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John Oxley Library

Belts for the troops

By JOL Admin | 2 April 2015

Woman knitting socks, possibly for World War I soldiers.

Woman knitting socks, possibly for World War I soldiers.

This week in 1915, the 27 March issue of The Queenslander published an article on page 6 with instructions on how to knit belts for the troops overseas. The article suggested that ‘although belts do not "grow" quite so quickly as mittens and mufflers, they are even more in demand’, so if readers were looking for a change from sewing the usual khaki garments, they could opt to knit some belts.

Two kinds of belts were described – ‘one in double knitting wool, very warm, but rather heavy and not very soft, the other in fingering—4-ply as a rule—much cosier to feel, but taking longer to do as of course both wool and needles are finer’.

'Doing his bit’ for the war effort, ca. 1917

'Doing his bit’ for the war effort, ca. 1917

Those who decided to knit the coarser type of belt could follow the simple instructions in the article:

  • use No. 12 needles—four needles, 12 inches long
  • choose natural coloured double knitting wool - five ounces quite sufficient
  • cast on 180 stitches—6o on each of three needles
  • knit 30 rounds in ribbing (either, 1 plain, 1 purl, or 2 plain, 2 purl, whichever you please)
  • work 40 rounds quite plain
  • finish with another 30 rounds of ribbing to match the band of it you started with
  • use two sets of needles— four of size 16 and four of size 11
  • choose wool - 4-ply fingering (four ounces)
  • cast on 260 stitches and work in a rib of knit 2, purl 2, for 3 inches
  • change to needles No. 11
  • continue in k. 1, p 1, for 6 inches more
  • finish with a second 3 inches still on needles No. 11 in k. 2, p. 2.
Distant Lines: Queensland voices of the First World War War and Peacewebsite

Robyn Hamilton - QANZAC100 Content Curator, State Library of Queensland



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