Knitting has long been used as a way for men and women to help their communities. Helping the unemployed, as in the video above, was one way women reached out to help others, but even more common was wartime knitting.
Wartime knitting was all the rage during every war with American involvement until about 1950. From Martha Washington in the Revolutionary war to the 'sox for soldiers' campaign, American women used their needles to help the troops however they could.
Watching Fanny Brice's video for the unemployed made me realize just how viral campaigns for 'service knitting' were during the first half of the 20th century.
Knitters still knit- why don't we have any viral campaigns asking us to 'do our part' today? With the internet, it has become even easier to reach out to a targeted audience quickly and cheaply. Although programs do exist for women and men to knit for soldiers, they aren't very well advertised within the knitting world, and they aren't advertised at all outside of it. What has changed? Knitters used to be called upon to do our bit to help out in times of trouble. Is society to blame, for forgetting about this huge group of crafters eager to help out? Or should knitters be chastised, for allowing themselves to be underestimated?