Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Somme 100: Poppy Patterns

Work in progress on patterns

I love the diversity of my work, I love the different opportunities that come my way and the chance to work with lots of different organisations on different projects. I have just finished designing two patterns for Cumbria's Museum of Military Life, which records the history of Cumbria's County Infantry Regiment. The patterns I have designed are a knitted poppy and a crocheted poppy.

Working on the train: Trying different shapes

The patterns are available on the museums website and are part of a larger project commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. The aim of this part of the project is to create a knitted or crocheted poppy for each soldier of the Border Regiment who died during the Somme. The poppies will be displayed from the windows of the museum building, each month more poppies will be added to the display, corresponding with the number of men who died that month in the Somme 100 years ago.

Knitted Poppy

Detail

In total the museum are aiming to make 1700 poppies. It is very difficult to know exactly how many people died and when they died. A soldier may have been injured during the battle and died from his wounds many weeks or even months later. There were also of course other Cumbrian's not in the Border regiment who died in the Somme but in order for the project to work there has to be some parameters. I hope that rather than getting caught up in agonising over exact numbers people will recognise that a huge number of individuals lost their lives and each of those lives was significant and this project commemorates them all.

Crocheted Poppy

Creating these patterns was surprisingly challenging, not because they were difficult to make but because part of the brief was to make the patterns accessible to beginners. I spent a lot of time stitching and un-stitching trying to get a shape that worked but that would be easy to re-create. Hopefully I've managed that but we will see! As part of my efforts to keep the pattern simple I chose to use the stylised shape of the poppy used by the British Legion.

If you'd like to get involved with the project please contact the museum, there are a lot of poppies to make!

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