Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Woman in White

I enjoy listening to the free audio books on The current book I'm listening to is The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

The story was written in 1859 as a serial and made into a book in 1860. It is a mystery and takes place in England. There are 38 chapters in this book...its a long one. I'll be working on knitting another Norwegian Morning or Bonnet Cap while listening to the book.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Women's work is never done!

Freedom’s Champion [Atchison, Kansas] Saturday, March 15, 1862

          KITCHEN MEMORANDA.—Potatoes to be washed—meat to be put to soak—lamps to fill—knives to scour—furniture to be dusted—silver to be polished—front entry to be washed—beds to be made—apples to pare—flour to sift—shirts to be ironed—dishes to be washed—beets to be cleaned—carpets to be swept—fires to be tended—dinner to get—pig to be fed—pudding to be made—a runt to the store—front door to tend—children to be waited on—baby’s frock to be washed—stockings to be darned—buttons to be sewed on the shirts—shirts to be done up—tea to get—griddle cakes—dough nuts—custards—ginger-bread—preserves—dishes to clear away—company—evening meetings—bed time.
         What merchant, politician, or president has a longer list of daily avocations than the good wife; and yet how little they are considered. The hard and constant fatigue of the mother should elicit a deeper sympathy and a more strenuous effort to lessen her burden. 

Daily Evening Bulletin [San Francisco, CA] Friday, May 8, 1863

RULES OF HEALTH FOR MARRIED LADIES.—Here is some advice which married ladies can bet high on:

            Get up at three o’clock in the morning, clean out the stoves, take up the ashes, sweep the front sidewalk, and scrub the front steps, nurse the baby, put things to warm, see the shirt aired, broil the mackerel, settle the coffee, set the table, rouse the house, carry up some hot water for shaving to that brute of a lazy husband, and dry the morning paper. By this time you will have an appetite for breakfast. Hold the baby during the meal, as you like your breakfast cold. 

            After breakfast, wash the dishes, nurse the baby, dust everything, wash the windows, wash and dress the baby—(that pantry wants cleaning out and scrubbing)—nurse the baby, draw the baby in his wagon five or six miles for the benefit of his health: nurse him when you return;  put on the potatoes and the cabbage (nurse the baby) sweep everything; take up the dinner, set the table, fill the castors, change the table cloth, (there’s that baby wants nursing.) Eat your dinner cold again, and—nurse the baby.

            After dinner, wash the dishes, gather up all the dirty clothes and put them to soak, nurse baby every half hour; receive a dozen calls, interspersed with nursing the baby; drag the baby a mile or two; hurry home; make biscuits, pick up some codfish, cut some dried beef, Catnip tea for baby’s internal disarrangements: hold the baby and hour or two to quiet him; put some alcohol in the meter; baby a specimen of perpetual motion: tea ready; take your cold, as usual. 

            After tea, wash up the dishes; put some fish to soak; chop some hash; send for more sugar, (gracious how the sugar does go—and 20 cents a pound,) get down the stockings and darn them: (keep on nursing the baby;) wait up till 12 o’clock nursing the baby, till husband comes with a double shuffle on the front steps, a decided difficulty in finding the stairway, and determination to sleep in the backyard. Drag him up stairs to bed: then nurse the baby and go to sleep.

            Women in delicate health will find that the above practice will either kill or cure them.

1861 Woolen Socks for the Army

During the war both sides printed in newspapers the same or very similar directions  on knitting socks for the soldiers/army. It is interesting the slight variations between the previous post from 1864 Georgia and these earlier directions from Ohio.

The Daily Cleveland Herald, [Cleveland, Ohio] Tuesday, October 22, 1861

            The army of sock knitters of course embarrass some new recruits in the ranks, as the girls of this age have not been brought up to “knit and visit” quite as industriously as their grandmothers. The following directions in regard to knitting woolen socks for the soldiers have been furnished the press by a lady of much experience, and may prove useful to many beside new recruits. The directions have passed muster with other veterans in the knitting service, and are worth preserving and giving heed to:

