Flora Lopi Sweater & Nature Walks

Foggy Cape Breton Island – a hike in the rain

Hello!!!

I feel like standing atop the tallest tree and just calling out to the wind! I hope you are all well and feeling a sense of renewal or a glimpse of hope!  What a long winter and what better way to celebrate the sun and all his energy than creating and joining nature? 

June was such an important month.  To me, it is the most magical of all the months –  for the solstice, for my inner child over flowing with joy at the end of a school year and the stretch of summer before us, for the peonies and scents, bugs and blossoms, for my birthday as well as my sisters (we share the same day and our menses are synced despite being provinces apart!).  I always felt like June was like a Friday (July a Saturday and August a Sunday) – The whole month filled with the anticipation and excitement for the freedom summer brings.  Freedom to swim or run or eat a carrot right from the earth, dirt and all. 

On the East Coast, June is a fickle month.  Sometimes, it feels more like April where I grew up in Ontario than June.  The peonies are still bound up in balls and the wind, rain and cold persists.  The Atlantic Ocean is frigid and diving in is akin to a polar swim.  I hold my breath and just do it before rushing out. It’s become a type of ritual for me to welcome summer and embrace the ocean, a dear,  ancient friend.

June Evening Ferry Ride
The first picture of my latest Flora & Fauna Lopi Sweater
Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia
Testing the neck – I usually slip the neck off onto a waste yarn in order to absolutely make sure that I like the size of the neck before officially casting off.

I’ll move on… to making and hiking!! Friends, I have been making SO much, drawing a lot and I have to keep it all hidden for many moons. I have alluded to this a couple of times and still have not officially announced what the hoopla is, but soon, on a full moon I will share this exciting news.

This June, we spent time in Toronto, our biggest city and Cape Breton, a wildling place. Jamie is a huge Toronto Raptors fan so we visited the city for a couple of days to partake in the pandemonium (I mostly was excited to eat all the foods we lack and see my sister ). In contrast, we spent time in the Highlands of Cape Breton Island – the most beautiful place in the world! Bias, perhaps a little 😛 My grandmother was born in Port Hood and the proximity of the island to where I went to university and even now where we live, makes it the perfect little get away. I remember piling in a pick up truck to drive up to Cèilidhs in the mountains or to spend a weekend hiking on the trails. In retrospect, I cherish those days so much and wouldn’t trade it for anything (despite the number of times being told an Arts Degree *focused on folklore none the less!* is pointless. Please, if your heart wants to learn and study, don’t listen to anyone with this kind of message! Study literature, philosophy, folklore, music!  If you ache to study something that people are discouraging you from – please send me a message, you need to do what is in your heart).

We managed to cover a lot of ground in the Highlands – the most notable being Pollett’s Cove, outside of the National Park. I love walking because when you set out – your mind may be occupied with all of these swirling thoughts but by the time you find a rhythm in your step and tune in to your environment, your thoughts slow and whatever may have been bothering you is gone. Replaced with a sense of strength in your body and the pulsating life around you – birds, rocks, trees, the wind!  Your just as much a part of this earth as minerals, song birds and ocean foam. Never do I regret setting out on a hike, never!  I only ever regret not going out more! 

On Ingonish Beach with the sweater! It was a rainy day and we had planned to spend it just sitting in the car at the beach – I got excited to think of the contrast of the sea with the sweater so changed in the parking lot and rushed out to get a photo!

And then of course, the sweater, the reason why I chose to sit down and write! Over the duration of Winter and Spring, I knit 1 lopi sweater.  Yes, just 1 (rare for me – I know but this year was generally weird). I’ve named her “Flora & Fauna” because of the botanical motifs (and alliteration of course). I am, I guess what you would call a free style knitter. I design things as I go and they honestly just come to me. This sweater is a result of tuning into myself and my natural environment and just letting what unravels come to light. The result, in my humble opinion, is a magical work of art – one that fills the wearer with a sense of protection and love (or at least, this is what I hope).

