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Femme dépareillée: Knitting and Crocheting

Seven pairs of Phentex slippers in a variety of colours and designs are in a pile. A pair of children’s Phentex slippers has been placed in front of the pile.


While visiting her grandfather, Alice takes the opportunity to show him a few of her latest creations. He is amazed by his granddaughter’s talent. “You’re getting to be a femme dépareillée – an outstanding woman!” he exclaims. Alice has never heard that expression before: it was once used to describe Fermières who could do everything. There is a reason why the Fermières du Québec have produced reference books about the textile arts, as well as ten cookbooks that have been hugely popular with beginners and experienced chefs alike, looking for tasty traditional dishes. “And here I thought all you made was slippers,” her grandfather says.

A round crocheted centrepiece on a white background. The outside is very pale yellow and the inside is light beige. The stitches form a twelve-point star pattern.


A crocheted woman’s head on a white background. Her grey hair, pulled back into a bun, is made of strands of yarn. She has a smiling mouth and a prominent nose upon which is perched a pair of sunglasses, and she is wearing green earrings. A red label is attached to the object.



As Alice explains to her grandfather, crocheting, knitting and corking can be used to make much more than just slippers. Centerpieces, scarves, sweaters, tuques, shopping bags and toy animals are just a few of the things made by members of the Cercle de Saint-Eustache. They adapt to the needs and trends of the day. According to Lucille Gauthier, who is in charge of the crochet workshop and is an outstanding knitter, “All you need is knitting needles and a good pair of hands, and you can make anything.” You also need patience as most pieces take hours of work to complete.

The love of fibers (subtitles available in EN and FR). Watch the video with the transcript (EN).

Chantal Laniel is passionate about wool. She decided to take her passion further and learn how to spin the raw material, which just goes to show, there is no stopping the Fermières.

On spinning (subtitles available in EN and FR). Watch the video with the transcript (EN).