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The Wartime Spies Who Used Knitting as an Espionage Tool

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posted on Jun, 6 2017 @ 01:15 PM
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I just find this incredible beautiful and fascinating.




Whether women knitted codes into fabric or used stereotypes of knitting women as a cover, there’s a history between knitting and espionage. “Spies have been known to work code messages into knitting, embroidery, hooked rugs, etc,” according to the 1942 book A Guide to Codes and Signals. During wartime, where there were knitters, there were often spies; a pair of eyes, watching between the click of two needles.
source

Just goes to show you can figure out how to do most anything if you try.


A knitting pattern, to non-knitters, may look undecipherable, and not unlike a secret code to begin with. This could cause paranoia around what knitting patterns might mean. Lucy Adlington, in her book Stitches in Time, writes about one article that appeared in UK Pearson’s Magazine in October 1918, which reported that Germans were knitting whole sweaters to send messages


Edit to add: In the article they speak of unraveling the sweaters/scarves and finding little marks on the yarn, or small holes. When you put the yarn across a ruler with the ABC's printed on it - an inch apart - it reveals the message. So even people who didn't stitch would easily know the message within.

Courage and brains and talent.

Way to go ladies!

peace


edit on 1839Tuesday201713 by silo13 because: see above




posted on Jun, 6 2017 @ 01:19 PM
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My wife knits and she can tell me the translation of the knitting pattern, she writes in that language to get patterns off the net. It could easily be used to transmit data, but I doubt if a guy could read that language. It makes absolutely no sense to me and I do not want to learn it either.



posted on Jun, 6 2017 @ 01:22 PM
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I can believe this. I often create my crochet/knitting patterns based on birthdates or changing letters into numbers, in order to customize my creations for the individual. It makes it interesting and unique whether it is the repeating stitch code or color code.


CX

posted on Jun, 6 2017 @ 01:23 PM
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I knit and crochet....but can appreciate how the patterns can easily be used as code....only last week I threw my hook across the room in frustration at understanding a pattern.


Throw a code in there and my head would implode I Think.

CX.



posted on Jun, 6 2017 @ 01:25 PM
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a reply to: silo13
Read also "Tale of Two Cities".
I think it was the character Madame Defarge who had the names of friends and suspects worked into her knitting.



posted on Jun, 6 2017 @ 01:35 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

I should have added - in the article they talk about unravelling the sweater or scarf finding little marks in it.

When put on a ruller with the ABC's spaced an inch apart it reveals the code.

Peace



posted on Jun, 6 2017 @ 01:36 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I adore Dicken's. I don't remember that part in TO2C - I'll have to check it out - it's been a while since I read it and I always find something new in his work every time I read.

Thanks for the heads up!

peace



posted on Jun, 6 2017 @ 01:53 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

First thing that came to my mind, too!



Very interesting topic, OP!



posted on Jun, 6 2017 @ 03:00 PM
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originally posted by: silo13
a reply to: rickymouse

I should have added - in the article they talk about unravelling the sweater or scarf finding little marks in it.

When put on a ruller with the ABC's spaced an inch apart it reveals the code.

Peace


Yeah, guys would not be able to read stitch patterns as a code. We aren't that observant.



posted on Jun, 6 2017 @ 03:35 PM
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a reply to: silo13

A cool little place to visit for more
On Madame Defarge.

www.ravelry.com...

Very nice post Silo, thanks!

S&F



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