A Little Word on Which Poppy Pattern to Use …

Good afternoon team poppy … what an amazing few weeks we have had.

We are now up to just over 12,000 members on the facebook group … so our little group has grown into a mammoth group with all the management issues that inevitably spring from such rapid growth.

By now many of you will be ploughing into the poppy making process and having a ball … and even though some of you will be struggling with picking up and needles/hooks again after years or starting from scratch … everyone is committed because this is a wonderful wonderful thing we are doing.

It’s got heart and soul, its cathartic, it’s collegiate and it sends such an incredibly powerful message of love, honour and respect to our servicemen and women past and present, and their families and communities for their contribution to the lives we safely lead in our wonderful country.

We have NO other agenda.

We are all volunteers and colleagues working to a common goal – Remembrance Day 2018.


And we have committed to a lot but it’s a labour of love.

So this is sounding like a James A. Michener novel.

Today, on the facebook page I asked people to NOT make anymore of the Spotlight poppies for the AWM installation.  I know that has sent a few of you into a tail spin because from what I can see from the mail this week there are many being made.

We have tried not to be prescriptive with our poppy patterns in the past because we don’t want this to be a flat, generic installation … we want colour and movement … we want it to draw your eye.

However, there is a problem with this poppy pattern, and that is that it is a combination of large and flat with a big hole in the centre.  The hole itself presents us with a problem as to how to attach to our stem because the stem simply pokes through the hole.  But in testing, the poppy does not really stand up to the elements … it droops … and because of its size it droops a lot.

This is one of the reasons we ask people to use a smaller hook or needles than normal … to limit the droopiness. But with this poppy … the droopiness is inevitable.

So … in saying all this … I don’t want you to feel like we don’t want your poppies … but our first big delivery this week has seen a lot of the Spotlight poppies arriving, I expect because it’s a simple pattern … and it was posted on the facebook group today as a quick and easy pattern.  But  … it has created a bit of a problem for us because we have been closing up the hole or putting a button on them and running a thread around the centre to draw it up a bit so that it doesn’t droop quite so much … hours and hours of time.  And in truth, we really don’t have the resources to do this.  It’s counter productive for us and doesn’t allow us to focus on the wider task.

Please please please don’t allow this to upset your applecart … we are NOT being exclusive, we are just telling it like it is

A poppy in its natural environment has some shape, a wave, a cupping and we have many many patterns that emulate that “movement” in some way.

Yes we know they are not botanically correct.  They are knitted and crocheted.  It’s the movement we are trying to achieve.

Ok … now that is out there.

There are many many patterns on the blog 5000poppies.wordpress.com/poppy-patterns that achieve this LOOK to varying degrees and there are also many new patterns and variations of existing patterns being shared on Ravelry and on the facebook page that also emulate this movement.  And we also ask you to be creative with your centres … after all, you are limited in your colour range for the poppies so we ask you to have free range with your centres which many of you have chosen to do … and it’s a delight … beautiful buttons, cute knitted and crocheted fripperies … embroidery, lace, eyelash yarn beads … even freshwater pearls (I am assuming from an old piece of unused jewellery).  Its a riot out there and we love it. And it will add so much visual effect and character to the display …

I have posted some photos below of different poppies and different centres … many of these poppies don’t have patterns associated with them … they just turn up on our doorstep and they work on many levels.

I am not asking you to scrap your poppies … please send them to us … but please help us by limiting the amount of rework we need to do.  And if you don’t mind from now on, if you have been using the Spotlight pattern or any other flat pattern … please take this post into consideration for your next poppy.

With love.






