Ordinary Lives of the First World War
Knitting for the First World War Soldier
The London Guild was established in 1882 and provided garments for London orphanages. In 1914 the guild was renamed as Queen Mary's Needlework Guild which began to supply garments to the troops during WW1. The Guild continues today as The Queen Mother's Clothing Guild.
In 1914, Queen Mary encouraged women to make garments for the soldiers overseas from knitting socks and hats, to sweaters, belts and scarfs, every item was useful and greatly appreciated.
Lord Kitchener asked the Queen to get involved in providing 30,000 pairs of socks. Every magazine and yarn supplier entered into the spirit and soon women,men and children, across the land were knitting for the troops. The British Red Cross Society produced a pamphlet, Needlework and Knitting Instructions which sold for 6d.
Launched in 1911, the Women's Weekly magazine encouraged their readers to get involved and regularly printed knitting and sewing patterns which became known as soldiers and sailors comforts. However, wool became scarce and outgrown hand knitted items were frequently unpicked and remade into more serviceable items.
World War I Collector's Issue
Even recuperating soldiers were encouraged to knit !
|A convalescent soldier knitting a scarf while recovering from his injury.|
© IWM (Q 54079)
Of course, knitting for the troops wasn't just happening in the UK. Similar activities were taking place in the United States and overseas.
|Club girls all over the United States co-operate with the Young Women's Christian Association in the making of garments for soldiers in the Army. Photo shows: A group of women knitting.|
© IWM (Q 110340)
|Disabled Indian soldiers knitting socks for the troops abroad at the Queen Mary's Technical School.|
© IWM (Q 52571)