Wars and warm socks! Perils and purls! High treason and high art! Knitting America shows the cultural history of knitting from pilgrims to pioneers, immigrants to native peoples, through war and peace. More than 300 color and black-and-white images of knitters and knitwear, plus 20 historical knitting patterns.

Strawn, S. M. (2007). Knitting America: A glorious history from warm socks to high art. St. Paul, MN: Voyageur Press. Awarded first place in crafts category, 2007 Midwest Independent Book Publishers. Available as print and e-book.


The story of poet and knitting designer Virginia Woods Bellamy restores her to a rightful place as a significant artist in the mid-century Studio Craft Movement.

Braaten, A., and Strawn, S. (March/April 2017). Virginia Woods Bellamy: The poet as knitter. In N. Diehl (Ed.), The hidden history of American fashion: Re-discovering 20th-century women designers. London: Bloomsbury, 23-37.

Who are the artists? Quilters, knitters, seamstresses, embroiderers, and all makers and stitchers of cloth and clothing claim a place at the political and gendered table in the art world.

Strawn, S. M. (2010). American women and wartime hand knitting, 1750-1950. In M. D. Goggin & B. T. Tobin (Eds.), Women and the material culture of needlework & textiles, 1750-1950. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 245-259.

Why do we think “skiing” when we see Nordic knitting design? During the 1930s, developers of the fledgling American ski industry were eager to maintain skiing’s Norwegian heritage and branded the sport with Nordic designs on mittens and sweaters.

Strawn, S. M. (2015). Norwegian knitted mittens and gloves. In A. Lynch and M. D. Strauss (Eds.). Ethnic dress in the United States: A cultural encyclopedia. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 213-215.

Why did jackets with embroidered symbols of Mexican culture become a trend in mid-century North America? Souvenir jackets hold the history of post-World War II political relations between North America and Mexico.

Strawn, S. M. and Ibarra, R. L. (2015). Mexican tourist/souvenir jacket. In A. Lynch and M. D. Strauss (Eds.). Ethnic dress in the United States: A cultural encyclopedia. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 198-200.

My Writing about Knitting History: 

  • Another Noble Cause: Suffragist Knitters of World War I. PieceWork (Summer 2023), 45-49.
  • Further Discoveries of Virginia Woods Bellamy’s Geometric Number Knitting. PieceWork (Winter 2019), 50-53. With Ann W. Braaten.   
  • Patriotic Knitting Bags of World War I. PieceWork (Spring 2019), 64-67.
  • Gaman: Embroidered Mittens from the Minidoka Relocation Center. PieceWork (September/October 2017), 8-13.
  • Finding Sport Mittens from Norway: A Research Journey. PieceWork (July/August 2017), 54-57.
  • Virginia Woods Bellamy and the Puffbunny Wardrobe. PieceWork (March/April 2017), 25-30. With Ann W. Braaten.
  •  “You’ve Got to Really Like Your Job”: Department Stores as Purveyors of Yarn and Knitting Knowledge, 1930-1960. Knitting Traditions (Fall 2015), 84-88. 
  • “The Life of a Wandering Princess, Mine”: The Travels of Susan Shelby Magoffin on the Santa Fe Trail, 1846-1847. Knitting Traditions (Spring 2015), 62-65.
  • The Curious Case of the 1940 Suomi Olympic Mittens. Winter Games. F & W Media, e-book (2014), 1-2.
  • Knitting Comforts for the Troops. The Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits (2014), 20-25.
  • Knitting in the Amanas. Knitting Traditions (Spring 2013), 34-37.
  • Dancing Couples: A Nordic Design for Knitting. PieceWork (March/April 2013), 16-19.
  • The Knitted Snowsuit: Keeping American Snow Babies Warm and Cozy since 1920. Knitting Traditions (Fall 2011), 108-110.
  • “Comfort and Good Looks”: Sweaters and Scarves as Fashion Essentials. Knitting Traditions (Spring 2011), 92-94.
  • A Child’s Mitten from Sixteenth-Century London. PieceWork (January/February 2010), 36-37.
  • Especially for the Baby: Amana Star-Pattern Bonnets. Knitting Traditions (2010), 44-45.
  • An Unfinished Sweater: The Wartime Knitting of Wardi Keter Kalil. PieceWork (January/February 2009), 30-32. WorldWarOneKnit07 
  • The Baby Soaker: A Most Humble Hand Knit. PieceWork (November/December 2008),16-19.
  • Traveling Stitches. PieceWork (September/October, 2008), 16-21.
  • Navajo-Churro Wool. Knit It! (Spring 2006), 22-25.
  • Expanding the Digital Edges. Surface Design Journal (Fall 2003), 12-15.
  • Especially for the Baby: Amana Star-Pattern Knitted Bonnets. PieceWork (November/December 2000), 44-46.
  • Stockings and Story. Interweave Knits (Winter 2000/01), 112.
  • Knitting in the Amanas. PieceWork (September/October 1997), 18-21.

