Knit for Victory

They did it during the Revolution and the Civil War. World War I had its rallying cry, “Knit for Victory.” A generation later, “Knit Your Bit” was the homefront’s call to action. There is a long tradition of citizens mobilizing to knit socks, mufflers, sweaters, and other items for American warfighters often on the frigid front.

Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom might not have a slogan, but knitters across the country are producing helmet liners.

Helmet liners?

These practical pullover head warmers wrap the head, neck, and much of the face in cozy, soft wool. Updated from a World War II pattern, helmet liners are making their way over the heads of some pretty pleased soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.

The knitters are a part of an informal, loosely organized grassroots movement that stretches across the country. They communicate via Web sites, chat rooms, blogs, and the like, sharing information and imploring expert as well as novice knitters to pick up needles (the right size of course, not that we knew there are different sizes) and their soft, 100-percent wool yarn. No synthetics: the liner would melt onto the wearer in the case of fire. Black, brown, tan, and olive round out the range of colors.

At a recent event in Alexandria, Va., there were more than 40 knitters present, including Marine Maj. Gen, Doug Stone, who recently returned from reorganizing detainee operations in Iraq. Stone, a big supporter of the movement noted, “I don’t know what [they] think about the war. What I do know is a connection is being made between these great citizens here and those kids on the other end.”

Some larger outfits such as the Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., are honchoing efforts. Volunteers help knitters as well as collect the liners for transport “over there.”

Recent Posts