WAG Screen’s Centenary Stitches WW1 project focused on the knitted and crocheted textiles created at home by women during WW1. This project evolved spontaneously from the making of our film, ‘Tell Them of Us’ .
The film’s costumier, Pauline Loven, felt that she would not accurately reflect the clothing of the period if she did not include a large proportion of hand-knits. As there was neither knitting nor crochet expertise within the wardrobe team Pauline tweeted, speculatively, for a volunteer knitter. This was met with an extraordinary response and within a day she had over one hundred volunteers ranging from Orkney to Omaha!
A Facebook group was immediately created followed by a group on Ravelry so that they could co-ordinate and share their experiences, knowledge and skill. We also received wool donations from Rowan, Texere, Jamiesons of Shetland, Frangipani (aka Guernseywool.co.uk) Blacker, Kraemer and Swan’s Island. Original patterns were sourced from many places and some supplied by the Knitting and Crochet Guild. We now have more than 300 volunteers.
Here is an interview with some of the wonderful knitters who contributed to this project, recorded at the opening of the exhibition at The Collection, Lincoln in November 2014.
The Centenary Stitches exhibition was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘First World War, Then and Now’ programme.
The knitting project, Centenary Stitches, gathered over 300 volunteers, including expert knitters, designers and historians and developed a life of its own. An extraordinary opportunity arose to explore women’s contribution to the war effort in the shape of their knitting. The ancient industry of creating yarn and textiles is often called a hidden history of women.
A Centenary Stitches exhibition opened with the film at Lincoln’s museum, The Collection, late in 2014. Both exhibition and film transferred to The national Archive in Kew for three months at the beginning of 2016.
Elizabeth Lovick and Judith Brodniki have created a book of modernised WW1 knitting and crocheted patterns Centenary Stitches.
You can find out more about Centenary Stitches project here.
Pauline Loven is the Project Manager for Centenary Stitches and the Producer and Costumier for the WW1 Film ‘Tell Them of Us’. Pauline has a First Class Hons degree in Heritage Studies. She is a period costumier with 30 years experience in researching and reproducing period clothing and ten years of experience in design and making of costumes for film. Pauline is a founder member of WAG Screen not-for-profit filmmaking group. ‘Tell Them of Us’ is the twelfth film she has produced. Pauline is also a published historian and illustrator. She lives near Lincoln and is married with three children and one grandson.
Elizabeth Lovick is a knitting designer and historian who is doing much of the pattern design and research for Centenary Stitches. Elizabeth has also been on of our main troubleshooters in aiding and advising knitters struggling with period patterns. Liz was taught to knit by her Cornish grandmother when very young and kept herself in clothes through school by knitting arans for friends! When ill health forced her to stop teaching when she was 40, she did what her forebears would have done – she turned to knitting again. Liz now lives and works on the small Orkney island of Flotta where she spins and knits, researches and writes. She has a special interest in bringing traditional knitting styles to new audiences through her workbooks on ganseys, Fair Isle, Shetland lace and spinning. Her website is Northern Lace, and she sells her patterns and books on Etsy and Ravelry where she is also northernlace. She is the author of the best selling book, ‘The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting’.
Jane Lawrence is the administrator and coordinator of the Centenary Stitches project. Jane has been matching knitters’ skills to the knitting challenges and getting the wool posted out. At the time of writing Jane is somewhere in the bush in South Africa – and still knitting (see picture left!). Jane is a retired Headteacher and inveterate tweeter with a deep interest in World War One who spotted Pauline’s request for knitters and leapt forward to offer help as a knitter and/or admin assistant. Jane also has a fascinating flair for publicity and being in the right place at the right time!
Sally Pointer is a textile historian who is contributing to the Centenary Stitches project. Sally is also one of our troubleshooters aiding and advising knitters struggling with period patterns. Sally is a maker, designer, researcher and educator with a particular interest in textiles. She is well known for her historic hats, stockings and also for her imaginative modern knitting patterns. Sally has a Ravelry page and a blog Wicked Woollens.
Judith Brodnicki is the Graphic Designer for Centenary Stitches as well as a pattern designer and general trouble shooter. Judith is a professional graphic designer with more than 25 years of experience in print design and publication. Her design of the book Times of Sorrow/Times of Grace (Backwaters Press) won the Nebraska Book Award for best cover design in 2003. In addition to graphic design, Judith’s knitting designs appear on Knitty.com (Parhelion, Seanair, and Quill Lace), the Knit Picks web site, and on Ravelry. Her blog is Fiber Ink Design. Judith and her husband, Ed, live in Omaha, Nebraska, with their two dogs and two cats.
- Julie Speed is our grassroots people-person who runs her own extensive Facebook charity knitting project: Knitters and Natters, Charity Matters. Working with her husband Richard, Julie has been able to get Centenary Stitches knitting projects into residential homes and other hard-to reach groups enabling them to participate. Julie and Richard have also been matching knitters to tasks and getting the wool delivered. They live in Lincolnshire in a converted former railway signal box.
- Annie Cholewa has coordinated with wool yarn companies and has helped gain donations of wool from Rowan Wool, Texere, Jamiesons of Shetland, Frangipani aka Guernseywool.co.uk and Blacker. Annie is a historical researcher, writer and biographer, and also a knitter with a particular interest in early twentieth century knitting patterns who blogs at knitsofacto.
Some of our wonderful Knitters and Hookers:
Elizabeth Lovick, Sally Pointer, Judith Brodnicki, Jane lawrence, Cassy Dominick, Melanie Nabarro, Sheila Cunnea, Juniper Askew, Jackie Soanes, Joanne Winwood, Jacky Cooper, Gladys Wallis, Stephanie Young, Elaine Melanie, Marianne Cant, Lesley Draper, Joy Blackburn, Stephanie Young, Debra Ann Ashkar, Debbie Garriock, Linda Jacobs, Joy Getha, Kirsty Johnson, Katy-Jayne Lintott, Dorothy Potts, Su Bonnett, Linda Bowes, Gill Hollister, Sam Braid, Alison Casserly, Jessamy Carlson, Joyce Johnson, Wendee Fairyknits, Lorraine Burnett, FreyaLyn Close, Morag Duller, Susan Crawford, Kicki Frisch, Clare Paddi Salters, Muriel Rogers, Nicky Gathergood Appleby, MaryLou Egan, Joyce Meader, Julie Lupa, Debbie Orr, Susan Richards, Nicky Smith, Tina Kinnar, Gail Belinda Lee, Natasha Coombs, Claire Greathead, Mandy Monkman, Shonnah McGeough, Linda Fuller, Hayley Fisher, Catherine Hopkins, Karen Evans, She Wray, Lesley Draper, Angela Bannister, Suzanne Floss Stallard, Sandy Mae, Nicky Smith, Susan Saunders, Felicity Hoareon, Sally Black, Helen Hutchings, Sandy Cowan, Melanie Nabarro, Debbie Heeley, Ellen Cook, Annie Lawrence Brown, Sandra Braithwaite, Pam Peake, Trish Blake.