We are so wasteful, we are so ready to throw something away (even if we virtuously recycle it) and often we could actually make do with what we have. Maybe we are so in love with fashion – and I don’t just mean clothes, I mean what it is fashionable to do/eat/watch/listen to/visit etc, or maybe we are so comparatively affluent, have so much choice, or maybe we get bored so easily we don’t want to wear something again, eat the same thing for dinner, go to the same places…

At the end of the war and just after, many things were rationed and hard to come by… and this is what my lovely old 1940’s Knitting For All – Illustrated, has to say about Wool Economies Renovating and Repairing Knitteds:

Wool is scarce and precious now. There’s a general feeling that, even apart from reasons of economy, one cannot lightly turn last year’s jumper into this years floor-cloth – not without exploring every possibility of giving it a new lease of life. The socks that the boys wear to a state of no heels and toes at all cannot just be thrown away, but one can be refooted with the good leg part of a second pair in a similar condition. Odd bits of wool which once you used to make woollen balls to amuse the next door baby, or – a shocking thought – you even threw away in that periodical tidy up, you must now use in cunning devices to rejuvenate old knitted friends and bring them forth as “good as new.”

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All of you, probably are faced with the problem of keeping warm in the wool shortage. You want to know what to do with old garments, what yarn to use and how to use it if you can’t get the wool. How  to make awful colours look wonderful in combination, how to economize in wool?

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As far as possible this part of the book answers all those questions. it remains to you, when you’ve studied it, to use a little of your own imagination and ingenuity, and you’ll burst forth looking radiant in a creation contrived from two pairs of father’s old socks, an old beret and a ball of string.

There are so many little things to comment on… and maybe we find them amusing, but these were hard times, and women were trying their best to clothe themselves and their families and to look their best at the same time! We would hardly believe it was worth it to keep old socks, unpick two holey pairs and make one decent pairs… We wouldn’t use old clothes as floor-cloths – not with all our wonderful sprays, wipes, and j-cloths.

however, even sympathising with their situation, I can’t help but smile at the thought of me ‘bursting forth looking radiant in a creation contrived from two pairs of father’s old socks, an old beret and a ball of string!!’

4 thoughts on “Re-making and making do

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