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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Artic Conditions and Knitting failures from Sirdar

One to two times a winter, it snows in Portland and the city shuts down. It's a very hilly area with elevation ranging from sea level to a 1,000 feet above. Snow is rare enough that most snow equipment is on permanent loan to other states. Therefore, it makes sense to shut everything down since the cost of clearing snow is probably more than the cost of lost business by having everyone stay inside. I personally like how a snow is an accepted reason to cancel all plans or not go to work. It reminds me of my Peace Corps days where rain canceled everything since the dirt roads became impassable. I also remember when I lived in Philadelphia, there would be a ridiculous number of traffic accidents from snow no matter how they managed it. One time, they waited until it started snowing before closing schools and businesses. As a result, everyone was on the road at the same time while it was snowing and there were horrific accidents.

As you can see from the photo, our neighborhood turned into a winter wonderland. What looks like a snowy path in a forest is actually a major through way.

Another feature of snow in Portland, is comical news reporting. In 2004, the New Year's snow that stayed for 4 days had all the news stations competing to out- "Storm Watch your best source for everything related to the storm" each other. Footage mostly consisted of news reporters talking to people who were trying to put on snow chains for the first time. After the first day, the only thing left to talk about was that were was still snow on the ground. It seemed to me that reporters were having a contest to see who could create a riot by making the snow seem as menacing as possible and how it was the latest threat to all our children and small pets and was going to start trying to scam the elderly any second.

This year's snow is reported by the news as "Arctic Conditions" as it's going to be below freezing for possibly 6 straight days. Considering there are states that are below freezing for 6 straight months, I can handle 6 days of 20 degree temperature.

Other than our snow adventure, we stayed inside, played games and I did some more knitting on hand sacks. Hand sacks are mittens for babies that are just little sacks with no thumbs or fingers. Until, I saw the hand sack patterns, I had never realized that mittens with thumbs are unnecessary for babies. Trying to line up the thumb on a flailing baby hand would just be like trying to put a sweater on a cat.

Here's a picture of my first attempt. It got chewed on by a baby so it looks all boxy. I turned it into a baby chew toy because it was unfortunately too small. As always, I blame the Sirdar pattern that must have been sized for gnome babies. It also involved casting on an odd number of stitches for a knit 1, purl 1 ribbing pattern. Having an odd number of stitches means that you have to alternate starting with a knit stitch or purl stitch every other row and I kept having a seed pattern instead of ribbing. Sirdar could have made it much simpler by having a pattern with an even number of stitches but I think that company is run by oddly shaped physicists because their patterns are not sized for regular sized people and you need advanced quantitative skills to understand what their patterns.

As for future endeavors, I'm on the fence about braving the snow and going to work tomorrow versus knitting and maybe breaking out the cross country skis and cruising on the nearby golf course.

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