Nay-osh-ing holds presentation about knitting during wartime
Nay-osh-ing Chapter, Plover, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) met recently for a presentation by Janet Zblewski titled “Knitting Goes to War.”
During colonial times, Americans began making their own clothing, first as a symbol of resistance and then as a revolt against Great Britain. When resistance and revolt became the Revolutionary War, knitters were called on to provide clothing for soldiers. Women near Valley Forge, Penn., hand-knitted and hand-delivered socks and clothing to troops.
During the American Civil War, American women again organized and joined relief organizations, such as the Women’s Central Relief Organization. An 1862 article in the New York Times asked for 2 million pairs of socks to be knitted so every soldier could have at least two pairs. Another newspaper asked for hand-knit mittens and provided a pattern with separate fingers for the thumb and forefinger to allow the wearer to fire a rifle.
People began knitting for “Sammy,” a slang term for U.S. soldiers referencing Uncle Sam, during World War I. “Knit Your Bit” became a popular slogan. Socks were the item most in demand because trench foot was a serious problem. The best preventative measure for the condition was frequent sock changes.
During World War II, knitting for troops once again became a patriotic task. Eleanor Roosevelt launched a patriotic knitting fad at a “Knit for Defense” tea in 1941. Yarn companies published patterns for the items most needed by the military.
The ladies of Nay-osh-ing Chapter DAR continue to support military personnel by knitting or crocheting items. Members have been making wool helmet liners for troops in Afghanistan.
Zblewski, who is an expert knitter, has knit dozens of hats for the program. Doris Dahlke, chairman of the project, has turned in hundreds. The members who can knit have been busy this winter and the non-knitters have donated wool yarn or money for its purchase.
Anyone wanting to knit, furnish wool yarn or contribute money for its purchase can reach Dahlke at 715-693-3654. Anyone interested in making helmet liners can call Dahlke and she can provide either a knit or crochet pattern.
Any woman 18 years of age or older, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution is eligible for membership in the DAR. Additional information about Nay-osh-ing Chapter, Plover, is available from Betty Dean Andringa, regent, at 715-345-1019 or [email protected] or Hope Niedling, registrar, at 715-341-1996.