The Poppy Blanket

Six months ago the library team at Riccarton Community and School Library came across a story about poppies being crocheted and knitted for a display in Australia. Library Manager, Sally Blake, tells us what followed.

Inspired by this wonderful story, we decided to do something like this ourselves. The Poppy Blanket project was born.

The Upper Riccarton Community and School Library is a joint use library. This uniqueness brings wonderful opportunities like the Poppy Blanket for the school and the community to work together.

A Knit’n’Stitch group meets in the Library every week, made up of students, teachers, members of the public, and a librarian or two.  We started about six months ago, allowing a little longer than the usual preparation for a display, but we needed to collect a lot of poppies.

We created a flyer to advertise what we were planning, with patterns on the back. At the weekly Knit’n’Stitch anyone could pop along and learn how to knit or crochet a poppy to add to the blanket. The flyer also went out to other public libraries, and some of their knitting groups sent in poppies.

The poppies came from far and wide and are many different shapes, sizes and shades of red.  A friend in London even sent a few poppies. Some even have buttons in the middle from original Army uniforms.

As we sewed on the poppies, people would share their memories and stories of family members who fought in one of the wars. 

The display is stunning in its simplicity, and the response has been awesome.

Students and members of the public stop to take pictures and talk about it. It is quite the topic of conversation.  It’s all about remembering, and has become a wonderful  trigger for many conversations about this event in our history.

We are also displaying First World War themed books, including non-fiction, fiction and children’s.

Image: ANZAC display at Riccarton High School Library by Sally Blake