It’s Canada Day!

You know you are a Canadian knitter when:

1. Your yarn comes in metres and grams, your needles in millimeters and you measure tension over 10cm. It’s too hot to knit at 30 degrees, you better whip up a sweater at 11 degrees and you drive to the yarn store going “60k”.

2. You have been, at some point in your life dressed in a “Mary Maxim” bulky knit, zip up the front, picture on the back sweater (hockey player for boys or ballerina for girls), and despite having been scarred by this, for reasons that you cannot fully explain, you still get the Mary Maxim catalogue delivered to your door.

3. You have had a conversation about Patons Kroy sock yarn, and debated whether the “old Kroy” was better than the “new Kroy”, and further to that, you can identify Kroy sock yarn and it’s various incarnations by the colour of the label.


4. You know that Koigu, Mission Falls, Briggs and Little, Fleece Artist, Patons, Treenway Silks (If you don’t know about them, take a deep breath before you click.) and Philosophers Wool are all Canadian, and are in on the secret plan to take over the world through the magic of yarn.

5. When your knitting drives you to drink the beer is 5% alcohol, and you can start at 19 years of age.

6. It is a considerable point of pride for you that Sally Melville, Debbie New, Fiona Ellis, Veronik Avery, Dorothy Siemens and Lucy Neatby are all Canadian.

7. You have knit a toque. Probably in the colours for a hockey team.

8. You know that if you mail thick knitted socks to anyone living anywhere in any province of Canada, they will come in handy.

9. If I tell you I’m sitting on my chesterfield watching Elvis on tv while I’m knitting you know it’s figure skating eh?

10. The oldest chartered trading company in the world, a Canadian department store called The Hudson Bay Company, used to have a yarn counter, and sold so much of Canada’s yarn supply that most Canadian knitters have yarn from “The Bay” in their stash and the other half have their pattern books. The only thing that would be better than The Bay starting to sell yarn again would be if Canadian Tire did, since that would give you a real reason to keep track of your Canadian Tire Money.


98 thoughts on “It’s Canada Day!

  1. OMG am I actually the first poster in your comments today??
    Happy Canada Day to you and yours, Stephanie!!
    PS- Can I convince you to bring the bookbookbook tour to Florida sometime this winter when you’re freezing your *arse* off in Canada? πŸ™‚

  2. I’m going to go clean out my car right now. I KNOW I have some Canadian Tire money in the glove box. It never really seems to go away. I think it multiplies while I’m not looking. Happy Canada Day from Tex@s!

  3. Happy Canada day! I am very, very intrigued by Canadian Tire Money. It’s pretty… what is it?
    And- here’s the real question- what is this glorious Canadian beer with the extra alcohol?

  4. Happy Canada Day! Your post brouhgt back memories from my high school days, when I spent a year in Canada as an exchange student. And loved it!

  5. I got back last week from Alice Trueman’s Knitting Retreat on Salt Spring Island, very happy with my first visit to Canada.
    I had the extreme pleasure of *visiting* Treenway Silks, and ONLY spent about $200CAD. Of course, I am touting Treenway silk and the wonderful yarns from FiberArtist and HandMaiden in Nova Scotia to all my fiber friends. And I am hoping to find a way to get Growers Extra Dry Cider to ship to So Calif.
    Happy Canada Day!!

  6. Happy Canada Day! I wanna be Canadian, I think I was in a past lifetime. I was also Chinese and Mexican if my tastes in food are any indication.

  7. I don’t believe for a minute you actually keep track of that Canadian Tire money. But to be able to buy yarn at what I assume to be an auto supply place (cultural disconnect?) would be cool.

  8. 11. Your lace project of the week will be worn in the upcoming wedding of a same-sex couple close to your heart.
    Makes me happy just thinking about it. Thanks, Canada!

  9. I think that everybody with a birthday on the 1st of July (like me) should be offered the Canadian citizenship immediately. I spent two year in Montreal (ok, about 49.9% of the Quebec population might disagree with me about the fact that I spent two years in Canada), and MISS it sorely. And now I have to think that 100 degrees is really hot, and inches are 2.54 cm….can I come back and bring my knitting?

