Looking Back


Knitting and Sewing on the Home Front


Remembrance Day makes one think of war and the impact it had on so many lives. Besides those who were active participants in the forces, there were those at home the families and friends who waited at home, not knowing where a loved one was or how he/she was faring. Every day would have been agony.


But they had to keep on with "normal" life maintaining the farm, trying to make do during times of food and gas shortages and reduced family income. Over 1,000 women's organizations, long time or newly registered, helped in different ways with the war effort. These organizations and many businesses found ways to make those at home feel that they were assisting in the war effort. Thousands of women knitted warm garments for those in service, for refugees and victims of war.


In 1941 Monarch Yarns published a pattern book of hand knits for men and women in service. It included patterns for pullovers, jerkins, socks, mitts, ladies knickers, skull caps, seaman's socks, turtle neck tuck-in, helmets and much more. The book specified what colour to use (khaki or grey for the army; navy blue or grey for the navy) and style (sweater with sleeves v-neck for the air force, crew neck for the army).


The Canadian Red Cross Society published a compact booklet of "Knitting Instructions for Army, Navy, Air Force and Civilian Garments for Women and Children". (The latter were for women and children bombed out in Britain.) This booklet gave very specific instructions. A Steel Helmet Cap "is worn under the steel helmet and it is most important that it should be very finely knitted and of very soft wool." It was noted that Seamen's Stockings were very much needed.


The Consumer Branch of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board published guides where women were given instructions on how to mend, make-over and make-do using worn-out, outgrown or outmoded clothes. The first rule was "Buy as little as possible".


These booklets are a quick peek at the time and effort of Canadian women in helping win the war.


Red Cross Knitting

Monarch knitting

The designs were approved by the
National War Service Committee of the
Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire.

Red Cross Knitting

This small (3" x 6") booklet was given out
locally with compliments of Onoway Creamery Association. M. S. Johnson was Manager.

Re-Make Wrinkles

Learn how to make a child's underwear from Dad's old underwear. A pair of socks turns into a toque. A man's shirt becomes a young girl's dress.

Sock to Beanie

That hole-y pair of socks was re-purposed into a toque so easy when you know how!

Sock to

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Last updated: January 26, 2019