Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Service Woollies

Hand knitting I'm told has come back into fashion, for many I have a sneaking suspicion it never went away... This morning I was with the Handicraft Group at New Mills & District Volunteer Centre, for the project Stitching the Wars.  The women here meet to knit, talk and drink tea. In the window are beautifully knitted and crocheted dolls outfits and colourful bobble hats and mittens, at Christmas time hang charming robins and puddings to adorn the tree. Some of the ladies explain with sadness that their own children and grandchildren don't want hand knits, instead prefer to buy ready made children's clothes, in those 'horrible stiff fabrics.' Personally I want to commission a whole new outfit...for myself, my daughter...

This is a generation who learnt knitting skills on their mothers laps as a matter of course. Jean recollected her mother had given up trying to teach her as Jean was left handed- so her grandmother taught her, she was aged 3.

From the Vintage Knitting

Jean, Nelly and Margaret reminisced:

We used to knit during the war, we were still at school. Knitting for soldiers, could make a pair of mittens in a weekend- fingerless mittens, fingers up to the knuckles, knitted on four needles. A man came round to distribute the wool, gave us girls the best wool, do and do it again. Mother and her sister used to knit for the Royal Airforce, blue and navy blue- to keep them warm. All hand knitted, worn under their flying suits. Balaclava's as well. 

I'm going back next week, they've promised their of to make a collection of knitted squares for the wool quilt and much more conversation and of course tea drinking.

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