Women connect with WWII history at Knitting Circle

by | Nov 22, 2019 | Lakeshore, Life

Jaeybee Martinito, News Reporter

Judy Cutmore and Gloria Bubba remember their moms who made machine guns.

But they also recall their moms, who worked in factories building the Bren guns their husbands would use on the European front to defeat the Axis during the Second World War, knitting warm clothing for soldiers.

Both women are part of the Knitting Circle, which meets every Wednesday at the Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre crafting socks and hats in similar patterns to those made by the factory workers during their breaks in the 1940s.

Part of an initiative to recreate what it was like to knit during break time at the factories. But the clothing is for the homeless through the Out of the Cold program. They not only made war supplies, but women also crafted socks, toques, and other warm clothing for the men out in the field.

“The yarn used at the Social Knitting Circle connects back to the women in the factories during the Second World War,” said Bubba, who participates every week. “It wasn’t just factory work. People’s lives depended on what they were making.”

Cutmore said she feels good to give back especially during Christmas time.

“We are lucky to have a job and that we’re not out in the cold,” she said.

Cutmore said she has a strong connection to the exhibit. Her mom riveted machinery in one of the factories near the campus. She said rivets had to be placed precisely in order for the military materiel to work.

“These women didn’t just make something, they made precision,” Bubba added.

The centre also features an exhibit that includes newsletters, pamphlets, photos, and Canadian war propaganda posters from the war era.

Bubba recalled the time her mother taught her how to knit and the stories she told her about the factory.

She said the knitting and the exhibit were very close to heart because war work meant secure income to provide for the family.

Nadine Finlay, an assistant curator, said the exhibit was a fun and different way of telling stories. She encouraged students to pick up and read the newsletters pamphlets.

“These allowed the voices of the women who worked in the factory to be present in the exhibit,” Finlay said.

The centre extended the knitting circle until Dec. 20.