Dakota Datebook

Knitting Rally

Thursday, March 28, 2013

 

As the boys back home went off to the First World War, those left behind on the home front did what they could to help with the war effort. On this date, the Courier Democrat newspaper in Langdon reported on a knitting rally attended by approximately 80 knitters, including a good number of beginners. As the attendees knitted, they enjoyed good music and a simple lunch devoid of meat and wheat, as was encouraged by the government to ration such supplies. The gathering also allowed for discussion of ideas and recipes that could be made with food substitutes.

 

The knitting party was very successful, and at the end, the knitters had created 142 pairs of socks and 41 sweaters, all of which were sent overseas with a copy of this note, enclosed with each item:

 

“To Our American Boys and Allies—

 

We send hope, cheer and fidelity. We’ll sing of you, talk of you and pray for your success and God’s blessing upon you.

–The Langdon Branch Knitting Committee, Cavalier County Chapter, A.R.C.”

 

In fact, another group knitting session was already in the plans for April. But in the meantime, everyone was urged to continue on their own—especially knitting socks. On this date, a few knitting “don’ts” were recorded for those busy knitters, such as: “Don’t knit the ribbing at the top of the sox less than 4 ½ inches. The men cannot wear garters and the socks won’t stay in place if the ribbing is short.”

 

Knitters were reminded not to make a double heel, as the ribs hurt the heels of the soldiers, and that the government had asked for the “Kitchener toe,’ a way to finish off the toes by grafting the seams.

 

The knitters were also encouraged to put their names in with each garment, as “the soldier boys like to know who made their comforts.”

 

Finally, knitters were reminded, “Don’t let us be slackers and stop knitting if we are asked to change our knitting instructions too often. Even knitting by the fire is comfortable compared with fighting in the trenches as thousands are doing for us.”

 

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker

 

Sources:

Courier Democrat, March 28, 1918

 

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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