Tag Archives | knitting.

Craft and War, Old School

Whenever I’m in need of inspiration for something, I can always count on the past. And if you do as well, and you’ve never had a look at the Library of Congress online collection, you might want to. All these photos deal with craft and war. I love how of our cultural current definition of masculinity is challenged a bit in the first photo, a soldier knitting* quietly, with pin up photos in the background. The second and third are two different groups of women, both knitting for “their” soldiers.

Plus, how cool are the uniforms in the second photo?

Interned German, Fort Douglas, knitting scarf

[Note: how much his creation differs from that of German POW Jim Simpson. Not making a political statement, just interesting. Also: I’m not technically sure what the heck the guy above is doing, as it looks more like he’s making friendship bracelets than knitting?]

Women’s National Service School Under Woman’s Section, Navy League, 1916.

Berlin, Knitting for Soldiers

1st and 3rd photographs: Bain Collection, 2nd: Harris & Ewing Collection



Cary Grant, the Knitter!

This was originally posted here on June 7, 2010. But because it’s especially lovely, I’m serving it up again. And just how do YOUR hands* look?


The title pretty much says it all. Here’s a gem of a clip from Cary Grant’s 1943 movie, Mr. Lucky:





Many thanks to the consistently awesome Step for sending this to me!





*To figure out what I’m talking about above, watch the video. Definitely a technique I haven’t tried when teaching people to knit?

Soldiers, Crafts and Comfort

I know that many of you, as have I, have donated various items of handcraft to soldiers currently in country in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ever since World War I, there have been initiatives like Knit Your Bit from the Red Cross. Actually, knitting for soldiers started even earlier than that, but that’s another story for another day.

But here’s a story about quilting and war. It’s about how a mother and daughter started an Iraq quilting bee for soldiers who have since learned various handcrafts. In the video below, there’s also a photo a light blue elephant crocheted by a very manly looking doctor in uniform, and the story of how this was started.





What I like best about this story was that it not only showed how a tiny idea (a soldier in Iraq requesting fabric from her mother) can grow into something bigger, but it also showed how sometimes (religion aside) there’s both a need and an interest in picking up something like crochet or quilting where you least expect it.

Instead of making something for the soldiers to use as comfort, this particular project uses craft itself as the comfort. And this perfectly dovetails with some thoughts I’ve been struck with lately… how sometimes the act/lesson of craft itself can be a more apt gift than the final product and how new valuable (for others not just ourselves!) projects can find us if we’re willing to just listen and be present.

I don’t know about you, but usually when I start something so small I feel like it’s useless, I’m focusing on the wrong end of the stick (the needle? the hook?). I’m focusing on what I think it will give vs. focusing on the joy and excitement and energy the project itself brings.

I forget how letting go of the outcome allows projects the room to fully expand and go where they need to. So today, here, is a little reminder to follow the joy your work brings… and to honor the work itself by giving it the space and the trust to change, move and grow.

Button’s Bit (How A Patriotic Pup Helped Knit His Bit!)

“Button’s Bit”

I cannot sew, I cannot knit,
I wish that I were wiser;
But I resolved to do “my bit”
To help to down the Kaiser.
The days grew warm, my hair was long
And softer than chamois;
They sheared my coat, and spun soft wool
And knitted socks for Sammy.


Every so often, some sends you the most amazing thing in the world. And sometimes that most amazing thing in the world gets eaten by your inbox and you discover it later only to be kicking yourself that you didn’t see it properly the first go-round. I’m blaming inbox monsters. If they can exist under your bed, why not in your inbox, too?

This is one of those very times, as this book is absolutely incredible and about a wee little dog. A very special wee little dog with super soft fur everyone compares to fleece, so like a sheep he is shorn so his fur can be made into wool which will be knit into items for soldiers at war.

Thanks so much, Erica! You are awesome.


When was the last time you actually took time to listen to other people share their stories? Learn how it can be a rare gift over here at Make & Meaning. Added bonus: Details on places to find herring, Civil War reenactors and fancy peanuts included.

Knitting Video (Pimping Natural Gas)

I wish my house suddenly transformed into the house in this video. I wouldn’t have to wear socks 24/7, my toys would look even cooler than they already do, and my radiator would be extra warm. This was forwarded on by a high school friend, thank you Facebook!





Some of my favorite lovely crafty/creative things of late:
*Caroline Hwang
*Dave Blumenkrantz
*Ink and Spindle
*Empower Playgrounds
*Bead For Life (Thanks Mary!)
*The Creative Lives (via Hwang’s blog)
*Blown glass with knitted wire by Emmy Gai Palmer


P.S. Need to find pattern for tiny lovely knitted alligator!

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