Canadiana Toque and Snow Fall Warnings


Home Window
Sitting here, this afternoon with the storm


From a very snow blown island.  The west facing side of our house is freezing cold and of course that’s where I find myself.  My small little work room is probably the coldest room in our house, with huge gaps between the old wooden floor boards and a large window facing the westerly winds.   Over the past couple of years, we’ve managed to fill all the pesky holes around the window that let the wind in (I remember coming into the room and there being snow or rain gathered in the corner of the sills!).

I enjoy writing here because of the light.  The light and the swaying trees that dance outside.  When the snow comes down, I enjoy it even more.  And although it may look dark in the above photo, it is much lighter than the basement where we have been hibernating in all winter.  Going into the latter part of January, I’m grasping at whatever light we have.  Dreaming of running in the forest and planting seeds.  So soon, I can not wait!

Arthur Rackham
Knit Touques with my favourite artist, Arthur Rackham  and of course sea walk treasures

But for now, we must embrace the weather.  I live in eastern Canada, surrounded by the temperamental sea.  Our weather can change in 5 minutes.  We experience blizzards and hurricanes.  20 Below in the winter to 40 with humidity, accompanied with lightning and booming thunder in the summer.  Weather plays such an integral role in our lives.  I think this is part of the reason why knitting speaks so strongly to me.  I’m someone who is constantly looking for connection to something other.  The earth, Fae, our ancestors.  I seek constantly for meaning in connection.  Knitting cements your connection to the earth not only because of the natural fibre but also because of the crucial element of safeguarding yourself against weather.  Creating garments to protect yourself and loved ones from the wind and snow.  To protect but also to encourage you to go out and join her (and to feel wonderful doing so)!

Jamie in his Canadiana Tuque and riddari sweater ❤  having a little fire on a milder day

And so!  I have wanted to create some very simple knitting patterns that are essentially staples.  This one in particular is called the Canadiana Tuque simply because it’s a classic tuque that every kid  growing up in this country wears (I say that… but when I was growing up, literally every kid had one of those hats that had an extremely long tail and dragon scales ..?.. or something so you looked like you had an alligator tail on your head… I wasn’t cool enough for one but this is a strong memory of mine :D).  Tuques are simply knit caps decked out with a pom-pom .  Named after the French and Métis fur trader’s caps, the name has carried out in our lexicon to simply mean a knit hat.  It’s one of our unique Canadian terms that yes, we are proud of 😀

My very special human asked me to make him a hat for Christmas this year.  He has a very large head (I think because he’s SO smart but he seems to think otherwise) which has made his life finding store bought hats (or helmets) difficult! While I was visiting in Nova Scotia, I leafed through old 50s patterns for hats looking for something simple.  I think the challenge and increasing competition for knit designers forces them to constantly be thinking up new and exciting things, thus leaving simple.   The result is amazing, intricate and really inspiring human ingenuity.  Simultaneously, I think so many makers are looking for just that, simple.  I know that I am always on the hunt for classic essentials and I’m so often hitting walls when on this search.  And so, I created a really simple pattern, inspired by vintage knit hats to accommodate Jamie’s noggin.   And it worked, he opened it on Christmas morning ( a total surprise as I lead him to believe I had absolutely NO time to knit a hat for him, how cruel!) and it has been fitting him since 😀  I liked it so much that I knit 2 more and have put the pattern up on the shop if anyone else would like to make one as well.

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Canadiana touques and a small painting up in the shop 🙂

The wool in question is our local Belfast Mini Mills Merino 3 ply superwash.  I LOVE this wool.  It’s so soft, it’s affordable, locally made and dyed.  I hesitated making a pattern for publish with this wool simply because they also don’t have a regular online shop.  If you would like to purchase this wool (which if you can’t find a local equivalent, I strongly suggest you do because it’s awesome and I want everyone to know just how awesome!!) you must contact the shop directly – they will in turn send you a photograph of what they have in stock and you can choose and payment can be arranged etc.  I personally, really like this idea but I know that those who are so use to the convenience of seeing “mulberry wine in stock” adding to cart and waiting for that parcel may find it a little daunting.  Trust me, it’s beautiful wool, the people are super friendly and the colours change regularly, making it an exciting venture!

