Monday, May 24, 2004

Red, White, and Blue Needles

It turns out that my red white and blue needles are special after all. I had thought that they were from the Bicentennial, but it turns out that they are from WWII. The following is an email that I received regarding the needles.

Hi Stacie,
The needles in question--red, white and blue were produced during WWII. (World War II) Women were encouraged to use these "patriotic needles" to knit warm items for the troops, especially sweaters, gloves and watch caps. The American Red Cross published a booklet of acceptable patterns that would produce uniform style knitted items. The finished products were sent to the Soldiers ,Sailors and Marines who were stationed in the colder climates during the war. Many groups of women would get together and have "knitting bees" --each woman would work on one of the patterns--when these items were completed, they would be turned over to the American Red Cross to be distributed to the troops. Knitting for the troops took place not only in the United States, but in Europe as well. School children were also encouraged to knit socks, scarves, etc. Even today, there are grass roots organizations that knit warm items for our troops overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Ship's Support Project is just one such organization. By the way, your patriotic needles are quite collectible and hard to find. As a side note, people (men and women) have been knitting items for soldiers in war as far back ( or even farther) as Hannibal crossing the Alps( wool stockings were in great demand to keep the soldiers warm and happy in the extreme weather).
Knittingly yours,

Thank you Mary for sharing this information with me. It is so wonderful to know those needles created something that warmed a soldier and provided him comfort. Here is a link to the Red Cross website. You will find the actual patterns that the Red Cross distributed. I also read that they are going to be selling vintage knitting kits so that you can Knit Your Bit in honor of the WWII volunteer knitting campaigns.