Wednesday, 13 February 2013

She Knits While Billy Tries to Bill and Coo


This is the frontpiece of the sheet music for a song published in 1917 and written by one Harry Von Tilzner. One might think it's a song to encourage knitting for the war effort, but it's actually not quite that. The lyrics, which are below, are about a woman who won't stop knitting for the soldiers, to her beau's dismay. Ah, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Verse 1
Pretty little Kitty's got the patriotic craze
Knitting scarfs for soldiers day and night
Silly little Billy now is spending all his days
Watching Kitty knit with all her might
She even knits when out in his canoe.
She knits while Billy tries to bill and coo.

Chorus 1
He'd take a hug
Then he'd hug her some more
While she'd knit knit knit knit knit
He'd steal a kiss
Then he'd take an encore
And she'd knit knit knit knit knit
Under a tree
He would rest with a smile
She'd lay her knitting down for a while
A bird in a nest
Said oh give us a rest
Go on and knit knit knit.

Verse 2
Pretty little Kitty said, now Willie do your bit
Here's some yarn and needles you can start
Come and sit beside me and I'll teach you how to knit
That's the way that you can win my heart
He'd knit a while and then he'd want to woo.
He'd look at her and drop a stitch or two.

Chorus 2
He'd take a hug
Then he'd hug her some more
She'd say knit knit knit knit knit
He'd steal a kiss
Then he'd take an encore
She'd say knit knit knit knit knit
One day a tug
Passed them by in a squall
Looking through glasses was captain and all
They both heard a yelp
Do you need any help?
And she said knit knit knit.

And a word of caution to non-knitters who are trying to get their knitting significant others to knit less... DO NOT take hold of a yarn end and pull as these men seem to be doing to the woman's knitting in this picture. It will make the knitter you love very, very angry. And remember, your sweetheart is holding two pointed pieces of metal.

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