Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wardrobe Wish List for Winter Stitching

On the East Coast of the United States, winter is knocking at our door.

And so my thoughts turn to the proper outfit for winter stitching.  

Let's be honest.  Sitting still, stitching quietly through the winter months, hour after hour, is a chilly proposition.

What makes it worse is that we keep our house at a chill 58°F (14°C)...

When we bought our house, we bought a home big enough for four children.  We had one.  That means we have more room than we need and it seems such a waste to heat the whole place.

When I lived in a Japanese apartment, only one room was heated.  This room was closed off from the rest of the house and if you needed to use the other areas...the toilet seat was heated, the bathtub had a heater to keep the water at a constant temperature, and the bedroom wasn't heated because you slept under a futon made from down.

It really makes a lot of sense to live that way.

And so we started dropping the temperature on the thermostat a couple of degrees over a period of a few winters.

Once we started saving hundreds of dollars on our heating bills, it was hard not to continue.   Our bodies have adjusted to the cold.  Our skin doesn't dry out or flake, my fingers don't split, we sleep better and we've grown very fond of our afghans and Cozies.

But don't worry.  If you come to visit, we'll turn up the heat for you.

All that chatter is just background to explain why what I wear for winter stitching is so important.  Though I have a space heater in the room, I still need to dress for the job...many hours of sitting still in a pretty cold room

At this point, there will be some of you who may live similarly and others who think I'm completely nuts.  My Dad falls into the latter category.

Regardless...Here's my Wardrobe Wish List for Winter Stitching in a Deep-Freeze Environment:

Fleece-lined yoga pants from Title Nine:

By far, yoga pants are the most comfortable pants to wear when I have to sit for hours.   Only problem is that they are too thin to keep the legs and bum warm in the winter.  I was thrilled to find these fleece-lined winter pants at Title Nine for $85.  A little pricey but they're paid for with only one month savings on the heating bill and if you wear them every day, they might be worth it!

The next item was not so easy for me to find.

When I stitch, I want very little to no bulk from my wrist to elbow.   Bulky clothes rub against stitching, get snagged on beads and metal threads and get in the way when my hands move back and forth over the frame.  No-bulk sleeves are hard to accomplish in the winter and still stay warm.

Enter this arms-free sweater from Anthropologie:

I have been searching capelet and shawl patterns for years for something like this.  It needs to leave the arms free, have a closure and provide enough warmth to the torso.  This sweater fits the bill.  If anyone knows of a pattern for something similar I would be very grateful for the reference.  I've scoured the patterns on Ravelry and come up with nothing.

Fingerless gloves from Soul Role on Etsy:

Though I love hand-knitted fingerless gloves, they also give too much bulk for embroidering at a frame.  I really like these fingerless organic cotton/lycra versions because they are thin and they are washable.   Washability is key in keeping the embroidery clean as the gloves are worn day after day.

Lastly, I usually have a microwaveable Cozy sitting in my lap and warm socks and wool clogs on my feet.  

What are your tricks for warming your winter stitching?


Vicki W said...

My secret is menopause! lol!

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

A hat. Hats are wonderful! I like this kind.

Jane, writing from a 66 degree house (Beloved has arthritis)

Beth Ferrier said...

I want the shoes! We keep our house cooler too, and the heat goes off in the main house during the day. Just the studio stays warm.

I wear shawls. I love to knit them and they are easily tossed aside when my inner child starts playing with matches, again.

Nana said...

Well, saving energy (which is light and heating and gas for the car) always has been a big topic in Germany and each household tries to save money this way too. We always have a cold sleeping room and out dryer for the cloths is in the bathroom, this way it heats up this room too. You are right, you get used to the temperature around you and skin-sick people (like neurodermitis etc.) live better with lower heat anyway.

Nana who helps herself sometimes with a nice cup of warm tea!

gracie said...