  10. in honor of Canada Day (I feel as though I should add an exclamation point: Canada Day!), here’s a list of reasons you know you live just south of the border in a state next to the great Canada!:
    – the toll booths all have signs on them that say “Canadian Money WILL be discounted”
    – one of the local access channels is strickly French speaking, and it’s one of the best channels for watching hockey games.
    – you can name three seperate La Kermesse festivals and have memories of seeing drunk high school teachers doing the “duck dance” at one of them.
    -your high school friends all took trips up when they were 18/19, and discovered that they couldn’t hold their beer, but told great stories about how they could.
    -you are miffed that the grocery store, gas station, and bistros accept Candian coins, but the Mr and Mrs Washies in the basement will not.
    -you plan trips north to see Cirque Du Soliel shows because you think they’re more “authentic” (on top of being a tad bit more affordable.)
    – you discuss why you don’t say “Can-ade-E-a” because the people are “Canadian” and if that’s the case and it’s really “Canada” then why aren’t the people “Can-a-dins?”

  11. Happy Canada Day!
    I’m currently making socks and a shawl with Fleece Artist yarns. What better way to celebrate Canada Day, eh?

  12. O Canada! Happy Canada Day!
    Where’s the mention of doughnuts? Doughnut shops were EVERYWHERE when I was last in Canada!
    Would love for you to bring you and your bookbookbook tour to KC. You get mentioned a lot in the LYS where I work part time and I mention your blog– folks laugh out loud at the name of it.

  13. Oh, isn’t that Juno so cutely naive? Canadian Tire an auto parts place? Sweet. Heeheehee.
    (I want ketchup on my poutine.)

  14. Happy Canada Day. Today I’ll lift a cold bottle of Canadian beer in a toast to your great country and its wonderful citizens.

  15. I am newly expatriated (to California) and I am getting slightly misty-eyed reading this… Happy Canada Day!
    (and I just bought yarn here with “50g/150 yds” on the label and nothing else. You don’t think that they think those units measure the same thing, do you? But then, why the mix? Hmmm…)

  16. A couple years ago my DH and I did a circle tour of the Big Lake. I don’t remember any longer the name of the little town up there on the north of the north shore, but we found a campsite nearby and saw signs for a shuttle bus to the beach for the Canada Day celebration that night. We walked on over to the A&W and boarded a school bus with a bunch of families and a band of roving teenagers and headed down. There were hot dog and hamburger stands staffed by the high school kids and kites flying and little kids running everywhere… True to Lake Superior weather, it was sunny but COLD, and windy, jackets definitely required. We were too tired to stay long, but what a welcoming, fun group of folks. Happy Canada Day! (“O, Can-AN-ad-aaaaa…”) πŸ™‚

  17. Happy Canada Day! I am very glad there is a Canada in North America and a Harlot in Canada!

  18. Happy Canada Day from Tx. Is the bookbookbook tour going to come to Austin?
    I clearly MUST visit Canada, What should I see first?

  19. happy canada day to another northern friend.–but then, i think all canadians are friends..
    I’m planning a fall trip to Montreal–(living in NY this is one of the closer canadian cities) but so far, i have only seen Nova Scotia and a small corner of BC(vancouver island)–the extremes of canada! (and both of them are beautiful!)
    –i don’t count the time i have passed through canada, (i’ve taken the North road–instead of heading west on I-80, and dipping to the south to get around lake erie, go north, see the falls (the canadian side are prettier anyway) and head west on the north side of lake erie.. you can pick up i-80 just west of detroit. Its a worthwile detour!
    The very best to our best neighbors.

  20. Happy Canada Day! Does that last pictures mean you’re finished with the baby blanket????? Hooray if you are πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend.

  21. Most of us can drink at 18 actually. When I moved to go to u of t (from Manitoba) I was a month short of my 18th and was cheated of the traditional birthday. Why oh why Ontario? (and BC).

  22. Happy Canada Day to all of us — both natural-born and married-in (like me).
    Is anything better than the debate about new-versus-old Kroy?
    And let’s face it — those Mary Maxim sweaters certainly kept the chill off of my kids!!

