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Home : Community : Newsletters & Stories
 

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"V" for Victory
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Knit Meandering Scarf

"Knit Your Bit," a community knitting project started in 2006 by The National World War II Museum, is modeled after the great wartime civilian knitting efforts. The museumís goal is a very modest one: simple scarves for veterans. In just two years, over 5,000 have been collected.

Last fall, when I was getting ready to knit my bit in memory of my father, a soldier in WWII (see Knit Your Bit 2007 story), Dave--my friend, neighbor, and Viet Nam veteran--was battling his 3rd round against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Another friend, Al, a swimming buddy, also a veteran, was beginning his treatment for the same cancer. The museum commissions a new pattern each year, and the 2007 scarf, sporting an encouraging "V" for victory at each end, made me want to include them in this project.

Knit Meandering Scarf
The three scarves were easy to knit. The "V" was the best part; giving me the feeling I was stitching them a banner of hope. Dave and Al got their scarves before the start of a brutal winter. A veteran somewhere received a warm tribute. And I knew that next autumn would find me knitting my bit again.

It's getting dark earlier now. Here in Iowa, the nights are cold, and there's a glittery frost settled on the cars and rooftops in the early morning. The fields of soy beans and corn I pass on my morning walk have turned a golden brown, and only the very last of the wildflowers remain standing, their leaves brittle and dry. These signs remind me that once more it's time to pick up my knitting needles for those who have fought our nation's wars.

The 2008 "Knit Your Bit" scarf is lovely. A vintage look, it's worthy of being worn by a noble character in one of those beautifully and authentically costumed BBC productions, like Foyle's War. Four colors, garter stitch only, with stripes knit or crochet the long way.

As requested by the project this year, I chose yarn in gender neutral colors: Wool-Ease in Violet, Burgundy, Loden Green, and a Fisherman's White. Once the new pattern was downloaded, printed, and slipped safely inside a plastic sheet protector, I was itchy to start, excited to see how the colors would knit up together.

Casting on 175 stitches required me to count and check my numbers a few times. After that, the first 12 rows of knitting color A was a breeze. I didn't really look at the pattern carefully until the second stripe. That's when I realized the "V" was missing. The letter whose power had made knitting last year's scarves a kind of mission was gone. Could I knit this one without it?

Of course, I could. But I didn't want to.

There are many kinds of battles and victories, and in all of them, a soul is pitted against the unknown. The recipient of these scarves knows the loneliness and fears of fighting for one's country, or one's life. Maybe both. That's why the "V" and the hopeful wishes it generated seemed so important to me. And why I knew I had to find a way to put it back in.

For the motivated knitter, amazing possibilities exist in a humble sheet of graph paper. Those little squares hold the potential promise for pattern change and invention; both large and small. With my #2 pencil, I mapped out the simplest of "Vs," a row of them. Barely visible, you have to look hard to find them. But they are there. Present enough to satisfy this knitter.

Tucking the teeny pattern of "Vs" into the second and eighth stripe, added four rows, providing an extra half inch of warmth. Easily integrated in any scarf pattern, knit length or width wise.

Click for the Museum's 2008 knit or crochet pattern.

V Pattern
Rows 1, 2, 3: knit
Row 4: p2, k1, p 4 repeat to end (ending with either p2 or p4)
Row 5: k1, p1, k1, p1, k2 repeat to end (ending with either ending with k1, or k2)
Row 6: purl
Rows 7, 8: knit

My four skeins of Wool-Ease made two scarves. Both with "Vs." One will go to the museum in memory of my father, and Dave, who passed away last January. The other scarf is headed to Vermont, for a very special brother of a very special friend. He's on the front line of his own battle, also with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. May both scarves bring warmth and comfort. Courage, too.

Knit your bit! With or without the "V," your scarf will be welcomed.

Scarves can be sent to:

The National WWII Museum
Attn: Knit Your Bit
945 Magazine St
New Orleans LA 70130

For more scarf patterns, search our Pattern Finder. We have patterns for knitters, crocheters, loom-knitters, machine-knitters, and more.


The WW II Museum is introducing a new project this year, "Knit Your Itty Bit." Knitters are asked to make 8x8 inch squares that will be later sewn together into afghans for veterans. A great project for one skein charitable knitters. If you make the 2008 "Knit Your Bit" scarf in Wool-Ease like I did, you will find that there's enough yarn left over to make approximately four squares.

Using the form below, squares may be dedicated to a specific veteran and both knitter and veteran will be acknowledged on the museums' web site.

If you wish to dedicate your quilt square to a veteran, please print and fill out this form and mail it in with your square.

Your name:
Address:
Email Address:
I dedicate this quilt square to the following veteran:

Mail your squares to:
The National WWII Museum
Attn: Knit Your Bit
945 Magazine St
New Orleans LA 70130



Authored by

Michelle Edwards is the author/illustrator of A KNITTER'S HOME COMPANION and many award-winning children's books including CHICKEN MAN and STINKY STERN FOREVER. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys talking about books in schools throughout the US and beyond. Her newest book, Room for the Baby, will be available from Random House in Fall 2012. Visit Michelle Edwards at her website or on Facebook.
 
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