Think about how easy it is to pop into Target when you need (or simply want) a new scarf. Think about how we simply toss two socks away when one gets a hole. Years ago these items weren't so easy to come by, and acquiring a new hat, a scarf or a pair of socks, meant making them.
This was a time when idle hands were seen as sinful, and women spent every spare minute sewing and mending and stitching and knitting. Barbara Levine has compiled a lovely tribute to the virtue of knitting throughout the early 19th century through the '50s and '60s. People Knitting: A Century of Photographs recognizes a time when every minute was precious.
Whether it was their duty during wartime, or simply a matter of supplying their own goods, knitting was (/is) a virtuous skill. And people managed to continue knitting, regardless of what their day entailed—they knitted as a form of socializing, they knitted at the hair salon, they knitted in prison, they even knitted while they walked...
See more captivating photos and read more about Barbara Levine's book on atlasobscura.com.