March Madness

We are well into March Madness and I don’t mean the NCAA Basketball tournament. I mean desperate measures to navigate our sixth (sixteenth?) month of winter weather. I mean seeking relief from the gargantuan amount of snow we have been “blessed” with. I mean snow related crafting. In a word, I mean knitting.

With piles of snow everywhere and more falling hourly, there is just so much shoveling I can do. Sometimes everyone, even true New Hampshire natives like my kids, have to throw in the shovel and beat a retreat inside. For me that has meant making a beeline to my craft center ( that would be our entire downstairs) for 24/7 knitting. Just ask my dog. From morning until night I have needles going.

One snowy day this week, the snow was falling so fast and furious that the plow guy came four times. Plow guys tend to obliterate pathways with their snow moving, so every time our plow guy appeared, I went out to dig out the path for staff goddesses coming and going. The path to the Green Hope Farm office is now like a luge run with towering snow walls. Charming if you like that sort of thing.

But I digress. The real point of today’s blog is the end of my knitting needles. Pun intended. Knitting is saving my sanity during this interminable winter.

I have baskets on every flat surface full of projects. WIPs a new generation of knitters calls these “works in progress.” My husband still calls them clutter. In the baskets are sweaters for seven grandchildren, hats for anyone with a head, cowls for adult children and baby sweaters for pregnant women I accost on the street who’ve agreed to let me knit them something. When I get close to finishing a project, I need to have the next one lined up and the next one. The craft website Ravelry means I can find a pattern, buy it and print it out in under sixty seconds. Let’s not even talk about the number of woolly packages arriving at the farm. On the plus side, the sweaters that the grandchildren are wearing reflect this. On the negative side, so does my credit card..

But the point is, needs must and this is what I need to do to get through this particular March snow fest.

I think of a dear friend in Truckee, CA where they measure the snow in yards, and I wonder how she does it year after year. This pile up, crushing the snowdrops and taking out pretty much every shrub on the property is intense.

Fortunately this is a brilliant time to be permanently attached to knitting needles. A new generation of knitters is dropping gorgeous patterns faster than the snowflakes fall, and yarn purveyors have upped their game as well. A woman in town imports wool from the EU as an online business called The Woolly Thistle. Let’s just say I’m a big fan of Norwegian wool and leave it at that. I’ve also fallen for wool from a local mill, Junction Fiber Mill in White River Junction, VT, and have knit my way through many skeins of their Making Tracks colorways. I think I have almost alarmed the darling women who run the mill with the volume of wool I work through my fingers. I’ve also given my children a very twisted idea about what’s involved in a knitwear project. I thrust sweaters at them every time I see them, and they must think knitwear flies off my needles. They don’t know that I knit night and day and truly I am not that fast a knitter…….. just a long haul one. Anything to get to spring when I can replace my knitting needles with a trowel. Then I will be thrusting baskets of vegetables at my adult children, only because they grew up helping me weed the gardens, they’ll have a better idea of what’s involved in this bounty than what’s involved in a sweater.

George and Jamie model two recent sweater project

Before I close I have just one other comment about March Madness basketball. I have listened to my extended family’s thousand hours of commentary about bracketology, UCONN’s chances of making it to the sweet sixteen this year, the lovely absence of Coach K at this year’s tournament etc etc……and I have done it without drooling, yawning or wearing a bored look. All I ask is that you too look bright eyed and bushy tailed when I talk about Chiagoo interchangeable needles, the best mohair for your money, Joji Locatelli’s latest pattern or how to carry three strands of yarn for colorwork. After all, what I get at the end of the NCAA tournament is a lot of tired blokes in need of a rest cure. What the extended family gets from me keeps them warm and woolly. And who knows, they may need this more than they know. April may be as snowy as March.