Thursday, 29 October 2015

Women Aren't Knitting

From the Daily Express, October 29th, 1915

Where You Can be of Service

It is a curious fact that though the winter is advancing rapidly, women are not apparently making any great effort to make warm clothing for the troops.  I hope I am mistaken, and that the work is going on sub rosa, but one no longer sees the ubiquitous knitting needles and balls of khaki coloured yarn that were to be found on all sides this time last year. 

Why is this?  Surely women do not fail to realise that the need for knitted articles with which to keep our brave man warm and comfortable during their arduous work by sea and land, when they are out in all weathers, is as great, nay, greater than ever. 

Is knitting for the troops to be put alongside the tango and ping-pong, as a craze of the moment, absorbing the attention of all for a few months, and then dropped again as quickly as it was taken up?  Surely this is not the case.  

There can be no doubt that the energies of every woman are needed to help to supply the great demand for such articles.  Even the woman who is busy most of the day can find time in her spare minutes to ply the needles in the good cause; she was ready enough last winter, and if she only knew how badly these things are wanted, I am convinced she would be as ready this.

We need not fear that our gifts will not be required.  We have Queen Mary’s appeal, an appeal which should rouse the keenest wish to respond in the heart of every woman.  We have the official notification from the War Office that thousands of pairs of mittens and warm mufflers are needed as soon as possible.  Sir Edward Ward is organising a movement to bring local working parties into co-operation, so that all may unite in making what is wanted, and making it correctly. 

In the meantime, don’t wait for further instructions but set to work on mittens;  they must be made with thumbs, no fingers, and eight inches long, of close knitting in khaki-coloured wool – and khaki mufflers, ten inches wide and fifty-eight inches long – just a strip of plain knitting that any child can manage. 

To help those who have not already made these particular mittens. I have a printed leaflet which gives clear instructions how they should be knitted, which I shall be glad to send free to any reader on receipt of a stamped addressed envelope.  The finished articles should be forwarded to the Chief Ordnance Office, Army Clothing Department, …

Wool and knitting needles are to be had in abundance, so I ask every woman who reads this, not to leave the matter to another time, but to go straight out and buy the necessary materials, and set to work “doing her bit” as soon as she possibly can.  One hears so much about the women who are hoping to do war work, but here, close at hand, lies “war work” that every one can do.  If those who cannot leave home will only realise it, by plying their needles they will be doing quite as good work for the country as those other women who are able to work in shell factories and munitions works. 

Requests for the knitting leaflet should be addressed to Janet Gray, Daily Express, 23, St. Bride-street, E.C.

Janet Gray

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