  23. Ohh. More to add to my yarn list of “buy while you are in Canada because it can be tough to get in California”.
    And I have started to listen to the CBC via the wonders of streaming radio via the internet.
    Happy Canada Day!

  24. Happy Canada Day to my favorite Canadian! (well, except for my grandmother) If I happen to (ha ha) leave the house today, I will definitely wear my little Canadian flag pin.

  25. Scuze me while I drool on my keyboard. Pretty yarn. Happy Canada day. Oh, and by the way, #8 is good in Wyoming too.

  26. “9. If I tell you I’m sitting on my chesterfield watching Elvis on tv while I’m knitting you know itοΏ½s figure skating eh?”
    Well, duh. People other than Elvis Stojko are named Elvis? Impossible! My fellow Americans may come after me for saying this, but I’ll take Stojko over that Presley guy any day!

  27. We’re celebrating Canada Day at one of my favorite pubs here in Austin. TX. What’s with the “fries, gravy & cheese curds,” eh? Is that Canadian humo(u)r?

  28. Looks like you get a long weekend, too. My heart belongs to Canada. I said it in the 60’s and now I’m wishing I had moved then. Enjoy and drink a ‘real’ beer for me;-)

  29. I love the “Oh Canada” Song — I always wish I were Canadian when I hear that song. good list!

  30. Happy Canada Day!! Pretty much every Canadian I have ever met I have become friends with and still stay in touch!! Lovely group of humans you all are I think!! Really love having you as neighbors! Think more of you like cousins. HCD!

  31. I work for a big law firm in San Francisco. I just went to the cafe(teria) and there, in celebration of Canada Day, was a beavertail. I am not saying that the fried bread with strawberries was a big seller. But it was fun to know that I actually knew about Canada Day! Enjoy!

  32. For those wondering, Canadian Tire is a hardware/auto parts store in Canada. If you pay for your stuff with cash, they give you a percentage in “Canadian Tire Money” to redeem later at the store. People do keep track of it (for years my mom was saving up for a garden tiller). I worked at one for several summers and HATED giving out, and taking in, Canadian Tire money.

  33. In honor of Canada Day, I am kicking back at my desk with a Canadian beer.
    So, Happy Canada Day, eh?

  34. Elvis Stojko is awesome! And yeah, come to Austin, but you might want to wait until, like, November… Happy Canada Day!

  35. Happy Canada Day! My favorite Canadian memories are learning from the rangers which plants it was ok to pick and eat in the park. You just couldn’t take any of it back into the states with you, especially if you were going through International Falls.

  36. A toque is a knitted hat without a brim, kind of like a sock cap.
    I think you also know you’re Canadian when someone asks you if you want something from Tim’s and you immediately answer “a chocolate glaze and a cup of coffee.” (Canada has the most donut shops per-capita world wide.)
    And you would never even think of saying ice hockey. It’s just hockey. Period.

  37. First-the most donut shops per capita? That is difficult for me to believe when I can leave my house and drive less than one mile in any direction and find one. Actually, within a mile of my home (as the bird flies) there are four Dunkin Donuts and a Heavenly Donuts. Within walking distance. (Well, for me, I think anything within 6 or 7 miles is walking distance. Take that into account and we would find tens upon tens of donut shops).
    Anyway-Happy Cananda Day! I am having a cookout to celebrate (because, why not? Any excuse to start the weekend early and crack open a beer, eh?)

  38. And, for #6, let’s not forget the *wonderful* Mags Kandis of Mission Falls, and! Personally, I quit knitting when the yarn starts to squeak against the needle…this past week in Toronto, that was about 33 degrees! πŸ™‚
    Happy Canada Day to all of us, and a fabulous Fourth of July to our great neighbours south of the border!

