I have a ritual I go through twice a year, packing up and storing my wool sweaters in the spring, and bringing them out again in the fall. Each year I evaluate the ones I wear the most, clean the ones that need it, and see if I can relocate the ones that I choose to give away. Lately, I have been gifting sweaters that seem to be better suited for someone else, as I realize that over the years, I have accumulated a lot of sweaters!
I have also been researching my new project, the Christmas Sweater Story, and in the process, it has connected the dots on many topics that I have read up on over the years. Sweaters are so much more that a hobby to knit or an item to keep you warm. They are packed with historical clues of societal events, changing marketplaces, innovations in technology. Designs ebb and flow from fancy to plain to the avant-garde, and our need to knit (or not) wanes and then recharges itself.
When considering WWII and its place in knitting history, people asked on the home front, what could they do to support the war effort. “Knit!” was the resounding message. Patterns were issued in magazines, celebrities and political figures alike were seen knitting to keep the troops warm. With yarn in short supply, people were trained in carding, spinning, and weaving at local knitting mills. It was noted that the only good thing that came from WWII was that it started people knitting again.
I found a photograph on the web of a young Queen Elizabeth II, flanked by her mother, The Queen Mother, her father King George VI, and her sister, Princess Margaret. Princess Elizabeth was so young and full of life, leaning against the fireplace knitting, working on what looks to me to be a sock. Through her knitting, she was doing her part for God and country. She continued to do so for decades to come, sometimes with a smile, sometimes more serene, but always with grace. God rest The Queen!
I will pick up my needles and knit a pair of socks, in her honor.
September 19, 2022