When I was a kid, about 100 years ago ;) the prevailing wisdom was that you lost 70 percent of your body heat through your head which is why we always had to have a hat on our heads when Fall hit Upstate New York. In my teen years wearing a hat was, "like uncool man". Obviously there's been a shift in fashion and hats are fashionable once again. However, they are also essential. There's a lot of science that goes into prevention of body heat loss but the bottom line is that human beings need warm clothing to cover exposed skin when it is cold.
Cold is a relative thing. In various parts of the world, like in the Adirondacks where I live, cold is bitter, wind driven, below zero temperatures. In North Carolina where I lived briefly when my husband was in the military, cold was about 32 and we had snow once :). Does it really matter? The answer is no. Cold is cold and it acts on the body in some very specific ways. So we as knitters/crocheters/fiber artists have the opportunity to help bring some warmth to communities across the world by making winter warm items. According to a study at the University of Michigan the commonly held belief that a person loses 70% of of their body heat through their head is a misnomer. Bottom line
“You lose as much heat through your head as you do through any other exposed part of your body.” Maynard admits he has told his own family members to wear a hat outside, and he says doing so does help you keep cozy in the cold.The point he makes in the video is simply that you should not expect a hat by itself to do the majority of the work to keep your body warm. He also notes that if you wear thermal underwear, it’s even more important to wear a hat, because the head is then the only point where heat can escape." Says Dr. Andrew Maynard in an article/video in the Huffington Post. Tom Wilson, B.S., MS, NASM Certified personal trainer, runs his personal training business here in the Adirondacks. He told me in an interview about this topic that the reason hats help keep you warm is that the capillaries in the head are closer together than in other parts of the body therefore heat transfers more quickly away from the head. I asked him how wet clothes affected the body in cold weather. He said that "wet clothes will transfer heat away from the body so it is important to have dry gloves or mittens, hats, and socks when out in the cold." Tom is a military veteran with 22 years of service. He served at Fort Drum, near Watertown, NY. His experience taught him that it was imperative during the frigid temperatures to remember that "the body will work to keep the brain and the core of your body warm, therefore it will draw blood away from the extremities in order to prevent damage to the heart or brain" I asked him about yarns/fabrics. Tom mentioned soft wool blends are excellent for socks in his opinion and that acrylic is great for mittens/gloves and hats because it dries quickly. "Anything to keep exposed skin warm and dry" We talked about the various patterns that knitters/crocheters/fiber artists had available, specifically hooded scarves with pockets. Tom said "when it is bitter cold outside looks aren't as vital as keeping the exposed skin warm!" point taken. You can find Tom Wilson's personal training page on Wix. (Disclaimer: Tom is also my husband, but that does not negate his passion for his job as a trainer)
The science-y stuff out of the way let's talk about 4 all around great sites for knitting and crocheting and one site for you sewers! So for crocheters I have 2 sites Repeat Crafter Me, an all around great site for lots of great projects in multiple sizes (especially hats!) then there is also Crochet Jewel another crochet super site. Check out Amy's tutorials! For knitters I like About.com's knitting page. Now I'm not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination but we just purchased a sewing machine. My daughter is a natural, but sewing machines scare me LOL. However, Fleece Fun has some SUPER cute fleece patterns for free! It may just cure me of my fears ;).
Where can you donate? Well we have that covered too! First we suggest you look in your local area. Call your local school district, many schools collect clothes for underprivileged children so that they do not have to go without especially in the cold. Call your local Veterans organizations, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or the AMVETS, see if they would be in need of any handmade items to hand out to our elderly, homeless, or underserved Vets. The Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army, Red Cross or local church groups that might be collecting handmade items for distribution during disasters. Then I want to mention Operation Christmas Child, My Mother's House, Christmas At Sea, Knit for Kids, and Warm up America. In the UK you can reach out to Oxfam, local homeless shelters, and of course Needles & Hooks, Angels & Preemies which can be found on Facebook.
Now I'm going to toss the blog to my daughter T.k. Wilson who is going to share a special project of her own which combines 3 things she loves!
Hi everyone! I’m writing to say that for the upcoming winter season I’m shifting gears in my ministry Restored G.R.A.C.E. Previously, I have been focusing on all types of dolls to give to children in foster care around the Malone area.
But now, I’m going to be focusing on only one type of doll-- our beloved Barbie. Barbie has been delighting girls for over 50 years and is still going strong. Mattel, the company that owns Barbie, has recently made a huge effort to appeal to people of all backgrounds, shapes, and sizes with the new Fashionistas line and the new Made to Move line. Both these lines of toys make all little girls welcome no matter their size or their skin color.
It is this spirit of cooperation that I want to foster with this new effort. So often, children in foster care are ignored by the larger world as faceless and nameless children of “the system”. This drive will provide something to hold on to that is theirs and theirs alone. A cuddly blanket will provide security, a book, offering a chance to practice emergent literacy, and a pretty Barbie, ‘cause every girl needs a little glitter! All of these items will be placed in a sturdy bag, also a sample of dignity for children who are often sent from home to home with their things in garbage bags. Yes, trash bags.
I’m counting on YOU to help! I will take new and used Barbies (used MUST have all limbs and hair intact and have no strong odors), along with clothes, if you feel lead. I will also need handmade and store bought blankets, at least 36x36 square, new and used books (I’d like classics like Madeline, Amelia Bedelia, and Jan Brett’s picture books like The Mitten along with beginner chapter books) and new, large, (cute) reusable shopping/gift bags that can be purchased in places like the Dollar Store. Thank you for your consideration!
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**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.