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Meet the Team …

Good morning team Poppy. Just a quick note to introduce you to Lynn Berry (that’s me in the middle) and Marg Knight (that’s her on the left) aka Cow & Chicken. We are the creators of the amazing 5000 Poppies Project … and I say amazing because it started out as a tiny very personal tribute to our fathers back in 2013, and has morphed into this incredible nationwide (worldwide) outpouring. That IS amazing.
The good looking bloke on the right is Phil Johnson (Phillip Johnson Landscapes).  Apart from being Australia’s premier landscape designer (winning the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold and Best in Show in 2013), Phil and his team have been the designers and project managers of each of our major installations along the way … Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (2015), Federation Square (Anzac Day 2015), Chelsea Flower Show (2016), Centenary of the Battle of Fromelles, France (2016), and will again work with us to create the installation at the Australian War Memorial … it’s easy to say but you are just sticking poppies in the ground … but the truth is … the logistics are incredibly complex with installations of this kind and Phil and his team do an outstanding job with much flair and aplomb.  We love them.
Marg and I are so proud of what we’ve achieved. In the main, because it has given an opportunity to every one of us to be involved in something truly beautiful as a tribute of respect and remembrance. And … we are so grateful for your wonderful contribution to not only our past installations, but also the next two major phases of the project.  One … to create a stunning world class art installation featuring more than 60,000 poppies in honour of those who fought and died in WWI, which is a monumental undertaking. But on top of that (as if that wasn’t enough) we have also undertaken to create 50,000 poppies for RSL Vic for the 2018 Poppy Appeal. You can read more about all of this on the blog 5000poppies.wordpress.com
But we haven’t done it alone. There is a wonderful team of people who work tirelessly behind the scenes, and who have been with us almost from the start. These people have helped to shape this ever expanding project into what we see now. And, we could not have achieved what we have achieved without them.
The person you see here is Kate Moloney (that’s Kate in what I think is the best selfie ever). Kate works directly with me tirelessly on every phase of the project … silently and efficiciently … and has been a brilliant support.
And then there is Ted Baillieu … our unofficial patron … who has been behind us all the way.  Former Premier of Victoria, and now Chairman of the Anzac Centenary Committee,  Ted has been known to say that he thinks 5000 Poppies is one of the most important community art installation in the history of our nation and  he has also been instrumental in helping us to achieve that status.
At the risk of repeating myself over and over … what we have undertaken is huge (four years of work … and well over a million man hours … by many, many people), and it is so important to us that Marg and I both gave up our jobs to do it. So you can appreciate that we want the very best outcome for EVERY installation we do, whether it’s on the world stage or not.
There have been many groups who meet regularly to catch up for some quality time making and sharing … it’s an important part of the process and there are many more teaming up to create for our final installation at the AWM.
I was asked on Anzac Day 2015 by one of Melbourne’s foremost journalists “what does this project mean to you now Lynn” …  and my answer was  … “Apart from the obvious … showing our gratitude to those who have served, their families and their communities, for me its about community and connection”.  Working to a common purpose, creating something amazing, working with likeminded people, creating new friendships, sharing the joy of creating, sharing patterns and stories … creating community spirit … and … connections across many layers … connecting with our heritage, our personal stories, our ancestors, our shared history … it’s very, very special.  And it continues to be very special.
So … welcome to our world.  We love it that you have joined us.
Now, back to basics … our admins are myself, Marg, Sarah Worley, and we will soon add a couple more … but there are a number of other people who have been with us forever and are an integral part of every decision we make. Sometimes you will see comments from them on the facebook group.  As you can appreciate … there are now many thousands of posts on the group … with over 11,000 members (8000 of whom are relatively new to the group), that’s no surprise.  The admins don’t get to see all posts anymore … but if there is something that you need to know directly from the horse’s mouth so to speak … and you can’t find the answer on the pinned post or FAQ on the blog, please feel free to tag one of the the admins. 
With love
Lynn and Marg
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Australian War Memorial : 11.11.2018

If you have not been here before … welcome to the 5000 Poppies blog.

We have had an exciting journey over the last 4 years … if you would like to read all about our project, there is a link at the base of this post.

In the meantime … we are in the throes of planning our final installation at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra in 2018.  While I can’t give you details of the installation … I can tell you that it will be a spectacularly fitting tribute to those who served and sacrificed, their families, their communities and in a way, the whole nation … I can’t tell you how excited we are!

