In remembrance and in honor of all that are and have served in the U.S. military on this Memorial Day, it only seemed fitting to recall knitting efforts that have taken place during war times past.
During WWI and again in WWII, women and families picked up knitting needles to help in the war effort. The American Red Cross organized many volunteer groups that knit various items for soldiers serving overseas. Socks, sweaters, helmet liners, scarfs, caps and blankets were just a few of the items that were knit up and shipped to those serving.
During WWII, the knitting effort was further encouraged and women were told to “knit for defense” and “knit for victory.” Patterns and tutorials were readily made available to those who wanted to feel like they were contributing during this trying time, even First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was seen supporting the war effort in this way.
The America Red Cross has made available the patterns used from both World Wars, Life magazine filed a story on how to knit during WWII, and you can even read an entry in the New York Times from 1917 on how to knit and crochet five different patterns.
Today, there are many such efforts still in operation. With war still raging on two fronts, CitizenSAM and The Ships Project, are two such organizations that have patterns and instructions available for those who want to contribute. Soldier’s Angels also has a long list of charities that provide more than hand knitting items in case baking or sewing is more your speed.
CitizenSAM has provided over 23,000 helmet liners and 52,000 neck coolers and more are needed everyday. These projects seem very appropriate to put your crafty talent to use, especially on this Memorial Day.
[Image courtesy The Ships Project]