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The Joy of Winter, Woolies, and Why it's all so necessary

Several years ago, when I was living in Wilkes-Barre, we experienced a winter that was barely cold and hardly had any snowfall.

It was terrible.

And not because I do like winter and was sorely missing it that year. Rather, the lack of snow melt was terrible for the water table and for vegetation, as flowers, trees, and shrubs were starting to sprout too early in the season and then didn't have enough ground water to remain healthy in the coming year. The following spring and summer that year was the worst in terms of insects, particularly invasive species and gnats. Flower and vegetable gardens didn't produce the way that they did in other years, and, there was an overall sense of "off-ness" about the entire year because we essentially skipped an important part of the cycle. In fact, several research studies have shown that our brains are able to perform various cognitive functions better during colder weather cycles, such as this one from the National Academy of Sciences.

Now, I know there are some people who--on the second of January are already going on about how they are "thinking spring," but we live in the northeast, and if you want a decent spring and summer, then we desperately need to have a good, cold, snowy winter. With climate change, weather patterns are less predictable and more unstable, our winters are not what they once were, which spells trouble for all of us. Last year, for example, the Lake did not fully freeze over, which means an increase in the possibility of Lake effect snow but also a warmer lake that can produce more of those harmful algae blooms. NSF has some great information about why we need winter here.

Lack of colder, snowier weather also significantly impacts the fiber world. Simply put, it does have an adverse effect on those who make a living in the industry. We're much more likely to want to stay in and work on our cozy handmades during the colder months or to want to buy materials to make said handmades, and we're also much more likely to want to wear them, as well.

Now, if we look at the bigger picture in terms of cognition, rejuvenation, the industry, and what we already know are the health and mental benefits of fiber work (i.e., relaxation, meditative and repetitive action, improved dexterity and mental acuity), then we, as makers, also, need the colder months of the year for our own overall wellness.

In honor of today's snowfall, then, let me share with you links to some of my favorite winter weather patterns:

  1. Casapinka's Winter Storm Socks are positively screaming warm and cozy.

  2. Kelbourne Woolens' Goldenrod Boot Socks are great and unisex (I actually gave several pairs of these away as presents last Christmas to my dad and my besties.)

  3. Kaity Fraker's Last Minute Caracol Slippers are quick and also make great cold weather projects that will keep your feet warm while you pick up your next project.

  4. Sometimes I just like to curl up with a comfortable blanket. Attic 24's Granny Stripe Blanket is a great way to use up scraps or to play with a particular color theme. I made one last year, and both my cat and I love it.

  5. Over the last couple of years, people have really gravitated towards wraps with pockets. This Crochet Wrap with Pockets by Addicted to the Hook is just the ticket.

Whichever project you choose for this snowy January day, I hope you are loving the time to breathe, relax, get comfy, and stay cozy as much as I am.

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