Monday, March 19, 2012

Civil War Knitting

Life is full of coincidences and that's very true in the knitting world as well.

I'll give you an example.  A few years ago my friend, Barb (Hi, Barb!) and I were working on a Cowichan knitting project.  I hadn't seen anything in knitting books about Cowichan sweaters in a decade or more.  We  were only a couple of months into the project when we learned that Sylvia Olson was writing a book about Cowichan knitting and soon after that Jared Flood, aka Brooklyn Tweed, had a Cowichan-inspired sweater in his collection of patterns.  Suddenly I was hearing about Cowichan knitting again, just when it was on my mind as well.

This time, it's about the Civil War.  I've been to Georgia a few times recently and I would see references to the Civil War all around me:  names of streets, road markers to historical sites, statues, etc.  I learned a little about the war while I was in school, but it was more of an overview rather than in-depth descriptions.  Canadian schools teach more Canadian and British history.  I decided to educate myself before I go to Georgia again.  At the library I was able to borrow the excellent Ken Burns' documentary, The Civil War.  Then, I learned about a book, Killing Lincoln, by Bill O'Reilly and I borrowed it and I'm listening to it in the car on my way to and from work.

Now, the knitting connection.  I was reading the newsletter in my email from Knitting Daily and I saw that the upcoming issue of Knitting Traditions will have an article about sock knitting during the Civil War

Knitting for soldiers is a long-held tradition.  I remember, many years ago, organizing a Canadian effort to send knitted items to the soldiers in Bosnia.  More recently, I joined a group who were knitting long, boring plain black socks for US soldiers overseas.  While not the most exciting knitting it felt very good to be helping in some small way. 

Knitting Traditions is an excellent knitting magazine and I've bought and kept every issues, rereading the articles from time to time.  I'm very much looking forward to it's upcoming publication.  I'm planning to go back to Savannah next spring and when I'm there and I see a direction sign for Fort Pulaski I'll know what it is and why it's important and I'll think about those knitters long ago working on their socks for the men in the war.

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