Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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.

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