Knitting for Remembrance Day
This week is Remembrance Day in the UK and other Commonwealth states (Veteran’s Day in the US), which commemorates the servicemen and women who died serving their countries. Let’s take a look at the role that knitting has played and can continue to play in this important day in helping to remember those that made a sacrifice for their country.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
So begins the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, written during World War I. It was this poem than inspired an American professor to wear a red poppy to remember fallen soldiers. The idea then spread to Europe where it lives on today.
If you live in the UK, you know that the poppies are available as paper and plastic pins for a small donation, but why not go a step further and knit your own? If you choose to freestyle a poppy or download a free pattern, you can always send a donation to the Royal British Legion as a nice gesture.
Knitting has a long history with soldiers and sailors, and played an important part in both World Wars. There were slogans such as “Knit your Bit,” and patterns like mittens designed for riflemen, and balaclavas (ski masks) with ear flaps so soldiers could hear their enemies.
Perhaps the most famous instance of knitting during WWI is the invention of the Kitchener Stitch. Before WWI, most socks had an uncomfortable seam around the toe of the sock, causing some serious issues for soldiers. The seamless grafting technique used to solve this problem has become known as the Kitchener Stitch after Lord Kitchener (whether he invented it or not is up for debate). You can knit yourself these socks using this seamless stitch.
Do you have any traditions or patterns that you knit up for Remembrance Day? We’d love to hear about the different ways you honor those who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. For more poppy patterns, see our full range here.
Last updated: November 9th, 2016.