Textile Poppies for National Knitting Week 2017

Curtain of Poppies
Miles, wearing knitted garments from the WW1 era, helps launch “A Curtain of Poppies” at Wonderwool Wales 2017. Photo: John Teale

During National Knitting Week 2017 (October 13-21) organisers of Wonderwool Wales are calling on knitters to get busy making thousands of textile poppies for a large-scale commemorative WW1 installation.

Throughout World War 1, one of the ways women at home showed their patriotism and “did their bit” to support the troops overseas was by knitting – making gloves, scarves, balaclavas and particularly socks for the soldiers. Inspired by the whole-hearted community spirit of these home knitters, Wonderwool Wales is encouraging individuals and groups to knit commemorative poppies for a massive textile installation to mark the centenary of the end of the war in 2018.

By galvanising the support of today’s community of knitters and textile makers they are seeking to recreate the united determination of the WW1 volunteers. All the poppies will be strung together into a ‘Curtain of Poppies’ and the intention is that it will include 887,858 textile poppies, to commemorate each person from the UK who died serving their country. The curtain will be put on display at Wonderwool Wales 2018, the annual showcase for wool and natural fibres which is being held at the Royal Welsh Showground on April 28 and 29, 2018.

Anyone can join in and knit a poppy and poppies can also be crocheted, woven or sewn from felt. Organiser Jane Veevers said: “Every poppy we receive takes us one step further towards our goal, so please get busy with those knitting needles – or if you prefer, use one of our alternative patterns!” The current poppy count stands at 1524 and around 1000 of those were made at this year’s Wonderwool Wales, back in April, where the initiative was launched. Jane said: “We’re delighted with the enthusiastic support we’ve received from individuals, knitting groups and others who have really taken the idea to heart and are all working hard to help with this project. Please get your individual poppies to us by the end of the year, if you possibly can, as we need time to string them all together!”

Volunteers are invited to use a range of patterns to make one or more textile poppies to feature in the Curtain of Poppies in 2018. Patterns are available on the Wonderwool Wales website. Textile groups or other community groups who would like to make a larger contribution can make lengths of green i-cord (4 stitches) approximately 2 metres long and stitch pairs of poppies back to back, at a spacing of about 10 cm. To find out more and to find the patterns for the textile poppies visit www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk/show-events/curtain-of-poppies.html