This wonderful community led, community driven project has been a testament to the depth of feeling we have for our ANZACS … and Marg and I cannot thank you enough for your continued support of our efforts.  It’s been quite a journey and we are justifiably proud of what we have all achieved as an incredible team.

So we will have one last huge push … to create approx 62,000 poppies on stems in honour of the fallen in WWI to be planted in Canberra on Remembrance Day 2018.  It will take a huge community effort to pull it together … but first the poppies …

If you are not already part of the 5000 Poppies project … welcome to the team … we are thrilled that you have joined us.

You will find patterns for the poppies here

Your poppies can be delivered to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra addressed to 5000 Poppies or sent directly to the 5000 Poppies team at P.O. Box 115, Ashburton, Vic 3147.

We have a 5000 Poppies Chapter in Canberra run by the wonderful Kerry Apted.  They meet at Poppies Cafe at the War Memorial regularly (see events on the 5000 Poppies facebook page) and are making and assembling poppies locally.  That’s exciting!

So if you are facebook connected … you can also join us on facebook : 5000 Poppies … to keep abreast of our news and share your own …

Let’s go!!!!!

To find out what our exciting community project has been up to over the last four years … click here

For answers to a growing list of frequently asked questions about the AWM installation click here

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Onwards and Upwards

Good morning all …

This week marks another milestone in our progress towards our goal of 50,000 beautiful handmade poppies for Remembrance Day 2018 for the RSL.

It’s quite a journey … for all of us.  But in reality, it’s no different to the journey we have been on since Marg and I started 5000 Poppies in 2013.  It’s still about Remembrance and love and honour … and always about community and caring and giving back.

We are loving all the different styles of poppies we are receiving at Poppy Headquarters (RSL East Malvern) … so many talented, creative people making beautiful heartfelt creations.  Packing is always a little bittersweet because it means letting go … and if you think letting go of your 10, 20, 50, 100, 1000 poppies that you have lovingly crafted with your own hands is hard work when you send them to me … our celebration at reaching each milestone is tinged with a little (but not too much) sadness as well … and its a huge wrench to send off those boxes of poppies that you have all so lovingly made.

Occasionally it feels like it’s just about the numbers because the task is so large … so we need to break it down to milestones … just to manage.  But then we remind ourselves of all of the good that our poppies will do for OUR Veterans’ welfare and we are thankful for the opportunity to do our part with the skills that we have.

And that is the joy!!!

So… we have now pinned and packed 15,000 plus poppies, with 10,000 already delivered we are now halfway towards our next 10,000 delivery …

Our deadline for poppies is April 2018 … to give the RSL time to pack and distribute in time for Remembrance Day 2018 …

I cannot wait to see a sea of handmade poppies next year as the RSL rolls them out.

Keep those beautiful poppies coming.

If you want you can join our 5000 Poppies 2018 Poppy Appeal Challenge on facebook.  We are at the end of Week 4, with 36 weeks to go before deadline.  This is not a competition, it is merely a way for us to keep tabs on the number of poppies that are being made.

Send your completed poppies to P.O. Box 115, Ashburton Vic 3147, or you can drop to any of the addresses on the blog.

The latest RSL Patterns are also on the blog … they are a more compact hybrid of the original patterns designed to be worn.

Love your work!!!







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One Hundred and One Years On!

Today is the 101st Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles.

A year ago, we were so privileged to be in Fromelles to commemorate the Centenary of the Battle, and those Australian and other lives lost or forever changed.

From the website of the Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne

 The Battle of Fromelles was fought on the 19th of July, 1916. It was planned as a diversionary attack to prevent German troops moving from this, a relatively quiet area, to the large battle being fought in the valley of the Somme. Fromelles was a bloody disaster. The attack by brave men from the largely untried 5th Australian Division was utterly destroyed by determined Bavarian troops who were well dug in and with large numbers of machine guns. Australian bravery and training was no match for this stubborn defence using all the advantages of German technology.

