Knits and Summer Things

Hello Elfkins,

Half way through August and I’m finding the time to sit undisturbed and write. I hope everyone is finding the time (no matter how little) to walk in the woods, dip your toes in running water and sit undisturbed to sip whatever your heart desires. Listen to podcasts, read books and watch the moon rise in the East.

It has been a very beautiful summer, full of going new places and trying new things although I feel like life is changing. It’s my first summer in years that I don’t feel the pull to use social media anymore which is one of the most liberating feelings. A beautiful view and moment undisturbed by a gnawing anxiety! This last week, we surfed on the Atlantic (I truly have no business being out there but hopefully will improve with time!) and camped in Keji. We spent time with family. Stopped in at Lunenburg for lattes at Laughing Whale and slept in a retro trailer on a farm. While at the trailer, I read an entire book (The Spoon Stealer by Lesley Crewe) which was so incredibly wonderful to just sit outside in a bug tent with a book and a beer with the caw of crows as the only distraction. Keji is a pristine wilderness area in the southern part of the province. Crystal clear lakes, mammoth hemlocks and the clearest night sky surround you. The Mi’kmaq lived in the region for thousands of years which is clearly seen by the petroglyphs carved into stone. The name of the park is believed to mean “little fairies” and according to the most random source, one of the 5 fairy mounds in Nova Scotia is located in the park. There is definitely an otherworldly feel to the area.

Slept to the hooting of a barred owl and the gentle lapping of water on the lake’s edge. Summer goes by so quickly living on the East Coast, already I’m beginning to smell the change in the season on the winds. The days are growing shorter and my plants are going to seed and preparing for the colder, darker months. Currently, we are splitting our felled beech trees – slowly but surely. Beech is so hard and it’s a real match for our wood splitter. Currently, our house is under construction – masons are rebuilding our fireplace from the roofline up. Our new efficient woodstove will be installed soon and I am brimming with excitement at the thought of tending a fire to keep our home warm, stave off the oil bill. The dust from the masonry work has really impacted the growth of my container garden so, not that I have given up on my plants but I am really looking forward to next year when the work will be finished and my plants can grow to their hearts content!

On the Wood Folk front, there are quite a few smaller knits to go up in the shop this month, so please do check it out! Some mittens that I knit as well as a few pairs that my Mom knit as well. After this update will be a much bigger update with sweaters and a pattern in addition to a few other knitted and homemade items. I truly love working with the rustic local maritime wool – the coarseness and connection to place. There are 3 pairs that will be available in the shop. Unfortunately, the shipping costs are sky high at the moment. In Canada, I have changed the price of shipping to reflect what it costs – funny enough, it’s more expensive to ship within my own province than it is to send something to California or Germany! So my fellow Canucks, I am truly sorry.

Knitting has been very slow indeed this year. It’s the first year since 2013 that I haven’t completed a sweater (usually, I’d have multiple done by now!). Moving really changed a lot in our lives – we’re a lot more active in Nova Scotia. Life isn’t as slow as it was before and honestly, that’s a good thing at this point in our lives. I don’t find myself watching TV the same way I use to which is when I do most of my knitting. We deleted our Netflix account because it was just sitting there not being used. However, with the woodstove being installed for this winter, I plan to spend a lot of time in our cozy basement tending the fire and that will hopefully mean a lot of knitting and pattern design. I’m currently very slowly knitting the last Pangur Sweater, making meticulous notes and thus leaving it in my knitting basket when I don’t have access to a computer. Every summer, I knit myself one pair of socks so that is currently my project of choice.

More homemade soap has also been added to the shop. I’m currently collecting chamomile and Calendula growing in our garden each day to create a solar oil for the next batch of homemade soap. I love the cycle of gardening – from collecting seeds, planning, sowing seeds and carefully inspecting what new growth is happening. To then harvesting plants for so many diverse purposes! Our property is a fraction of the size of our old one however, you can still grow so much on a small property. In fact, I find the size is increasing our creativity as we find ways to jam pack as many plants as possible around our cottage like house.

The wildflower garden that we planted in the front yard – full of cornflower, poppies, calendula, lupins, phlox and blackeye susies!

So for now, here are a few photographs of the current knits that have been posted in the shop as well as our small garden thus far πŸ™‚ The deck has been a sanctuary with homemade Adirondack chairs that my Dad built for us. It’s my first year seriously container gardening which has been a lot of fun but I have SO much to learn (many of my Tomatoes have bottom rot :/ but then again many tomatoes and peppers are thriving). The bees have been visiting the deck consistently due to the flowering Tulsi or Holy Basil. So friends, if you want to attract some beautiful bumble bees, grow Sacred Tulsi Basil and allow it to go to seed! I’ll honestly never not grow it as this point, it’s wonderfully aromatic and attracts bees like none of my other flowers (except perhaps for the hollyhocks). It’s so rewarding to see them buzzing from flower to flower, laden with pollen. I was hoping to write more about gardening and share what I’ve learned this year but the masonry dust may put it off until next year >.< we shall see!

our sacred space and my sister visiting from the city!