            The yarn should be bluish gray, No. 22, and the needles No. 14 or 15. Set twenty seven stitches on each needle; knit two plain and two seam rows alternately until the ribbing is three inches long; then knit plain seven inches for the leg, remembering to seam or stitch at the end of one needle. To form the heel, put twenty stitches on two of the needles, and forty-one on the other—the seam stitch being in the middle. Knit the first row plain, the next row seam, and so alternately until the heel is three inches long; then narrow on the plain row each side of the seam stitch for five plain rows, which will leave thirty one stitches. To close the heel, knit the last seam row to the middle of the needle, knit the seam stitch plain, then fold the two needles together, and with another needle take off the seam stitch. Then knit a stitch from both needles at once, and bind the seam stitch over it. Continue knitting in this manner until but one is left and the heel closed. Take up as many stitches as there are rows around the heel; knit one row plain; then widen every fifth stitch on the heel needles. Narrow once on every round at each side of the foot until there are twenty-seven stitches on each needle; knit plain six inches, narrow at the beginning and end of each needle on every third round, till you have seventeen stitches on each; then narrow every second round till you have seven—then every round until the foot is closed. One pound of yarn, costing from seventy five cents to one dollar, will furnish four pairs of socks.

            The proper quality and price of the woolen yarn, individual knitters and societies that purchase should look to. The Cleveland Worsted Company are engaged in manufacturing yarns on Bank street in this city. This company have very kindly offered to sell woolen yarn to those wishing to knit for soldiers at wholesale prices and are furnishing for that purpose good and durable yarn at 75 cents a pound. They keep the number of woolen yarn mentioned in the above directions, and which the Soldiers’ Aid Society in this city purchase for socks and give out to knit to such women as are anxious to do something for the good cause, but are not able to furnish the yarn. In this way many willing fingers are employed, and rich payment is received in the thankful soldier’s blessings. That the quality of the yarn is good and the price reasonable, is evidenced by the frequent purchases made by Cleveland Aid Society, which studies economy and utility in all its benevolent labor. Would not auxiliary Societies in the vicinity do well to get their supplies of yarn directly from the manufactory on Bank street, and but a few doors South of the Aid Society’s depot in this city?

            We are assured by the Cleveland Worsted Company, that no cotton or rags have ever been made into stocking yarn at their manufactory. Rags are worked up for carpet filling when ordered. We think the Company are deserving public patronage from the fact that their goods may be relied on and are sold at fair prices, and that they are the pioneers in Woolen Manufacturing in this city, a branch of business we hope to see liberally encouraged.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hint to the Ladies...the socks...are too small

Thanks to the internet, data bases and search engines, finding primary sources today is quicker and efficient. I love finding and putting together information from the past.  

The Macon Daily Telegraph [Georgia] February, 17, 1864

Hint to the Ladies.—As a general thing a large proportion of the socks that have been sent to this office and forwarded to the soldiers, are too small. We published, some days ago, instructions from a lady on the art of knitting, and our lady friends would do well to observe them. A tight fitting sock affords not half the comfort of a loose one and will wear out in one third the time.

Macon Daily Telegraph [Georgia] January 26, 1864

DIRECTIONS FOR KNITTING SOCKS FOR THE ARMY.—The following directions, which have been furnished by a lady of much experience, may prove useful to those who will engage in knitting woolen socks for the army. The yarn should be bluish grey, No. twenty-two, and the needles No. fourteen to fifteen:
            Set twenty-seven stitches on each needle; knit the plain and two seam rows alternately until the ribbing is three inches long; then knit plain seven inches for the leg, remembering to seam one stitch at the end of one needle.
To form the heel, put twenty stitches on two of the needles, and forty on the other—the seam stitch being in the middle. Knit the first row plain, the next row seam, and so alternately until the heel is three inches long, then narrow on the plain row each side of the seam stitch for five plain rows, which will leave thirty-one stitches. To close the heel, knit the last seam row to the middle of the needle, knit the seam stitch plain, then fold the two needles together, and with another needle take off the seam stitch. Then knit a stitch from both needles at once and bind the seam stitch over it. Continue knitting in this manner until but one is left and the heel closed. Take up as many stitches as there are rows around the heel; knit one row plain; then widen every fifth stitch on the heel needles. Narrow once on every round at each side of the foot until there are twenty-seven stitches on each needle, knit plain six inches; narrow at the beginning and end of each needle on every third round till you have seventeen stitches on each side; then narrow every second till you have seven; then every round until the foot is closed. One pound of yarn, costing from seventy five cents to one dollar, will furnish
furnish four pair of socks.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Life in a Stocking