  39. Happy Canada Day from a wayward Canadian ex-pat… silly me married an American! I am missing Canada Day in Canada this year… but will be up on Vancouver Island visiting family soon enough. And yes, I have had those Mary Maxim sweaters and beaucoup de toques πŸ˜‰

  40. The IDEA of Canadian Tire carrying yarn made me sit up and go “OH!!” (seriously) I have a WAD of Canadian Tire money just sitting here b/c I never think of it when i’m there. Could you imagine?? Yarn at Canadian Tire? wow.
    I have a vague memory of yarn at The Bay, but I wasn’t obsessed (nor did I have my own spending money) back then, so sadly, i don’t have any Bay yarn of my own. (sob)
    Happy (good reason for a long weekend) Day to us all. I wish I could figure out some reason to take July 4th off too, woo hoo 4 day weekend?

  41. Hi Stephanie…
    Can I quote your list on my blog…with full credit given? I LOVE it and identify with all of it.
    Joanne… The Canuck (from Kingston) in Colorado
    (When *are* you coming to Denver?.. hint, hint)

  42. ..or if you live in Alberta, you can start drinking at 18. Yeehaw. Happy Canada Day Stephanie!!! πŸ™‚

  43. Let’s start a petition…Canadian Tire yarn (nothing oily, though). I can’t think of a better way to spend my Crappy Tire money :!~)

  44. I bought five skeins of Koigu to celebrate today. But Hudson Bay–isn’t that the name of the fiber wholesaler my LYSO gets her rovings from? So aren’t they still in the wool business? I’m 3000 miles away from home on vacation, I can’t go check my Spinoff magazine to look for their ad.

  45. 11. When you say “arse” in every sentence. πŸ˜€
    Happy Canada Day, Harlot. Hoisting a Sleeman Dark to you right here in Mass.

  46. Happy Canada Day, eh!
    I love our Canadian language … chesterfield, toque, poutine … WE ROCK!! πŸ˜€
    My BIL works at Canadian Tire, so I wonder if they started selling yarn there if he’d let me use his discount … Hmmmmmm.

  47. I send people that Treenway Silks URL all the time just to be devious πŸ˜‰
    I’m back home, back up (no Calvin and Hobbes error messages today) and still fondling that wool. Yowsa. Next thing you know, somebody will be up here trying to get me to use a…GULP…wheel…
    Well, the muffler on my car is dead so I DO need another vehicle. πŸ˜‰

  48. My Mary Maxim sweater was light blue, with a rainbow that went between two clouds. I can’t remember what my brother’s was. You mean… not every child in the world has one? *gasp*
    Oh… and it’s 18 in Manitoba. πŸ˜‰

  49. Heck ya, Elvis Stojko! I love Canadian figure skaters. And yarn. And politics, and flag, and national anthem, and…
    My great-grandparents were from Sydney, Nova Scotia, and if I had a way to move, I would!
    Happy Canada Day!

  50. Half of my stash is Briggs & Little and Fleece Artist, the results of many summer vacations spent camping in PEI. But my Mary Maxim featured a horse… the oldest of 5 kids, it had to more “gender neutral” so it could be handed down from girls to boys!
    Thanks for reminding me of so many happy memories….with my Nana, who taught me to knit, and with my daughter, who I taught to knit one rainy day at camp in Cavendish.

  51. Love your post today! Yes we Canadians have plenty of knitty pride to boot! Thanks for showcasing all these great points!

  52. Mmmm, Elvis… Excuse me, I need a moment…
    *ahem* Anyway, the other day I was having a drink with a lovely woman from Calgary who pronounced “toque” as a two-syllable word, which I admit I wasn’t prepared for. However, I knew what she was talking about as soon as I realized what the spelling should be, all thanks to this blog! Gotta love the Internet.

  53. Happy Canada day! I live in Boston, but I used to work for Manulife, and I miss Canadians terribly. And since Manulife did buy John Hancock, I think Canada is going to take over the world, which is a very good thing.

  54. There ARE times when I’d like to be Canadian. Like, whenever you or my good friend Ros (who lives among the Yankees, but is Canadian through and through) talk about stuff that I clearly have no concept of or part in, but can tell that it’s totally cool.
    Happy Canada Day, eh?
    And I do have to say that toque is the grooviest word ever! I remember the first time I heard it (I was in Whistler, you know), and I had her repeat it a couple times. She thought I was nuts. After I assimilated what it was she was saying, I decided it was highly superior to any word we could come up with for headwear.

