I recently went through my knitted accessories and did a serious cull — Wardrobe Architect Style. I pulled a bunch of things I don’t wear because a) the color just isn’t me, b) the item doesn’t function the way I want it to, and c) it didn’t fit right. As a result, there is a largish bag of things I’ve knitted sitting next to me right now that I intend to put up on Etsy… soonish.

Don’t worry. I’ll let you know.

But in the meantime, this cull left some holes in my arsenal of very-cold-weather woollies. So clearly something had to be done. One of the ladies I teach wanted to knit her husband a pair of mittens for the holidays, and in looking through patterns with her, we came across the Cruiser Mittens. After one session of working on them with her, I was hooked and had to make my own. In the recommended Road to China yarn, they would be gloriously soft and cozy. But I wanted some mittens I could wear while biking in the heart of winter. Basically, I wanted them out of cast-iron, and that’s pretty much what I made:

Including the color. My Cruisers, knit in Brooklyn Tweed Quarry, color Hematite. This yarn is considered an aran/bulky weight, so knitting it on US 7 needles yielded a very stiff fabric that blocks the wind like nobody’s business. I can bike in these and barely feel it. And they’re roomy enough that when it gets seriously cold and I’m still crazy enough to ride, I can slip them on over some thin gloves and have a little more protection. The only bummer is that they take up a lot of room in my pockets, so much so that right after I finished them they pushed my keys out and I had a very exciting day of dealing with lost keys that culminated in the Best Husband Ever™ meeting Guy Who Found Keys at a bar to retrieve them for me. Luckily my coat pockets zip, a feature I have been making use of lately.

The other big hole in the wardrobe is something I’ve wanted for awhile… a hat/scarf COMBO! One piece of knitting that does double-duty means less things to take off and stow when you get inside. I’d tried this one several years ago, and it didn’t work out too well. The hood was too loose to effectively warm my ears, especially on windy days. I’d queued Loxley by Stephen West forever ago as a viable alternative, and had even stashed some appropriate yarn (Madelinetosh Merino in Cloak) to make it back when I was still working at Annie’s. With the new space for things after the cull, it seemed like the right time:

IT’S AWESOME. The short rows keep the hood section close to my head, so even the windiest winds don’t freeze my ears off (especially if I put my coat’s hood up to hold it down even more), and the scarf ends are long and thick. It’s wonderful for wearing to places where I don’t want my hair to arrive looking smushed, and I can push it back when I’m on the train or indoors so I don’t overheat. The only trial it hasn’t faced yet is le bike, and that’s only because I’m not certain my helmet will fit over it (and besides, I have the creepy balaclava if it’s really super cold).

So far, these two items have been my winter weather staples. While I have plans for some more mittens and maybe another cowl and hat before the weather turns, I think these will do the trick for everyday wear for a long while to come.