I am currently reading articles in 19th century newspapers as I research knitting and stockings/socks.
The Pittsfield Sun [Massachusetts] June 30, 1859

Life in a Stocking
            Life has been likened to almost everything, and has been looked upon in as many different ways as it could be turned by Fancy’s shuttle in the rattling loom or busy brain. But in all the different ways life has been presented to you, have you ever see it compared to a stocking? If not pause a moment and listen.
At first the stocking is not a stocking, not the life a life, but each a skein of yarn, pure, clean and waiting to be reeled off. Sometimes, to be sure, the yarn is clouded, mixed and even grey, but with care it will all knit in and nicely blend together. There are no breaks, no tangles in it now as you look at it ere it starts upon its course, but thread is frail, the needles may bend or break, and a steady hand, must watch them now their life-work is begun.

            Look at the stocking and look at the life—stitch by stitch do they progress, and how nicely are those stitches all linked together, held by a single thread—the thread of the stocking and thread of life—and yet so long as the thread is unbroken so long will the stitches hold together.

            But see!—there is a stitch dropped, the thread broken and tied again, and it leaves an ugly scar—a knot—a mended life. The stitch dropped may be smoothed over, the broken thread mended, but the stockings, the life are marred; the first miss-stitch is made, the first warning given.

            There is magic music in the click of the knitting needles plied with nimble fingers, and there is music too in the click of Time’s knitting needles as he knit away at the young life, now laughing a merry strain, and again, one mournful as a dirge.

            Sometimes the knitting needles grow rusty and the half knit stocking is laid away; but the hands that held the needles first grew tired, were folded over the still breast, and laid to rest when the stocking and the life were nearly half done.

            There is a great deal of seaming in the stocking, and so there is in the life; more seeming than doing, the best foot put forward, the bright side out, and the seam stitches uppermost.

            There is the widening, too—the stocking grows, the life expands, the purposes grow stong, the hands qrasp for more—and then comes the narrowing. The thread has been held so loosely, so many stitches have been dropped along the life-road, the thread of hope broken so many times, that we begin to narrow in the life-stocking, to draw more closely within ourselves, and guide the needles with a more careful hand. Then comes the footing—there is a good deal of footing in life, a good deal of trudging—the foot-path is well beaten—the feet are grown weary and sometimes they refuse to go further—the life tramp ceases and for a while we rest.

            All along the stocking and the life there are black, red and white threads—those are the way marks.

            When you were knitting the stocking your mother put those threads in that she might know when your stent was completed, you “ten times round” knit, and you could easily pull them out again; but in the woof of life they are firmly woven, and if you brush the dust away they are as plain as ever; you pull them out, but in vain.

            In the stocking those way marks are only threads, but in the life they are great joys, and grief’s; graves which draw you down to earth where hopes and hearts are buried, and jewels that draw you up to heaven—yea, even jewels in our Father’s casket.

            As you glance back to the way you have come even to the casting on of those first life-stitches, you see a great many knots mended but not hidden, a great many stitches dropped, the thread held loosely till kinked and tangled, many needles rusted and broken, and a great many way marks you would brush with the dust away.

            The knitting goes on, the ball of yarn grows smaller, the life dwindles away, the stocking is almost done—then comes the toeing off, the last stitch is bound off, the thread drawn through and broken, and the stocking and the life are done!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Moral of a Pair of Stockings. 1851

The Pittsfield Sun [Massachusetts] June 12, 1851
The Moral of a Pair of Stockings.
            The following letter was written by a distinguished literary lady, Mrs. W., of Troy, N.Y., and sent to a learned judge of New Haven, on the eve of his marriage.

            “Dear Cousin: Herewith you will receive a present of a pair of woolen stockings, knit by my own hands; and be assured, dear coz., that my friendship for you is warm as the maternal, active as the finger-work, and generous as the donation.

            But I consider this present as peculiarly appropriate on the occasion of your marriage.—
You will remark, in the first place, that there are two individuals united into one pair, who are to walk side by side, guarding against coldness, and giving comfort as long as they last. The thread of their texture is mixed; and so, alas! is the tread of life. In these, however, the white is made to predominate, expressing my desire and confidence that thus it will be with the color of your existence.—
No black is used, for I believe your lives will be wholly free from the black passions of wrath and jealousy. The darkest color here is blue, which is excellent, when we do not make it too blue.
            Other appropriate thoughts rise in my mind in regarding these stockings. The most indifferent subjects, when viewed by the mind in a suitable frame, may furnish instructive inferences, as saith the poet:

                        “The iron dogs, the fuel and tongs,
                        The bellows that have leathern lungs;
                        The firewood, ashes, and the smoke,
                        Do all to righteousness provoke.”

