I design...I knit...I rock out to my favorite tunes while doing so...and in the end something usually gets created.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Knitting for Victory: A Few Historical Poems.

I recently found this poem about knitting and fell in love with it, and so I thought I would share it with you along with a few odds and ends on historical knitting. It's circa 1918 and taken from C. Fox Smith's, Sailor Town.  Here is a great online collection of old ballads and poems also, link.


In streets that are humming
   With the city's stair...
Or where leaves fall rustling
   Through the quiet air...
There are women knitting

Knitting and waiting
   Through hours like years—
Not with loud grieving
   Nor' sighing nor tears—
In their hands the needles
   Flash like spears.

Every thread a sorrow,
   Every strand a prayer—
("Oh, where sleeps my dear one?
   Or how does he fare ? ")
There are women knitting
   Everywhere... “The Knitters” From, Sailor Town: Sea Songs and Ballads by C. Fox Smith

While we may knit for recreation today, knitting was once a vital part of the war effort during WWI. Many men, and children even, knit to help supplement the clothing being sent overseas. The shear number of knitted articles turned out by the Red Cross is hard to imagine. One fort received 2,488 mufflers and 43,547 pairs of socks during February alone of 1918. The simple fact was, everyone knitted. In May 1918 one school bulletin printed this patriotic knitting song:
Johnnie, get your yarn, get your yarn, get your yarn;
Knitting has a charm, has a charm, has a charm,
See us knitting two by two,
Boys in Seattle like it too.
Hurry every day, don’t delay, make it pay.
Our laddies must be warm, not forlorn mid the storm.
Hear them call from o’re the sea,
‘Make a sweater, please for me.’
Over here everywhere,
We are knitting for the boys over there,
It’s a sock or a sweater, or even better
To do your bit and knit a square.