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Baby Scarf

Curated Submission
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
55 x 25
Materials & techniques
Wool; Knitted
Gift of Marion Leithead
Textile Museum of Canada T2011.3.5
This scarf was made for Marion Leithead when she was a baby in the 1920s in Winnipeg. Fleta Pollard, her mother’s friend, made the little girl’s layette by hand: dresses, slips, gowns, knitted hats, and jackets. Among them was this lacy scarf, which was used to protect the baby’s face during outdoor naps in a pram or on an unheated porch in sub-zero weather. The outdoor nap is a tradition that many older Canadians recall, especially those who grew up in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

In the 19th and well into the 20th century, numerous knitting guides provided instructions on what and how to knit for children; today, they provide a fascinating glimpse into early knitting and an infant’s wardrobe in Canada. To keep babies warm, these guides recommended knitted socks, slippers, and booties, as well as caps, bonnets, mittens, and a soft, lacy shawl appropriately called a “zephyr.” This weightless scarf can certainly be placed in this category.
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