            But to the subject. You will perceive that the tops of these stocking (by which I suppose courtship to be represented) are seamed, and by means of seaming are drawn into a snarl; but afterwards comes a time when the whole is made plain and continues so to the end and final toeing off. By this I wish to take occasion to congratulate your self that you are now through with seeming, and have come to plain reality. Again, as the whole of these comely stockings was not made at once, but by the addition of one little stitch after another, put in with skill and discretion, until the whole presents the fair and equal piece of work which you see, so life does not consist of one great action; but millions of little ones combined; and so may it be with your lives. No stitch dropped when duties are to be performed; no widening made where but principles are to be reproved, or economy is to be preserved; neither seeming nor narrowing where truth and generosity are in question.
            Thus every stitch of life made right and set in the right place: none either too large or too small, to tight or too loose; thus you may keep on your smooth and even course—making existence one fair and consistent piece—until together, having passed the heel, you come to the very toe of life; and here, in the final narrowing off and dropping off the coil of this emblematical pair of companions and comforting associates, nothing appears but white, the token of innocence and peace, of purity and light. May you, like these stocking, the final stitch being dropped, and the work completed, go together from the place where you were formed to a happier state of existence, a present from Earth to Heaven.—
Hoping that these stockings and admonitions may meet a civil reception, I remain in the true-blue friendship, seemly, yet without seeming, Yours, from top to toe.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Alpaca Hose

Found some advertisements for Alpaca Hose...This ones for you my friend Deborah :)

The Arkansas Whig [Little Rock, Arkansas] May 25, 1854
Bargains! Bargains!
Dry Goods and Clothing Selling off at Cost.
…black, white and mixed Cotton Hose, black Alpaca Hose,…

Richmond Enquirer [Virginia] October 1, 1850
Ladies’ black and white, plain and embroidered silk Hose and half Hose
Ladies’ spun Silk, Moravian and cotton Hosiery
Misses’ and boys mixed black and white Hose and half Hose
Ladies’ Lamb’s Wool, Cashmere and Alpaca Hose
Heavy woolen and cotton Hose for servants, all sizes

The Constitution [Middletown Connecticut] February 24, 1847
Gloves and Hosiery.
Gents,…English, French and spun silk hose, Alpaca Hose, Merion, Cashmere, worsted and woolen House, Ladies cotton Hose of every color and quality; Misses Merion, lambs wool and cotton Hosiery, all kinds.

Boon’s Lick Times [Fayette, MO] October 10, 1846
For the Ladies.
We are now offering a desirable lot of the following styles of Goods, which we invite your attention to—
Lambs wool Cashmere and Alpaca hose,
Lamb’s wool and cotton                       do.

Telegraph and Texas Register [Texas] April 23, 1845
Magazine Street, corner of Common,
…mixed English half hose; brown and mixed German do; mixed French do; blue cotton do; gray cotton hose (for servants;) ladies’ brown mixed and black cotton holes; children’s white do do; Ladies’ black cashmere hose; do worsted; do Alpaca do; do mode color do; do white cotton do; do blue do do; woolen socks,…

The Jeffersonian [New Orleans, Louisiana] December 16, 1845
Marshall & James, Wholesale Dry Goods Dealers, No. 18 Chartres street, are now in receipt of their fall and winter stock of DRY GOODS, which they are selling very low for cash or approved credit, their stock in part consists of—
500 dozen Cotton, Silk, Merino, Cashmere and Alpaca Hose;

Thursday, April 12, 2012


The word "Angola" has numerous meanings. Angola products wove, knit and yarns are imported to America.

There are newspaper ads for Angola fabrics. The book TEXTILES IN AMERICA, page 147  "Angola, a word probably derived from angora, is the name of one of these fashionable fabrics." 

The merchant’s polyglot manual 1860
Angola Stockings—(a mixture of cotton and Spanish wool). 

