A few days ago I received an email from University of Regina about the survey of crafting activities during COVID-19 time in Canada. If you have a few minutes to spare, please consider reading the message from the researches and filling out the survey. I did it. Answering questions about my leisure activities made me think about my favourite one — knitting socks on the beach. And what is yours?
Hello, We are Dr. Cory Kulczycki and Dr. Rebecca Genoe. We are researchers at the University of Regina in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies. We are contacting you to see if you and your contacts might be interested in participating in our research study.
The focus of the research is on crafting in Canada during the COVID-19 social and physical distancing time. To participate you must to be 18 years of age or older and residing in Canada. Your participation will involve answering question on an online survey; estimated time to complete is 15 to 20 minutes. Your participation is completely voluntary and anonymous.
It’s been long and hard four months in Nova Scotia… At some point, between senseless mass shootings, a missing child, and all COVID deaths, there was so much heartbreak, that it was hard to find anything positive to think about. This was the time when I created this pattern to show support for all people of Nova Scotia.
In those gloomy days, we used our flag to feel connected, to assure ourselves that “we are in it together” and that we are “Nova Scotia strong”. Many people would display the flags on their houses and front lawns, often with messages of encouragement and gratitude. It is a bit unusual that seeing NS flags around my city made me feel closer to all those strangers, that a simple act of displaying a flag created a sense of connection. But it was more than that. The message behind the flag was “I feel it in my heart, too”.
I made this pattern within an hour, and knitted it in a few days. And then it was just sitting on my desk because all of a sudden it seemed to be “not enough”. Knitting it made me feel better, but just a bit. There was still too much to process.
And then something changed. The warm summer days filled with gardening, bonfires, s’mores, ocean waves, and fireflies turned my own emotional tide, as if I was given permission to feel happy again. Being able to go fishing or have dinner with friends washed away the effects of social isolation. And so my little flag slowly changed its meaning from heartbreak to gratitude. Conveniently, both live in our hearts.
In one of my workshops for teachers of young children, I ask my audience a question “How do we know, we are here?”
It is an invitation to reflect on the natural beauty and bounty of our province, something we often take for granted. We are fortunate to be able to have a strong bond with our land, to feel its healing powers, to belong to something bigger than ourselves. And that’s more than enough.
I guess, it is true for any place, but we happened to live here. So here it is, for all of you who love Nova Scotia with all your hearts.
I haven’t written a detailed pattern or instructions for the chart because you can use any method that you prefer. You can knit it flat or in a round. I used a combination of Fair Isle and Intarsia techniques. I learned both from Lucy Neatby, a Nova Scotia-based knitwear designer with an artists’s heart and an engineer’s mind.
You can also duplicate-stitch the pattern onto any knitted fabric. There are wide “margins” on the bottom and the top of the flag because stockinette fabric will roll up. You can use any size needles and yarn and turn it into a large pillow or a small wristband.
This is a Nova-Scotia’s-flag-inspired badge due to creative use of colours. I hope that people would see it as an artistic rendition, not breaking the official rules…
So if you dare, you can wear your heart on your sleeve, too!
If you find yourself feeling anxious about so many unknowns during the pandemic, then channeling your mental (and physical) energy into something useful could be helpful. If you feel sad and helpless hearing all the devastating news in Nova Scotia, maybe taking up a small, meaningful project could help. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but we won’t know it until we try.
Here are a few small projects that seems to fit the occasion. The first one is purple baby hats for the IWK. I just checked with their Volunteer Resources staff, and this is the recommendation from their web page:
*If you are looking for a way to contribute knitted items to our patients and families after our restrictions lift, we encourage you to refer to our sample pattern for baby hats here:
The hats can be made with any colour and every baby gets a hat after their first bath. However, these are the only patterns that the Birth Unit would accept. Before the pandemic, the hats made with different patterns would be given away to families but now it is not an option.
Pandemic or not, babies are still being born everyday. And now — more than ever — parents need support in understanding that infant crying is normal and that there are strategies to deal with frustration that it might cause. The purple hats are a part of the educational package about the Period of PURPLE crying, a program that helps prevent a Shaken Baby Syndrome. The hat serves as a visual reminder, and it is also a nice little gift that keeps baby’s head warm. Since the Volunteer Resources office is closed, there are no donations coming in right now but this will change at some point.
If you choose to knit purple hats, hold onto them. The idea is that they can be washed before they are given to the babies. I will keep you updated when the IWK can accept the hats.
The second project was suggested to me a few month ago and I was waiting for a fitting occasion to publish it since it has emotional weight. In some ways it seems fitting now, as a reflection about hardship, loss, resilience, strength, support, fighting together, and the temporary nature of all things. This is also a community-supported project where many knitters can contribute their work to this cause.
Poppy Blanket Project
Looking for knitters that would like to contribute to a community poppy art project. These handmade poppies will be sewn onto a canvas to be displayed indoors or outdoors as a Remembrance display in the community for November 11th. Included are examples of displays that have already been done. For more information please call Chantal Beaulieu at 902-469-3550 or email at email@example.com. Please note, these poppies will be for display only. They are not to be worn as a replacement of the legion’s poppy campaigns. We want to support our legions while honoring them through a poppy art display. Here are some examples:
You can also knit a heart. And you can dedicate it to anyone, even if you can’t give it to them. I designed this pattern long time ago and thoughtful knitters where using it for all kinds of occasions. Some projects posted on Ravelry make me tear up, yet I am glad they could use the pattern to express both their love and their loss. Click on the button below to get the pattern and you can see the step-by-step instructions in this post.