Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Knitting Socks for American Civil War Soldiers

If you are as interested in the history of sock making as I am, then make certain you get a copy of the March/April 2009 Piecework Magazine. This special issue focuses on textiles for historical reenactment and includes a 10-page article on knitting socks for Civil War soldiers.

The article provides a list of resources available online, original instructions to knit socks for soldiers serving in both the Confederate and Union armies followed by a modern interpretation, the characteristics these socks shared including shape, construction, types of heels and toes, needles/gauge, yarn, and color, and an extensive bibliography for further reading, A especially poignant section includes notes found inside the socks. Here is one:

Brave Sentry, on your lonely beat
May these blue stockings warm your feet
And when from wars and camps you part
May some fair knitter warm your heart.

The painting shown above, Knitting for the Soldiers, is an oil on millboard by Eastman Johnson (1824-1906)and was painted in 1861. The little girl is shown making a three needle bind off on a blue army sock. The painting is part of the collection of the New York Historical Society.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome Post. I love the idea of a note in the socks. :)
    Toni (A Blog Of My Own)