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Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?

DigiTrad:
ANN O' HETHERSGILL
WAULKING SONG


Related threads:
Lyr Req: (waulking) tweed making music (39)
Lyr Req: I'm a little knitwit (5)
Lyr Req: Walking song (9)
Lyr Req: He Mandu (Scottish waulking song) (3)
Help with my knitting! (102)
Fulling songs (17)
trad songs about knitting (3)
Help: 18th century work/harvest/waulking song (21)


dick greenhaus 29 Sep 01 - 08:39 PM
GUEST,Allan S. 29 Sep 01 - 09:31 PM
GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 30 Sep 01 - 12:44 AM
wysiwyg 30 Sep 01 - 02:20 AM
Mr Red 30 Sep 01 - 07:44 AM
masato sakurai 30 Sep 01 - 11:39 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Sep 01 - 12:39 PM
Geoff the Duck 30 Sep 01 - 12:49 PM
Walking Eagle 30 Sep 01 - 01:36 PM
Geoff the Duck 30 Sep 01 - 05:25 PM
Mr Red 30 Sep 01 - 05:56 PM
LadyJean 04 Sep 03 - 10:42 PM
rich-joy 05 Sep 03 - 01:27 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 05 Sep 03 - 06:56 AM
Liz the Squeak 05 Sep 03 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,MMario 05 Sep 03 - 12:53 PM
Mrs.Duck 05 Sep 03 - 01:48 PM
GUEST 05 Sep 03 - 02:49 PM
Mr Red 05 Sep 03 - 07:37 PM
Hawker 06 Sep 03 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,leena@baymoon.com 08 Sep 03 - 01:04 PM
reggie miles 08 Sep 03 - 02:55 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 21 May 10 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 21 May 10 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,mg 21 May 10 - 05:11 PM
Jack Campin 21 May 10 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,mg 21 May 10 - 08:11 PM
mg 21 May 10 - 11:17 PM
LadyJean 21 May 10 - 11:25 PM
Joybell 22 May 10 - 01:36 AM
Susan of DT 22 May 10 - 06:48 AM
Acorn4 22 May 10 - 12:15 PM
mg 22 May 10 - 02:17 PM
Paul Davenport 22 May 10 - 03:02 PM
mg 22 May 10 - 04:10 PM
Paul Davenport 23 May 10 - 01:44 PM
Bill D 23 May 10 - 01:58 PM
Paul Davenport 23 May 10 - 06:44 PM
Mr Red 24 May 10 - 10:16 AM
Sandra in Sydney 24 May 10 - 12:03 PM
maeve 26 Nov 10 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,Jim Dixon, away from home 26 Nov 10 - 10:36 AM
Charley Noble 26 Nov 10 - 10:40 AM
Graham_Pirt 26 Nov 10 - 04:24 PM
Jack Campin 14 Dec 10 - 08:12 PM
Jack Campin 14 Dec 10 - 08:30 PM
sheila 14 Dec 10 - 09:02 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 20 Oct 11 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,mg 21 Oct 11 - 12:53 AM
nutty 21 Oct 11 - 04:17 AM
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Subject: Knitting Songs?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Sep 01 - 08:39 PM

Someone asked me this last night, I I came up blank: While there are lots of songs about weaving (and waulking), there don't seem to be any about knittingt--an equally ancient occupation. The only one I could think of os a recent Lynne Noel composition "Picking up Tops". Anyone out there know any?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: GUEST,Allan S.
Date: 29 Sep 01 - 09:31 PM

Arden says thanks a lot, Hope you find some knitting songs. We had to leave early. will explain when we see you next. How about KEEP ON KNITTING MAMA KNITTING MY BLUES AWAY........ Allan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 12:44 AM

the grandmother knits in the spinning wheel song..


