Friday, 13 September 2013

A History Lesson

When I was researching stories about my Mother-in-law's life (for her story quilt) I was excited to learn a bit of history through her involvement with the Wrens or WRNS (Women's Royal Naval Service) in WWII.

WRNS was revived in 1939 (it was originally formed in WWI) and this time ladies were able to perform an expanded list of duties on the home front - including flying transport planes - instead of just clerical work.  Check out this picture of a Wren, an armorer, at a Scottish Royal Air Force Base - my goodness!

Picture courtesy of

The main role of a Wren was to free British Sailors from home front duties so that they could perform combat duties.  The most common slogan on recruiting posters was "Join the Wrens - free a man for the fleet!"

At the height of WII in 1944 the WRNS were 75,000 strong ... with 100 deaths by the end of the war.

So to honour my MIL's WRNS service in her story quilt I decided to use Quiet Play's Songbird pattern to depict a Wren.  First I had to Google what an English female wren looks like for fabric selection ...

A wren perched on a frosted bramble bush. Photograph: David Norton/Alamy

Aww isn't she 'tweet'? (sorry) ... and here's my Wren block ...

Her wing needs a little more definition ... but overall I'm happy with the result.

AND if you happen to hear some swearing later - don't worry - it's just me attempting a french knot for her eye ...

Hope you learnt a little along with me today :)



  1. respect for you MIL
    and it sure is a cute bird ;)

  2. I just love how there is so much meaning found in quilts not just that they are pretty and keep you warm. Definitely a "tweet" wren!!

  3. Love it cute

  4. Love how your bird turned out -great fabric choices for it! Definitely enjoyed a bit of a history lesson to go along with the block!

  5. Love your little bird block! I made a bluebird from this pattern but hadn't though to make a wren. Clever!

  6. Thank you Serena, I enjoyed reading about the WRENS, it's nice to understand the history behind the meaning of the quilt. Great job this quilt will tell a great story for a long time...xxxx



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