Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's a Chinook

One of the unusual phenomena about living in this part of the country is our Chinooks. This is something that the rest of the world just hasn't experienced, and they have no concept of what it feels like.

Every winter, we (seasoned citizens) look forward to these infrequent events. It can simply be described as "relief". Winter seems to drag on and on here and any break in the constant cold and snow is so very welcome.

On Tuesday this week, it was -22C when I left for work. By evening, when I went to bed, it was -8C. And the next morning, it was 0, going up only to +4 in the afternoon. It wasn't quite the extremes some of our Chinooks have brought us, but it will do. We won't quibble!!

A Chinook happens when the winds come over the mountains from the west. As they come down the slopes, they pick up a lot of speed, and get quite hot. Quite suddenly, the temperatures will zoom up accompanied by a lot of wind. The snow seems to dry up so fast -- there is no melting -- but we will take this respite in any form it comes.

Some people have intense migraine headaches a day or so before it arrives. Most of us find the fluctuations in temperatures are a little hard on the body, and some of us suffer from a few colds at these times. But that is a small price to have a break in winter! When we see that beautiful Chinook Arch, we just can't help but smile. There is a noticeable bounce in everyone's step.

It only lasts a day or two, and then we return back into the deep freeze. Ah, well, it was nice while it lasted! There'll be another one soon enough.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Mom's socks

All these years of knitting, I have not made anything for my mother. I did knit a lace shawl when she turned 65, which she said was very nice – to nice to use, so she put it away. I have no idea what she is saving it for!

I’ve wanted to knit her some socks, but because she is so far away, I didn’t know how to get her measurements without asking her so I can knit a pair for a surprise. When I would visit at Christmas, it was usually too busy a time to do much, and I would come back home, thinking that I didn’t get her size again!

This year, I spent over a week with her and we had a lot of time together to visit and talk. She was all alone, so she really appreciated me being there. It was bitterly cold so we didn’t do too much, and stayed in as much as possible. But once the hustle of Christmas was over, and I was sitting one night with her watching TV and spinning on my spindle, I remembered that I needed to start on some socks. I got some yarn, and the needles, and cast-on for a pair of toe-up socks.

Once I got it increased enough that it looked about the right size, I had to tell her that I wanted to try it on to see if it would fit her. And after that, I put together a simple lace design and knit away. In two days, I had one sock finished, and started on the second. I got to the heel, and had to leave – about one more day would have been enough to finish them. But at least, I did have one done, and it fit perfectly (of course) and she was so very pleased that she had a sock that was custom made to fit for her!

It was quite funny: she kept telling everyone that phoned that I was knitting a pair of very nice socks just for her, and making up the pattern right out of my head! I can just see her showing off to all her friends!

I finished the second sock, and re-did the ribbing on the cuff on the first one since I didn’t like the way I did it, and washed them. All I needed to do was get them photographed and ship them out to her. Only.

The batteries died in the camera. It’s been gloomy these past few days. And I’ve been really busy at work, where I usually do my photos. So I finally got the pics done, and had them stuffed into a flattened package to send them off to her. I’m waiting to hear what she thinks of them now. And especially what her friends think of them!

It's a simple chevron lace pattern. I used a gusset on the bottom of the foot for something different (because it was boring to knit most of this sock). I kind of liked it; I'll do another one like that. Special thanks to my model.