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Knit Your Bit

The National WWII Museum provides warm gifts to Veterans, enters year five

National World War II Museum In October 2006, The National World War II Museum in New Orleans introduced Knit Your Bit, a grass-roots program to produce hand-knit scarves for World War II veterans in appreciation of their service to our country. Since then, the Museum has received more than 10,000 hand-knitted and crocheted scarves from all 50 states and several countries. The scarves have been distributed to V.A. Hospitals and veteran’s organizations as far away as Alaska.

Knit Your Bit was conceived and organized by Lauren Handley, the Museum’s Education Programs Coordinator. When Handley began the project, her goal was to receive only 30 scarves. However, the project gathered steam as knitters passed the information along through club meetings, newsletters, blogs, e-mails and other channels of communication. The program was originally scheduled to end in winter 2007, but when scarves were still coming in at rapid rates, the Museum committed to continuing the distribution.

On the Home Front during World War II, knitting was a national endeavor. Women, men and even school-age children were eager to “knit their bit” to support the war effort and provide needed garments for the troops. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was frequently photographed knitting and, in 1941, she boosted national participation by hosting a “Knit for Defense” tea at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Time magazine wrote, “The men hardly have time to grab their guns before their wives and sweethearts grab their needles and yarn.” Later that same year, the popular weekly magazine Life featured a cover story on knitting along with instructions and a pattern for a knit vest. In 1942, the American Red Cross was designated by the War Production board as the clearing agency for all knitting projects.

Seaman's Cabled Scarf The new knit and crochet patterns can be downloaded free from the Museum's web site, nationalww2museum.org. To request a pattern by mail, call Lauren Handley at 504-528-1944, ext. 229 or lauren.handley@nationalww2museum.org. Don’t knit? They can still use your help to cover a portion of the costs associated with packaging and mailing these greatly appreciated gifts.

Send scarves and donations to: The National World War II Museum, Knit Your Bit Campaign, 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

The National World War II Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National World War II Museum, it celebrates the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front.


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