Knitting to commemorate the First World War

Posts tagged “knitting


Here is the shawl/scarf that I have been knitting, I had hoped to keep you all up to date – ball by ball, but that went out the window! a shame really but our house was struck down with flu so not much time for blogging…I had hoped to have it finished a lot sooner but it made it there in time so I am happy!

vintage shawl WW1 film

It took a little under a month for me to knit up (with flu) so not bad going really.

I used 10 balls of 4ply yarn (50g) and it measured around 5’5″

4 balls in!

and here is the finished item…before sending it off…


My favorite part to knit was the boarders, each end took 30g of wool (60g for both ends) to knit up and as it was lace work I really got into it.


I did one end while I was really feeling ill, very sleepy so it was nice to be able to knit one scallop then have a nap and do another and nap…..and soon it was done

marker holding the stitch to drop
marker holding the stitch to drop

when casting off the boarder the pattern tells you to drop a stitch…all the way down to the end (1st row) I have to say I found the idea of this very scary even before I picked up my needles! one of my thoughts was, ‘what if I accidentally drop the wrong one!’ it was just waaaay out of my comfort zone and it felt as if I was going against everything we are taught as knitters!

as I was knitting it up dropping the stitch didn’t seem like a good idea, it just didn’t make sense to drop it on that stitch, maybe a few higher, above the scallops, but not were it was suggesting! I checked, and double checked but it was the stitch the pattern said so with a deep breath and some faith I dropped the stitch…

not a great picture but you can see the dropped stitches
not a great picture but you can see the dropped stitches

….well I think my faith was misplaced!! it doesn’t look much like the picture I had! the two scallops on the left and the ones with the dropped stitches, and the ones on the right are the ones that were not dropped! my instincts were right I shouldn’t drop the stitch….at least not there… so I ran to Annie (Knitsofacto) to double check what was right, and to my relief she agreed, so I took to it with a crochet hook and began picking up the dropped stitches…. I have to admit before I did this I thought I would have to rip back the 3 scallops I had already dropped, but to my great relief it was fairly easy to pick up!

so their we have it, a quick run trough of the scarf, I do have more pictures of the progress but I wont bore you with all of them, here is one that I took and realized just how long it was getting!

after 6 balls (i think!)
after 6 balls (i think!)

after this I had to start taking pictures along the back of our sofa as it was getting too long!

The Bendy Knitter x



I Am Getting More Back Than I Put In!

**firstly I had a big typo in my title as it was originally going to be different I have corrected it now and apologies because it did not sound too nice!**

One of the things I love about knitting is that there is always the chance to learn, I have spoken to people who have been knitting for decades and they still find new things to learn even now.

This is one of the reasons I am so happy that I am involved in knitting for ‘Tell Them of Us’ the world war one film, I have picked up a few new techniques by chatting to people and am thank full for this.

But more importantly I have had the opportunity to learn about the history behind it, the people involved, loved ones children even animals doing there bit!

I have learnt a lot about fashion at the time,colors, the way patterns were written, and the food the way of life, I have learnt a little about legal matters such as copy right, the list really could go on! for such a short space of time I have learnt so much!  the opportunity to learn never stops!

We don’t learn about these things in school and I really do believe we should make the most of learning new things all the time! I love researching things, some of my friends will know that if there is something that needs some research than I will do my up most to find what is needed and along the way I love picking up other interesting bits of information, this has certainly been the case when researching knitting patterns, picked up loads of patterns I like that came before and after the period in which the film is set.

For all of us knitting for this film our time is voluntary we are provided with yarn or if we have some in our stash we can use that for some bits, I am very grateful for this as we do not have extra money to spend on yarn, most of mine is stashed away for xmas pressies otherwise I am not sure I would have much, without the yarn being provided i am not sure i could be apart of the project so I really do appreciate it.

But the thing that has really been great about this is not only that opportunity to learn, but the friends made and the way a community can come together even though it is spread around the world.

The people involved in making this happen have put so much time and dedication in to it, it is amazing! They are always busy organizing things and making plans, researching the period and matching yarns we have now to ones around in the early 1900’s and they still find the time to organize us knitters and answer our questions, I am always very grateful for this.

The time we are all putting in is giving back a lot more not only to us but also to the village that this is based upon, the church in the village needs some restoration, the spire has already had to be taken down as it was unstable, he church also holds a commemorative stain glass window of one of the characters (no spoilers!) as this is a true story he was a real man who fought fr us in the war and the church will receive funds for it’s much needed restoration from the film.

As a community we can all lean on each other to chat about our excitement, the yarns we might use and any problems we might encounter, we are now a big and growing community of knitters and I think that we may lean on each other for years to come. Bonds and friendships have been built and I would have thought if most of us were asked to do something like this again we would jump at the chance!

I know I would!!

