In 2015 my husband, Roger, and I visited Newfoundland; we rented a vehicle and hit the road.
The breathtaking western shore drive took us through Gros Morne National Park and along the coast to L’Anse aux Meadows.
A knitter for most of my life, I was struck at the knitting industry alive and thriving on the island.
The phrase “Who knit you?” means “Who is your mother?” – which is a very apropos phrase coming from Newfoundland language idioms.
I get my wandering bug and knitting mojo from my Mum. She visited Iqaluit and Whitehorse. And she was always visiting friends and family across Canada.
Every walker knows that a good pair of socks is essential to a pleasant walking experience. So when I thought of a Canada 150 project, I thought socks – knitting socks, to be precise. Knitting, as my friends and family know, is a passion of mine.
I am a journey knitter – well that’s my phrase. While I enjoy the finished product, I enjoy the process, too. Finding the right pattern and yarn, casting on, watching a pattern or colour unfold as the rows are knit…
Once my idea floated in the knitting universe, I attracted people who wanted to help with my project. Kristin Keller (Thunder Bay) created 13 special sock yarns representing Canada. I gave her some ideas – places or events in every province that meant something to me.
I am a fortunate person. I have visited or lived in every province and territory in Canada. Well, Nunavut didn’t exist when I lived there (mid 1980s), but it was a time when the people were just beginning to develop the idea of a new territory.
I arrived in 1984 to the town of Frobisher Bay; which had a name change to Iqaluit by the time I left in 1987.
In 2009 we walked from Sydney, Vancouver Island to Nanaimo; a distance of approximately 100 kilometres along the Old Island Highway. The towns there are about 20 kilometers apart – a perfect day’s walk. Different knitting styles and techniques across Canada can be fascinating. The self-striping yarn for Newfoundland, for example, represents the Jellybean Row housing in St. John’s. These colourful houses in downtown St. John’s give the area a vibrant aura. Self-striping yarn has more than one or several colours wound into it. The yarn is designed to make a striped pattern on its own without the knitter having to think about it while knitting.
Keller created a Northwest Territory yarn celebrating their territorial bird, the gyrfalcon. And oh, Ontario – a beautiful combination of greys and greens highlighting the Canadian Shield.
I found other independent yarn dyers via the internet and most recently through the Canadian Indie Yarn and Fibre Facebook group.
I have used unique patterns on different socks. The British Columbia sock is a combination of shell patterns. And I attached shells from the walk along the Old Island Highway.
I knit a fleur de lis, highlighted with gold thread, on the socks for Quebec.
While I have not yet walked across Canada, I have put my feet down on many spectacular Canadian landscapes. Knitting socks and sharing yarns and patterns on the Facebook page for this project, called “The Sock Project – 2017 Canada 150” is helping me remember all the great places in Canada I have visited.
So who knit you? And what Canadian experience will you celebrate in 2017?