The key to the history of this quilt is a small label in one of the front corners with the initials IODE and Canada written beneath. The Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire is a Canadian organisation which, like the Red Cross, made and shipped quilts to the UK during the Second World War as part of its charitable activities. There were over 35,000 members across Canada at the time. The colourful quilts, of every possible design, would bring colour, cheer and warmth to the rest centres following air raids.
This crazy patchwork quilt was found in a charity shop in Llanidloes. It is made from bright floral cotton fabrics (typical of “grannies pinnies”), and hand quilted in a clamshell design. The reverse fabric is pieced together from old feedsacks, as was common practice in Canada and the United States during this period.
The twenty crazy blocks feature colourful floral and spotty fabrics machine stitched onto a foundation fabric. Some of the blocks have been repaired at a later date which shows that the quilt was well-used by the wartime recipients.
The IODE is still active in Canada today: “With more than 3,500 members across Canada in 200 chapters, the IODE tradition of serving children, youth, and those in need continues”.