Canadian War Museum challenge inspires knitters across Canada

February 9, 2016


For immediate release

Ottawa, Ontario, February 9, 2016 — The Canadian War Museum is pleased to announce the overwhelmingly successful results of the knitting challenge that was launched last November, in conjunction with the current exhibition World War Women. The final tally was 1,841 submissions, which included knitted and crocheted hats, mittens, scarves, socks and even a balaclava based on a Second World War Navy pattern.

“We are gratified by the incredible response to this challenge,” said Stephen Quick, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “It was wonderful to not only see the level of interest, but also to see the connections that many knitters made to their own personal and family stories.”

The Canadian Red Cross estimates that 750,000 volunteers knit 50 million articles during the Second World War. The Museum launched their initiative to highlight this fact, and to connect contemporary knitters with wartime women and the spirit of compassion that drove their efforts.

The initial request for items spread quickly through knitting networks and generated a string of heartfelt comments on social media. “As a military spouse and avid knitter,” wrote one participant on Facebook, “I can’t say how much this project touches my heart.” Participants shared stories as well as knitting patterns from the Second World War era, including specialized patterns for mittens with a separated trigger finger. Visitors were also invited to contribute knitted items during Awesome Knitting, a special Awesome Sunday event in November.

Items were received from local knitters as well as from other parts of Ontario, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, and from locations as far away as California and England. Many items were accompanied by touching messages explaining the knitters’ personal connections to the exercise.

The donated items will now be turned over to IODE Canada. Founded in 1900, the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE) supported wartime knitting campaigns during both the First and Second World Wars. IODE Canada will distribute the donations to various organizations in need of woollen items this winter.

World War Women highlights the crucial role women played during both World Wars — working, volunteering and serving in uniform — and shows how their contributions challenged society’s perceptions of women. For those interested in learning more, the exhibition runs until April 3, 2016.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions. Work of the Canadian War Museum is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.

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Media contacts:
Yasmine Mingay
Director, Public Affairs
Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8608

Avra Gibbs Lamey
Senior Communications and Media Relations Officer, Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8607

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