I’m so excited to show you the most recent addition to my vintage magazine/pattern collection – two Canadian Red Cross Knitting Instructions for War Work volumes, one with knits for soldiers and one titled Knitted Comforts for Women.
I’ve always heard about these knitting pamphlets produced during World War II, and I’ve seen them mentioned in countless knitting books, but never thought I’ve ever be able to find them in a) good condition and b) within my price range. Imagine my delight when my Aunt was cleaning out her cottage and came across these gems tucked into a cupboard! She was kind enough to pass them along to me and I couldn’t be happier.
They’re about 20 pages each and contain basic instructions for everything from socks and mittens to sweaters and cardigans. The Knitted Comforts for Women volume even has a pattern for knickers! My first thought was ‘Did people actually knit their own undies? wouldn’t wool undies be terribly uncomfortable?’ but upon reading through the directions it seems more likely that these were more along the lines of long-johns.
I’m used to modern North American knitting instructions that really hold your hand through the entire process and have pictures of almost every technique, so these sparse instructions were really something to behold. I guess it was reasonable to assume that people really knew the basics and just needed a bit of guidance. I aspire to be that kind of knitter someday.