Yarn & Paper – War Brides, and a Dutch Heel

Every Wednesday I share what I’m knitting (Yarn) and reading (Paper) this week. 

I saw Promise You’ll Take Care of My Daughter: The Remarkable War Brides of World War II, by Ben Wicks, in a window display at the Museum of Immigration in Halifax, during my Maritimes road trip last fall. I was going through the photos from that trip recently and was reminded of the book, so I put it on hold at the library. I read it over just a few days. The book is mostly excerpts of first-person accounts from war brides, British and European women who married Canadian soldiers during World War II. During and after the war approximately 48,000 of these women left their families behind and moved across an ocean to join their husbands in Canada. At the time, the journey from Europe to Canada was slow and expensive. The Canadian government paid for the war brides to come to Canada, but most of them weren’t able to visit home again until many years, even decades, later. I can’t imagine leaving everything behind like that, and coming to a country that was in many ways still very rough around the edges.

This book was written in the 1990s, and it struck me as I was reading that most of these women have passed away in the nearly 30 years since. Our culture is rapidly losing any direct contact we have with the experiences of that period in our history. I find that time period fascinating and often read books either set in that time or about that it, so this realization was oddly unsettling. There were also some rather heartbreaking accounts that did make me tear up a little. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and was deeply moved by the stories.

On to knitting, I decided to try the dutch heel I learned at a recent sock workshop with Kate Atherley on my latest vanilla socks. It took a few tries to get the heel flap length right since I was also trying a plain flap instead of my usual Eye of Partridge. I think I’ve got it right this time, although I’m planning to try the sock on again when I get a little further down the gusset. While I was stuck on the heel I didn’t have any projects that I could just pick up and knit, so I’m glad to have gotten past that point. I’ve gotten so used to having knitting with me all the time that I feel quite uncomfortable sitting through a talk or in a waiting room without it! Now the sock is back in my purse, I’m ready for anything.

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