During World War I, people on the home front supported the troops not with yellow ribbons but with yarn — they knit everything from mufflers and afghans to socks and wristlets to sweaters and balaclava helmets.
These were not created willy-nilly: knitters used detailed instructions that came in booklets of patterns approved by the armed forces. And of course, they used approved yarn.
The Red Cross played an important role in promoting all this knitting.
Sometimes a Red Cross nurse took some time out from her duties to pick up her own needles.
Red Cross affiliated groups sprang up around the globe.
But schools, from elementary to high schools to colleges, were also hotbeds of yarnly activity.
Not everyone knitted in groups, of course. Some spent some time with a beau on leave. Others stayed home and worried. And knit.
Knitters didn’t abruptly put down their needles in 1918; the need for warm garments continued.
For what happened during World War II, click here.