Weatherwit – Keep Me in Stitches

by Steve Sakiyama – 

I had surgery recently. My health professionals took great care of me but I’m glad it’s over since all things medical confuse me. For example, “General Anesthesia” reminds me of a great Greek military leader or the father of the Russian Grand Duchess Anesthesia. And isn’t the “Thorax” a character in a Dr. Seuss book? Anyways, during my recovery I thought that knitting would be an entertaining and productive way to pass the time.

Years ago I joined a knitting club. Although it was a lot of fun, I quickly realized that the wonderful sweaters my mother knit required the surgical precision of a quadruple bypass. First of all, there are a myriad of yarn choices, types of needles and dozens of different stitches. To understand it all I had to relate everything to golf (a sweater requires a 9-iron needle with Titleist yarn and even grip pressure – that kind of thing). In theory, a “knit” or “purl” stitch is easy, but you need to be an air traffic controller to keep track of it all.

My first knitting attempt was a scarf that got progressively wider. The finished product looked like an extended loincloth, something of interest only to the editors of Sumo Wrestlers Fashion Quarterly. Increasing stitches and tension was a constant problem, although it didn’t help that I would knit while watching football. When something really exciting happened I would throw the whole kaboodle (yarn balls, 5-iron needles, loincloth) up in the air in celebration. So in retrospect, it was obvious that knitting while recovering from surgery was not such a good idea, although the sight of a precision knit sweater still melts my heart (“You had me at Purl 2”).

Speaking of an intricate weaving of different parts, knitting reminds me of sunlight. The sun – which we all know you should never look at – emits energy in the form of waves of different sizes (or wavelengths). There is a narrow range of wavelengths that we can see called the “visible range.” When combined together, this bundle of wavelengths appears as white light. However, what appears as ordinary white sunlight is actually very colourful. The longest wavelength in the visible range is the colour red, and progressively shorter wavelengths are seen as oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigo, and then violets. The untangling of sunlight can occur naturally when raindrops split the incoming mix of wavelengths into their respective colours resulting in a spectacular optical phenomenon called a rainbow.

On the topic of yarns, what is the weather outlook for November? The long-term forecast models show a definite preference toward above-normal temperatures with a weak bias toward greater-than-normal amounts of precipitation.

No matter what kind of weather November brings, it is a time to show off your colourful sweaters, hats, and especially your hand-knit scarves. Although the busy stuff of life can leave us feeling just plain old, faded and washed out, remember that the ordinary sunlight that illuminates our spectacular scenery is made up of a whole spectrum of vibrant colours. So get out and enjoy our wondrous natural environment, and embrace all the things that bring colour in our lives that we often don’t notice, like our family, friends and this wonderful place we call home.
~ Weatherwit

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