The Repertory of patent inventions: and other discoveries and improvements. 1862
Pg. 44
Specification of the Patent granted to John Thomson Pagan and Thomas Benjamin Willans, of Rochdale, in the County of Lancaster, Flannel Manufacturers, for An Improvement in the Manufacture of Flannel.—Dated February 26, 1861
            To all to whom these presents shall come, &c., &c.,--
The object of this invention is to produce a woolen fabric suitable for white and coloured shirts, dressing-gowns, and other like articles which shall be less costly, less liable to shrink, and more durable than the fabrics now used for such purposes. These advantages we obtain by the intermixture of cotton with the wool intended to be converted into yarn for the manufacture of this class of goods. The cotton and wool we weigh out in the required proportions, and after passing them through the willow submit them to a carding or scribbling engine, in passing through which engine the animal and vegetable fibres will become intimately combined and converted into slivers. These slivers we then convert into yarn after the manner usually employed in the spinning of woolen yarn, and the yarn thus obtained we weave into a fabric, which we term for distinction “white Angloa flannel,” and which somewhat resembles in texture the flannel at present manufactured for shirts, dressing-gowns, and such like articles. Upon the fabric thus produced we print any desired patterns by means of impressing roller, and we find that under pressure the fabric will take the printing colours as readily as if there were no cotton present in the fabric. The introduction of cotton besides affording the advantages above enumerated gives a finer appearance to the fabric than can be obtained by the sole use of wool of the same quality as that combined with cotton. The proportion of cotton which we employ will depend upon the quality of fabric required to be manufactured, but in general we have found that the best results may be obtained by the admixture with the wool of from one-third to one-half its weight of cotton.
Having now set forth the nature of our invention of “An improvement in the Manufacture of Flannel,” and explained the manner of carrying the same into effect, we wish it to be understood, that under the above in part recited letters patent, we claim,--
Manufacturing flannel from yarn produced from a mixture of vegetable and animal fibres, as above described.
--In witness, &c.
John Thomson Pagan.
Thomas Benjamin Willans. 

Accounts and papers of the House of Commons 1865
Pg. 73
Carded Yarn Mills.
A much older branch of industry in Saxony is the spinning carded yarn, so necessary for making cloth, together with the greatly-increasing Vigogne spinning (mixture of cotton and wool), and called in England and Scotland (to which countries much is exported from Saxony) Angola yarn.

Daily Atlas, [Boston Massachusetts] January 2, 1843
Cushing & Kemp, Nos. 41 & 43 Water street,
Angola Shirts and Drawers;

The Daily Atlas [Boston, Massachusetts] March 30, 1843
UNDER SHIRTS and DRAWERS, Silk, Angola, Cotton, and fine Merino.

The Southern Patriot [Charleston, South Carolina] January 10, 1843
Angola, Saxony, Wool and Merino Under Shirts and Drawers.

The Southern Patriot [Charleston, South Carolina] February 4, 1843
Estate Sale.
Silk, Worsted, Angola, Thread and Cotton Socks and Stockings,

Macon Weekly Telegraph [Georgia] July 9, 1844
1 doz. Angola Silk Hats.

Philadelphia Inquirer, [PA] July 20, 1861
J.R. Casselberry Will Open, On
Monday morning—
15 cases STAPEL GOODS, at
1 case Angola Flannels, 20c.

Macon Telegraph, [Georgia] November 27, 1862
Direct Importation from Europe,
Cargo Sale by Catalogue, by
Dry Goods.
Fancy Angola Tweed
1 case Fancy Angola Flannel Shirts

Philadelphia Inquirer, [PA], June 9, 1863
Price & Wood, formerly with Warnock.
Angola Flannels, 25c., very cheap.

There are also Angola yarns for hosiery and knitting

Daily Atlas, [Boston Massachusetts] January 2, 1843
[Office Nos. 23 and 25 Kilby street.]
ladies’ col’d merino and Angola hosiery—men’s Angola and woolen ½ hose

Maine Farmer, October 25, 1866
Worsteds, worsteds.
Miss Helen F. Piper,
Takes this method of informing her friends and the public, that she has returned from Boston with a choice stock of new and fresh worsteds, consisting in part of Zephyrs and Shetland Worsteds, Saxony and Angola Yarns, and all kinds of materials for working, commenced slippers, ladies’ and children’s Hoods, Sacques, Scarfs, Shawls, &c.
Garments manufactured to Order
At the Store of F.A. & C.H Brick.
Augusta, Oct 2, 1866

Monday, April 9, 2012

EVEN...More about Angola yarn

Last year someone commented on a post about "Angola Yarn"
 However there is no such thing as ANGOLA YARN

If it didn't exist then what were they selling "Angola Yarn" in America in the 19th century...

