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Remembered Today:

Socks, Sütterlin, & Other Musings

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Short Stories about Socks

During the war, knitters from around the world made millions of socks and other garments for soldiers serving at the front. Today, two assumptions about this work dominate the popular view: firstly, that knitting was the exclusive purview of women and girls; and secondly, that socks were knitted one at a time by hand. However, the truth is more nuanced. The need for socks was so great that two-at-a-time sock techniques, crochet, knitting machines, and men were drafted into service to supply them

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Knitting

How Dandelions Saved Norway in 1918

In 1918, Norway was in trouble. World War I was raging across Europe, and although this Scandinavian backwater zealously guarded its neutrality, the conflict could not be kept entirely at bay. The war cut the country off from the maritime trade that had sustained it for centuries and Norway descended into a period known as dyrtiden—literally, “the expensive time.” On 13 January, a new rationing system came into effect. It limited the purchase and consumption of sugar, coffee, grain, and fl

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Norway

German POWs in Norway, 1917-1918

WITH THANKS TO ALL THE CONTRIBUTORS IN THIS THREAD, ESPECIALLY CHARLIE2 AND JWK. Please see this post for the spreadsheet, compiled by JWK, containing the names of almost all the German POWs who came to Norway. And without further ado... When the Great War began in August 1914, Norway had been an independent country for less than a decade. The young nation’s government immediately issued a declaration of “absolute neutrality.” While there was no guarantee that the Great Powers would re

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Norway

The Case of the Crucified Canadian

Although the topic of the crucified Canadian has been discussed ad nauseum on this forum, this apparently dead horse rears its head every few years and we gleefully rush to beat it again. This article is an attempt to collect disparate parts of the discussion into a single place. While it is extensive, however, it is not exhaustive. *** The broad strokes of the story are simple: In April 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres, Germans soldiers crucified one of their Canadian opponents

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Miscellaneous

How to Knit a Perfect Sock for a Soldier

During the war, women knitted millions of socks for soldiers. The task of ensuring the quality of these socks fell to organisations such as the Red Cross. To guarantee "a perfect standard of sock for our boys," they faced more challenges than you might imagine. “The best reason for knitting for the soldiers is that it is hardly possible to make an uncomfortable hand-knitted sock,” wrote a Canadian journalist in 1915. In fact, as anyone who has ever knitted a sock (or attempted to knit one)

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Knitting

A German aviator at Bertrix

22 August 1914 dawned foggy and grey. Nevertheless, "Lieutenant J" and his observer boarded their airplane for a reconnaissance flight that took them from Sedan in France over the Belgian border. North of Bertrix, heavy rain forced them to descend to an altitude of 1000 m -- within range of French artillery. A barrage of gunfire ensued. Lieutenant J was hit first in the chest and then in the head; as the plane careened downwards, the observer "turned around and saw him lying there dead with a bu

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Miscellaneous

Learning to read Sütterlin

Over the course of the past 18 months, I have acquired several pandemic skills. Most of them are of questionable utility. I doubt that any prospective employer, for example, will care that I have learned to make lasagna from scratch or knit Shetland lace. (Of course, who knows. My next job could be at a yarn shop, in which case the ability to make beautiful and complex shawls might be a major asset.) By far the most arcane skill that I acquired, however, is the ability to read Sütterlin. In

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Miscellaneous

What did the war sound like to German soldiers?

When the Great War began, radio was not used for civilian broadcasts, film reels were silent, and sound recording devices were too cumbersome to take into the field. As far as I have been able to find out, only one audio recording from the battlefield was ever made: “Gas Shell Bombardment” by William Gaisberg in 1918.     However, the authenticity of the Gaisberg recording has been debated for decades. It is now thought to be  the result of careful engineering rather tha

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knittinganddeath in Miscellaneous

Who were the Hun?

Who were the Germans of the Great War? “Hard people to beat,” observed the American surgeon Harvey Cushing in his journal from the Western Front; “big, strong, cheerful, and well-fed” too. Though he noted the names of seemingly all the Allied soldiers with whom he crossed paths, he never mentions the name of a single German, instead referring to them with all manner of pejoratives. One can hardly fault him; to Cushing they were the enemy who caused the carnage that he witnessed in Belgium and Fr

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Miscellaneous

Germany's "Knitting Battalions" of the Great War

During World War I, knitters from Allied nations produced millions of socks, caps, scarves, and sweaters for military use. American Red Cross volunteers knitted nearly 24 million garments; Australian knitters sent 1.3 million pairs of socks overseas. These efforts are often described as “knitting for victory.”   German (and Austrian) women also knitted for their soldiers. Given the course of history, one cannot say that their work served the cause of victory. Perhaps for this reason, t

knittinganddeath

knittinganddeath in Knitting

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