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Red Cross Knitted Blanket

by Pippa Moss, January 20, 2013

Here is a knitted blanket that I bought recently, which was described as a Red Cross Army Blanket. During the Second World War, many people donated quilts and knitted items for servicemen and civilians caught up in the war. This is a blanket with an interesting story attached to it …

The blanket is in poor condition – it must have had special significance to be kept for so long! It has holes, darns and patches. The binding is coming off and the sewing is coming apart … but it has a large red cross in the centre which, apart from being very graphic,  is unusual for these items.

A close up of the blanket – it is knitted in strips with colours changing every 6 or 7 inches. Then the strips were sewn together and the joins covered with tape on the reverse. The red cross is outlined with more herringbone stitch.

The blanket was taken from a hospital ship by the grandfather of the seller, a serviceman who had been injured, the blanket supposedly having been made by nuns. The grandfather later died from his injuries.

I have offered the blanket to the Red Cross Quilt Study Group, who have recently acquired another ‘afghan’ as these blankets were called. The blankets should complement their collection of Red Cross Quilts nicely.