The Bendy Knitter xxx

Progress on the Vest Scarf

8177 Progress
I’ve been battling some kind of upper respiratory nonsense so I’ve not made as much progress as I had hoped on this pattern. Still, I am working on the right shoulder shaping and will soon work the right armhole. This Rowan yarn (Rowan PureLife in black tea colorway) is absolutely heavenly to work with. I love how soft it feels in my hands — such a comfort when the rest of me isn’t feeling well.

Hmmmm. . . I wonder whether knitters of the past found as much comfort in working the wool?  I am reminded that there was a nasty epidemic of influenza during WWI.  Would those who worried about loved ones have taken comfort in the meditative process of knitting or other needlework?  Was knitting a comfort to them as it is to many of us now?  I wonder.  I with I could speak with some of those knitters of the past.  I’m sure they would have a laugh at our need for this kind of leisure.  What was for them a necessity is for us a hobby.  Our lives have changed so much in 100 years.

My row gauge (supposed to be 6 garter ridges, or 12 rows to the inch) hasn’t held as well, but I think that’s because the stripe pattern isn’t completely in garter stitch. It causes me to wonder whether the numbers in the schematic were accurate. Still, I worked to the center back as directed (8 stripes from the armhole, then then next purl row was the center back) even though it measures about 2 inches longer than specified. I was afraid that if I cut it short the fronts would be out of proportion since they are worked in the same stitch pattern. Stitch gauge is holding well, I’m happy to say. Well, garter stitch was going to stretch out at any rate.


Veteran’s Day Brings Odd Memories

Grandpa and Dad

November 11 in the USA is celebrated at Veteran’s Day.  It was originally proclaimed Armistice Day in 1919, but in 1954 was changed to the current title in order to honor all those who died while serving in the US military.  While working on my knitting project for this film, it occurred to me that we’ve had a huge effort in the last few decades to remember and celebrate the veterans of WW II.  Perhaps it was because comparatively few people remain who remember that war and that time, and we have had at our disposal a great many options for recording their images and their history.  It spurred me to look a bit into my own family history.

Alas, I found very little.  My paternal grandfather, Otto, has a draft card on file for WWI, but I could find no record of his service. It’s possible that, being in his 20s, he was considered too old at the time, or else he was rejected for a health reason.  Grandpa Otto died in August 1959, just 2 months after I was born.  I never knew him.  In fact, about all I ever knew of him was that he died of a massive stroke.

My dad was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes at an early age; thus, he was never eligible to serve in WW II as his brothers did.  He did his part, however, as a mechanic of some kind working at a local Air Force base (well, it was the Army Air Corps then).  In fact, I have a job now in which I work for a defense contractor on that base.  I joke with my workmates, many of whom are retired military, that I am a congenital civilian.

My dad died on Veteran’s Day in 1979.  It seems a tenuous connection, I’m sure, but every year when this date rolls around I am reminded of him, of how he played “Taps” at the various memorial services our little town held to commemorate those who served and those whose lives were lost.  For a man who was never served a day in uniform, he did everything he could from the sidelines during the war and after it.  I expect that was something he learned from his father.

I was just 20 years old when my dad died.  I barely knew him, really.  He was so ill in those last years of his life, in pain from various surgeries to try to correct all of the genetic problems he was born with.  I like to think that he sees me now, along with all of the grandmothers and grandfathers who did their part at home or on a battle field, knowing that I am doing what I can to knit their love and memories into a film project that will bring to life a few people from that era.  They worked hard; they sacrificed much; they left behind so many little lessons for us, among them how to make do when a bit of yarn and a basic pattern.  We will remember them by the work of our hands.

Children knit now and then

I have been thinking,dangerous I know! during world war one children knitted a lot, they were so accomplished and could knit without looking!

I know a little miss j who is just like this, she makes me smile because she wants to learn to knit without looking now, at 8 years, so she can always knit when she is an old lady…

so I have been feeling for a few days that she should be involved in this project and could knit something up just like the children did during the war, today I ran it by the group and it will be great for her, and I am sure for other children to get involved, am heading out soon and hope to ask her 😀

The Bendy Knitter

Recieved Wool!

I received post today … going to knit something with it but not what but not sure what yet

read more about this on my blog here

An extraordinary journey begins…

Orkney_to_Omaha_Badge by Judith Brodnicki

Two weeks ago I casually tweeted for a volunteer knitter to help create the costumes for a community-created film about the First World War and my Twitter account nearly melted! So many wonderful people, from Orkney to Omaha, came together and created an instant and thriving group of researchers, organisers and above all, super-talented knitters – over one hundred of them!

The film, Tell Them of Us’ is being made by WAG Screen to mark the anniversary based on the story of one man on one memorial. All of the clothes knitted will be used in the film, on the history day and for an exhibition. The more clothes we can create the more people can be involved. We will be knitting everything from the fashionable woollens of 1917 to the soldiers’ comforts (balaclavas and gloves etc) that were knitted for the soldiers on the front line.

There will be many different people blogging from our ‘Okney to Omaha’ skein of sisters (and one brother) – so enjoy our many voices and stories!

Pauline Loven, Producer/Costumier WAG Screen.