The Joy Of People Knitting In The 20th Century

Do you knit? Maria Popova has a word to the wise, noting that “the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming.”

 

Brian Cheshire Of Cheshire At Home Holding His Pet Snake An African Python. His Brother Alfred Looks On As Their Mother Carries On Knitting. Brian Cheshire Of Cheshire At Home Holding His Pet Snake An African Python. His Brother Alfred Looks On As Their Mother Carries On Knitting.

Brian Cheshire Of Cheshire At Home Holding His Pet Snake An African Python. His Brother Alfred Looks On As Their Mother Carries On Knitting. September 27 1939

 

“Mr Wisdom,’ said the girl who had led him into the presence.
‘Ah,’ said Howard Saxby, and there was a pause of perhaps three minutes, during which his needles clicked busily. ‘Wisdom, did she say?’
‘Yes. I wrote “Cocktail Time”‘
‘You couldn’t have done better,’ said Mr Saxby cordially. ‘How’s your wife, Mr Wisdom?’
Cosmo said he had no wife.
‘Surely?’
“I’m a bachelor.’
Then Wordsworth was wrong. He said you were married to immortal verse. Excuse me a moment,’ murmured Mr Saxby, applying himself to the sock again. ‘I’m just turning the heel. Do you knit?’
‘No.’
‘Sleep does. It knits the ravelled sleave of care.’

– PG Wodehouse, Cocktail Time

 

Labour Party Conference At Margate With Lady In Audience Knitting 1947.

Labour Party Conference At Margate With Lady In Audience – May 26, 1947

1966 - Vintage Car In The Gidding's Drawing Room: For three months Mrs. Christine Giddings has had the bits and pieces of a vintage motor car cluttering up her best drawing room. Her car enthusiast husband, Peter, is assembling a car in which he hopes tor race, and the only suitable place he had to be it as drawing room. Scheduled to be finished in April, the car will have to be taken down again to get it out of the Giddings Old Portslade, Sussex, home. The chassis is built from vintage Frazer - Nash parts and the engine is pure Atlanta - Gough. When It's finished, the car will have cost Mr. Giddings over ~£250 - not counting the hours of labour he has put into it himself - but he hopes that it will do a maximum speed of 120 mph when it's on the road.. Christine gets on with her knitting in an arm - chair in the drawing room - while Peter gets on with the car.

1966 – Vintage Car In The Gidding’s Drawing Room: For three months Mrs. Christine Giddings has had the bits and pieces of a vintage motor car cluttering up her best drawing room. Her car enthusiast husband, Peter, is assembling a car in which he hopes tor race, and the only suitable place he had to be it as drawing room. Scheduled to be finished in April, the car will have to be taken down again to get it out of the Giddings Old Portslade, Sussex, home. The chassis is built from vintage Frazer – Nash parts and the engine is pure Atlanta – Gough. When It’s finished, the car will have cost Mr. Giddings over ~£250 – not counting the hours of labour he has put into it himself – but he hopes that it will do a maximum speed of 120 mph when it’s on the road.. Christine gets on with her knitting in an arm – chair in the drawing room – while Peter gets on with the car.

Roma Duncan and Anne Rowse During Rehearsals For The Concerto Grosso Ballet At The Empire Theatre Edinburgh.

Roma Duncan and Anne Rowse During Rehearsals For The Concerto Grosso Ballet At The Empire Theatre Edinburgh. March 23, 1953

Off duty British soldier knitting

Off duty British soldier knitting. 1960s

 

In 1915, the manager of the New York Philharmonic Society’s Concert Hall complained about “Knitting During Performances”. He wrote in the programme notes that “many complaints have been received from patrons of the concerts who are annoyed by knitting during performances, and the Directors respectfully request that this practice, which interferes with the artistic enjoyment of the music, be omitted”.

 

Elderly ladies doing knitting and basket weaving in a day centre Essex Social Services, Essex, Britain - 1970s

Elderly ladies doing knitting and basket weaving in a day centre
Essex Social Services, Essex, Britain – 1970s

Wearing the unique costumes of Brittany, France, wives knits as they await the return of their fishermen husbands. Oct. 1926. (1536) Wearing the unique costumes of Brittany, France, wives knits as they await the return of their fishermen husbands. Oct. 1926.

Wearing the unique costumes of Brittany, France, wives knits as they await the return of their fishermen husbands. Oct. 1926. (1536)
Wearing the unique costumes of Brittany, France, wives knits as they await the return of their fishermen husbands. Oct. 1926.

