and bison down in Yarn Spotlight, and we also pay homage to the Fair Isle knitting of remote, coastal Scotland. Learn how to treat and finish Fair Isle steeks in Beyond the Basics.

Finally, author Linda Ligon shows us a day in the life of a Peruvian highland woman. The Quechua people of the Andes have been knitting for centuries in their mountain home, where life is harsh and creative arts are preciously beautiful, as well as highly utilitarian.

Take a journey to the edge of comfort with this issue: see where the warmest fiber grows in the coldest places as well as how knitters have been stitching color and joy in harsh climates for ages. Then, pick up your needles and try something new, something perhaps uncomfortable that nevertheless brings discovery to your creative life.

—Lisa Shroyer, Interweave Knits, Winter 2015

That Hudson Wrap, top right, is really calling to me. The colors and the scope of it—large and cozy—are really attractive, and the zigzag pattern just adds to the fun. This wrap will be a great TV project, and, like Lisa said, as temperatures drop, I'll enjoy the wrap warming my lap as it grows (the wrap, not my lap, hopefully!).

Step into winter with Interweave Knits.


P.S. What kind of winter person are you? Leave a comment and let us know!

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