Burlington Free Press, (Vermont) November 21, 1856
New Advertisements.
Just Received.
Wool Wadding,
India-rubber  Skirt Bones,
Nubia Worsted,
Zephyr Worsted,
Angola Yarn,
Smyrna Lace,
Honiton Lace,
English Tread Lace,
Gauze Flannels,
Angola Flannels,
Fancy Canton Flannels,
Lawn Lawn,
Cambric Lawn,
Orient Crinoline,
Jessie Hoods,
Waxed Thread,
Honey Soap,
Lubin’s Extracts,
German Cologne,
nov18               HOTCKISS & JELLISON.

Burlington free press, (Vermont) September 11, 1857
September 8th.
Weekly Bulletin
Hotchkiss & Jellison,
Wholesale and Retail dealers in foreign and Domestic Dry Goods,
152 Church Street.
New Goods!!
Marseilles Undersleeves,
Marseilles Collars,
Blue Canton Flannel,
French Prints,
Angola Yarn,
Bone Knitting Needles,
Nubia Worsted,
Red Working Cotton.

            Arrangements have been made so that we can obtain for the Ladies this ensuing season (Winter) all shades of single and double Zephyr Worsted that they will require.

Daily Missouri Republican (MO) September 30, 1841
Classified ads
Women’s Hosiery—We have received a large assortment, comprising in part merino, lamb’s wool, Segovia, Angola , worsted yarn and cotton. [?] Kimball & Allen , 108 Main St.

North American and United States Gazette, (PA) October 10, 1850
Classified ads
50 PACKAGES ANGOLA YARN—25 do white knitting Cotton do, will be sold low, by
M. EGOLF, 42 Market street.

Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, (Maine) August 23, 1853
Classified ads
No. 48 Main Street,
Millinery and Fancy Goods,
Has just received…Angola Yarn.
Aug. 20

Bangor Daily Whig & Courier (Maine) October 11, 1859
Classified ads
Fancy Work!
Crochet Needles, Perforated Paper…Worsted, Angola Yarn,…
All colors, sizes and styles, at 56 Main st.
oct 8                F. MEINECKE.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Oh, matrimony!

April is national poetry month...

The Xenia [Ohio] November 04, 1864
In an old paper, printed in New London, nearly a century ago, we find the following on matrimony:
Oh, matrimony! thou are like.
To Jeremiah's figs;
the good is very good; the bad
Too sour to give the pigs.
I never dreamed of such a fate,
When I a-lass was courted--
Wife, mother, nurse, seamstress, cook, house-keeper,
chambermaid, laundress, dairy-woman,
and scrub generally, doing the work of six,
For the sake of being supported."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

More...Union poems 1861-1862

Discovered two more poems. These were published in at times it is difficult to read the type...I put in [brackets] those words I could not read with my best approximation.  

The Daily Cleveland Herald, (Cleveland, OH)Thursday, December 12, 1861
A Call for the Mitten.
In the times that are bygone, of Christmas and New Years,
Whose memories are cherished with blessings and tears,
When we sought of Affection some token to breathe
Our love for our dear ones, we chose to bequeath
A book or a [penell,?] a picture, or gem,--
Some gift best befitting our fancy, or them.

The maiden, to symbol the love she well knew
Was as peerless, and priceless, as boundless and true,
She lacking the power the stars to obtain,
Then gave the best gifts form the earth or the main,
[W ?lle] oft, when besieged by some dull, stupid beau,
She shrank from pronouncing the cruel no, no,--
She need not remain a demure as a kitten,
If she would but enclose him a nice little mitten!

But times are now changed, and brave sons and dear brothers
Wander far from the care of sweet sisters, and mothers;
They roam on the banks of Potomac’s wild shore,
Or climb, with tired foot, some steep mountain o’er,
Bleak plains and damp forests re-echo their thread;
And the ground, or the snow-drift, may pillow their head.
Though the heart will be brave, and tho’ strong be the will,
The blood may grow cold and the hand will grow chill,
So the truest, the tenderest, most welcome love token,
The pledge of a faith never changing—unbroken—
Be it sacred, or silent—expressed, or unwritten,
It can all be wrapped up in the warm woolen mitten.

