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Moose Jaw Red Cross Quilt

Contribution du public
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Circa 1942
Matériaux et techniques
Cotton; Pieced, machine sewn
Red Cross volunteers
Numéro d'identification
Western Development Museum WDM-1995-S-94
On the Home Front
Knitting needles clicked and sewing machines clacked in church basements and community halls across Saskatchewan during the Second World War as volunteers knit socks and mitts, sewed quilts and pyjamas, and raised money for Red Cross relief in Europe.

The province’s two main newspapers faithfully reported on women’s war work. Early in 1942 the village of Creelman’s Red Cross volunteers reported on its previous year’s work: 135 pairs of socks, 14 quilts, one afghan, 24 men’s pyjamas, 24 children’s pyjamas, 48 nighties, 12 bloomers and five pairs of mittens. Midale reported 15 quilts along with dozens of pairs of socks, pyjamas and nightgowns. Lanigan volunteers stitched nine large quilts among their contributions.

In Moose Jaw, volunteers also gathered to knit and sew for the Red Cross, turning out dozens of quilts and other comforts. Some of the relief supplies were labelled “Canadian Red Cross Society, Moose Jaw Branch” before being shipped overseas.

Quilt Provides Comfort
A mother in the Netherlands was the grateful recipient of a simple nine-patch quilt from Moose Jaw. In 1944, for ten days and nights she and her husband, along with their six children huddled in a cellar during prolonged bombing. The war took its toll on the family. Two young children, sickly and unable to eat, died soon after the incident. Another died in 1948. Twelve year old Willem Stolk survived. Years later, Willem married and moved, first to Canada then to the United States. In 1979 his mother gave the precious quilt to Willem’s wife, Els. The Moose Jaw Red Cross tag was still intact. Els decided that one day she would return the quilt to Moose Jaw.

Back Home to Moose Jaw
In 1994, true to her word, Els then living in Oregon, contacted the Moose Jaw Chamber of Commerce looking for a home for the Stolk family quilt. Fifty years after leaving Moose Jaw in a shipment of Red Cross relief supplies, the quilt was headed home. The Western Development Museum was delighted to accept the gift, a tangible reminder of how much the work of local volunteers had meant to one suffering family during the Second World War.
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