This summer I have taken a break from creating, making, knitting, sewing, drawing. It hasn’t been very intentional actually – the river is just flowing down a different avenue. Although I’ve been preoccupied with other things this summer, my mind is constantly humming with what to create next. I don’t often fall asleep without thinking about what seeds to collect and to plant. As soon as that cold air begins to creep in, things will shift from plants and seeds to wool and thread. Paper and wood. Beach glass and metal. Or at least, that’s what I can rely on (usually the plant plans never actually end, just retreat a little bit).

The ebb and flow of creating is so liberating! To move with the seasons, the sun, the moon. I love being so totally absorbed in working with a garden, hiking and spending time with the ocean while the weather allows it and then when the sun begins to set further and further to the south, when the plants die back and the ground hardens to direct the waning energy to working inside with our hands using the fruits of nature.

Thank you so much for reading my words and spending your precious time with me. I hope you’re well and until next time!

Julia, xo

A walk in the woods

10 thoughts on “Knits and Summer Things

    1. What a pleasant surprise to have you β€œpop” into my inbox today, Julia! I’m so happy that you and Jamie are settling into your new life in Nova Scotia. Sounds like you both are living in the flow of grace and joy. Follow the rhythm of the song of life! I know you will enjoy heating your home with a wood burning fireplace/stove. My late husband and I had one in our place in New York. It was our main source of heat, with a propane furnace as backup. The annual rhythm of cutting, splitting and stacking wood, making a fire πŸ”₯ every morning and tending it all day is something I miss now that I am in Minnesota, but then I realize that I would have to do ALL the work myself here if I had a fireplace or woodstove, which jolts me back into reality.

      Congratulations on finally releasing yourself of the tentacles of social media and the cyber world, and even TV! As you know I left SM a number of years ago, and I gave the TV to my nephew in NY before moving. I never was much of a TV watcher and don’t miss it at all (John was the TV watcher). If I really want to watch a movie I can get it from the library and watch on my laptop.

      I usually don’t knit much in the summer, but this year I am teaching my Minnesota nephew’s wife how to knit 🧢! She comes and spends an entire day with me once every month. I love teaching others to knit! She is doing very well and Is almost done with her first project – a scarf 🧣. Her next project is a hat. And she loves the fingerless mitts that I made with one of your patterns and wants to make a pair for herself. With each project she is learning new techniques…my well planned approach.

      Here in east central Minnesota the air has begun to shift and I can feel it in my physical body and sense the energy changing too – yang is decreasing and yin increasing. Autumn is around the corner…my favorite time of year.

      Blessings to you and Jamie!

      1. Bonnie,

        Thank you for your thoughtful comment – I also feel fall approaching even though it’s 29 C here today! It was a sticky morning walking Henry but regardless of the heat, you can just feel the shift in the sun, the earths slant.

        How lucky you are to not own a TV! I would honestly love that but it will likely never happen. Oh well! I can easily get sucked into watching series when it’s really dark outside at 4 pm.

        YES, maintaining a wood burning fireplace is a lot of work. A lot, if I were to do it by myself, I’d likely need to order the wood completely cut already. We are using the wood this year completely from our own trees so it’s been a ton of work. It feels endless when you have so much else to do. We definitely don’t have enough to heat our house all day but likely just mornings and evenings. The stove still isn’t installed, hopefully it’ll be soon because even though it’s hot today, the weather changes so quickly this time of year!

        That’s so nice that you’re teaching knitting πŸ˜€ it’s a rewarding thing to teach, especially if the person you’re teaching is receptive and derives joy from it πŸ™‚ How lucky she is that she has you to teach her!

        Hope you have a beautiful September in MN <3<3

  1. What a beautiful post and update, Julia! Thank you for popping in my inbox today. Happy August to you! πŸ’›πŸŒΏπŸŒΈ

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Cat!

      And I respond with another pop up in your imbox but of course, take your time! I hope fire season has subsided for you and your garden and family are thriving <3 <3

      Blessings on you this September!

  2. hi julia!!

    beautiful photos & knitting, wow!! i love your color choices w your mittens.

    my husband and i are discussing moving to nova scotia to escape the financial stress of BC. your blog makes it look so magical.

    i hope you’re enjoying your summer and thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

    1. Hey!

      Thank you so much for your kind words!!

      And WOW that is a big move to discuss – it’s true, housing is cheaper in NS than BC but it’s still a relatively expensive place to live (like most of Canada, blah). But then again, housing is more affordable here. That’s super exciting to hear, Nova Scotia is a beautiful, magical, whimsy place. I do love living here and highly suggest it but if you have any questions about life here, feel free to just ask. We spend a lot of our time outside at the ocean or at the forests around here walking our dog. I do hear a lot of people leaving BC and moving back out East but there often seems to be a general lament about leaving such a beautiful place.

      Hope you enjoyed your summer as well! I am ready for fall (although it’s hot today, 29degrees C)!

      Blessings!

  3. We love keji and are headed there soon. What a lovely update. I’ve been absent online for a long time but just caught up on everything. Welcome back to Nova Scotia! We are building our dream cabin off grid on seventy acres up on the North Mountain. Stop in if you are passing through 😊.

    1. Hey!

      That is so exciting! Is it weird that I SWEAR I saw your house up on the market and was curious. I was watching when the housing market was insane out of curiosity and was like “I swear I know that house!!” That is so liberating, building a dream cabin on seventy acres… literally our dream as well in the next few years but on the other side of the province πŸ˜€ Best of luck to you, I’m sure it will be better than a dream <3

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