The humble scarf has quite the storied history, and would you believe is one of the most impactful garments in terms of its influence on modern fashion?
Scarves have been worn since at least the 9th century; our earliest evidence of the garment's use comes from an Assyrian statue of Ashurnasirpal II, who is depicted wearing a grand scarf that appears to mostly be a fashion accessory. In Rome, scarves known as 'sudarium' (or 'sweat cloths') were used, as the name implies, to clean one's face and neck of sweat when out in the sun.
There is a growing body of evidence - though not yet confirmation - that in ancient China, scarves were used during the reign of Emperor Cheng to distinguish between different officer rankings within the country's military structure.
The most significant connection we have today through scarves to the ancient world comes from the founding of Croatia roughly 3,000 years ago. Migrants from Iran - often traveling among migrants from surrounding countries - distinguished themselves from other nationalities by tying knotted scarves around their necks. After settling into what we today know as Croatia, this fashion trend stuck around - and when Croatian mercenaries went off to France to participate in the Thirty Years War in the early 1600s, they brought their knotted scarves with them.
The Parisians who saw the garments apparently loved the concept, and so did a young King Louis XIV - who began wearing his own lace knotted scarf, setting a trend for the nobility that would spread throughout the country. Over time, these knotted scarves evolved into what we today know as the necktie!
In Canada, of course, we tend to think of modern scarves as practical winter wear; something to keep your face and neck from getting frostbitten. They're a simple enough knit that can carry both elegance and necessity, and almost always a welcome gift come winter. If you want a quick and easy project to tackle over the summer, this is probably your best bet.