Woodland Stash Mittens and Winter Reflections

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Salutations Fae Folk!

How are you!  The moon cycle will start anew in only a few days and as I look back over this past cycle, I can honestly say that I have no idea how it escaped me.  Slipped right through my ever moving fingers.  Every New Moon, I make a to do list for the lunar cycle.  I noticed that my moods shift with the waning and waxing moons.  During the waxing moon, I feel full of inspiration and energy while during the waning moon – I feel like resting my loud mind.   One of my projects was to release all of these mittens that I have been knitting with the odds and ends of my lopi stash (in addition to releasing 3 sweaters – but we know how this goes – next lunar cycle I will hope and pray).

But before I launch into writing about these mittens, I must share with you a little bit about this beautiful life 🙂  While all of my projects have been evading me, I have spent some extremely beautiful moments that I will cherish.   Moments that have really been so simple, yet can satiate my heart for days to come.

Today is a staggering Minus 16 Celsius without the cold north-west winds.   I’m bound up in wool with my  moccasins, a piping hot cup of the end of my summer peppermint, catnip and calendula tea.  Petey is on my lap and I’ve shut my phone off and cast it into the abyss so I can sit, reflect and write.  As soon as the wind whips up from the river to the north, our house is an ice box so I’m very grateful for this little east facing room.  The candles give off a lovely warmth and there is wood to keep us toasty and warm for days in the basement.  My Mom is visiting and she loves to make lots and lots of food so I am content 🙂 We are having homemade Lasagna tonight, with lots of spinach and my favourite food on the planet – mushrooms!

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Woodland Mittens, now available in the Ways of Wood Folk Etsy Shop

This past weekend, much of Canada has a Monday Holiday.  In Ontario, it’s called Family Day.  Here on the island, it’s called (wait for it..) Islander day.   Last week, Jamie, Henry and I hopped in our car and drove the 4-5 hour drive to Nova Scotia for the weekend.

It was a dream.

The weather was mild (mild for a Canadian, below 0 still).  We managed to go snow shoeing, cross the frozen river, have a fire with the snow gently falling in the woods, drink tea with the spruce, visit with my sister and babies, snow shoe to an old cemetery, sit in the snow – so much of the whole weekend was just about the outdoors and feeling the immense power and beauty of our lively and ancient earth.

I have always lived in a winter world.  Growing up in the Ottawa area, I spent countless hours skating outdoors, tobogganing, skiing, snowboarding, building forts, and being pulled by our huge dog Sam on a sled.  Although we all grumbled about winter, that feeling after having embraced the cold air for an afternoon or evening is indescribable. I mentioned that I feel more myself after I’ve exhausted myself in the cold outdoors – it is true.  There is a poem that always comes to mind:

Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver
Mon jardin ce n’est pas un jardin, c’est la 
plaine
Mon chemin ce n’est pas un chemin, c’est la neige
Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver

Gilles Vigneault was commissioned to write this for a film by the National Film Board of Canada in the 1960’s.  I’ve always thought it was beautiful and find myself walking out in the snow, my heart so full and saying “Mon Pay ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver… probably the most patriotic I ever get!  (This is a French Canadian Poem – it translates to “My country is not a country, it’s winter.  My garden is not a garden, it’s the plain, My path is not a path, it’s the snow…”  Both my parents are from the Montreal area so I consider it another home.)

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Our woodland fire pit in Nova Scotia – it doesn’t look like much but we actually had a really nice fire going!

Wintershed

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Ah… but I could write about winter forever.  Its so much more than the snow transformed earth.  It’s reflection and quiet meditation, it’s making and knitting, it’s reading and contemplation.  Others say it so much more eloquently and succinctly than I ever could: “Tending my inner garden went splendidly this winter. Suddenly to be healed again and aware that the very ground of my being — my mind and spirit — was given time and space in which to go on growing; and there came from my heart a radiance I had not felt so strongly for a long time…”  Rainer Maria Rilke

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What does this all have to do with mittens?  Well, perhaps I am not the most profound writer when it comes to knitting.  I love to knit, I love to design and work with colours.  I love the feeling of wool and using up all of my wool.  But to write about it… I would rather show you and then write about whatever my heart fancies.

