Northmavine in Iqaluit

I had one wish with regard to my Northmavine Hoody. As I beavered away on it, I watched anxiously to see if my wish would come true. 

By the time I was working on the yoke, I was starting to see purple shoots come up. While I knitted the hood, those shoots grew into leaves with a hint of green. 

As I worked over 1500 stitches of I-cord bind-off …

… the leaves turned all the way green, and buds peeped out. 

I watched as those buds emerged and stretched their necks. I finished the sweater on Saturday, and on Sunday I saw the first paunnait emerge. 

The colors in the tiny stripes of my sweater were inspired by two things. The view of the stormy sky over Frobisher Bay from my friend Andrea’s house:

And the paunnait, dwarf fireweed, that bloom on the slopes in front of my house. (My mum dyed all this yarn, by the way; thanks again mum for a beautiful job.)

We are moving one week from today, so I was very thankful to go outside today and see a whole section of the hill had bloomed. I wanted pictures of my Northmavine among the paunnait before I left.

This was my camera crew:

And we all had a blast, even if our results were a little uneven.

“Can you see my face?” “Yes!” I learned that what I need to ask is whether she can see my eyes.

God has answered all my prayers for a good goodbye. I’ve had special time with many of the people I have grown to love here, and had the opportunities I wanted to give love and say thank you. We’ve received so much love here that I’m bowled over every time I think about it.

The Monday night ladies gave me these kamiik. I’m still in shock.

Knitting this sweater has been a very personal long goodbye. It’s impossible to encapsulate four years in a project, or a place that after four years I’m still learning about. But it is possible to crystallize a couple of moments. Mostly there’s pictures for that, but a put a couple into this sweater.

The cute look…
Or the “too cool for this satellite dish” look

Um, should I talk about the knitting before I start crying? OK! The gauge is just right for the yarn; I love the fabric. But what I’m most proud of is that even though the yarn is cut after every single one of those tiny stripes, I didn’t have to weave any of them in at the end. On the sleeves, I wove them in as I went, in both directions:

And on the body of the sweater, there was this cool double facing thing that closed with an I-cord-three-needle-bind-off, so it hid all the ends. I just knotted them securely and trimmed them short. (The pattern said to weave them in, for the record. Time will tell if that would have been wiser.)

That’s my big pat-on-the-back moment with this one. On the downside “learning opportunity” side, it seems that I’ve made it bigger than I expected, again. It’s fine, but I did swatch a lot. And when you’ve done that much knitting on a thing, it’s irritating to discover that you made extra fabric. Next time I might do all that swatching, then just knit the next size down from what I think I need, and see what happens.

I’m certainly not complaining, just admitting my ongoing learning curve, both with the swatch and the creation of sweaters. This sweater is just what I’d hoped it would be in terms of fabric and wearability. Perfect for throwing on during the beautiful days of Arctic summer, of which we have had many this month.

We’ve never stayed through a whole June before, and it’s been incredible. So many warm, sunny, long days. Not just the paunnait are out, but myriad other flowers. Every year I make new flower friends. These are my favorites this year:

Not least because they’re edible! A lovely lady who grew up here told me that she used to eat these as a child; I can report that they taste something like honeysuckle. I believe they are called milk vetch. I must find out the Inuktitut name because English names for Arctic flowers are consistently unpleasant.

Just today I turned around and saw these that I’d never yet spotted:

They appear to be an even tinier cousin of the milk vetch.

Speaking of flowers, I have to tell you about the buttons!

There’s a lady named Tania who lives in town, and she has a business (Tundramoon Designs) making jewelry out of resin and arctic flora (and other things). At Andrea’s instigation, she’s started playing around with buttons, and Andrea bought these for me. They contain Labrador Tea flowers, and they’re just perfect. Tania has already taken my order for many more such buttons, for a, ahem, future project.

My own little flowers have grown here too. This one was four months old when we moved here, and now her little sister is fourteen months.

I am so incredibly thankful for our years here, for the home we have had, for the friends who have become family. We will miss it very much. But then, Rankin Inlet is only one flight away, so we do hope to come back and visit.

Qujannamiik, Iqaluit.

8 thoughts on “Northmavine in Iqaluit

  1. I do admire your ability to take things in your stride. It must be very hard to uproot and move when you have obviously made such great connections with where you are and the people. I wish you all the good luck for your move and hope it goes smoothly. I am sure you will make deep meaningful connections again as you are so thoughtful and understanding and make such efforts to become part of a community. All the best to you and your family x


  2. Rebecca I love everything about this sweater. I love the symbolism… I am sentimental and think that is such a great remembrance of your time there. I love the colors and the way it fits, it seems just perfect for throwing on on cool summer evenings. And also WOW those kamuk are beautiful. Praying for a smooth move for you all. Bless you


  3. What a special project to have for this season! Saying goodbye is so hard. Prayers for you as you and your family leave one home and community to start another!


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