Chatting to a friend recently about notable events coming up this year we discussed the Centennial of World War I. I’ve always had this on my radar as there have been lots of commemorative events from 2014 onwards. Despite all this somehow I never quite got around to thinking about what sort of project, if any, that I could do to commemorate all those who gave their lives.
I began mulling over ideas that would make a fitting tribute and realised pretty quickly that the project couldn’t be too ambitious as time wasn’t on my side; November seems far away on the horizon, but the months have a habit of quickly sneaking up so this project has to be achievable and manageable. Eventually, I hit upon the idea of working with my 5 local parishes to create knitted poppies for wreaths for all those who gave their lives. Not the most original idea I guess, but something I feel will be a personal tribute created with love and kindness by parishioners from our 5 parishes and a lasting tribute to display in each of the 5 churches. Each poppy wreath will bear the name of the solider who gave his life making this a personal remembrance for our community.
My next thought turned to getting a poppy knitting pattern. A quick look on the internet revealed lots of possibilities. However it was one particular project that caught my attention and got me delving further. 5000 poppies, caught my eye, probably because of the large number, anyway intrigued to find out more, I discovered it all began with two Australian women wanting to honour their fathers who fought in WWII, however this personal project has now become an international tribute of remembrance, something far more than these two women ever envisaged.
Scrolling through their list of poppy patterns I came across one from a woman called Margot. I loved the simpleness of the pattern and the beautiful upturned shape. I immediately contacted Margot seeking her approval to share her design. I’m delighted to say she agreed. Margot told me she started knitting as a child and is self-taught, her Mother having given up trying to teach her as she “knitting backwards” I identify with that, I’m left handed and was taught by my right-handed mother, my first few tentative steps with knitting felt curiously strange and many arguments ensued as I tried to get to grips with “knitting like my mother.” Similar to Margot I persevered but took it at a lesiurely pace, slowly gathering a repertoire of stitches over many years.
Margot told me she worked for a textile company, testing patterns and correcting errors and that she would often take her knitting when visiting her father in palliative care. It was he who encouraged her to start producing her designs. However, like so many of us Margot wasn’t sure of her ability to do this. Thankfully, her father persisted and eventually Margot listened and gave it a try. In honour of her father’s memory she created Wildwood Designs and Creations and she now has a successful Ravelry page selling her patterns.
I asked Margot how she came about designing such a beautiful poppy pattern and she told me she originally designed the pattern in honour of her Great Uncle who was a fallen solider. Margot told me the design of her poppy was influenced by the weather the poppies would encounter in Canberra when displaying them at the Australian War Memorial. Apparently, the design needed to be robust and able to stand up to a variety of weather conditions. It is a truly beautiful poppy design and super easy to knit I discovered, making this an ideal beginner’s project as the pattern is quick to knit resulting in the gorgeous upturned poppy head.