My Writing about Cloth and Clothing:

  • Ellen Harding Baker’s Solar System Quilt. PieceWork (Winter 2020), 28-32.
  • The Art of Self-Dress: Closures and Independence. PieceWork (Winter 2021), 8-12.
  • Women and Needlework Magazines: Opportunity, Recognition, Income! PieceWork (Winter 2018), 45-51.
  • “Make Friends with Mexico”: The Mexican Tourist Jacket. Fashion, Style, & Popular Culture (2016), 7-20.
  • “Here we go to Mexico”: Embroidered Mexican souvenir jackets. PieceWork  (July/August 2017), 34-37. With Rogelia L. Ibarra.
  • A Mysterious Handmade Tatting Sample Book. PieceWork (May/June 2016), 33-36.
  • Susan B. Anthony: A Letter about Lace. PieceWork (May/June 2013), 57-60.
  • Florence Yoder Wilson and America’s Immigrant Needleworkers. PieceWork (November/December 2012), 57-60.
  • Entrepreneurial Applications: Offshoot Businesses. Artisans and Fair Trade: Crafting Development (2010), 111-115.
  • “Simply Another Name for Perfection”: Corticelli Silk. PieceWork (November/December 2010), 34-37.
  • In Appreciation of Potholders. PieceWork (March/April 2010), 18-21. A picture containing decorated
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  • Returning Navajo-Churro Sheep for Navajo Weaving. Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture (Fall, 2007), 301-319.
  • Beyond Capabilities: A Case Study of Three Artisan Enterprises in India. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal (2006), 207-213.
  • Bib Overalls: Function and Fashion. Dress, The Annual Journal of the Costume Society of America (2005), 43-55.
  • The Wedding Cloak of Johann Georg I. PieceWork (May/June 2005), 22-23.
  • Culinary Herb Goes Dye Crazy. The Herb Companion (September 2004), 22-28.
  • The Sheep is Life Celebration. Surface Design Journal Newsletter (Spring 2003), 14-15.
  • Mohair: The Chosen Fiber. Interweave Knits (Winter 2001), 46-48.
  • Spinning and a Colombian Road Trip. Spin-Off (Summer 2000), 79-80.
  • Estonian Wooden Distaffs. Spin-Off, (Summer 2000), 81-83.
  • Patriotic Airplane Quilts. PieceWork (July/August 1999), 42-46.
  • Toadlena Trading Post: The Middle of Everywhere. Spin-Off (Summer 1999), 24-25.
  • Spinning in the Aztec World: Duty, Cotton, and the Codex Mendoza. Spin-Off (Fall 1998), 82-89.
  • Sequined Flags of Haiti. PieceWork (January/February 1998), 14-21.
  • Playful, Practical Potholders. PieceWork (March/April 1997), 44-45.

My Knitting Designs

  • World War I Service Socks to Knit. PieceWork (Spring 2019), 68-69.
  • Gaman Mittens to Knit and Embroider. PieceWork (September/October 2017), 14-16.
  • A Norwegian Barnelue to Knit. PieceWork (July/August 2017), 58-59.
  • A Scarf to Knit for Vera. PieceWork (September/October 2016), 42-44.
  • Vintage Sport Socks. Knitting Traditions (Fall 2015), 71-73. 
  • 1847 Stockings. Knitting Traditions (2015), 89-91.
  • Bonnet and Wristlets for Baby Emma. The Best of Jane Austin Knits (2015), 35-37.
  • Tea Cozy for Cook. The Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits II (2014), 111, 118-119.
  • Mittens Based on a Finnish-American Design. Winter Games (2014). F & W Media, e-book, 3-6.
  • World War I Comforts for the Troops: Hot-water Bottle Cover. The Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits (2014), 128, 130.
  • Dancing Couple: A Nordic Cardigan. PieceWork (2013), 47-49.
  • Number Knitting: The New All-Ways Stretch Method. Knitting Traditions (2012), 26-29. 
  • A Bonnet and Wristlets for Baby Emma. Jane Austen Knits (Fall, 2012), 56, 68.
  • Lydia Bennet Secret Stockings. Jane Austen Knits (Spring 2011), 32, 54-55.
  • The Baby Bunting Snowsuit. Knitting Traditions (2011), 111-113.
  • The Imogene Scarf. Knitting Traditions (2011), 95.
  • Fancy Silk Mittens to Knit. PieceWork (November/December 2010), 38-39.
  • Amana Star-Pattern Baby Bonnet. Knitting Traditions (2010), 45-46.
  • Mittens to Knit Inspired by a Late-Medieval Mitten. PieceWork (January/February 2010), 34-35.
  • Keep Them Warm Wristlets. Interweave Knits Accessories (2009), 120, 127.
  • Fingerless Mitts: A New Pattern from Wartime Shooting Mittens. PieceWork (January/February 2009), 32-33.
  • A Baby Soaker to Knit. PieceWork (November/December 2008), 19-20.
  • Navajo-Churro Handbag to Knit. Knit It! (Spring 2006), 24.
  • Cozy Socks Knit It! (Fall 2005), 20.
  • Amana Star-Pattern Baby Bonnet to Knit. PieceWork (November/December 2000), 47-48.