We have had our share of car troubles this year. I won't bore you with all of them right now, just the one that led to some knitting.

When Smokey and I were driving home from our Temperance River camping trip in August, we had a slight problem when he was turning the mini-mini-motorhome around in a driveway on a side road off Highway 61 a bit north of Duluth. It was dusk and too dim for me to get a photo, so I'll have to paint you a word picture.

Imagine the mini-etc. backed into a driveway just a leetle bit too far, so that the left back wheel is off the edge of the driveway. This driveway spans a ditch and the edges of it drop off quickly. With that wheel over the edge there was no way we could drive out of the predicament.

We walked down the driveway through the woods to find the house and see if we could use their phone to call a tow truck (cell phone = dead battery; car charger = broken).  We found the homeowner working on an outboard motor in his pole shed/workshop/garage. When Smokey asked about using the phone and described our plight, the guy, name of Harley, said he could pull us out, no problem.

"Which would be better to pull you out, do you think?" he asked. "My tractor or my dump truck?"

Moral: if you are going to get your car into a non-drivable state, do so in the driveway of a man with a tractor AND a dump truck.

Harley pulled us back up onto the road with his dump truck and refused any sort of payment.

We continued on our way.

But I had noted his head and foot sizes, thinking idly that I could knit him a pair of socks or a hat in gratitude. Socks seemed to have too many variables — size, fit, fiber, color, preferred thickness — so I went for the hat. Because he lives on the North Shore, land of the voyageur, I thought a tuque would be the thing.

Dale-Harriet came to my aid with an authentic tuque pattern, plus some history. I used the DK superwash wool left over from my multicolor striped raglan.

  Toque 1

Toque 2

Yarn: Phildar Pure Laine 3-1/2 (apparently discontinued), DK weight, colorway 'Corsair', 3+ skeins (350 – 400 yds.).
Needles: Addi Turbo US#6 (I think; might have been 5s).
Pattern: (I'm not telling; Dale-Harriet said she is veeerrrrryyyy particular about who she shares her patterns with.)

Here's what I told Harley about the hat in the note we enclosed with it.

p.s. The hat pattern is from a friend in Madison who is a re-enactor in French fur trading-era stuff. Here is what she told me about it:

Regarding the Toque Pattern (as I sees it)

A sailing vessel, the Machaud, went down in the mid-18th century in icy Canadian waters. Among the artifacts found on her (and we have a book with photos of the lot) they found a toque precisely the same construction as mine. We re-enactors call that “provenance” and it makes my toques valuable to the voyageurs!  Now, in those days most knitting was done on steel “knitting pins” – but a dear friend examined the original and said that he thought it looked like it was done on what we’d call maybe #7 DPNs!  (His wife knits; he knows whereof he’s looking). The voyageurs (being French or Canuck and therefore vain) generally go for “rouge” – I use something between a brick or burgundy or darker red, or something with an orange off-cast. The other favorite is “French bleu”, a sort of grey-blue. [like yours!]

But you’re not bound by Authenticity Hounds and so can use whatever strikes your fancy.

This entry was posted in hats, knitting, Motorcars, North Shore, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Tuque!

  1. Guinifer says:

    Oooo. My brother is a re-enactor (??) and he would be beside himself if I were to present him with an authentic tuque. (We are also of Quebecois “provenance”…my maiden name is Boisvert!) If your friend would be of a mind to sell her pattern to me, I would be so thrilled. Please let me know if you would pass on my request!

  2. Chris says:

    That’s a very cool way to show your gratitude.

  3. mary lou says:

    Cool. I hope he likes it.

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