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 02:20 AM

Inch by inch, row by row, gotta make this sweater grow.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Mr Red
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 07:44 AM

Knittershanty is on my site. cresby.com in .pdf form, words and staff notation. Tune is a derivative of "New York Gals". Look for Cresby's songs. The subject came up in a previous thread and I e-mailed a few people.
when I get the moments I intend to submit it here.
......purl one, drop one, sodit pickitup, oops! cast off me girls..........ngargh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 11:39 AM

If you put the word "knitting" into the search box at the Levy Collection, you'll get 21 documents. The first five of them are:
(1) Title: Knitting Song.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Written and Composed by Muriel Bruce and Baron Aliotti.
Publication: New York: Chappell & Co., Ltd., 41 East 34th St., 1915.
Form of Composition: strophic with chorus
Instrumentation: piano and voice
First Line: Marching, marching thro' the misty night, peering thro' the dark
First Line of Chorus: Knitting, knitting, knitting, with the Khaki wool and grey
(2) Title: Knitting Song.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: By Floy McGlashan.
Publication: Sedalia, MO: A.W. Perry's Sons, Music Publishers, 1918.
Form of Composition: strophic with chorus
Instrumentation: piano and voice
First Line: We have joined the Red Cross Army with its thousands thousands strong
First Line of Chorus: We are knitting, knitting, knitting all the day

(3) Title: Stick To Your Knitting.[no images given--MS]
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Book & Lyrics by Wm. Carey Duncan and Oscar Hammerstein II.
Music by Vincent Youmans and Herbert Stothart.
Publication: New York: Harms, Inc., 1923.
Form of Composition: introduction and refrain
Instrumentation: piano and voice
First Line: I'd knit and knit till it seemed like "Kingdom come"
First line of refrain "Just you stick to your knitting, dear, and the hours will run"
(4) Title: There's a Girl Who Is Knitting for You. [Note the entire proceeds from the sale of this Song go to the American Red Cross].
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Words by George Hopkins.
Music by Florence Mills Nixson.
Publication: n.p., 1918: , .
Form of Composition: strophic with chorus
Instrumentation: piano and voice
First Line: Ev'ry girl, ev'rywhere who is not over there
First Line of Chorus: There's a girl who is knitting for you
(5) Title: I'm Knitting a Rosary.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Words by Robert Levenson.
Music by Vincent Plunkett.
Publication: Boston: D.W. Cooper Publishing Co., 224 Tremont St., 1918.
Form of Composition: strophic with chorus
Instrumentation: piano and voice
First Line: Sitting in the twilight, knitting in her hands
First Line of Chorus: I'm knitting each day for you, while you're across the sea

~Masato, who knows none of them.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 12:39 PM

I've got a distinct feeling that I've heard netmaking songs, whic is similar.

And since knitting was the kind of thihgs the old sailors would have done, I'd be surprised if there weren't songs that would have gone with it. But I suspect that they'd probably have been about things other than knitting.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 12:49 PM

Mrs. Duck and myself heard Mr Red's knitting shanty at Alcester Folk Festival this summer and he had us in stitches!!! (whoops!)
GtD!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 01:36 PM

There is a song that mentions knitting - - Old Green Sweater - - written by Dan Berggren and covered by Margaret McArthur on her CD - - Them Stars.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 05:25 PM

A serious answer to the question:-
Certain places in the England and Scotland have a tradition of knitting. I am sure that other places also do, but I do not have information on them.
I suspect that the Shetland Islands have songs related to knitting, or sung by knitters whilst knitting.
Closer to my part of England, in the Yorkshire Dales, the village of Dent was well known for its knitters. The women of the village had a distinctive technique - I think that one of the needles was fixed to a belt, leaving hands free to control the wool and the other needle. Their knitting was very fast and their demeanour serious. They were known as the Terrible Knitters of Dent. The women were known to sit in groups knitting, and songs were used to set a rhythm for the work.
I have found a couple of references to songs of the Terrible Knitters on the internet. They may provide a starting point for research into knitting songs!
Dent Primary School.
A history of knitting in Dent.
This page contains a verse from the Terrible Knitters. I hope some of this helps.
Quack!
Geoff the Duck!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Mr Red
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 05:56 PM

Geoff the Duck
& I thought you were all being crochety
.......ngargh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: LadyJean
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 10:42 PM

Pack up your troubles in your old knit bag and purl! purl! purl!

(Mudcat has interfered, seriously, with my knitting.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: rich-joy
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 01:27 AM

Likewise, LadyJean, with my crocheting!!
(SOooo many UFO's and Soooo little time ...)

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 06:56 AM

When I knit, which is daily, I find I have to concentrate on the pattern too much to be able to sing. That's when I listen to all my cds with lyrics- I can let one part of my brain listen and the rest of my brain chant, k2, yo, k1, k2tog, yo....etc.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 08:02 AM

I knit small squares and sew them together to make garments - it makes it easier to transport and do in pubs/concerts etc.

