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Home Front Friday: Knit Your Bit, For Kids!

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

Much like sewing, knitting was an extremely popular way that everyday civilians aided in the war effort. In fact, knitting was more popular because it was easier for children to learn how to do. Life Magazine actually did a cover story on how to knit in November of 1941. The article reads, “To the great American question ‘What can I do to help the war effort?’ the commonest answer yet found is ‘Knit.’”

Life Magazine Cover Featuring How to Knit. 1941.

Life Magazine Cover Featuring How to Knit. 1941.

Knitting was so important because it provided warm and comfortable clothing for soldiers and a calming distraction for the civilians knitting.  Knitting supplies were provided by The American Red Cross—sweaters, socks, fingerless mitts, and toe covers, were just some of the many different knitting patterns The Red Cross supplied.

Socks, though, proved to be more necessary than any of the other knitted clothing. The Red Cross advocated mostly for the knitting of socks because of the cold, wet, and sore feet that most soldiers suffered.


The Knit Your Bit Campaign  Was a Popular Way to Have  People at Home Aid in the War Effort. This Propaganda Poster Existed During WWI As Well!

The Knit Your Bit Campaign Was a Popular Way to Have People at Home Aid in the War Effort. This Propaganda Poster Existed During WWI As Well!

Finger knitting is an easy and popular way to start knitting. By using bulky or super chunky yarn, this is a great project for kids as well!

  1. Take a strand of yarn and place it between your thumb and your index finger. Leave about six inches trailing behind your hand. Use your left hand if you are right handed and your right hand if you are left handed.
  2. Loosely wrap the working end of the yarn over your index finger, under your middle finger, over your ring finger and under your pinky.
  3. Now loop that yarn around your pinky and go back towards your thumb but this time go over your pinky, under your ring finger, over your middle finger and under your index finger.
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3.
  5. You should have two layers of yarn on your fingers. The working yarn will be trailing between your middle and index fingers.
  6. Lift the bottom yarn over the top yarn and drop off of your hand starting with your pinky, then your ring finger, then your middle finger and finally your index finger. It will seem a little loose, just pull the working yarn tighter (but not too tight, you have to be able to get it off your fingers!)
  7. Grab the working yarn and repeat steps 4-6.
  8. Once your project has reached its desired length, you must bind off the stitches. On this last row, each finger should have only one loop on it. Lift off the loop on the pinky and place it onto the ring finger.
  9. On the ring finger, lift the bottom loop up and over the top loop and off the finger. Repeat for the middle finger and index finger. Once you have just one loop on the index finger, take it off and pass the tail of the yarn through the loop, pulling tight. Tie it off with knot

Interested in more intense knitting projects? With the “Knit Your Bit” program at the museum, you can pick your pattern and get started!

Posted by Catherine Perrone, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

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