Looks like you are ready for the NE weather. I must admit, I do not miss those chilly days. My stitching attire here in Arizona is simple... cotton all the way... occasionally a light shawl for my shoulders... we are still in the 90's. Love the sweater you chose.

Rachel said...

As Jane says - a hat!
Also, a large woollen rug wrapped around my lower half, usually over a long skirt and a cashmere sweater under a cotton shirt (somehow that is warmer than the other way round) and a wheatbag over my toes.

Answering the 'phone is a challenge...!

Kelly Clark said...

Hi Susan! LOVED this. In Ohio, it was
super cold...and thermo went down to 60
during the day...and yes, I worked from home! Layers was my key, also. Lots of
shawls, due to those Hot-flashes, I could toss off the shawl when my inner
rain-forest reared it's ugly head! It is the opposite problem in Houston! It is finally nice enough to turn off the AC and open up windows. Hooray for fresh air!

Lilli said...

Soooo cool))) I especially like the granny with bobbin lace. This is my favorite hobby.

Lorraine said...

Looks like you are set for the cooler temps! I think the fleece lined yoga pants are excellent so will have to look into some. I do have a fireplace in my studio which used to be the family room downstairs. I have this one for a short time (30 mins) in the am which heats up the room for the majority of the day and dress warmly to compensate. As my body temp runs "warmer" than it used to, this seems to do the trick...

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I know that you have mentioned keeping your home cooler in the winter. I tried that, but it doesn't work so well with Terry's health. Though, the kids will say it's cold in the house, I always tell them to put some clothes on. Shorts and t-shirts just don't get it!!

We keep it cool during the day and kick it up a little during the evening. Having electric baseboard heat makes that easy. We also close off the back part of the house.

I have what I call my uniform...yoga pants, long sleeve Ts and a denim or flannel shirt. When it gets cold, I shed the flip flops and wear socks and slippers.
There are several crocheted afghans around the living room and a quilt or too also.

But, lets not talk about the cold anymore, OK?
xx, Carol

Margaret said...

I generally maintain 16C (60F) and wear layers...but I do more knitting and off-frame stitching, so don't generally worry about sleeves -- except to say I keep them wrist-length only -- longer than that (my daughter likes them 1/2-way down her hands) and they get in the way. I don't seem to have trouble with cold hands. For feet, I wear hand-knit socks and clogs (Crocs or Croc clones). :-)

Heather M. said...

I find I feel the cold most at my ankles and shoulders so thick socks and a sweater solve the problem for me. I also work near the heater so that helps too. My biggest problem is light. I face north and live in southern BC so my apartment is a little dark. My OTT light helps but I'm actually looking for more lighting solutions today..


Love the post Susan. We too keep the thermostat at around 15/16 as none of us like a stuffy atmosphere. Cosy quilts and blankets have always been the order of the day. Even in their
20s our girls grab a blanket to snuggle. I've got them scattered around the house. I totally agree about yoga pants, nothing more comfortable and I am a fan of layers so that when my internal thermometer goes up I can strip off a layer.

Goldylox99 said...

Hi Susan! I try to keep our house around 68 in the winter. Ever since hubby had two bouts with cancer, he feels the cold keenly and is not comfortable when I try to set the thermostat lower.

I am an equestrienne as well as a stitcher, so I spend the winter in fleece riding pants, my favorites being Fuzzy Logic boot cut pants and Irideon Wind Pro 3-Season Breeches (I got my first pair of these at Bits & Bridles in Ellicott City when they were still in business). For laying, I like long-sleeved cotton t-shirts with fleee vests from Lands End (available at Sears).

My favorite space heater is the radiant heater that looks like a fan, which is sold at Costco. They always have one set up at the entrance during the winter, and the heat is lovely. At work, where my office is chilly, I keep a heating pad (so much nicer than those space heaters that blow warm air only on my feet and make them smelly!), a shawl, and a blanket.

When I get chilled, I find that holding my hands under warm running water in the sink while making a nice warm cup of tea or coffee is a wonderful way to warm up.