  55. Man … I’ve been living in Washington State for the past 2 years, and I’d forgotten about Canadian Tire money. One of the guys I worked with in Waterloo, Ontario used to call it “Newfie Speed and Sport”.
    And I wish we could get Sleeman beer here in Washington. We were talking about that tonight at the Canada Day party one of my coworkers held (another Canadian brought here when the company we worked for got purchased by a US firm).
    I gotta second the motion that Canada has lots of (too many) donut shops. Where we lived, there were about 10 within an eight block walk. There are intersection in some cities with a Tim Horton’s Donuts (commonly known as “Timmy’s” or “THD”) on opposite corners of the intersection. And they are both packed. In fact, Krispy Kreme tried to break into the market, but apparently has packed it in (my SIL lost her job when the franchise she was working at closed down).
    See you in August in Seattle!

  56. Oh, yeah – a chesterfield is the proper name for “sofa” or “couch”.

  57. Stephanie, You awesome woman.. you’ve got my husband commenting on your blog. He is going to come see you in Seattle too…
    Do you remember when Eaton’s carried yarn? I think I still have some in my stash.
    What I wouldn’t give for a Sleeman’s Cream Ale right now, Oktoberfest sausage and Swiss Chalet.

  58. Being a Canadian knitter does sound a bit like being a Finnish knitter. πŸ™‚ Specially the metric system, the beer (though I don’t drink it… and you can start at 18), and the thick socks! πŸ˜€

  59. Lucy Neatby is British by birth……and Queen Mary (grandmother to our present Queen Elizabeth) used to always wear a toque (pronounced ‘toke’)it’s a sort of brimless hat, and is a very useful word when playing scrabble…..

  60. You know you’re a British Knitter under 40 when:
    *You buy your new knitting needles in mm
    *You inherit your grandmother’s knitting equipment and it’s all in ‘old imperial’ sizes
    *You print American patterns off the Internet and they’re all in American sizes
    Your needle gauges and three-way conversion charts are your best friends.
    Happy Canada Day!

  61. It’s not just British knitters under 40, it’s Australian too. Milimitres, Imperial and American. Needle guages are a girl’s best friend here.
    Happy Canada Day Stephanie. Hope it wasn’t too hot a day. Our Australia Day is notorious for being very hot (30+ here in Brisbane).

  62. I’m missing being more than one border away from Canada, but at least my BIL is employed in Toronto, and has an inflatable bed all ready for us. We’re going to get the hell outta town for the ‘murcans big day (July 4) and savor the pleasures of the Shaw Festival, the ROM/Bata/OSM, and THE YARN.
    Ernie Coombs/Mr. Dressup shoulda made the list, I tell ya.

  63. That’s it! Can we be sponsored in??????
    I missed it yesterday, but enjoy the weekend- Happy Canada Day!

  64. Happy Canada Day from an almost Canadian – about 60 miles south of the border and due east from Vancouver Island. My first job 30 years ago was at a knit shop in Alaska teaching knitting. I almost exclusively taught the Mary Maxim sweaters and despite knitting one for my son (size 2 with Snoopy on the back) have gone on to live relatively normal life (at least knitting-wise)!

  65. How many out of your list of ten do you need to answer “yes” to, if you are to be considered an honorary Candian?
    Yarn, being able to wear wool much of the year, being glad to have summer instead of fearing it, AND human dignity all in one place!!!
    Will you consider me for citizenship?
    1. I am married to a man who is half-Cajun, making him a descendant of Canadians who were exiled to suffocate in South Louisiana for no justifiable reason…
    2. I answered “yes” to seven things on your list…
    3. I am am American who actually uses the metric system half the time, and if a pattern calls for X yards of yarn, I buy that many meters so I’ll have enough…
    4. I know the first part of “Oh. Canada…”
    5. It’s the Fourth of July weekend in Baton Rouge and I just cannot bring myself to go outside…
    6. I have knit many a toque because that’s what eldery Cajuns call any knitted hat…
    7. My own ancestors are Irish, German, Welsh and Cherokee and as far as I know, none of those nations have ever imperialized nor waged war upon your fair nation, so I am not a threat to your national security…
    8. Canada RULES for respecting human rights. I’m going to suggest to my same-sex-couple friends that gays, lesbians and their friends and families should all fly Canadian flags both as a symbol of gay pride and as a show of support for your fair nation.
    9. I speak a little French…
    10. Leonard Cohen is one of my favorite singers, ever.
    Can I move? Huh? Can I? Pleeeze….
    Dez Crawford

