Need a winter fix?

I’ve got a couple of ideas. Washington County Library kicks off its Winter Reading program for adults – Winter Jackets – on February 1. Sure it’s great to get outdoors during the day to participate in all of the fun activities available to folks who live in our zone, but at night — when the house is cold because you’ve purposely turned down the thermostat to save on the heating bill, donning a “winter jacket” of some sort and reading a book is a good way to spend the evening.

For me, winter reading has always been a pleasure. At home on our Wisconsin farm in the fifties and sixties  – when the only heat was a couple of space heaters, one in the kitchen and one in the living room – our house was  cold in winter, especially since the stoves ran out of fuel in the middle of the night. The upstairs where my brother and I had bedrooms only had a bit of heat coming from a tiny register in the floor. It was bone chilling to get up and get dressed in the cold. During cold snaps, the windows were completely frosted over – a slate for young artists! Maybe even more so then than now, it was good to crawl under the covers in my bedroom – away from the noise of the TV and the humdrum below – and read a book.

Find out about participating in Winter Jackets at Librarians have put together a list of suggested titles for the program — available online or pick up a paper copy when you visit your local library. If those titles don’t suit your fancy, ask a librarian to help you hunt down a title that does!

Another activity that I find particularly helpful in winter is knitting. The temperatures fall, and my thoughts turn to knitting needles and yarn. For me, the yarn conjures up a feeling of warmth. I love the feel of the strands of yarn in my fingers. I have to make a trip to my local yarn shop in Mahtomedi – Lila and Claudine’s – to look at the fine array of yarns, to get ideas for projects, to revel in the spirited conversation of the knitters present there, shopping or sitting together to knit and chat.

Washington County Library has help for knitters, too. Find your next knitting project in the pages of one of our books, or search magazines online for a pattern. I have to admit, I go for the simple projects – mittens and scarves and such, but the task of knitting is ever so rewarding: my granddaughter arrived at our house a few days ago, announcing, “Look, gramma, I’ve got your mittens on!”

Not everyone will be enamored with my knitting fix, but I hope everyone will find some time to read away the cold.

Library Woman is Joey Halbach, Community Relations Librarian for Washington County Library. Contact her at: