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Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Learning to Knit
I was knitting a helmet liner for our troops in Afghanistan when it struck me my life as a knitter had come full circle. During WWII there was a drive by the Red Cross to get volunteers to knit for our troops. Even before our entry into the war we were asked to knit for the refugees in Europe. I was in grammar school but even at that tender age it was thought we could all contribute. One day a Red Cross lady came to our class and told us about the plight of refugees. We were asked to bring a skein of yarn and needles, I don't remember what size, to class where we would be taught to knit. On the appointed day there were several ladies there to help as the secrets of knitting a garter stitch square were explained. The Red Cross ladies would sew them together to make blankets. We learned to cast on and then were told to cast on so many stitches and knit so many rows and bind off. It was hard work, especially for the poor ladies who spent their time picking up dropped stitches, giving hands on instruction and soothing ruffled feelings. After several knitting sessions we each completed several squares, and the Red Cross ladies took them, thanking us for our contribution to the war effort Years later I realized there had never been any mention of gauge, and I thought of the hours of effort and the frustration of all those ladies trying to sew those mismatched squares together. I bet more than one muttered a few words inappropriate for use by Red Cross ladies.