As the bleak midwinter descends, I’d like to share some solid-gold survival tips that get me through.
Tip No. 1: Humidity.
Go to the drugstore, past the bunion aids and the section known as Digestion, and set yourself up with one of those cheapass steam humidifiers. I know you’re going to resist this, but listen: once you’ve had a few nights of sleep with your SteamMaster 2000 filling your room with tropical air, you’ll never go back. This is a potentially life-changing deal, I promise you. Your skin will thank you, your poor nose will breathe free, and you will at some point go back for some Vicks Vapo Rub to make the experience a complete return to childhood.
Tip No. 2: Flowering branches.
This is even easier than forcing a bulb. There’s no dirt involved. You go buy flowering quince or forsythia branches, stick them in water, and wait. In about a week, this miraculous thing happens where the branches sprout little beautiful flowers. Right there on those bleak, leafless twigs. There is nothing more heartening than seeing this happen.
Tip No. 3: Make something.
Even if it is excruciating at every moment. Such as (I don’t know why this comes to mind) the Fair Isle-laden sleeve of a sweater that you covet. (Kate Davies’s clever Boreal.) This where Mason-Dixon Rule No. 98 kept me going when nothing else would: No project is too ambitious if you crave the result enough.
I absolutely do not mean to be negative, but the 34 rows of Fair Isle on this sleeve (a re-do, as you may recall, of a failed earlier sleeve) were tedious. Wildly tedious. Doing Fair Isle on double-pointed needles, at large gauge, is weirdly hard for me.
I kept losing Needle Number 5 in the chair cushions. I couldn’t get any speed going, what with the knit 12, move to another needle. Worst of all, Kermit the cat kept biting the ends of my double-pointed bamboo needles, leaving tiny tooth holes that ruined needle upon needle. I went through two sets of DPNs. I am going to refinish them at some point, but what I’d like to do is refinish that cat.
The rapture I experienced upon finishing Sleeve 1 was worth it. I slid it on my arm, and it felt fantastic. It fits.
I have started Sleeve 2. My strategy is to blast through the dread: 34 rows x 55 stitches = 1,870 stitches. A knitter can stand anything for 1,870 stitches, right? I’m going to use my failed sleeve as a Kermit Restraint Device. This is going to work out fine.
Special Bonus Slimming TIp
I can’t emphasize this enough. Really don’t eat your son’s leftover birthday cake for breakfast. The self-loathing and gloom that hit once the sugar high has faded rank right down there with the feeling you get upon realizing the hideous fact that you just called a mom by her daughter’s name.