K is for Knitting

Knitting for Victory

During World War Two those on the home front could contribute to the war effort by knitting for the troops.

Knitting was more than a hobby in wartime. Millions of women, children and even men in Allied countries were called to ‘knit their bit’. Countless knitted items were created throughout the war and they were put to good use, especially in the days before synthetic fabrics. Socks, sweaters, vests, gloves, balaclavas and scarves were produced by the ton. Patterns were widely circulated and aided the production of everything from steel helmet caps to amputation covers.

As part of our craft programme at the Northern Ireland War Memorial, on Saturday the 13th of February we will be hosting a beginner’s knitting workshop. This class ‘If You Can Knit – You Can Do Your Bit’ will teach you how to cast on, how to knit, how to purl and how to cast off as you make a simple bow tie.

The class is free and all materials will be provided on the day, however advanced booking is required as spaces are limited. If would like to come along please email Jenny Haslett at education@niwarmemorial.org or alternatively you can call us on 028 9032 0392.

Did you know – Knitting codes*

During the Second World War the Office of Censorship banned people from posting knitting patterns abroad in case they contained coded messages. There was one occasion when knitting was used for code. The Belgian resistance recruited women whose windows overlooked railway yards to note the trains in their knitting. Basic stuff: purl one for this type of train, drop one for another type.

*This extract was taken from an article printed in the Telegraph on the 18th of February 2014: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the filter/qi/10638792/QI-how-knitting-was-used-as-code-in-WW2.html

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