Here’s a collection of free vintage images of people knitting! These are curated from various public domain resources, lightly edited, and are available for personal or commercial use as they are out of copyright in the United States. If you’re from outside the US, you may have different restrictions.
To download these images, click on the image to open it to full size and then save to your computer or device. They are 300 DPI JPGs and suitable for printing to use in paper collages and junk journals, or for digital collage pages.
Many of these photos were taken during World War I as part of the war effort– people knit socks for soldiers! I’ve included some more details on the context of each photo below the images.
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And now: onto the images!
Knitting group (1920s)
Here’s a group of women (and one man) knitting around a small table. There’s a pile of yarn skeins sitting on the table in front of them. Check out the heels on the two women in white– wow! This photo is from 1921.
Children’s knitting bee (1915)
These children are knitting socks for soldiers, I think! It’s surprising how young these kids are and they’re so accomplished at knitting already. They must’ve put a lot of practice in.
American Red Cross ad (1918)
Here’s a vintage advertisement for the Red Cross circa World War I. It’s trying to get people to knit socks for soldiers (and hats, scarves, sweaters and so on as well) as part of the war effort.
Victorian woman knitting
Here’s an older photo of a Victorian woman in a black dress knitting something with three knitting needles.
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Child knitting with tea set
Another accomplished young person knitting something complicated. I love the giant bow in her hair!
Young girl knitting
This is a young French girl knitting socks for soldiers during World War I.
Child knitting on porch
A VERY small child knitting something while sitting on their front porch. This photo is circa 1919 and comes from the American National Red Cross collection.
Child knitting while wearing knit hat
There’s very little info about this photo, but it’s dated sometime between 1919 and 1929. Who is this kid? Where are they from? What’re they knitting?
Elderly woman knitting
This photo is from 1897 and shows a very old woman knitting, wearing a bonnet.
Five girls knitting (1920s)
These girls are actually Albanian! This photo was taken about 1923. Their clothing styles are much different from what the other kids in this post are wearing, but of course that makes sense as they’re in totally different countries.
Three Maine girls knitting
One of the few photos from a different decade: this photo is from 1942 and shows three sisters from Maine knitting on their front porch.
Rancher’s daughter knitting
This young lady is the daughter of a rancher in New Mexico. The photo was taken in 1943.
Vermont grandmother knitting on porch
This elderly lady is knitting sweaters for the Red Cross in 1942, Vermont.
Queens family knitting
This family is from Queens, New York City, and the photo was taken between 1910 and 1915.
Class of knitters
This group is from a vocational studies school! The photo was taken between 1919-1920.
Knitting poem on Hoover card
This is from a series of “Hoover cards,” sent by the American government to encourage citizens to support the war effort in World War I. The poem reads: “Lady, spare that stitch, / Drop not a single one, / Drop meat and butter, if you will, / Likewise the sugar bun; / Drop wheat for corn, drop fats and such / I really don’t care which; / But lady, please, I beg of you, / Oh, do not drop that stitch!”
I hope you enjoyed these images! If you use them in a collage or junk journal spread, leave a comment and let me know!
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