‘Knit Your Bit’ for local veterans

When World War I was raging, thousands of women across the United States knitted hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters and socks for American soldiers. It was a way they could support their brave men who were fighting overseas, said Melissa Peterson, site manager at the Charles A. Lindbergh House and Museum in Little Falls.

“Sometimes children helped too,” Peterson said.

The knitted items were donated to the American Red Cross, which distributed them to soldiers.

“It helped them stay warm,” Peterson said.

Morrison County did its share of contributing to outfitting soldiers with clothing, bags, helmets and other items.

Margaret Lundberg of Little Falls tells visitors at the Charles A. Lindbergh House and Museum what life was like during World War I and how many women knitted items to support American soldiers serving overseas.

When the Morrison County Red Cross organized a “Knit Your Bit” May 16, 1917, women across the county got busy. Within two years, more than 18,600 items had been shipped overseas from Morrison County, Peterson said.

The tradition of “Knit Your Bit” continued through World War II (WWII). Many times people mistakenly believe that’s when the “Knit Your Bit” concept began, Peterson said.

In 2006, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, La. started a modern “Knit Your Bit” program. Since then, the program has donated 50,000 scarves to veterans across the nation.

This year, remembering the centennial of World War I, the Charles A. Lindbergh House and Museum is hosting a living history program. Visitors will be able to get a glimpse into what life was like during World War I.

The staff will also be dressed in costumes from that era to make history come alive even more, Peterson said.

The event will be held Saturday, Aug. 19 and Saturday, Sept. 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year, the Charles A. Lindbergh House and Museum has partnered with the National WWII Museum and with the Yellow Ribbon Network of Morrison County to serve local veterans.

“We’re now asking people to knit scarves to give to our local veterans who need one,” Peterson said.

Scarves may be hand knitted or crocheted, but need to measure about six inches wide and about 60 inches long. Some patterns may measure differently.

Those who prefer to follow a pattern, may find a link at www.mnhs.org/lind bergh. Though the patterns may vary, Peterson ask people to not donate key-hole or potato chip scarves or scarves made out of fun fur or eyelash yarn. People are encouraged to sew in loose ends and to stick to gender-neutral colors.

Those who want to include a personal message to whoever receives the scarf may do so, signed only with a first name. The message may be tied, not pinned, to the scarf, Peterson said.

Donated scarves may be dropped off at the Charles A. Lindbergh House and Museum in Little Falls or mailed to 1620 Lindbergh Drive South, Little Falls, MN. 56345.

The donated scarves will be given to the Yellow Ribbon Network of Morrison County, who will give them to veterans within the county.