Funny this should appear, I was thinking of a knitting shanty only last week, and wondering if I would have to write my own.

Having tried the link, it's obvious I'll have to because the link required a password and then my Madesafe child net protection killed it.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 12:53 PM

actuallly makes sense for there NOT to be knitting songs - because even though knitting may have been done in company - it was a solitary activity. no need to co-ordinate with another.

And though people don't realize it - most of the "knitting traditons" in the British Isles are less then 200 years old. (Not that people didn't knit - but women knitted for their own households. Aran sweaters, 'fisherman knit's; and most FairIsle patterns are relatievely young. Ditto with Shetland shawls, etc.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 01:48 PM

I have a number of books on the history of knitting which was often done by men - particularly fishermen. If anyone else has books on the subject written by Sarah Don the photographs were taken by my brother who had the misfortune to be married to her for too long. This Sarah Don not to be confused with the other one married to Monty Don and does gardening stuff.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 02:49 PM

fishermen, sailors in general, shepherds were all known for their knitting. lighthouse keepers!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Mr Red
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 07:37 PM

Someone told me recently they went to a ceilidh in Ireland and were puzzled by all the ladies sitting around the outside knitting and no band. When it came to start dancing someone said something and all the knitting ladies started to sing or chant or do mouth music - and the rest danced to that. Now that is what I call a knitting song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Hawker
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 07:08 PM

Deni Couch wrote a lovely song called Fairisle about the wives of fishermen from that island knitting their spouses jumpers to wera whilst at sea, each one had a different design, so they could be recognised if disaster happened, it is on Mad Rush's 'How Well I Remember CD . Deni is a Mudcat member and runs The Hyde Folk Club in Plymouth, I'm sure she'd be happy to sell you her CD!
Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: GUEST,leena@baymoon.com
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 01:04 PM

Geoff the duck:

THANKS! great Stuff about the Terrible Knitters of Dent....really wonderful!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: reggie miles
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 02:55 PM

Hmmph, I see no one has checked the Mudcat songbook to discover one of my latest "Do You Know The Way To Macrame" (which does make mention of knitting) ;~)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 21 May 10 - 01:40 PM

refresh

My DH and I have been hired to play music at a knitting retreat in October- need some knitting songs, please!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 21 May 10 - 05:05 PM

The Fraser Sisters do a really fine version of "The Jumper Song" by Weston & Lee - Chorus "All the girls are busy knitting jumpers...."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 May 10 - 05:11 PM

I have one where men knit fishing nets after fishing all day. You can PM me if you want the lyrics. mg


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 May 10 - 06:52 PM

The very strange Shetland fiddle tune "Auld Swaara" is a lament based on the idea of finding a drowned fisherman's uniquely identifying sweater.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 May 10 - 08:11 PM

google songs about knitting and quite a few pop up...some on you tube.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: mg
Date: 21 May 10 - 11:17 PM

Here are some you tubes

Lovely version of spinning wheel by Sean Cannon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo6iYy7lSKI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo6iYy7lSKI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLgCh7GELtw&feature=related Might want to change some words on this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FDBQma-M0w&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP25mMnT0Jc&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLI3SaKkMkM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n_jgIb8S80&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: LadyJean
Date: 21 May 10 - 11:25 PM

Some years ago, "Piecework" Magazine ran an article about knitting songs. You could check back issues.
Incidentally, if you want to knit for our troops, check out The Helmetliner Project. You can download the patterns on the site.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SHEARING THE WETHERS
From: Joybell
Date: 22 May 10 - 01:36 AM

There's the shearing to knitting song I wrote as a parody to
"Gathering Flowers for the Master's Bouquet".
Written in 1999 during the shearing season. It has a gentle dig at Christians but it's not seriously offensive.

SHEARING THE WETHERS

Death is an angel sent down from the blue
With thin bony hands he will clip me and you
Crutching and wigging he'll sort out the dags
To send to the Devil in calico bags.

Cho.
Shearing the wethers for the Master's wool coat
And a nice fluffy muffler to wrap 'round His throat.
Angels to sort out the sheep from the goat
Each soul is a staple in the Master's wool coat.

Loved ones are passing each day and each hour
Right through the sheep-dip and treatment for scour*
Pure and pest-free and woolly we'll wait
For the last bell to ring at the last wool-shed gate.

