Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Knitting for soldiers

As I knit on a new project involving a long strap of garter stitch I found a memory from when I was a kid.
I thought all my relatives were crocheters rather than knitters, but as I watched my strap develop I suddenly remembered my grandmother, Lola Metzger, knitting yards and yards of beige fabric in garter stitch on miniscule needles. I remember her saying they were bandages and would be shipped overseas.
This morning I did a little research and found this:
Knitters also produced 15-20 foot stretch bandages. The bandages were knit with 100 percent cotton yarn in garter stitch. Garter stitch (all stitches knit, none purled) produces a stretchy fabric that lies flat on the edges. The finished bandages were sterilized and shipped to medical units worldwide.
The entire article, which discusses all sorts of knitted products made specifically for soldiers can be found HERE

and a similar article HERE

One of the points the articles made was that, despite machine-made knitted garments being readily available, the hand-made items wore better, and had the ineffable benefit of letting a soldier know someone at home cared about them, whether they knew that somone personally or not. It also helped those left behind to feel they were reaching out, contributing what they could while thier loved ones were overseas, often in grave danger.

During the Civil War, women even made quilts to raise money to buy gunboats, as discussed HERE

It won't surprise you to know that there are modern groups doing similar things for our soldiers today. Quilters, knitters, and anyone who can afford to put together a care package are all doing what they can to reach out to the men and women fighting overseas.

Here are some links, in case you are interested in helping too:

Operation Home Front : Quilts for Soldiers

Quilts of Valor

OperationGratitude

Suitable patterns for 'Troop Knitting'

making helmet liners


















photo: monkshood




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