The weary worn soldier, when out on a picket
Keeping guard in the shade of some icy-bound thicket,
The web that was woven by fairy-like fingers
Will bring back the scenes where his memory lingers,
The form that is dearest—the face the most fair,
Will beam on his sight form the cold misty air,
His spirit will lighten—his dreams will expand,
And his heart will grow warm, as well as his hand.
Then let Marthas, and Marys, gay Jennies, and Fans,
Sweet Coras, and Katies, and Bright Lucy Anns,
Kind Sarahs, and Abbys, Rebecca and Sue,
Fair Effies, and Edies, and Evelines, too,
With every one else whom Cupid has smitten;
At once begin making the Soldier’s warm mitten!

Let the proud, haughty belle, too, leave laces and satin,
Let her take in their place this simple machine,
These four little needles, with fingers between,
‘Tis a labor so homelike, to calm and befitting,
Our Grandmothers gave it the [JOUE ?] name of knitting;
It sure has a charm most beguiling, bewitching,
For while with the yarn she is twirling and twitching,
With each newly-made stitch of the soft woolen thread,
New forms and new fancies will float through her head.

She will dream of a manhood undaunted and bold,
Whose virtues and dearer than honors or gold,
Whose blood has flowed freely for Freedom and Right,
Whose valor shall conquer in the strength of its might
She will learn the stern offering the Patriot has given,
The hearts dearest treasures to Duty and Heaven;
The frost-work of Fashion will melt from her soul,
And mountains of Folly to atoms will roll;
With devotion unselfish her feelings will burn,
And the vain Coquette’s heart to a Woman’s will turn,
So powerful, so potent, such magic is it in,--
A talisman true is the brave Soldier’s mitten!
Elyria Dec. 10, 1861

The Christian Recorder, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) February 22, 1862

So, Mr. Homeguard, home you go:
You’ve got your hat and cane.
Excuse me, pray. But really, sir,
You must not call again.
I’m working for your soldiers, that
To freedom’s summons haste;
I once could entertain you, but
I’ve now no time to waste.

Of course you know I’d be with them
Were I like you a man;
As ‘tis, I’ll make what sacrifice
A feeble woman can.
I’ve given up my canary-bird,
My cat and poodle too;
I’ve given up all my foolish pets,
And I must give up—you.

I know you’ll ask, if you can’t help,
And come and hold the yarn
For me to wind? But, no, you can’t.
I’ve got to knit and darn—
Crochet, make slippers—true, you know
Some girlish things to do.
But you can’t come, for grandmother
Will do as well as you.

So, now, good by! Sometimes a walk
For exercise I’ll take,
And if we meet, perhaps I’ll speak,
For old acquaintance sake.
--He’s gone! O me, I quake to think
Had not this war been waged.
By this time, Ugh! That sneak and I,
We might have been engaged.

Union Poems - 1865-1866

Memorial of Margaret E. Breckinridge
J.B. Lippincott, 1865
Knitting for the Soldiers.

Here I sit at the same old work,
Knitting and knitting from daylight till dark;
Thread over and under and back and through,
Knitting socks for—I don’t know who;-
But in fancy I’ve seen him, and talked with him too.

He is no hero of gentle birth;
He’s little in rank, but he’s much in worth;
He’s plain of speech and strong of limb;
He’s rich in heart, but he’s poor of kin;
There are none at home to work for him.

He set his lips with a start and a frown,
When he heard that the dear old flag was shot down
From the walls of Fort Sumter, and flinging away
His tools and his apron, stopped but to say
To his comrades, “I’m going, whoever may stay,”
And was ‘listed and gone by the close of the day.

And whether he watches to-night on the sea,
Or kindles his camp-fire on “lone Tybee,”
By river or mountain, wherever he be,
I know he’s the noblest of all that are there;
The promptest to do and the bravest to dare;
The strongest in trust and the last in despair.

So here I sit at the same old work,
Knitting socks for the soldiers from daylight till dark,
And whispering low, as the thread flies through,
To him who shall wear them,--I don’t know who:-
“Ah, soldier, fight bravely, be patient, be true,
For some one is knitting and praying for you.”