Let us be passive till grazing is through
And shearing and sorting and spinning is too
Then we'll be gathered without burr or stain
And knitted by angels in rib, purl and plain.

                  * a cattle disease actually but it rhymed well.
Joy 1999


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 22 May 10 - 06:48 AM

Not specifically knitting, but the preparation of the wool: Tarry Wool


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Subject: Lyr Add: KNITTING AND CROCHET
From: Acorn4
Date: 22 May 10 - 12:15 PM

KNITTING AND CROCHET

We work so hard from dawn to dusk,
We're never allowed no rest,
Imprisoned in that village hall
We work like women possessed.

The vicar he will crack the whip,
Saying "you will surely pay
If you don't reach your target
Fifty granny squares a day"

Chorus:-

So, plain one pearl two, cast off me girls,
All the livelong day,
With a stitch in time, we tow the line
As we knit and we crochet. (sing twice)

All from the neighbouring villages,
You can hear our weary moan,
While our 'usbands with their G and Ts,
Leave us all pale and wan.

And when we get to the end of a row,
There's yet more grief and pain,
'Cos we must turn and turn about
And knit right back again..

,Chorus:-

So, plain one pearl two, cast off me girls,
All the livelong day,
With a stitch in time, we tow the line
As we knit and we crochet. (sing twice)

When that coffee morning's over,
We can hardly draw our breath,
Before the annual village fete,
For us it's a fate much worse than death.

Those miners in that deep dark pit,
They live such cushy lives
Compared to us ladies of the WI
Us poor bank managers' wives.

Chorus:-

So, plain one pearl two, cast off me girls,
All the livelong day,
With a stitch in time, we tow the line
As we knit and we crochet. (sing twice)

Pitiful are our wages,
As slaves we'll live and die,
Now it's off to Mark's and Spencer's
Cushion covers for to buy,

And when out knitting day is over,
Our labour is not done,
For we must make that Victoria sponge,
Before the setting of the sun.


Chorus:-

So, plain one pearl two, cast off me girls,
All the livelong day,
With a stitch in time, we tow the line
As we knit and we crochet. (sing twice)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: mg
Date: 22 May 10 - 02:17 PM

My song about Peter's River mentions the women knitting...mg


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Subject: Lyr Add: FIVE WHALEBONES
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 22 May 10 - 03:02 PM

How bizarre…I just wrote two songs on the subject, fairly convinced that they were tapping a hitherto unmined resource. I'm about to record one, 'Davy Cross' a sad but true story told to me in Flamborough many years ago. The latter, 'Five Whalebones', I include for your delectation.

FIVE WHALEBONES

The fisherwife has spilled her blood upon the moonlit shore
And cries out to the howling gale amid the ocean's roar
'Oh bring me back my son!" she screams, the seagull's mocking cry
Screams back, 'See now where love must end,
For those who brave the sea shall surely die!'

        Five whalebones chatter as dolphins do
        Five whalebones twist the yarn
        Five whalebones whisper the fisherwife's prayer
        All to keep her men from harm

Late in the night there came a knock upon her cottage door
And standing there an owl-eyed girl, she'd never seen before
'I heard your call', the maiden said, 'across the wind and foam,
I bear a gift of life, a charm
To bind your loved ones fast to hearth and home'.

And in that lonely cottage then, throughout the stormy night
The maiden taught, the wife she learned by fire and candlelight
When grey dawn came, the maid had gone but there upon the floor
A seawife's charm, a mystery
That brings the fisherman safe home to shore

Five were the whalebone shards she took and sea-dark was the yarn
Five times five the knots and twists to keep her man from harm
Blue was the shirt she made her man, a garment strong and proud
An endless thread for the quick and dead
For the fisherman's shirt is also the fisherman's shroud

And so it is when wind is shrill and screams a banshee cry
The fishermen go down to the sea in shirts of deep blue dye
With cables, nets and anchors twined within that endless skein
They take the sailor out to sea
And bring him, dead or living, home again.


