The Wartime Spies Who Used Knitting as an Espionage Tool

The Glasgow University knit forums is a wealth of knowledge and articles about the history of knitting and craft in general. This article from the Atlas Obscura includes accounts of remarkable women throughout modern wars who knitted messages into their knitting both on the home front and on the front lines.


Knitting became public property with War Office knitting parties to knit for the boys on the front lines. Unauthorised knitting patterns were banned due to rationing with the Make Do and Mend campaigns gaining momentum in the UK on the home front. Yarn companies such as Sirdar produced authorised patterns such as the one below to send out to loved ones overseas.



However, Knitting was taken to the front lines in many modern wars and used by female operatives to smuggle their messages past checkpoints and enemy guards to send their messages on to the authorities. from the American Revolutionary war to the Soviet Union, the old lady stereotype has been turned on its head by remarkable women using established codes. A far more secure method than pen and paper.


So next time you pick up a pattern, just think of the endless possibilities you have in your hand to create a secret message to your loved ones or other knitters in general, you will be carrying on a long line of espionage before you.

To all of those knitters who have gone before us. Ladies, We salute you!

Life lately and wip’s


Life lately here has been all about finishing projects. I have finished my Vintage Bullion crochet scarf from issue 7 of Pompom Quarterly. My new favourite magazine in Debbie Bliss’ new yarn for winter Roma, a merino alpaca chunky wool in teal blue.

Also featured is my Garter stitch hat bought from the Toft Alpaca shop during my visit to the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally last month. Knitted in grey and cream inter chunky yarn and alpaca.. yes!  Alpaca pom pom.
Last Sunday I visited the sweetest coffee shop in my local area next to my new LYS. . Blyth Spirit emporium at the Wharf in Burscough, Lancashire. Nothing better then seriously good coffee and cake with my crafty friends.

Happy mail came Rachel at Tangled Yarn, My first skeins of Malabrigo Rios in Candombe and Arco Iris. This photo doesn’t do the colours justice.. Unbelievably soft and just as wonderful as people say they are. As you can see I have already started a new project. Wristwarmers in the Candombe.  The arco iris will soon become a hat.

Mattias: My first sweater!

I never thought I would be writing this but here is the work in progress for Mattias. I have enjoyed doing this sweater more than I imagined. Colourwork knitting is addictive! my sweater has started to grow more that I imagined and a lot faster too. knitting on 5mm needles with Aran weight wool. I am knitting with Bergere de France Recycline yarn and its lovely! Really great soft wool and its recycled too, so good for the environment too.

Maybe a little ambitious for my first sweater but I want to learn something new from my projects. That is my knitting resolution for 2014. Over the last few weeks I have fallen a little more in love with Fair isle and the scandinavian knitting traditions than I had previously ( if that is even possible) . I love fair isle, cables and all those ‘complicated’ things to do with knitting.

Mattias has since grown a little bit more than when I took these photographs. I am hoping to finish the colourwork yoke soon and then begin the sleeves.

Wish me luck! and thanks for visiting!

Mattias in action
Mattias in action

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Inspira Cowl inspiration

inspiration cowl ~ Graphica

Recently I have been drawn to colourwork knitting and the work of textile artist Kaffe Fassett. I have been inspired by his work although, there is no complicated ditches (yay!) It is simple enough for a beginner but really affective.

Kaffe Fassett

Simple stitches and beautiful colours. For me this is a winning combination. I hope to have my yarn delivered this week to work on the colour sequence for the Inspire cowl from Graphica. A free pattern from the Ravelry library. A simple shoulderhugging cowl in 3 weights 4ply/aran and chunky. I am going to do mine in 4ply. I am hoping to use up some of my stash.

I am currently in training for a new job this week so hopefully I will have some exciting news for you soon!

What are you working at the moment. I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for visiting!

Sweater Weather

Sweater weather has arrived in the UK and I am loving cable knits this season. I am loving the combination of cable sweater and leather trousers from street style. Jared Flood and his designs at Brooklyn Tweed are calling to me again.. My novice knitting skills aren’t good enough for the cables on Stranger cardigan from BT 11, yet but I am embarking on my Inversion Cardigan this week. I am hoping to have it finished for christmas. The Bray beanies are beautiful, I would love to turn my skein of Shelter in Hayloft into one of these..

All of these images can be found and more on my girlinknits board on Pinterest.

Thank you to you all for visiting my blog


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British Wool Weekend

British Wool Weekend









Daisy Chain









Last weekend I traveled to the 4th British Wool Weekend in Harrogate, West Yorkshire. organised by the Campaign for Wool, the festival showcases the best of British made yarns. A new festival compared to others it is a wonderful event to attend.

After an early start I arrived at the festival accompanied by my mum; Her first fibre festival in over 50 years of knitting.. I think she was more excited then me..  just after the doors opened to see lots of fibre artists and their wares. It was great to see the array of wares on offer form felted accessories, notions, homewares, and most importantly YARN!! There were many products using the by products of the wool industry, pillows and duvets anyone..? many yarn companies and other well known retailers attended the festival too.. I just had to visit the Rowan yarns stand, West Yorkshire Spinners too. West Yorkshire Spinners are a new company specialising in British yarns spun with native breeds.

I came home with *some* of their yarns.. well when I mean *some*.. I mean alot of their Blue faced Leicester Aran in Poppy, natural and ecru for a project i’m making. I couldn’t resist it.. its soo soft and squishy. Some Brittany 4.5mm knitting needles came home with me too. As I was leaving a single 50g ball of Blacker yarns Corriedale and Hebbridean 4ply just fell into my bag.. a beautiful shade of burgundy.

As you can see from the photo I did some yarnbombing too.. I made up my daisychain garland for event joining @onesheepishgirl and her #sheepishbloomdrop.

Anyway getting back to the festival.. although only small compared to others, we spent a good few hours at the festival. we left uplifted, happy and just a little bit tired for our journey home. All in all we had a wonderful time at the festival. If you do get the chance to visit this festival I can recommend it.. it will if anything put a smile on your face.

find me on Twitter @girlinknits and on Pinterest too!