  66. I still have some of my Canadian Tire money, since it was much cherished, and my mother gave it to me to shut me up about how I never got to get anything when we went to the store. If they start to sell yarn, I’m cashing it in.

  67. Someone just asked me the yarn I used for the Pippi Longstockings that I made. And when I pulled out my skeins, I laughed. I remembered your post because the label says:
    Mary Maxim
    It is a small world.
    Tightly knit.

  68. May I add to the list that as a Canadian knitter, your right to knit (or whatever) is protected by a Charter of Rights that guarantees “life, liberty, and security of the person,” and although the last bit doesn’t have quite the ring of “the pursuit of happiness,” it is rather comforting and is working well. And if your right to knit (or whatever) is threatened your court case can go all the way to a Supreme Court where four of the nine justices are women and which is headed by a woman. This is also very comforting.

  69. Happy Canada day! It’s truly great to be a Canadian knitter… your list was funny and just too true. Now, back to my chesterfield to knit a bit more…

  70. ahhhhhhhh Eaton’s…if that’s the store in Toronto, that’s where i bought the fabric for my senior year prom dress while we were on easter vacation…$12 USD…now.try and talk my daughters into a dress of that price …nope…now they’re all older and out of high school..they preferred the $150-250+ variety…only one i made..and that cost ~$120 for the fabric. if i click my heels and ask superman to stop time..and reverse it..can i go back and buy up lots more?

  71. When I read point #1 I could have sworn you were talking about Australia, a few of the other points struck pretty close to home too. Could it be some strange inter-dimensional doorway exists between us?

  72. I once met someone on ebay who would trade for Canadian Tire money. I personally love to spend it on those huge lollipops you can get for 75 cents.
    Last weekend I found the world’s oldest Kroy — it was being sold as an “ounce” of yarn! How archaic!

  73. It’s actually pronounced toohk πŸ˜‰ (an anglified version of the french tuque) Think sock cap, or ski cap, or something along the lines πŸ˜‰
    Des, I think you’re definitely an honorary Canadian! πŸ˜‰
    I love timmy’s mmmmm… delicious!
    We’ve started collecting our canadian tire dollars on mastercard! Anywhere we use the mastercard we get canadian tire money! It’s exciting!

  74. Hey, it’s not just canadian knitters that get the kroy joy. Us aussies get it too. Well, we get patonyle, but that’s just a case of semantics.
    Happy Canada day

  75. in Manitoba you drink at 18 (same in Quebec and Saskatchewan and Alberta…maybe BC too..?)
    But otherwise, yeah, you know you’re Cdn when all those things can be on your list.
    I hate to say it though, but 5% alcohol by volume in Cdn beer is almost the same amount as 3.5% by weight in American beer (3.5% by weight is 4.7% by volume). Of course, Cdn beer actually tastes good.

  76. I love this post. I’m often wary of nationalism, but you sure know how to pluck a girl’s sport-weight heartstrings. Forget “Canada Rocks” — clearly “Canada Knits!” Where are the T-shirts and special free balls of Kroy in select cases of Molsons?

  77. I just got home from visiting my family in New Brunswick… On Sunday, I drove from St. George, on the Fundy shore, up “through the woods” to Woodstock, NB… if you look at a map you’ll see that I passed by Briggs and Little. I saw the sign. I whined to my father, who was driving, about stopping in. We were on a strict schedule and it being Sunday, the store would have been closed. I wept silently seat and vowed to come through there on my vacation. I haven’t been to B&L since I was a kid. Sigh. Only 2 weeks ’til I’m back there.

  78. And if you were Canadian you’d know what a toque was. I’m going to have to look it up. Happy Belated Canada Day from me on Independence Day.

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