I love the yoga pants, sweater, and fingerless gloves! I may have to look into them. Thank you!

ga447 said...

It does get cold here in NE and I wear woolen socks made in Germany by my step-mom and long underwear.

Oriel said...

Love the blog, I must admit I like a warm home but I am always looking for ideas to save on electricity so I read with interest. I too am a fan of wheat bags to warm my bed so I am going to make some more using your pattern. Cannot have too many!!

Unknown said...

Layers is the trick for me as my stitching area gets sun all day and winter temperatures can range from mid-70s to low-50s (uninsulated house built in 1917). Silk knit long underwear bottoms under wool leggings or fleece, SmartWool sox with insulated shoes all help. Uggs mid-calf boots are my cold-weather slippers! During the last California energy crisis we just didn't turn on the heat at all & I just wore all my down skiwear inside the house!

Elizabeth Braun said...

I grew up in a house with only 2 heaters - one in the living room, and one in the dining room (which wasn't often on). Later on I snaffled an oil filled radiator for my room - luxury!

Our home heating is only on for about 4 hours per day and, as the area where the thermostat is seems to warm up very quickly, it soon turns itself off too!! Thankfully, we live in a flat (apartment) and benefit quite a bit from the people downstairs' heating!!

elmsley rose said...

Looove the sleeveless sweater, keeping the lower arms free and the elbows from "catching" on things. And the yoga pants - I want some!
I buy winter clothes from Etsy from the cold weather countries. I've got a pair of beloved felted slippers from Lithuania. I mean, they'd know about cold, wouldn't they? My slippers are bright pink with purple stripes - painted - and called "The Beetles" and have lasted 3 winters already. I also have footed leg warmers (Etsy again), wool/acrylic mix, made on a 1920's knitting machine, which were excellent for the winter just past. They fell down a lot - but then I discovered the secret of wearing cotton leggings underneath which stop the slippage.
A friend has bought socks with leather soles from another cold weather country, also from Etsy.
Can you tell I grew up with the philopsophy "it's cold....add another jumper" ?
Thanks for the additional ideas for the upper half of the body :-)

MaggieLove said...

Hi Susan! My first time leaving a post on your blog. I love your blog, I think you are a beautiful soul. I've been reading your past blogs starting from the beginning and like what I see/read. I like reading about the things you do with your family and friends, your sports stuff, books you read and of course your needle work. I too am shopping for cold weather clothes. I found some warm fleece lined pants at target Champions is the brand for about $20.00 I think - there about. I also got some thermal tops to wear over some long sleeve tops and Ugg like slippers ... very cozy. My living/dining area is way cooler than the rest of my house so, I have to dress warm to do my crafts there. That sweater you posted would be perfect to add to my wardrobe and it's also cute. TFS Maggie

Gerry Krueger said...

We are into zone heating also with quilts across every door and window in this 107 year-old house...
When it comes to warm I was amazed I had to get to the next to last post before someone mentioned SILK KNIT long underwear... When we could afford to travel we had to go in NOV-JAN ... Silk is warm and light (tho pricy lasts forever) and you can sneak it under the nicest outfit and no one knows... I wear mine all winter- both tops and bottoms.... Gerry K.

Suztats said...

Susan, we keep our small house a little warmer than you do, but, with a thyroid condition, I'm always cold in the winter.
I started wearing long underwear in the house. That, with a short scarf around the neck, and tucked into my shirt usually keeps my neck warm. I have been known, though, to also wear a hat indoors from time to time. ;-0
I always wear socks, and when I sit down to stitch, I pull a soft, felt blanket over my legs. It's usually doubled, but sometimes I have 4 layers......
I usually have a pillow on my lap, too, to raise my work. I do wear long sleeves. Sometimes I feel like I'm wrapped and blanketted from head to toe.
Stay warm.

Leanna said...

