Do your bit – knit!

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

With early August marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, local
communities are being encouraged to contribute thousands of hand-made textile poppies for
a large-scale commemorative WW1 installation.
During 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. Organisers of Wonderwool Wales are keen to galvanise
the support of local people and the show’s own community of textile makers to recreate the
united determination of these home knitters. So they are encouraging individuals, groups
and schools to knit commemorative poppies for a massive textile installation to mark the
centenary of the end of the war in 2018.
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, Builth Wells on April 28 and 29, 2018.
Anyone can join in and send a poppy and for those who don’t knit, 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 already received from individuals, regional
knitting groups, community groups in Crai, Pontyclun and Neath and others like the Powys
War Memorials Project and a number of primary schools. Many people 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
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 15 cm. Jane is also available to
lead workshops and has already got dates in her diary to work with a number of primary
schools around the country.

To find out more and to find the patterns for the textile poppies visit of-poppies.html
Wonderwool Wales is also inviting monetary donations in support of this project for the Royal
British Legion.
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