A Scarf For Henrietta!

October 9, 2008

Henrietta Muir Edwards was one of the famous five women in Canada that succeeded in having women declared “Persons” in front of the law in 1929.  She was 30 years older than some of the other 4 women involved, and died two years later.  She began her activism much earlier than the other women in 1875 in Montreal.  Now ask yourself what stereotypes or preconceived notions you already have in your head about this woman?  What about if I tell you she founded a magazine for working women (what, women worked?) with a friend, and financed it with art work?  That she was from an affluent family, but instead of relaxing in privilege decided to take up the cause of increasing the rights of women, rights that were often overlooked in a mans world.  She, with Lady Aberdeen, founded the Working Womans Association, the forerunner of the YWCA.  In your head do you see her as a pretty woman, ugly, unmarried childless, or surrounded by family?  In fact she married and had three children, and moved to Saskatchewan with her husband.  Do you wonder which women the Working Womans Association represented?  Were they just teachers, governesses, nurses, that all stopped working once they married?  In fact at this time a lot of dirty, hard labour, nasty work was done by women in sweat shops, in which they were abused by ruthless bosses, and made to work long hours for little pay.  With few rights under the law, they didn’t have many options if they were being persecuted.  This was Henrietta’s cause, the cause of the working woman.  Now, I decided to gift a lovely pink scarf on Henrietta before I knew much about her:

This scarf is light, beautiful, softer than cotton candy around your neck.  The blend of kid mohair and silk create a warm halo, and is very nicely set off by the simple pattern of the Hazy Pazy scarf:

The dropped stitches look like tiny delicate butterflies, and in this photo you can just see the subtle shifting of the pinks that blend from light to a darker pink, expertly dyed by Ms. Wooly Wonka in the American Beauty colourway.  But I bet this hardlined activist visiting dirty, dark sweatshops did love pretty things like most women do, not matter how rough and tough they are.  Perhaps she would have worn it to tea with her friends, where they discussed their progress on becoming persons:

Or perhaps she would have let her activist side hang out completely, and rebel a little bit:

She was such a rebel wasn’t she?

I like these statues more and more each time I go by them.  It is so interesting to see how people interact with them, even if they have no idea what they mean.  They are in the Olympic Plaza in downtown Calgary.

Photoshoot styled by Knittingwater and Mr. J. 

By the way, it snowed here yesterday in the city, and was below freezing this morning!!  I realize it isn’t that cold yet, but I was cold, and am doubting my ability to make it through another winter without freezing, collapsed in a snowdrift.

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5 Responses to “A Scarf For Henrietta!”

  1. margene said

    Ms. Henrietta deserves your beautiful scarf! We’re expecting snow this weekend. Winter cometh quickly!! Make cowls and gloves, quick!!

  2. Cheryl S. said

    Hip, hip, hooray for Henrietta! I love the last photo. And it’s a beautiful scarf – I’ve got a skein of yarn I’m thinking of using with that pattern.

  3. Jeanne said

    I can’t believe it snowed already! Beautiful scarf – and great photos!

  4. Anne said

    Great photo shoot and info-mercial on Ms. Henrietta! She rocks. The scarf does too. 😀

  5. You can do it, Canadian Grrl! You’ve got your knits to keep you warm!

    We’re getting snow this weekend, too.

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