Poppies

The minute Hallowe’en is over, poppies spring up everywhere around here – no, not from the ground, but rather on the coats of everyone I pass on the street. The red remembrance poppy is the emblem of of Remembrance Day, inspired by the poem In Flanders Field’s by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. He composed the poem at the battlefront on May 3rd 1915, during the second battle of Ypres.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Every year Canadians wear the poppy through November to commemorate those that died in the two World Wars. Unfortunately for me the poppy sold by the Canadian Royal Legion is a straight pin, which is extra hazardous to me this year, what with my unsteady hands.

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The traditional red poppy of remembrance (x)

Laura Chau created a wonderful poppy pattern that I have knit before, but I seem to have misplaced my poppy so another one was cast on.

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The pattern is excellent, but I was not ready to graduate back down to sock-sized needles. Too much co-ordination was required to stab every stitch. The gauge worked against me here – it was all very tight due to the worsted weight yarn, making knitting even harder. I managed it in the end, but only because it was 20 rounds and any more would have been too frustrating.

Pattern-wise, it’s fairly straightforward and the cinching with the tail of the red yarn is the most difficult part. Made even more difficult because because I did it with tweezers instead of a proper tapestry needle, an item I apparently do not own.

Anyhow. Post-cinching, I blocked it and shaped it with some cold water. Then when I was happy with the shape I used hot water to ever so slightly felt it so that it kept it’s shape. Below is the final product:

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I’m pleased with the outcome. Despite messing up the increases, all the petals look about the same size and it fastens securely to my coat with a safety pin. Despite not wearing the poppy that they provide, I’ll be sure to make a small donation to the Canadian Royal Legion along with everyone else.

Yarn: The black is Knitpick Palette in Asphalt Heather, 2 ply yarn held triple. The red is Patons 100% wool in worsted weight.

Pattern: Poppy, by Laura Chau

Needles: 2.5 mm dpns.

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