10 November 2009

Wool hood and scarf for Winter Biking

I'm inevitably prone to catching the knitting fever this time of year.  It's the crisp temperatures and the adding of layers... what would winter be without wool?  We have wool long-johns, wool sweaters, double-layer wool mittens, and the usual plethora of wool socks, hats and scarves.

But never are these wool garments tested more than when winter biking.  The wool long-johns have proved their worth in stitches, wool sweaters always form one of the 3-4 layers in our full winter biking garb, and nothing could be more important than a pair of wool socks (or two) for fast-pedaling feet.  But there have been gaps in our woolen armor.  Even the double-thick wool mittens only make it to about 0-5 C; stationary hands get quite nippy, wind chill is always a factor on a bicycle, and the cold finds it's way through the stitches.  Ski gloves work best for winter biking.

The other cold spot is the face and neck area.  I have usually tried to cover all the bases with a hat that covers most of the ear, a face scarf that covers ear lobes, face and chin, and a scarf wrapped copiously around the neck.  But there's always a little gap that forms between the hat and the face scarf, exposing tender ears.  Our goal in winter biking is to comfortably transport ourselves, not lose various extremities to frost bite.

Hence the latest woolen duo: hood and face scarf.  The hood fits neatly under a helmet, and generously covers all those little gaps left by too much mis-matched head garb.  The face scarf provides a double covering for the ears and neck, with a single breathable layer over the mouth and nose.  A heavy scarf can sometimes prevent easy breathing, and once you are moving along on a bike, the face is warmed by a cloud of warm breath.  In the event that the face becomes too hot, the face scarf can be slid down to the chin, and easily moved back into place upon cooling off.

We are now looking forward to comfortable journeys on our two wheeled steeds this winter, covered in wool from head to toe.

These two pieces are quite simple to knit.  Find a gauge that works with your favorite worsted weight wool yarn, and calculate your stitches for 16 or 17 inches, depending on the size of your head and whether you want a close or a loose fit.

For the hood, work in the round for 4 inches, in 1x1 ribbing.  BO one inch at the beginning of the next row, then work back and forth in stockinette (or find a more decorative stitch such as cabling, herringbone, etc) for 11 to 12 inches.   Now pick up stitches along the side edge, including half of the bound off stitches in the chin.  Work one side, then the other, in 1x1 ribbing for 1 1/2 inches, BO in pattern.  Sew the seams, beginning with the top of the hood, then the seams on the edging.

Work the face scarf in the same 1x1 ribbing, but add one more inch of stitches per row than the neck of the hood.  Work in the round for 6 or 7 inches.


ChicagoMike said...


Also good for a career in Green Crime.

Tee Hee :D

ChicagoMike said...

I am the Green Ninja, I am here to perform late night IPM!

Anonymous said...

thats a great design! I'd add a tassel at the peak, but it might get in the way of the helmet..

d.a. said...

Fantastic design, even for non-bikers! Passing the link to my knitter friends.

Chiot's Run said...

This is very very cool, I quite like it. I'm going to get back in to knitting this year after many many years away. Mr Chiots needs a warm scarf for hunting season and I found a source for local wool yarn - yea!

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

Chicago Mike, it is a bit ninja-ish, definitely essential garb for Guerrilla Gardeners.

Anon, with such a simple pattern, it is infinitely variable.

d.a. it would work for any kind of outdoor winter activities, I'll probably end up wearing it a lot more often than just for biking.

Chiot's, knitting's funny that way... I don't have a single project, or even the inkling of a project all summer long, but as soon as the garden's done and it gets cold, I transform into a knit-a-holic! Must be the changing light too, I need some more indoor after dark activities this time of year. Kudos on the local wool!

Neysa said...

very cute design. Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. i love your web site and will be visiting often (I'm already a particular fan of penelope and juniper). It is always so gratifying to find supportive, like-minded people around, not only for the encouragement but to share ideas. It can sometimes be a precarious road we're walking, so it's inspiring to see how others are walking it. Thanks for your thoughts and your efforts.


AmandaAsABee said...

Love it! And with the world of knitting opening up to me, I just may give that design a try!

Thanks for posting it Freija!

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