Voices of the morning 1865
By Belle Bush

A song For the Army of Knitters.
Inscribed to the Fifty-First Regiment, P. V.

Here’s a pair of warm mittens for some one,-
A stranger, it may be, to me:
Yet I call him a friend and a brother,
Whatever his title may be.
A colonel, a captain, or private,
As equal in honors I view;
For they are the heroes of Freedom
Who prove themselves valiant and true.

And I send to them all the kind wishes
That spring from pure sisterly trust,
And ask, in return, that our banner
May never be trailed in the dust,
But aloft, with its starry adornings,
Unsullied and bright, may it wave
O’er the land that is sacred to Freedom,
Baptized in the blood of the brave.

I’m knitting more mittens for someone, -
The task is a pleasure to me:
Yet I cannot help thinking, while knitting,
Ah, who will that someone be?
And I fancy the one who receives them
Will shout to his comrades, in glee,
“Ah, someone had knit me nice mittens!
Oh, joy! what a comfort they’ll be!”

And then, as he hastily tries them,
Their merits the better to see,
I fancy he’ll silently query,
“Oh, who can that some one be?”
Then over the chords of his spirit
The fingers of Fancy will stray,
Till the pulses of music awaken
And throb with a tenderer lay.

Ah, then the dear image of some one,
In brightness and beauty, will come
In dreams to look smilingly on him
And sing of the loved ones at home;
And the heart of the soldier will listen
Entranced to her joy-lighted themes,
Till hushed is the moan of the river
That rolls by his palace of dreams.

Then bright o’er his pathway of peril
Will glimmer Hope’s beautiful star,
And his heart will grow braver and stronger
To follow the fortunes of war.

Peterson’s Magazine
March 1865
Jenny Musing
by Letta C. Lord

Zephyrs softly played around her,
Kissed her lips, and brow so fair;
Sunbeams bright came slowly creeping
O’er her braids of nut-brown hair.
On a mossy seat sitting,
Dainty fingers slowly knitting
On a soldier’s sock of blue
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

By her side a purling streamlet
Murmured softly to the flowers;
And she loved to sit beside it
In the bright, sunshiny hours.
On the mossy knoll sitting,
Sat the maiden slowly knitting—
Knitting on the sock of blue,
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

Birds around her sang their carols,
But she heeded not their lay;
Heeded not their notes of music,
For her thoughts were far away.
Back and forth her needles flitting,
Slowly knitting, slowly knitting—
Knitting on the sock of blue,
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

What were thrilling notes of music?
What the rays of golden sun?
Could they call her wanderer to her?
Could they bring the absent one?
So the maid was sadly sitting
On the mossy knoll, knitting—
Knitting on the sock of blue,
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

But sweet Hope was hovering near her,
And she saw her tear-dimmed eye,
So she softly whispered to her,
“You will meet him by-and-by.”
So she hopefully was sitting
On the mossy knoll, knitting—
Knitting on the sock of blue,
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

Weaving fancies bright as sunbeams
Of the absent far away,
Sat the maid amid the flowerets,
Looking beautiful as they.
Back and forth the needles flitting,
Thoughtfully the maid was sitting,
Knitting on the sock of blue,
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

Thinking of a little cottage,
Nestling by the bonnie burn,
Dreaming of a happy future
When her soldier will return.
Thoughtfully the maid was sitting,
Slowly knitting, slowly knitting
On the soldier’s sock of blue,
Stitch by stitch the needle through.

The Tribute Book
By Frank Boott Goodrich 1865

The yarn , the heart, the hand, the love, the dreams and prayers referred to in the following verses, all came from a border state:
“Fold them up, they are warm and soft
As the delicate knitter’s heart and hand,
A pair of soft, blue woolen socks,
And love knit in with every strand.

More than this, there are dreams and prayers
Wove in like a mystic, golden thread—
Dreams that may stir a soldier’s heart,
And prayers to bless a dying head.

It is not vain, it is not vain,
For love is blest, and prayer is strong,
To move the Arm that surely guides
The breasts that stem the tide of wrong.

And those who, praying, still believe,
Shall know the strength of human will;
They dream prophetic histories,
And through their faith their hopes fulfill.”