The attack remains the single bloodiest 24 hours in Australian history. By the morning of the 20th of July 1916, Australia had suffered an incredible 5522 killed, wounded, missing or taken prisoner. Many stories of bravery and humanity emerged from the carnage including that of Victorian farmer Sergeant Simon Fraser, who, after the battle, could not resist the suffering of the wounded and embarked on many perilous trips into no-man’s-land, the area between the German and Allied lines, to bring men to safety. One soldier cried after Fraser “Don’t forget me, Cobber” and it is from this that the memorial statue’s name is derived.

Image result for german front line fromelles map

A large number of the dead could not be recovered from the battlefield until after the war. Time having taken its toll on their remains, they are simply ‘missing’. The mystery of their fate has been an ongoing, multi-generational horror for their families. Many families gained some relief when a mass-burial site was found near Fromelles and exhumed. It yielded the lost remains of 250 soldiers killed during the Battle of Fromelles who were reburied in individual graves in 2010, their dignity and in the case of many, their identity was restored.

These days, when you look across that beautiful French rural landscape from the German front line (Cobbers) to VC Corner … you can see that our brave troops never stood a chance.  It’s hard to reconcile the hell they suffered with the peace and beauty of the site today.





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The Challenge is ON!!!

I am told by a reliable source … not to mention any names … that it is approx 40 weeks until 1 April 2018.

That being established … and as we have collected approx 12,500 to date … we have approx 40 weeks to make a further 37,500 poppies for our RSL poppies … to make 50,000 beautiful made with love handcrafted poppies for the 2018 Poppy Appeal … to help raise money for Veterans welfare.

So while that looks and feels like a lot of work … in fact said source has broken it down further for me.

If we can get a team of 40 makers to commit to 23.5 poppies per week for 40 weeks (can we round that up?) … the job will be done.

Of course, the more poppies we get the better … because we are also collecting for our fantastic Centenary of WWI installation for Remembrance Day 2018 at the Australian War Memorial.

So … here is the rub.

We are asking you to join our committed group of poppy makers for this challenge … Phone a friend or friends or a facebook buddy, and do it between you … splitting the effort …  not forgetting that each “team” is committing a minimum of 23.5 poppies per week.  We have started up a separate facebook group so we can do a weekly update of how we are going … all you need to do is post when your weekly challenge has been met.  Each week we will report to the group at large how the tally is going.

Can we do it … yes we can … look what we did last time we tried to do something huge!!!

Sounds like a plan !

Join our facebook group … 5000 Poppies 2018 Poppy Appeal Challenge

Oh and the other thing is :  I have been collecting some really lovely prizes to give away including a stunning Beekeeper Poppy Weekender, in a one only draw on 1 April 2018.  Make sure you include all the names of your contributors when you deliver your poppies to us.

P.S. you don’t have to join the challenge to be in the draw. All of our contributors will be entered … right back to the start. It’s our way of thanking you all for a job well done.

For quick and easy lapel poppies … patterns posted in the patterns section above … but you can use ANY pattern you like.  Maximum size 9 cm.



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Moving right along …

The last couple of weeks have seen us still reminiscing about our London visit last year with Facebook bringing up memory after memory … I am still pinching myself … it was such a surreal experience meeting the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family, and I expect one that will never be repeated.  The thing that I still marvel about is how the British public really got the whole sentiment behind our wonderful installation and how respectful and incredibly patient they were given the huge crowds we had visit the installation.

One of my most treasured memories is of meeting the last VC recipient Johnson Beharry and his wife … he is such a humble man, and it was such an honour for all of us but especially for our resident ex-Army team member Tim Lewis who has military blood running through his veins.

However, here we are, just over a year later and our focus is now firmly on the future … with two HUGE projects coming up over the next year … 50,000 poppies for the RSL for their 2018 Poppy Appeal next year and our super huge grand finale installation at the Australian War Memorial for the Centenary of the end of WWI on Remembrance Day 2018.

And so, we are looking to recruit as many poppy makers as we can to the cause.

So if you are itching to get on board … we would love to have you.  We have developed a couple of really simple, very quick knit and crochet patterns which will have you addicted in absolutely no time … we will publish them to the blog in the next few days.

Poppy on!


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