Friday, June 8, 2012

Montreal and Scarves - Free Pattern

For all of us who feel we've moved past the knitting of scarves, we should think again. 

I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Montreal, Quebec this week.  For those who are unfamiliar, Montreal is a city in southern Quebec heavily influenced by the French who settled it over 350 years ago.  It is devoted to the fine arts, and there are museums, galleries and performance art spaces in every neighborhood. The original architecture stands side by side with modern architecture, and all ages in between.  French language dominates, sometimes to the exclusion of English. French food and European style baked goods are everywhere. For those who want a European-style holiday without the expensive airfare or the jet lag, it's an excellent get away.

One thing that is very French about Montreal is the ubiquitous scarf.  Scarves are worn by young and old, men and women, in hot and cold weather.  They are worn with dressy outfits, and shorts and t-shirts.  They are worn around necks, in and around hair, and at the waist as a shawl. People watching from an outdoor cafe, in 20 minutes easily 40 people passed wearing scarves.  It was 75 degrees and sunny. 

As the DH and I sat savoring coffee and croissants, it occured to us that no two women wear their scarves in quite the same way.  Some pile them in multiples, wearing two or three at a time.  Some wear them swept to the side.  Knotted low on the chest is popular, too, sometimes with fringe or a necklace, sometimes without. 

On a trip many years ago, I asked if the scarf was a fashion trend.  "No.  It has always been this way," I was told by a friend.  "People here are less interested in fashion trends, and more interested in self-expresson.  Scarves make expression quick and easy without have to adust an entire ensemble."  She smiled.  "Once you possess a scarf, you don't throw it away.  You collect them through your life.  Each one is a memory and a small work of art."
Scarf Around
The lovely scarf at left is reminiscent of the scarves available in shops.  If you're over the cowl thing and still excited about decorative neckwear, have at it!  It's by Maia Discoe of Maia Spins.


f1bercat said...

This was such an interesting post. I love that you photographed so many different ages, as well as scarves worn different ways. I am rethinking the scarf.

Anonymous said...

You are so engaging as a writer to say nothing about your helpful knitting suggestions/advice/tutorials.
Knitting is indeed therapeutic ....clearly you need karma with all the CT span vein issues, falling off massage tables, etc. Sense of humor gets you through so many of life's stumbles. Certainly dealing with knitting problems must help the emotional equilibrium. LESSON: when life seems overwhelming, just UNRAVEL and start over again....or in the words of the famous song..."Pick yourself up and start all over again."