I used Lett Lopi from my now dwindling stash – Ash, Light Beige, Ivory and Rust as the colours. My original intention was to do just an Ash and Ivory sweater – I think the subtle and gentle contrast would be so pretty – the emphasis being more on the nature of Icelandic Wool – however, I just can’t say no to that rust colour! And I think seeing a definitive contrast is what makes Icelandic Sweaters so interesting.  What makes them unique and worth twisting your head to think “that’s a nice sweater.” 😀 

I really loved making this sweater.  The colours, the motifs!  My mind is constantly churning about future projects and this is one that has been ruminating for some time.  I thought that Cape Breton, atop a mountain would be the perfect place to photograph it!  How romantic – a vista of ancient mountains, fog, expansive grey sky with the ocean stretched out to eternity.  Instead of course, after a steep trek up Franey mountain (Not only this sweater in my pack but also the one that I was working on – priorities – who needs water or nuts anyway? No one.), I had messy hair and the sun was glaring and the sky hazy from the heat.  Jamie took a picture of me wearing the sweater, looking out at the Clyburn Valley, probably thinking about water, food and cursing myself for my priorities.  It was truly beautiful though and looking back at the photographs (hydrated, I must add) I only feel a small burst of happiness!  Wool and hiking truly can be enough to keep the human heart content.

Wilderness Rustic Cabin on the Aspy Fault Line – this cabin rests overlooking the Aspy Valley and was nestled in a clearing of mature sugar maple trees ❤
Look off at Franey Mountain, Ingonish NS

Thank you so much for reading my disjointed words here today!  I do intend to share a lot more of the East Coast with you all over the coming weeks.  I actually have so much to share and do in general!  

There is a whole garden, so many knitting and art projects, a century home to update, books to read, dusty trails to follow, kayaks to rent, words to weave, games to play, waves to dive into.  There is just so much that summer only begs to grasp.  Thanks so much for joining me here today and I hope there will be many others in the coming weeks!

Bye my dear star dust readers!  Thank you ❤

Egypt Falls in the interior of the island – my phone camera just never does justice to the natural world
I downsized the garden significantly this year and allowed all of these poppies to just come up – focusing on really keeping a smaller garden space cleaned up and healthy rather than constantly trying to grow more and more. I’ll share more this month!
Pangur in the fairy garden
Looking out at Cape Smokey!  The sweater that I intended to share with you today!  I hope you guys like it 🙂 ❤

12 thoughts on “Flora Lopi Sweater & Nature Walks

  1. Amazing, Julia! Simply amazing! The sweater, the photos of nature in all Her glory and your enthusiasm! Thank you for sharing! ❤️

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    1. Thank you so much Bonnie!

      I have been meaning to write back but have been SO busy, the reason for this I will reveal this week.

      I want you to know that i have your card up in my kitchen! It is really lovely!!

      ALSO, enjoy Iceland! You deserve it!!!

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      1. Thank you 🙏, Julia! I plan to visit Alafoss and bring home as much Lett Lopi as I can stuff in my 🧳!!

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  2. What beautiful scenery, and the sweater is gorgeous too! I’m moving to Maine from California in a month and I can’t wait to explore the Atlantic coast. Thank you for sharing! ❤

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  3. I really enjoy reading all your adventures. Your knitting is beautiful. I am a big fan of your fingerless mitts 🙂 Thank your for sharing! Enjoy the rest of the summer. xxx

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  4. Your photographs are truly beautiful Julia and show just how much you are at home in the wilds. As is your latest sweater created from your obvious passion for nature. I really believe that the worlds problems could be solved if we all went back to living a more simple life, spending more time outdoors with fewer ‘stuff’. I do appreciate technology in small doses though, how else would I be able to catch a glimpse into your beautiful world without my smart phone 😉
    I am working on a Lopi sweater in stone blue, I had the sleeves knit for a long time and just found them a while ago whilst decluttering, now the body is knit and joined to the sleeves and the satisfying yoke to look forward to. And yes, there will be some rust !!
    I am so pleased that you are feeling much better, take care
    Jane

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    1. Jane!

      Thank you so much for your message!

      I am really happy that you like my photographs! They are just taken with my phone so I always feel like they are not as nice as they could be, so hearing that makes me feel more self-assured. And, yes, I do feel much more at home in the wilds without a phone and a camp fire as a stove! I agree with you about having too much stuff – especially when we are camping and i realize, I have everything that I need to be happy!

      Enjoy your lopi knitting! I love the blue and rust combination!!

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  5. Dear Julia,

    Thank you so much for sharing again parts of this beautiful world… the trees, the wildness and all these magical landscapes are part of us I believe, but somehow, unfortunately, we separated from them. If these pictures filled my hart with joy and happiness, I try to imagine how beautiful it would be if I would stay in a place like that and connect with the nature every time… in cities is harder and harder to do this, but I hope soon I will move closer to the nature 🏕

    Happy days and knitting! 🤗

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