Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Academic Cog's Advice for Keeping Warm this Winter

And the first piece of advice is: damn! get the hell out of the cold! Seriously, why do people live in states where coldness and this "snow" bullshit happens?

I told my students today they needed to hold a protest, or maybe form a Society --- the Society for the Prevention of Snow. For some reason, they were doubtful that it would work. Eh.

If you are like me, it has been cold lately and you are struggling with how to keep your extremities warm. Now, we don't have snow right now --- except where it has been shoved into small icy embankments on the side of the road ... did I tell you about my apartment complex's garbage bins? They are in the shade of a building, so these big metal bins, like the ones you find out back of restaurants, are up on a little hillway, and none of the snow has melted. Then the plow pushed all the snow on the driveway in front of the bins, making it impossible for the garbage truck to raise and empty the bins. That was fun. Now, everyone has walked on this snow and pounded it flat and slick and icy on the sidewalk and poor dead grass on this little hill, meaning that when I want to throw away my trash I have to scramble up an icy hill like I'm an adventurer scaling the mountain of glass. I need those pitons or whatever to get to my garbage bin --- what, reach out and grab onto the bin when I slip and fall??? Are you kidding? It is the most filthy thing you have ever seen! And I'm not steadying my self by reaching a hand out to the ground, either --- there's all sorts of disgusting trash bits frozen into the ice all around the bins. So it's like scaling the Glass Mountain, but in a really gritty dirty neighborhood. Oh.

Anyway, there is very little snow --- all the snowmen made after the last big snowfall have melted down to look like dirty lumpy peeled potatoes --- but it is still cold. Cold enough that wearing my big long coat and some gloves and a hat and a scarf means that my face and ears are still super cold and uncomfortable, although the rest of me is only mildly annoyed.

So I went looking for the best ways to cover one's face and keep it warm during the winter. Obviously the best option is one's bed-pillow ---- because it is inside, where it is warm, and it is on one's bed. It can be supplemented with a warm, purring cat.

Barring that ideal situation, I present the following options:

Option One: The knitted chicken Viking helmet hat. Note the earflaps, which are quite useful in the cold. On the plus side, there are several free knitting patterns around the internet for you to make your own, but you can see that clearly your face is still going to be exposed to the elements. Perhaps you could modify the knitting pattern.

Option Two: Go medieval! You could join all the crafters and SCA-ers and recreate your own version of a medieval peasant hood:

On the plus side, it has beautiful embroidery. On the minus side, you still have the problem of the hood only covering the sides and back of your head when you pull the hood up. Perhaps you can wind the long tail around your face multiple times to keep your nose warm?

Option Three: the standard ski mask or balaclava. This one gets high marks for the coverage category, but is pretty boring and unremarkable. How will this help express your personal style? There is the bonus of being able to rob banks quickly and easily, though.

Maybe there's some way to re-do the classic balaclava in white and decorate it as the V for Vendetta mask. (Surely this could be made into a knitting pattern!) That way, when you were robbing a bank, you could give all the proceeds to Occupy Wall Street. And keep warm while at it!

There are also, of course, that standard patterns decorating the typical balaclava, ranging from camo to skulls to the makeup from Kiss or The Joker, or you could go in the brightly-colored luchadora wrestler tradition, represented here by the Pissed-Off Frosty mask that appeared on regretsy:

Also please click here for a long regretsy post on homemade balaclavas --- she shares my interest in strange knitted balaclavas.

I am sure you have seen the "beard-mask" knitted or croched option --- for some reason it was the main ad whenever I went to the facebook login page for weeks on end --- and it is so standard I am not going to bother to link to one. But it is definitely an option, particularly if you are going to be wearing a skirt and heels that day. 

Branching off from that a bit, I present to you the Cthulhu beard-mask, a much more stylish option now that it is 2013: 

It seems good for warmth but might be a little bulky. I think you could avoid a scarf with this one.

But what if you are afraid your eyeballs might freeze? They do that, you know, in certain northern states ---- at least, that's what I've heard. In that case, let me present to you the option of wearing, of course, the face-hugger from Alien:

Yes, this too is knitted. After all, what is the meaning of winter if not the opportunity to bring out all one's knitwear? It looks way classier and seasonally-appropriate than the molded plastic ones I found for sale. There is an article linking to the etsy site for it here

And finally, we return to regretsy, who points out the delicious wonderfulness of the artist working at the brutalist knitting tumblr:
 Save this for the extra cold days, when you don't even want eyeholes. You'll see things in an entirely new light!


Bardiac said...

I love the Cthulhu one, but it would be a bit bulky for most times.

For me, it's cold when breathing makes my teeth hurt... even though I'm breathing through my nose.

Long johns make life better :)

Linda said...

I linked over here from the Grumpy Rumblings blog because I could not resist more complaining about the cold weather. I can telecommute and have taken full advantage of it during the recent cold snap, but I'm still cold inside the house! As you say, staying in bed is the only sure way to get warm, but unfortunately no one will pay me for that.

Those last three patterns are crocheted, not knitted. I mention this because I am a knitter and must uphold the integrity of my craft (I had to sign a pledge, you know *wink, wink*) and while crochet is not a bad thing, it is a very different thing than knitting.

Ditch the scarf. I keep my face and neck warm with a cowl/wimple/head-over that I can pull up over my mouth/nose and around the back of my head and hat when it is super cold outside. If you know a knitter, have them make you one of these in something soft and warm (like alpaca or cashmere blended with wool) and your face won't freeze.

KtX said...

My teen-age sons are cross-county skiers. There is an accessory called a "buff" available at many outdoor-sport stores. It's a thin-ish long (15"-18") tube to pull over your head leaving as much of your head and face covered as you like. As you warm you can pull it lower on your face until it is only around your neck as a lovely turtle-neck thingy. They come in many interesting patterns--the hub's looks like chain mail!