I say this, but as I start writing about knitting.. I think about what it is I love about it and then well the thoughts come!  The meditative properties, the colour witchery.  I have set out for myself to not buy any wool for the year of 2020.  So far, with almost 2 months gone I am very happy to say that I’ve stuck to my resolution.  Using what I have is so fun and rewarding.  That being said.. I have a lot.   I have been collecting wool for years with no other intention but with the words going around in my head that “I have a small knitting shop so there is my justification for splurging!”   I should emphasize the word *small* so I really don’t have any more excuses for buying and most start using what I have! These mittens have been designed with that in mind – using up all the odds and ends after you complete an Icelandic sweater.

I knit 3 pairs for writing the pattern and all of the colours have been chosen right from my stash.  Some of these colours, I have had sitting in a bag for many, many years.  To see them come to life is so exciting and I’m just so pleased that they will adorn someones hands and not be left to sit sadly, patiently waiting to be used!

The pattern can be found on our Etsy Site Here and the 3 mittens that I have knit over the course of this lunar cycle can be found as well.  I really hope you enjoyed looking at the photographs that we took and might just feel a tiny piece of how winter genuinely makes us feel up here in the North.

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My sketch book for designing the banner for this pattern and to develop a drawing for a wee elfling!
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Winter sunsets
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Handknit Hooded Cardigans and WOodland mitts
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Woodland Lopi Mittens 🙂

I see Spring is beginning to spring on many of you!  Many, many new growth blessings!  May you feel the rebirth and renewal that comes with the rising sun, green growing things and the smell of damp earth 🙂

Leaving you with one of the most beautiful videos I know of, I only wish it was MUCH longer ❤

11 thoughts on “Woodland Stash Mittens and Winter Reflections

  1. Oh Julia, another lovely post that makes my heart smile and happens to be filled with favorites of mine. The pattern of trees on these mittens – trees are “special” friends to me and were to my husband also. The French poem by Gilles Vigneault – I remember reading it when we lived in the 1000 islands region and would visit Kingston and Ottawa often in the 1990’s. And Rilke a favorite poet – such beautiful and wise words. I just finished reading the book “Letters to a Young Poet”, which contains his letters of course. And Enya. I’m now playing her CD’s as I write this comment. Julia, your warmth, honesty and passion for life in all its beauty and simplicity come through each post you write. Thank you for being real – for being you. I’m really liking those foxes 🦊 I see in your sketch book. 😉. And now I must go to Etsy and purchase the pattern for these mittens, for I too have a Lopi stash that is calling to me. Blessings as we approach the New Moon.

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    1. Hello Bonnie!

      Thank you so much! I had a feeling you might be very familiar with the Enya song! It is so beautiful and I think the video that someone made is stunning. I wish that it looped for an hour – I could easily just keep it on while going about daily tasks!

      That’s lovely that you are familiar with the Gilles Vigneault poem – 1000 Islands is relatively close to where I grow I have never read anything by Rilke but for this letter which was sent to me by my sister many moons ago. I really need to read more – I use to read so much, all of the time but when I started knitting like crazy, it really took the place of my beloved books.

      Many blessings for this new Moon on Sunday! ❤

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  2. Oh, your post just has me dreaming of a real winter. Ours has been very mild here in New York. I love a full winter and a steamy hot summer. Speaking of the moon. I am of the Cancer sign. Guess what day of the week I was born on…Monday. I have all the qualities of a Cancer as well. When there is a fulll moon, I get weepy.
    Your post is dreamy and I will check out the pattern for those mittens. Be well, Regina

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    1. Thank you Regina ❤

      I am also a cancer sign! We are very much ruled by the moon (you especially being a monday baby, i am a friday baby!) – my mood around the full moon is always so unpredictable – I can be melancholic or very energetic!

      Be well fellow cancerian! It's a new moon on Sunday 🙂

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  3. Thank you Julia. These mittens are lovely and very creative in design. I am also using up my stash and trying not to buy new. if anyone ever asked me what my favorite food is I would tell them mushrooms. I thought I was the only one 🙂 I love them. I look forward to all that you share on here – words, patterns, drawings, music and photos.

    Rhonda

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    1. Thanks so much ❤

      No, my sister knit this sweater in the mid 90s when she was a teenager! It was one of her first knitted sweaters and I am sure it was one of those lopi pamphlets – the location or name, I sadly haven't a clue 😦

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  4. I also manage to keep the same resolution so far… But in April, there is a big fair near Dieppe in France and lots of wonderful sellers will be there. So I decide that the beginning of the New year should take place around this time from now on…

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