Of Snowflakes and a Stubborn Winter

As May approaches it feels like Winter is having a hard time letting go, letting the light from the sun warm up the land. We woke up yesterday morning to another couple of inches of snow on the ground. The daffodils, which had been enjoying some previously warm days, were probably as surprised as us.

Daffodils in Snow

Maybe “surprised” isn’t the right word. I think “disheartened” is more fitting.

I’m not one for finger pointing, but a certain someone has been knitting several snowflake-themed items recently. And I wonder if, like a rain dance, there’s a power in the act of creating snowflakes out of wool.

Handknit Socks - detail

Handknit Socks

This pair of socks is from a pattern by Crissy Gardiner, appropriately called “Snowflake Socks.” Virginia knit these using Smart yarn.

Handknit Socks

She also finished this sweater, “Adelaide” by Kate Gagnon Osborn in Vintage Modern Knits.


It is knit using Rowan’s Kid Classic in an appropriately winter color palette.


To round things off, this second pair of socks was finished a couple of days ago. It’s “Harika” by Stephanie van der Lind, knit using Gems Merino.

Handknit Socks

Handknit Socks

See the theme? Wonder why there is still snow in the forecast? Fortunately, last night she started working on a crochet blanket using the “African Flower” hexagonal pattern, and it seems to be having the right effect. As I write this post, though a bit on the chilly side, the sun is out!

The Essentials

I’m sitting here Sunday morning, hunkering down as the second snowpocalypse begins outside. I was up early, warming up the house with baking bread. Specifically, I was attempting to make buns, being once again discouraged by the mile-long list of ingredients in the store-bought varieties.


These appear to do the trick (we’ll be testing them out later today as they sandwich a black bean burger with sautéed onions and mushrooms), and they were super easy to make. I modified an existing recipe to work with the ingredients I had on hand. The recipe is as follows.

Combine and heat to about 120 degrees :

  • 1/2 cup Fage
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp butter

Mix together in a separate bowl:

  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Then, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, including 1 egg. Mix thoroughly, then slowly combine about 2 to 2 1/2 cups white flour and knead until dough is smooth and elastic (I used my KitchenAid stand mixer for about 2 minutes). Take dough and pull apart into 10 to 12 pieces, which you then roll into a ball then place, slightly flattened, on a baking sheet (or, in my case, a silpat covering a baking sheet). Let rise for 30 to 40 minutes and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes (or until golden brown).

One of the biggest satisfactions of making food from scratch is the total control over the ingredients. I’m not sure why sandwich buns need high fructose corn syrup, or any of the other “enhancements.” These may not have the shelf life, but chances are they will be long gone before they expire.

Still on the topic of essentials, I’m happy to say my spinning wheel has been getting some use (not quite the 15-minutes a day I had hoped to accomplish in the new year), enough to finally finish some lovely 3-ply yarn.

Handspun Corriedale

This is spun from some handdyed Corriedale that Virginia picked up for me from cloudlover (at last year’s Shepherd’s Harvest festival). I navajo-plied the yarn, yielding approximately 370 yards from a little less than 5 ounces of roving. I believe a pair of socks are being planned with the yarn.

And, speaking of socks, Virginia has been working on several pair (as usual), one of the most recent are these:

Handknit Socks

Knit following one of Charlene Schurch’s four-stitch reticulated patterns in her book Sensational Knitted Socks. These are made with two colors of Jawoll “Aktion.”

Well, I’m off to make some lunch, and to draw in some energy for the piles of snow that will need to be shoveled over the course of the next 24 hours.

A Good Week for My Hands and Feet

Among some projects finished these last couple of days, Virginia made a pair of mittens and socks that deserve some blog time (obviously, every project should get a mention, but my track record lately has not been good).

Vespergyle Mittens

These “Vespergyle Mittens” are from a pattern by Elinor Brown, knit using Spindrift. I really admire the argyle and stripe combination. And, of course, the Spindrift is such a cozy yarn for this sort of thing.

Vespergyle Mittens

I am happy to say they are big enough to fit my hands, so there will likely be a race to the mitten bin every time we head outside.

Vespergyle Mittens

I’m also the happy recipient of this early-Valentine’s gift. A pair of “Tweed Socks.”

Tweed Socks

These are knit from a pattern by Marilyn Morgan, in the book Socks, Socks, Socks, using several types of yarn, including Jawoll and Socka. The slipped-stitch pattern really dress up these socks, and I can already envision these paired with dark brown khakis and cardigan.

Tweed Socks

Like I said, it’s a good week for my hands and feet.

Around the Corner

There have been a few days in the last couple of weeks that have cooled in the evenings, sending the reminder that Fall is just around the corner. (Today being an exception, with the mercury hitting 90º F. Still, something inside stirs when the heat of Summer starts to wane.)

One sign that my body is recognizing the change is my gravitation to playing more with wool. I have started spinning again, surprised that my wheel still turns – it having sat stationary for the better part of the season.

Handspun Superwash Merino

I’m glad that I haven’t completely forgotten how to convert roving into yarn. This superwash merino (dyed by us several years ago) is spun into about 287 yards of 3-ply yarn.

I also must be feeling the need to pack on a little more insulation myself. We’ve revived the Saturday Night, Pizza Night tradition, trying out some new themes, including a new favorite:

Saturday Night, Pizza Night

It’s a pear-greens-caramelized onion-blue cheese collection of goodness baked on a thin, crispy crust that has been coated with garlicky olive oil mixed with sage. We seriously had to restrain ourselves from devouring the entire pan (even though leftover pizza is never as good as fresh-from-the-oven pizza).

Virginia is no stranger to wool, and is constantly working with it. So, season changes do not necessarily influence the amount of work she does with the fiber (although, maybe once the cold hits, she’ll be working more with alpaca, cashmere and other more insulating fibers).

She continues to knit socks, the latest being:

Handknit Socks

Handknit Socks

The rest can be seen, as always (and often before a blog post appears) on flickr.

And, it being the time to start thinking about keeping warm, Virginia is offering some of her handknits for sale on Etsy. Check back often, because she will be listing a variety of items, including shawls, cowls, scarves and (what’s listed right now) hats:

Selection of Handknit Hats

Check it out.