The blue Canadiana – up on the Etsy shop!
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Ronan at the wood shed,  my mom sewed his winter coat as well ❤
Ronan in gold ❤
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Winter moon and bells
a vintage lopi sweater from the 80s, handknit by my mom
it’s normal to regularly pack your bag with things you make on your walk… you never know when you’ll see lichen 🙂
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winter in knits –
storms, one after the other
Little lace Baby Socks I designed for a wee Leigh 😀 ❤

OH but there is so much more to share!!  Yes, of course, a hat and Jamie having an officially warm head – but that is all hum drum compared to what else is new in our lives!  Meaghan, My sister and life long friend / knitting companion gave birth to a healthy baby boy on January 7th, 2020!!!  His name is Leigh and he’s beautiful, wonderful tiny little being.  Little but bursting with all the good things in life.   I’m so grateful and thankful that they are all healthy and that I could meet him in his first week.  My sister Meaghan has no inkling of social media (neither does my brother.. or actually much of my family) so you will not find her there but I can assure you that I have not seen such blissful happiness elsewhere than in parents at the beginning of a flame of life (tired, yes, tired but happy).  It makes me happy to just think of them.

Tiny Leigh, courtesy of the father 😀

A baby and a new passionate endeavor!  I have a WORKING (for the first time in my life) sewing machine – and I can’t even articulate the way fabric and sewing has been making me feel.  It’s cathartic and I’ll share with you my tiny and humble projects soon ❤ The whole process of finding fabric, the sound of scissors cutting fabric and sewing is liberating and an exciting way to express creativity.  I may start making bunting and putting it in the shop, because fabric is expensive and I may need a way to fund this hobby!  More on this soon<3

Thanks so much for reading about my random life and makings ❤  Here is a new little banner for you that I drew as well ❤  Just a tangled fox in the bramble going to make her way down to her den.

Brighter Fox

12 thoughts on “Canadiana Toque and Snow Fall Warnings

  1. Hi Julia!
    Congrats on the new addition to your family!
    Super jealous of the snow and cold weather you’re getting, it’s been pretty warm down here in Boston which is rather scary.
    I’m curious about your knitting, I absolutely LOVE your sweaters you make and the beautiful patterns you create. Have you ever made (or would consider making) any shawls for your shop? I’m sure they’d be amazing with the colors you choose and your attention to detail.
    Happy new year to you and your family (including your fur babies), stay warm! 💕


  2. Welcome little Leigh! So precious and handsome! Congratulations to Meghan and her husband and to you, Auntie Julia!

    I agree with you completely about the vintage knitting patterns – simple and classic. Functional and beautiful. I remember hats like this when I was a child, which was many years before your childhood. 😉

    Thanks for another lovely post, Julia. They are a breath of fresh air for me.


  3. Lovely little blog.

    On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 6:15 PM Ways of Wood Folk wrote:

    > finfolkandoak posted: ” Hello!! From a very snow blown island. The > west facing side of our house is freezing cold and of course that’s where I > find myself. My small little work room is probably the coldest room in our > house, with huge gaps between the old wo” >


  4. It feels so good for the soul to read your toughts on here. So grounded, so connected with the things that are essential. Thank you for sharing 🙂


    1. I so enjoy reading what you’ve been up to! I really look forward to the latest chapter in your snowy world. I’ve just become an Auntie and I share your joy. Xx


  5. Love your sweaters do you sell the patterns for those? Also love the hearing of PEI my Dad grew up there. I have heard many stories of the island He passed a few years ago so it’s nice to hear of the island. I haven’t been up there in years. Peace to you.


  6. Congratulations to your sister and husband! (And Ronan! Becoming a big brother surely is a big deal! 🙂 ) I hope they are all doing well, and all good wishes for Leigh. I think your they both have lovely names. Ronan and Leigh ❤

    And congratulations on the sewing machine, and to Jamie for having a hat that fits! 😀


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