Kingston Heirloom Quilters, Kingston Ontario

Joanna Demenjian, a Master’s student in the Queen’s University cultural studies program made a presentation to Kingston Heirloom Quilters  recently to discuss her research into ‘why women stitch?’ Her research focuses on Canadian Red Cross quilts which were made by Women’s Institute and other groups to go to Britain during World War II to help people displaced, injured or otherwise impacted by the war. One source estimates 250,000 quilts may have been shipped overseas by the Canadian Red Cross and distributed by the British Red Cross. The quilts are labelled as Red Cross quilts but, otherwise, look like any other quilt made in the 1940’s, usually from recycled fabric.
Joanna is researching how the quilts were solicited, collected and distributed. She is seeking information on how the drive was organized and what the goal was. She would like to hear from anyone who has any information about the quilts and the women who made them. She can be contacted at

Joanna’s husband found this Red Cross Quilt in the UK and bought it for her on EBAY for Christmas. The label indicates it was made in Kitchener to be send overseas. Additional research reveals the fabric is likely nemainder shirting fabric from Arrow or Forsyth shirt factories in Kitchener, which regularly made surplus fabric available to the public.

submitted by Wendy Nicol