A balaclava and doggy tails.

During one of our many chats on Facebook whilst temperatures were absolutely freezing, son no.2 asked me if I would knit something to completely cover his head as his morning walks to uni were leaving him frost bitten around his face. I should clarify that his halls are about two miles from uni and in the first week he waited hopefully for a bus, which just sailed by without stopping as they were full, so after discussion as to what the best course of action was, whether he should leg it to the next main road which runs parallel and has buses which go in the same direction or should he bite the bullet and walk it. He decided after a couple of trial runs that he would walk. But this decision was made in the autumn. Come the sudden drop in temperature he started to feel the cold and when the snow and ice mixed together to form minus ten Celsius, he moaned ever more loudly for a balaclava.

I understood his pain as I remember the very cold winters of my childhood, when ice was on the inside of our single glazed windows an inch thick, until March. I particularly remember one hedonist winter where my nan had knitted me a black balaclava which I absolutely adored as I was so warm whilst trotting down the road to Junior school – she made me some bottle green gloves too! Such pleasures I still dream of.

I finished son no.2’s balaclava just under the wire, it was more knitting than I had imagined and he has taken it with him as he’s gone back to uni today.

The pattern was written by Bonnie Lang called a helmet liner which she has kindly donated to Citizen SAM. As the US forces are no longer accepting knitted helmet liners as the military have started to issue their own I don’t feel guilty about using this pattern for my own son.

I used Rowan Pure Wool Aran in Grey and used nearly two balls. I lengthened the neck ribbing from 6 inches to 8 inches as I wanted it to have enough length especially when it was being used to cover his face.

And it seems to be a nice fit for him.

He rather liked this idea until he quickly realised that his glasses steamed up,

so he went for this look instead. I think he rather likes it. I’ve had to advise him to take it off before entering a building so as not to scare people in case they think he is a criminal or perhaps a member of SWAT.

And I hope he’s not going to be pulled over by the police and searched, that they will understand its just a boy wearing a hand knitted garment over flowing with love from his mother. (such is the world we live in that you have worries like this!)

Son no.2 was recounting a blog that he reads, well he was trying to tell us but was laughing that heartily he couldn’t get his words out. So he decided to show me, and I have to tell you that this blog is quite hysterical. Hyperbole and a half One blog post tells the tale of how intelligent her dogs are. Years ago I can remember different ways that people used to test Gun dog puppies to see if they would make the grade in the field., so we thought we would give it a go. Although I knew it was a forgone conclusion that Charlie – golden retriever extraordinaire would beat paws down Pip the lurcher who you can hear the wind whistling between his ears.

First test, throw a blanket over your dog and see how long it takes for the dog to remove itself.

Pip, shook himself free within 25 seconds. Charlie will be quicker than that I thought.

But no, Charlie just stood still, whilst gently wagging his tail. He was not troubled, we’ve played silly games before, he trusts us – it is not because he is a dog of no brain. 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, seconds passed,.. the boys started laughing triumphantly,,,, I was squeaking “he’s brighter than that lurcher, come on Charlie!” Eventually, 44, 45, 46, Charlie free’s himself to much applause.

We have a second game. This time you hide food inside an upturned beaker. And the dog that is most intelligent will be the first to turn the beaker over to eat it.

On your marks, get set, Go !!!

And what does my highly intelligent (honestly, he is)retriever Do… He lays down and looks at it, because he is a dog of manners and has been taught not to snaffle food on the ground. The boys were in hysterics as the dog of no brains, but is cheeky where food is concerned, stole the food right under my golden boys nose.

All I can say is humph!

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