SOCK: Somme Observed Community Knitting

Somme Observed Community Knitting
Somme Observed Community Knitting at the People’s Palace

The railings on either side of Glasgow’s People’s Palace are festooned with colourful blankets at the moment. During the First World War, Queen Mary’s Appeal for Knitters exhorted the women of Britain to produce 300,000 pairs of socks and 300,000 woollen belts for soldiers, a target which they exceeded. This inspired current members of Glasgow Knit and Stitch to form SOCK – Somme Observed Community Knitting – as an appropriate way to commemorate both the soldiers of Glasgow’s three Pals Regiments who took part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and the women at home who knitted for them.

Each knitted or crocheted square represents one soldier – about 3,700 in all. Come September, the blankets will be cleaned and given to local charities working with refugees and homeless people.

What a tremendous idea – a memorial with a practical use afterwards. Thanks to Beverly McFarlane, one of the knitters, for alerting me to it.

Somme Observed Community Knitting


46 thoughts on “SOCK: Somme Observed Community Knitting

  1. hilarymb July 14, 2016 / 15:51

    Hi Anabel – what a good idea … we knitted squares after WW2 … presumably blankets, socks etc were also knitted for WW2 – but what a good thought … I used to hate knitting as wool irritates … I failed at knitting beyond the squares! Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel Marsh July 14, 2016 / 17:58

      Thanks Hilary. It’s a long time since I knitted too!


    • j'adore champagne July 19, 2016 / 11:16

      I can relate! I can only do squares and rectangles; dishcloths and scarves. Gratefully the wonderful wool here makes up for my knitting dis-ability!


  2. Birgit July 14, 2016 / 16:36

    This is simply beautiful. What a wonderful way to remember the gallant men who gave so much in such a horrible war.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel Marsh July 14, 2016 / 17:59

      It is – but, sadly, not everyone thinks so. I’ve heard that two blankets have gone missing 😦


  3. VioletSky July 14, 2016 / 19:12

    What a lot of work, and I’m sure love, went into this project (and the original)!


  4. Becky B July 14, 2016 / 19:56

    How brilliant but sad some have gone missing.


  5. joylovestravel July 14, 2016 / 19:56

    It looks great – so good too it’s going to be used afterwards for something worthwhile.


  6. Christina S. Mitchell July 14, 2016 / 20:35

    We used to crochet squares at the Day Club in Consett to make knee blankets for Care Homes. Sock is a great idea, and the colours are so cheerful.


  7. inesephoto July 14, 2016 / 20:46

    What a wonderful way to remember those who died for us all.


  8. Su Leslie July 14, 2016 / 21:20

    These are beautiful; and such a poignant tribute. The Auckland Museum has done something similar, with a “knit-in” a few weeks ago. As in Glasgow, the blankets will ultimately be given to those in need. I love the way that traditionally female crafts are claiming public spaces. We’re seeing more and more crochet and knitting wrapping trees and festooning fences, and an artist friend of mine, Juliette Laird, makes it a huge part of her art practice.

    I do wonder what it was like for the soldiers receiving hand-knitted socks, etc. On one hand, I’m sure they would be very welcome, but on the other hand I doubt there was much quality control, and I would feel very sorry for any poor man who had to walk in socks I’d knitted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel Marsh July 14, 2016 / 22:52

      I imagine however well knitted they would still be very scratchy!

      Yes, “yarn bombing”, official or otherwise, is becoming more common. I have other, smaller, examples dotted throughout my blog and I thought of drawing them altogether here but decided that would detract from SOCK’s powerful message.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. goannasnake July 14, 2016 / 21:51

    How wonderful! A project like that might inspire me to take up a crochet hook again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel Marsh July 14, 2016 / 22:48

      I think if I’d known about it I’d have liked to take part. Knitting on square would not have been beyond me…..

      Liked by 2 people

  10. anotherday2paradise July 14, 2016 / 22:15

    What a wonderful tribute and so great that these blankets will be put to good use afterwards. Those bright colours will really cheer the recipients. 🙂


  11. findingnyc July 15, 2016 / 00:20

    I love this, Anabel – both a great way of commemorating the past and making a contribution to the future. I always love to see people’s creative efforts, and any form of needlework certainly falls in that category. Beautiful!


    • Anabel Marsh July 15, 2016 / 07:34

      Yes, I thought it was a great idea on so many levels. Very glad to have seen it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. RuthsArc July 15, 2016 / 10:29

    What a wonderful project and way to commemorate history.


  13. Liesbet July 15, 2016 / 14:29

    It warms my heart to read and see such a wonderful and colorful – and useful – initiative in these dark times. Here’s to remembering the past and learning from it! And to commemorating our heroes and learning from that as well.


  14. dormousetidings July 15, 2016 / 21:17

    What an ecdllent idea. I am wondering if the two blankets that went missing were taken by people in need? Well, I’d like to think that anyway.


  15. Blue Sky Scotland July 16, 2016 / 00:42

    Great photos, Never knew it was on at all. Just back from Glasgow Green last weekend but I had a bike tour of the east end from the Richmond Park side and was too knackered to tour the rest of the park afterwards as I intended doing.


    • Anabel Marsh July 16, 2016 / 08:00

      Definitely worth seeing if you get a chance to go back.


  16. Linda July 16, 2016 / 05:07

    How beautiful! I love all the colours and designs! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. 🙂


  17. j'adore champagne July 19, 2016 / 11:18

    Thank you for communicating this. What a wonderful idea; I think I might try to go take some photos myself. It is too bad some were taken. State of the world today. Someone took all the herb plants out of my garden tub.


    • Anabel Marsh July 19, 2016 / 15:10

      Really – that’s shocking! The blankets should be there till Sept but, NB, I’m told if there are events on the Green they might be taken down temporarily. Probably makes sense given there has already been theft, but annoying for anyone who goes to see them and finds them gone.


  18. lisadorenfest July 21, 2016 / 00:48

    What a beautifully colorful commemoration. And with a charitable aspect too!


  19. jazzfeathers August 12, 2016 / 19:50

    This is such a beautiful idea! I lov ethe way history, memory and present goodwill come together 🙂


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