We adore people, and love to know more about YOU, dear readers!
Today, we get to know more about a group of knitter-friends from Montreal, passionate about needlework and other creative endeavors. They first met on Instagram, before gathering at La Maison Tricotée.
For this group of French expats, knitting has been central to their integration to Québec. It is a great pleasure for us to meet with them whenever we can, to chat & knit a few stitches together.
. First, tell us a little more about you:
Mélina: I live in Montreal with my spouse and my 3.5 year-old daughter. Knitting is a way for me to have a social & creative activity and to integrate well in Québec society (I’m French and have been here since 2012).
Chloé: I am 34 years old, I am French, I’ve been living in Montreal with my spouse for the past 4 years. I like all kinds of crafts – knitting, sewing, sketching, writing… I also love cooking! Professionally, I am a marketing & business development consultant.
Perrine: I am 31 years old, I first came to Montreal in 2009 with my spouse – we caught the Montreal bug! We came back definitively in 2012 and have obtained the Canadian citizenship a few months ago – like our two children, who were born here. It is in Québec that I became a more knowledgeable reader. I work in television, in production/ postproduction.
Adeline : I will soon be 31 years old, mother to 2 little beasts : Marilou, 3.5 years old, and Antoine, 18 months old. I am a social worker, focusing on employability.
. How did you learn to knit?
Mélina: I wanted to learn how to knit for the longest time before taking a beginner’s class at Montreal’s La Bobineuse in 2014, while 8-month pregnant. I took classes for a whole year after that, learning to make shawls, then socks, and finally fair isle.
Chloé: My grandmother, a great fan of knitting, taught me as a child and I always knitted a little during winter – usually a neverending scarf with old yarn given by my grandma… I became a more serious knitter after moving here, to make hats that would be appropriate for Quebec winters! I took a class at La Maison Tricotée to re-learn the basics and I discovered beautiful yarns & colors, then Ravelry and the knitting community.
Perrine: Unlike many fellow knitters, my grandmother didn’t teach me how to knit, or even my mother, who knitted a little bit – but at 15, do you really want to listen to your mother about anything? I taught myself by following charts from Phildar catalogue upon starting university at 17, my first time living alone in an apartment. This means that I learned in a weird way, I was knitting continental but purling English-style! When I moved to Paris and started spending more time in transit I knitted more and more, and my productivity exploded after my arrival in Québec! I discovered hand-dyed yarn, natural fibers, patterns other than Phildar!! I’m unstoppable now.
Adeline: My mom enjoys sewing, she told me she knew knitting basics so I asked her to teach me : bit mistake! She almost fed me the needles! I tried again when I was pregnant with my first child about 4 years ago, by taking a class with Céline! Best idea! I started with a layette, hat and cowls, then a shawl… I’m more adventurous! Challenge for this year : a sweater for me and brioche.
. Your tips, sources of inspiration:
Perrine: Instagram is a source of inspiration for yarn especially. I like to see the drape of a yarn once knitted. It is often an important factor when choosing patterns on Ravelry. I like to look at my Ravelry “friends”’ inspirations, which led me to Amy Miller’s designs among others…
. What does knitting bring you? What does it change in your life?
Mélina: I always enjoyed having a creative outlet, including bobbin lacemaking between the ages of 18 and 25. As lacemaking if not very compatible with kids, knitting allows me to keep creating with fiber. Knitting also allows me to relax after work. It allows me to fulfill my creative/artistic side. I don’t like sitting with idle hands, like watching TV. Knitting means my hands are busy.
Chloé: Knitting is relaxing and brings the satisfaction of making something with my hands – I spend my days in front of a computer, in a rush, so that moment in the evening when I have a little time to pick up my needles helps to really rest and discard the day’s stress. And wearing handmade knits is so satisfying!
Perrine: Knitting is relaxing and brings me a lot of personal satisfaction. I like the idea of an activity that allows me to take something concrete out of it. I’m goal-oriented in general. When I was running, it was with the goal of a specific race in mind, when I knit it is to get a garment, to please someone, to dress my kids with something different from everyone else. It also stimulates my brain, I’m still learning many years after finishing school! I knit everywhere, in transit, while walking on the street (but not during winter!), on my lunch break at work, during the evening, during my kids’ bath. Making many things at once is a challenge and I like it.
Adeline: It is relaxing, I can knit next to my husband while watching TV, it keeps me busy and gives a positive result. But more than that, knitting gives me a social circle, friends! When I arrived in Montreal, I was not the most sociable person, and knitting taught me a lot and allowed me to meet my best friends!
. Where should one go when visiting your city?
Perrine: Living here, I discovered and learned to love the art of brunch: at Byblos on Laurier or Café Sfouf on Ontario, which has room for young kids. I would also suggest running through parc Lafontaine or, for the more ambitious, climb Mont-Royal and enjoy the sun on the Belvédère before speeding back down.
Adeline: For a walk in nature, the Bellerive promenade in Montréal Est. For a coffee de Froment et de Sèves bakery. A good crêpe at Juliette et Chocolat, tea at Camellia Sinensis and a literary coffee at l’Éditeur Café. For a family activity: Céramique Café.
Banner illustration credit: Chloé Martineau