Note: I am, for the first time, trying the Blogger app. I am finding the picture-adding feature unintuitive in the extreme, so all the pictures associated with this post may end up at the end. Not sure what I think of that...
It has been quite a couple of weeks. We did, as planned, go to Mammoth the weekend before last, and, as hoped, the skiing was really, really good. It was cold, though. From my perspective, it was really cold. Mostly in the teens. I think that should count as cold. (It was actually 1 degree out when we drove by the airport, but we didn't stop to get out of the car. You might be able to imagine why not.)
Rick kindly agreed to take the daylight part of the drive so I could knit mitten thumbs (I succeeded in finishing the hand of the second mitten the night before we left), and by the time it got dark, I was *this* close to finishing the second thumb. In fact, I was so close that Rick kindly let me put the dome light on for the last 20 minutes of knitting. As a result, I had mittens when we got up there, dangly ends tucked inside. (Refer to photo of mitten backs here.). And the best bit? The antlers! (Refer to photo of mitten palms here.) The girls were wildly amused by the fact that I was so amused by having antlers at my disposal.
These really are fun mittens in many ways. I am not sure how well they would serve for extended periods of outdoor wearing in truly cold weather, but they were perfect for doing around-town things in the cold of Mammoth. And they have been very useful to me of late in the mornings around here (which have been in the mid-30s, temperature-wise), especially when driving. A winter or two ago, I developed Raynaud's syndrome, which sounds more impressive than it is, and which involves having the tiny blood vessels in my fingers or toes suddenly squeeze shut, resulting in strange, bone-white numb places. The treatment for Raynaud's is to avoid triggers, and for me, the number one trigger is holding a cold steering wheel. These mittens are a big help in that area.
I would change only two things, one small and one large. Small: I would knit a longer cuff, before the second Latvian braid. Large: I would rejigger the thumb to have it coming out of the palm. The pattern is written so that the thumb grows out of the side seam, but thumbs (at least my thumbs) do not come out of the side of the hand, so these have a tendency to pull around, moving the seams off the edges of my hand, and de-centering the lovely antler pattern. If I had to do it over, I'd probably do an afterthought thumb on the palm. To be fair, I am guessing that the reason why the pattern-writer didn't do that to start is because it's not really possible, per the usual Scandinavian mitten of this sort, to blend the thumb pattern in with the palm pattern, given the fun antlers - hence the non-interfering side-seam placement.
Since coming back, things have been rather insane. Department chair work has come crashing down on me in the form of schedule-management, and I am also working on my course syllabus. At the same time, I had my two bottom wisdom teeth pulled on Friday morning. I will spare you the details (although I was awake for all of them - local anesthesia all the way, baby!), and I will say that I have been remarkably lucky in my recovery. The pain wasn't bad at all (really, more discomfort), the swelling wasn't bad, either, and really, the biggest bummer is that I am just sick and tired of squishy food!! I want to CHEW something!
But I was recovered enough that on Saturday morning, the girls and I were able to start our big holiday present: horseback riding lessons. (Pictures of girls on horses here.) I know that I will write more about this as we go, but learning to ride has been something I have wanted to do since I was a child. And the girls, too, have asked, and dreamed, and hoped, and I finally decided that this kind of time-together, shared-experience gift is exactly the sort of thing that I value, above any stuff, and did my research and made the commitment. One lesson was enough to tell me I did the right thing. Number 2 is tomorrow, and we are all three really looking forward to it.
I have also finished the Shattered Sun shawl, although it is not yet blocked, but I think that is for another post.