WOMAN COVERING MANS EYES WITH HER KNITTING AS A YOUNG WOMAN TAKES OFF HER TOP ON THE BEACH WOMAN COVERING MANS EYES WITH HER KNITTING AT SIGHT OF YOUNG WOMAN TAKING OFF HER TOP ON THE BEACH - 1974

WOMAN COVERING MANS EYES WITH HER KNITTING AT SIGHT OF YOUNG WOMAN TAKING OFF HER TOP ON THE BEACH – 1974

Photograph of seaside holiday makers postally used 1926

Photograph of seaside holiday makers 1926

May Fitzpatrick Sits Knitting As She Waits Along With Hundreds Of Other Children At Euston Station For An Evacuation Train That Will Take Them To Safety. *date Unknown*

May Fitzpatrick Sits Knitting As She Waits Along With Hundreds Of Other Children At Euston Station For An Evacuation Train That Will Take Them To Safety. *date Unknown*

Mrs. S. Nako and Mrs. William Hosokawa spend an afternoon knitting at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Park County, Wyoming, January 8, 1943.

Mrs. S. Nako and Mrs. William Hosokawa, interned during World War 2, spend an afternoon knitting at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Park County, Wyoming, January 8, 1943. (Via Barbara Levine)

1921 portrait of Grave Coolidge (1979-1947), wife of then Vice President Calvin Coolidge knitting.

1921 portrait of Grave Coolidge (1979-1947), wife of then Vice President Calvin Coolidge knitting.

Schoolgirls Knitting On The School Steps At The First Of The Government's Elementary Camp Schools Built In Finnamore Wood Near Marlow Buckinghamshire. The Girls Are Some Of The 175 Evacuated From The Beal Modern School Ilford. Now They Live In The Self-contained Village Of Cedar Huts.

Schoolgirls Knitting On The School Steps At The First Of The Government’s Elementary Camp Schools Built In Finnamore Wood Near Marlow Buckinghamshire. The Girls Are Some Of The 175 Evacuated From The Beal Modern School Ilford. Now They Live In The Self-contained Village Of Cedar Huts. April 22, 1940

Nantucket, Massachusetts: August 29, 1923 Women of old Nantucket dressed in clothes from the old whaling days knitting on a porch.

Nantucket, Massachusetts: August 29, 1923 Women of old Nantucket dressed in clothes from the old whaling days knitting on a porch.

 

In People Knitting: A Century of Photographs, Barbara Levine (some of the pictures in this gallery are from her terrific book), she writes on “the meditative act of knitting”.

 

Woman Knitting On Embankment Gardens London.

Woman Knitting On Embankment Gardens London. April 2, 1940

Knitting for the forces at the beauty salon, London, 1940.

Knitting for the forces at the beauty salon, London, 1940. (via Barbara Levine)

Girls engaged in knitting and making toy animals in the handicraft class of the St. Simon’s Youth Center of the National Youth Administration, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1941.

Girls engaged in knitting and making toy animals in the handicraft class of the St. Simon’s Youth Center of the National Youth Administration, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1941. Via Barbara Levine

Taxicab driver knitting between fares, London, c. 1940.

Taxicab driver knitting between fares, London, c. 1940. Via Barbara Levine

Prisoners knitting in one of their classrooms, Sing Sing prison, Ossining, New York, c. 1915.

Prisoners knitting in one of their classrooms, Sing Sing prison, Ossining, New York, c. 1915. (Via Barbara Levine)

Women’s Institute, Jerusalem, Arab women knitting in the Old City, c. 1939.

Women’s Institute, Jerusalem, Arab women knitting in the Old City, c. 1939. (Via Barbra Levine)

High school boys knitting for the soldiers during World War I, Cooperstown, New York, 1918.

High school boys knitting for the soldiers during World War I, Cooperstown, New York, 1918. (Via Barbara Levine)

Graham’s photo postcard series, “Scotch Fisher Girls,” Blyth, England, c. 1915.

Graham’s photo postcard series, “Scotch Fisher Girls,” Blyth, England, c. 1915. (Via Barbara Levine)

Seattle woman knitting while walking, c. 1918.

Seattle woman knitting while walking, c. 1918.

Studio portrait of young Scottish woman with her knitting, c. 1915.

Studio portrait of young Scottish woman with her knitting, c. 1915. (via Barbara Levine)

Carte de visite showing Sojourner Truth, c. 1880.

Carte de visite showing Sojourner Truth, c. 1880. (Via Barbara Levine)

Postcard of Dutch girls knitting published by Utig F. B. den Boer, Middelburg, Holland, 1909

Postcard of Dutch girls knitting published by Utig F. B. den Boer, Middelburg, Holland, 1909 (via Barbara Levine)

Photograph of women, most likely in a knitting circle, ca. 1914.

Photograph of women, most likely in a knitting circle, ca. 1914. (via Barbara Levine)

Women in Berlin, Germany, knitting for soldiers during World War I. 1914-15.

Women in Berlin, Germany, knitting for soldiers during World War I. 1914-15.

 

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