Laura Ingalls Wilder and Knitting

I would love to have lived in that time period. It has fasinated me…well, since I first read the LIW books as a little girl. I remember we had read Little House in the Big Woods, and I had read waaaaaaaaaaay ahead of everyone else, so I could move onto the next book lol. Needless to say, I ended up finishing before my class. :mrgreen:

I read or heard that centuries ago knitting was deemed too important to trust to a mere woman. Mariners would knit their own socks.

As for indoor plumbing, no argument here!! I also like my clothes & dish washers, central heating, central air conditioning, electric lighting, cell phones… :thumbsup:

This book looks interesting
No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting

Everyone stay warm in insulated, central heated homes.

It fascinates me as well, but I’m better off reading about it. I can’t imagine being without indoor plumbing, electricity, kitchen appliances, laundry appliances, computers, TV, cars, iPods… and all that clothing you had to wear even if it was 110 degrees! :lol:

My children and I both loved these books. I would read to them everynight for up to a hour before putting them to bed. Even when they were in their teens, they enjoyed having me read to them. I enjoyed doing it. Reading is so improtant. They both grew up loving to read themselves. My oldest granddaughter could read by the age of four and now that she is in the 1st grade she reads at a fourth grade level. Her two year old sister is following her.

No they are not brilliantly smart. They are great examples though of how early, how much, and how well children can learn when parents take the time to teach them.

There has been a lot of mention about Laura and her mother, but what most amazes me is that her blind sister Mary knitted as well. I know the blind can knit, but I have trouble not making and then finding mistakes. Their fingers must be super sensitive to find errrors along the way.

I raised my children on those books. But we must bear in mind that these are stories of American pioneers. They may not be well known in other countries. It does not surprise me that our Canadian, Australian, and English counterpoints may be unaware LIW or her fables.

I added “The Wilder Life” to my Amazon wish list. It was listed as a Parade Pic in the May 1st issue of Parade magazine. Amazon (& our library) have lots of non-fiction books about Laura.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

[QUOTE=nansie;1314449]As a fulltime Laura Ingalls Wilder researcher (and knitter), I can tell you that she did use double pointed needles. Laura’s daughter Rose published THE WOMAN’S DAY BOOK OF AMERICAN NEEDLEWORK and it contains needlework by Rose, Laura, and Caroline. Some of the needlework is on display at the LIW Museum in Mansfield, Missouri, as well as knitting pins, thread, needles and other items used by Laura and Rose. I remember seeing metal knitting needles; don’t remember wooden. I’ve seen at least one knitting pattern book of the family’s on display at the LIW Memorial Society in De Smet.
Laura did have arthritis later in life, and in letters she lamented the fact that she had to give up handwork.

So did LIW knit continental or english style?

I don’t know which style knitting she did, my guess would be English.

I just found this thread for the first time. I loved the books as a child, read them all. I read them to my children when they were young. The difference in perspective was amazing. As a child I thought it was all wonderful and sounded like a great way to grow up. As an adult, I saw it more from Ma’s point of view and how she struggled to make a good home in difficult circumstances. Don’t you suppose Pa would have made them knitting needles? I don’t recall that it was ever mentioned though.

I read them as an adult when my girls were young. Loved them then, love them now. :). And no, as fascinating as it sounds I prefer my modern life. :wink:

I didn’t grow up with Laura Ingalls Wilder, but ‘met’ her when the Little House on the Prairie series was aired here in the UK when my 2 older children were little. I loved the series and my daughter watched it with me when it was repeated some years later. I thought the last episode was very moving.

Strangely enough, I don’t remember the girls or their mother knitting. Nor do I recall any mention of knitting in Laura’s books, which I subsequently bought and loved. The family had a challenging life compared to us, that’s for sure.


I read the LIW books when I was younger, and now I’m inspired to read them again. I never knew that Mary could knit even with her blindness. Speaking of strong women, I just thought of Helen Keller and her triumphs over her disabilities. I would love to do more research about her and her fascinating life. I wonder if she knit as well, since knitting was an everyday reality to women back then. I feel so fortunate that we can knit for pleasure instead of neccesity in these times. Blessings on our past sisters for their strength and creativity; truly we owe them our gratitude. :heart: :heart:

I’ve read “no idle hands” also “a history of hand knittng” by richard rutt and “Knitting America” and all signs point to knitting in the round with multiple DPN’s as the original method of knitting. Knitting flat on two needles came after.
I love this stuff!