Rohn Strong, author of The Heritage Collection: WWI & WWII is our guest on the blog today! I first met Rohn when he pitched another idea to me for Cooperative Press, but I was really excited about this project he’s doing and I hope you will be, too. As some of you might know, I’m an ex-history-grad student, so I nerd out about anything history-related! Here Rohn is talking about his book, and the influences behind it…
“History is a curious thing. It is not solid, like a rock. History is more like a shape-shifting cloud or a shimmering rainbow that you can’t quite find, ever searching for the promised pot of gold at its source.”
That quote, by my good friend and amazing editor, Donna Druchunas begins a journey through time. To a time where knitting changed the world, aided a country at war, and eased the minds of those on the home front. To a time where knitting was not a hobby but more of a military trade. To a time where knitting saved lives.
In my new book, The Heritage Collection WWI & WWII, you will be transported back nearly 100 years to the start of WWI. A time where the world was falling apart. A time where knitters and crocheters picked up needles and hooks to help save a nation. Through projects and essays you are able to see a glimpse of life, through the eyes of home front heroes.
From coast to coast, every knitter was asked to pick up their needles and wool and begin knitting for our boys. My Great-Great-Grandmother was one of those women. Her name was Clara Ann Dalton.
Shortly after leaving her life of a Shaker, Granma (as I refer to her), married Grandad Lloyd in 1912. Not out of love but more out of convenience. Granma was not interested in love, but more companionship. Her life up to that point had been nothing but her and God, and she was going to remain married to God.
It was not until Grandad was called off to war that Granma felt the sting of war. Living in rural Montana at the time with a child on each hip made the pain that much worse. However to cope, she did what so many others were doing, and began to knit.
Her love of knitting pulsed through her veins; she cranked out socks, one pair after another.
Granma’s preferred method? Double knitting, or as she called them…Magic Socks. She would cast on two sets of stitches and knit a tube, a ribbed heel and garter stitch toe provided stability and comfort. She knit for her husband, who was in turn fighting for her. Women across the country were in the same position as Granma. Their needles clicking ferociously, interlacing yarn into lifesaving garments.
I never really understood the weight knitting played in the war effort. My Granma is just one example of millions of women who worked tirelessly to help warm every soldier. We must never forget these knitters. Never.