Hi Susan! I love your blog too! I totally agree with MaggieLove. You're a lovely person with sweet and insightful things to say. The soul of a true artist, I believe.
Your projects are amazing, I love the Holly Go Lightly Breakfast at Tiffany's...it's just too perfect.
I live in Winnipeg Manitoba and we can have some truly nasty temperatures in winter, but I don't care...lol...with the bounty of clean snow we get...you wouldn't believe how BRIGHT a winter afternoon can be for stitching. All that beautiful reflected light!
I like the house at 59 degrees, which is very easy when the sun is shining, but I still wear layers. I have even worn a short keyhole scarf, which is perfect for keeping my neck warm! Love my little scarf, but you've got another great idea: I will have to look into fine fingerless gloves. What a brilliant idea! There you go again!
Thank you for sharing your lovely self!

Createology said...

Brrr...our house is too large for two people and we don't heat all of it. We keep the main living area at 58 night and about 63 daytime. I am always freezing but Mr. C is warm. Lots of clothing layers for me. I really like your selections...especially love the sweater.
Interesting post and comments...

margaret said...

I am even meaner, my heating only goes on if I have a visitor which is rare and if I cannot get the washing dry, then all the radiators come into use for a few hours then off again. As you say wrapping up is the answer, love the gloves, I have some very fine ones which were my grandmothers but they are full ones the fingerless ones are now on my hit list.I live in the kitchen in the winter and do light the top oven when it is very cold,casseroles simmer for hours in it also could not live without the electric blanket, have been know to take to the bed after lunch with my stitching and the portable tv and not get up till morning, nicer and warm and cosy!
Much better to spend the pennies on stitching stuff and books

Kate said...

Well, living in subtropical Australia our houses aren't built for cold weather. We think below 20C is cold enough to turn on the only heater in the house. When I'm stitching in winter I make sure I've got warm feet and a quilt on my lap and legs.

Starr White said...

I so enjoyed reading your post and all of the wonderful comments. We also keep our home much cooler than most other folks around here, but insulated long underwear does the trick for me. Except for my feet. My feet stay cold from October to March! I've been trying to devise a pattern for booties with built in rice/wheat bag pouches that can be microwaved. Wouldn't it be wonderful to slip your feet into a warmed up bootie? Haven't figured out how to do it just yet though. Maybe I need to put some more thought into it, and sell them on Etsy!! ;)

Ingrid Mida said...

Oh I love this post. I am always cold so even though we don't keep our house at such a chill temp, I think I'll steal your ideas.
Best wishes!

Goldylox99 said...

Starr, my husband bought me a pair of microwavable flaxseed booties to warm my feet. They are meant for lying or sitting, not walking around. He bought them from a local massage therapist, but you should be able to find them online.

I love my LLBean Wicked Good Slippers in the winter. They have rubber soles, so I can wear them outdoors as well around the house.

Jen said...

Whew, I don't think I could stand 58 degrees in the winter!! I'm embarassed to say we keep our house around 72-74 wintertime. I am a weak southerner ;) I also have bought arm warmers from http://www.sockdreams.com/ and I love love love them. I used to work in a very chilly office, and found them to be a lifesaver for keeping my fingers toasty and keeping them nimble.

leilani said...

Simplest solution of all, the central heating system set at 72 degrees then lowered to 68 at night. I live in a very small home so I can afford to do that.

this California gal would die in your home.

wendy said...

Love the pants and gloves, will look into both! We have been dialing down a little every year so I love your suggestions! Cant wait to see more of your progress on your stitching, your work is always so beautiful. A true inspiration!!!

Dolores said...

Well, I have to say, I'm a wuss and would turn the heat up if I was sitting for a long period stitching. I like being comfortable and don't want to have my mind on whether or not I'm hot or cold. I'd rather have my thougts on what I'm doing.

Catherine said...

Oh darn, now I feel the need to go shopping!! I'd love to have all the pieces you shared, but really want those gloves!!

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