P. Davenport © Feb 2010


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: mg
Date: 22 May 10 - 04:10 PM

tHAT IS great..it reminds me of something by Kipling where a woman has lost her man to sea and her child to illness and she sits with her mother and hears a baby crying out in the storm..and her mother says it just is a seagull or your grief...she goes out and a baby was out there..ends something like God ..our souls..we let it die in the storm...mg


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 23 May 10 - 01:44 PM

Kipling, ah yes, now there WAS a folkie … can't understand why he was reviled for so long.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 May 10 - 01:58 PM

Knitting Shanty


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 23 May 10 - 06:44 PM

Just spotted Mario's comment above and must take issue. The method of knitting a fisherman's 'gansey' is such that the garment can be unravelled and re-knitted from any of its four openings. Thus, as the garment wears, it can be repaired since it has no seams. Thus Shakespeare comments in Hamlet, 'sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care'. This is a statement that has to refer to the British knitting tradition since it exactly describes it. You will also find some extraordinary contemporary paintings of the 'Death of Nelson' in various art galleries around the country which show men wearing these garments. Now this makes perfect sense given the activities of the pressgangs. But places the garment in 1805. This is, of course just about 200 years ago but…the method of knitting the thing is so complex that it can hardly have been invented and become universally established around the extensive coasts of these islands at that time. I suspect that, like the fishermens boats in East Yorkshire, the design of their garments goes back a very long way indeed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Mr Red
Date: 24 May 10 - 10:16 AM

update on my song (I share authorship) the new site is Cresby's Songs it is at the bottom of the page.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 24 May 10 - 12:03 PM

dead links in Geoff the Duck's post of 2001

blicky - Dent Primary School. - I can't find it's successor

blicky - This page contains a verse from the Terrible Knitters. I hope some of this helps. the website no longer exists,


Dent Village Heritage Centre

History of Dales knitting

extract from Robert Southey's poem about the terrible knitters of Dent - Though predominantly a farming community various cottage industries lived alongside the farming in this area. One famous example in the past were the Dent knitters who were referred to in Robert Southey's poem as "the terrible knitters of Dent."

"Oh the terrible knitters of Dent
Their fingers are gnarled and they're bent
And the tourists are staying where inn signs are swaying
And the fountain sings Sedgewick's lament."

Apparently both men and women used to knit as a way of supplementing their incomes, creating mittens and socks. It is reported that an experienced knitter could produce ten woollen caps a day using the knitting sticks handed down though generations. However, by early 1800 the trade had collapsed but visitors to the Dent Craft Centre can still see how it was done.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: maeve
Date: 26 Nov 10 - 08:14 AM

Not a song but there's a new knitting tune, here:thread.cfm?threadid=133852&messages=7


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: GUEST,Jim Dixon, away from home
Date: 26 Nov 10 - 10:36 AM

Look here: KNITTING by Arthur Askey - my transcription, but I need help with corrections & filling in a few blanks.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE KNITTERS (C. Fox Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Nov 10 - 10:40 AM

Here's a poem by C. Fox Smith from the World War 1 era, about knitting for the troops:

THE KNITTERS

In streets that are humming
With the city's stair . . .
Or where leaves fall rustling
Through the quiet air . . .
There are women knitting
Everywhere . . .

Knitting and waiting
Through hours like years —
Not with loud grieving
Nor sighing nor tears —
In their hands the needles
Flash like spears.

Every thread a sorrow,
Every strand a prayer —
("Oh, where sleeps my dear one?
Or how does he fare?")
There are women knitting
Everywhere . . .

Notes:

From Sailor Town: Sea Songs and Ballads, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by George H. Doran Co., New York, US, © 1919, p. 131. Earlier published in The Naval Crown by Elkin Mathews in 1915.

Composed during the first year of World War 1 in tribute to those who waited for their loved ones at home and quietly knitted.

I don't believe it has been adapted for singing.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: Lyr Add: A LENGTH OF YARN (John Kirkpatrick)
From: Graham_Pirt
Date: 26 Nov 10 - 04:24 PM

John Kirkpatrick wrote and sings a beautiful song which, if not specifically about knitting, shows its importance in tradition.


A Length of Yarn

All through the town in a hundred houses
In every one the lights still burn.
All through the town by a hundred hearts
For a word of news the hearts are yearning.
Deaf to the log fires hissing and cracking.
Deaf to the kettles singing and whistling.
Only one sound fills their ears
And that's the sound of the storm waves crashing.

