The first crocheting artefacts originated from the 16th century, although it is most likely that the hobby was developed in the Stone ages. The now common “looping in the air” style came into general use in the 18th century and in the 1800’s, crochet-work drawings were made and the second generation of fashion magazines (the first generation was rather literary) also printed descriptions of dresses and patterns. This change is illustrated by the publication of the magazine Budapesti Bazár (Budapest Bazaar), a spin-off of Pesti Hölgy-Divatlap (Pest Ladies Fashion magazine) established in 1859. This magazine was almost exclusively about fashion; the poems, novels and portraits exclusive to women landed in the appendix and fashion was discussed for 12 pages rather than 1-2. Images were exported from Leipzig and the fashion section was run by a firm from Budapest, Alter and Kiss. This firm was established in 1829, and as one of Central-Europe’s most famous clothing companies, they had an ongoing subcontract with the Kaiser’s family in Wien.
At the beginning of the 20th century, making, sewing and crocheting clothes at home was a common thing. In August 1914 (due to the opening of the Eastern front lines), a campaign supported by the government and popularized by the press, began in Hungary. This campaign encouraged women’s active contribution towards the war. On September the 5th, Az Est reported that women in Budapest (either housewives or working women) used their free time to crochet War Office approved ice-caps and wrist warmers for the enlisted men. The War Office later altered their ice-cap pattern on the suggestion of a Hungarian woman, as her pattern was much more effective when it came to processing. The pattern was provided by the war support office on Vaci Street. By the end of August the price of cotton was raised by 15-20%.
Szürke pamut (Grey Cotton). Hírek= Az Est, 1914. szeptember 5.
Created by: Róbert Takács
From the beginning of the war, everyone understood that the army’s apparel should come from home (the Hinterland). Every girl and woman capable of knitting and patchwork were asked to make ice-caps, wristwarmers, muffetees, belly-belts and so on. More and more advertisements appeared in papers that encouraged family members to buy (or to replace) full army apparel for soldiers on the front lines.
These adverts recommended army boots, “delicate” undergarments, and “waterproof” camisoles be bought in September, suggesting that even merchants did not think the war would end soon. The army’s apparel supply, especially regarding undergarments, became an ongoing issue throughout the war, which was especially hard on war prisoners. For them, Red Cross packages meant there was no solution to the war. Thus, even in early 1920 Pesti Hírlap still posted notices for collection of undergarments.
Created by: Eszter Kaba
A hósapka = Pesti Hírlap, 1914. szeptember 3.
Hard working female hands began to knit ice-caps for the army. The war support station provided patterns for these caps, but a large number of women needed the pattern, especially ones living in the countryside. An example of the ice-caps can be seen here. The material could be grey or perhaps white cotton. The pattern is two plain and two purl. The procedure is as follows: Start with 144 stitches all around with 4 needles (just like in the case of tights) until it is 15 cm high. Then leave it open and string it up to a 22 cm opening (not around but back and forth so it can be opened). Then, leave the needles on both sides of the opening standing with 36 stitches. Then, the two needles in the middle should be stringed up with 72 (2x 36) stitches up to a 20 cm height. When it is almost finished, a knitted or sewn top and forehead should be formed. The completed works can be handed in at the Ministry of Culture (V. Báthory u.12.), at the College of Fine Arts (V., Andrássy út 71.) and at the College of Applied Arts (IX., Kinizsi utca 31.)
Hósapkát és melegítőt a katonáknak! = Pesti Hírlap, 1914. szeptember 4.
The Board of Guardians of District 8 appealed to the ladies of the Capital to prepare ice-caps and belly-belts for the soldiers. The department of homecraft provides free classes for every woman and girl who can knit or crochet to teach them how to knit warm ice-caps and writswarmers. This is an opportunity for all patriotic women to show their love and care for our soldiers on the front lines. From the 1st of September you can apply for these courses, held every day from 10am to 1pm at the Szentkirályi Street Primary School.
Pesti Hírlap, 1914. szeptember 4.
From the 3rd of September, the Vadász street public girl school will call its pupils for an ice-cap knitting assembly every morning from 9 to 12. The school asks that all current and past students participate in this event. Some students are provided with material, but wealthy students are expected to bring 12 balls of cotton yarns and 5 knitting needles. Anyone from the public can attend to get information on knitting as well.