An old one sits in her empty room
And grim she glares at the candle flame,
No need to watch her hands at work
Nor the ball of wool at her feet unrolling.
One year to the day wagoner's cart
Brought home her son, all drenched from drowning
Brought him home to his new young wife
And paid no heed to a mother's weeping

`Cursed be the creaking wagoner's wheels,
Which freeze my blood each time they pass.
Cursed be the sea whose crashing waves
Robbed me of my son, rob me of my sleeping,
And cursed and cursed be the sweet young wife,
Who stole a son from his mother's loving,
Stole him living, stole him dead
And scarcely gave gave him three months' mourning.'

`Nine months I held him in my womb
And my son's blood ran free with mine.
Nine months I held him at my breast
His food all milk of a mother's making.
And nine long years I watched him grow
And nine years more to make him man.
Now all I had is lost and gone,
She's a hard and heartless whoring hussy.'

All through the town the lantern swings
As the creaking wheels come rolling by.
All through the town the doors swing wide
To see who still stands and who they carry.
Here's one more man has lost his life.
Here's one more house has gained its grieving.
But an old one's tears are bitter and hard
As she stares at the clothes to his body clinging.

`I know the hand that sheared the fleece,
That was the hand of my father dear.
I know the hand that span the yarn,
That was the hand of my own sister.
And mine the hand that knit this smock,
And mine the son who wore my stitching.
And here it lies on another man's back
And it grieves my heart beyond all telling.'

`See here, there's the place where a length of yarn
Is tied in knots, all ragged and charred.
That's the time when the candle fell
And burned my wool to a smouldering cinder.
Damn the work to make it good!
Damn the wool and damn the candle!
And damn this man who wears my cloth
And damn the one who gave its wearing.'

A young one sits in her empty room,
In floods the tears come flowing down.
Feels her belly softly stir,
Feels her breast a-gently swelling.
Here's one more child has lost its father,
One more woman who's lost her man.
Here's one more mother all alone
With one more curse that's hard to carry.

And all for a length of yarn.

John Kirkpatrick.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 08:12 PM

A Turkish song about knitting socks:

Corabini ordugum

There is a lot of folklore about traditional Turkish sock patterns. They were used to encode specific messages when sent to distant recipients, like "it's a boy" to a husband who was away working in another town.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 08:30 PM

A look at the Related links on YouTube shows many renditions of that song - all deriving from one field transcription, all given a full-band arrangement, but the words and tune are not changed in any.

A couple of references on Turkish socks:

http://www.turkishculture.org/fabrics-and-patterns/knitted-socks-108.htm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ableramm/page9/

I have a copy of Özbel's book.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: sheila
Date: 14 Dec 10 - 09:02 PM

Oooh! A sock book I don't have!
Those heels appear to be picked up after completing the rest of the sock, and shaped like the toes, rather than using the gussets common to British knitting.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 05:49 PM

Refresh, because there are some lovely suggestions here.
We seem to have established a tradition, my husband and I- last year we played and sang for a knitters retreat, this Sunday we will play and sing for a UU church service on "the spirituality of knitting".
(I still don't have a tune for the Cicely Fox Smith song, Charlie, but I would love to write or find one!)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Knitting Songs?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 12:53 AM

Way down in East Cape Breton where they knit the socks and mittens..from an Honest Working Man..great song. mg


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GANSEY SONG
From: nutty
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 04:17 AM

This is my contribution. Written after a conversation in a pub in Staithes, A small fishing village on the North- East coast, (UK)


THE GANSEY SONG

I'm sitting with my needles and my wool
I'm rocking in my granny's rocking chair
I'm rocking to the clicking
Of the needles as I'm knitting
And thinking of my fisher lad out there

CHORUS: I'm knitting him a gansey
So if he's lost in the foam
When the sea decides to give him up
They'll send his body home

I'm putting all my prayers into my knitting
The gansey'll keep him dry and keep him warm
When he's fishing in the sea
I know he'll think of me
And know I'm hoping he'll stay free from harm

It's how we women tell the men we love them
It help's us to survive each lonely night
No worrying or fretting
With our fingers busy knitting
Think hard - you've got to keep the pattern right

For the pattern on each gansey is important
It shows the very village or the town
To where the fisher lads and men
Can be carried home again
Just supposing that the boat they're on goes down

When he first went to sea his mother knitted
A gansey like the one she made his dad
But now that he's with me
This gansey's going to be
The finest any fisherman has had


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