Monday 20 October 2014

A Giant Poppy - More Extreme Knitting

Giant Poppy - detail

It's that time of year when we begin to think about poppies, symbols of remembrance and hope, especially as this year is the 100th anniversary of Britain entering into World War 1.  

I have been knitting a giant poppy on my extreme needles (1.9m long and 50mm in diameter).  As always with the extreme needles I find out something new every time I use them!  I used Lynn's Easy Ribbed Knit Pattern for the petals which I found on the web.  (This pattern is one suggested as part of Australia's 5000 Poppies project - a community tribute of respect and remembrance commemorating the Anzac Gallipoli landing.  Follow the link if you want to join in with that project)

Improvised end stopper

Back to the mechanics of it all - first challenge with such whopping needles, is finding some suitable yarn.  I used an old double duvet cover and pillowcases which I dyed red in the washing machine and then cut up into 6.5cm wide strips (2.5 inches) which I knotted together to form a ball of yarn.  Next,  I cast on my stitches - 60 in this case.  I haven't had so many stitches on my extreme needles before - and they stretched across the whole needle - and promptly fell off the other end!  So I improvised some end stoppers by wrapping some of my big yarn left over from other projects (e.g. the big jerseys in the Knit a Bike Installation in Rowntree Park earlier this year) on the bottom of both needles.  That worked a treat!

Yarn just about to run out!

It was rather tricky to guess whether I would have enough yarn from my duvet cover and pillowcases to finish my poppy.  And yes  - you guessed it - I ran out.  Fortunately I had a sheet waiting in the wings which I dyed and cut up to finish the job.  All in all my giant poppy used up about 175 metres of yarn. Next, I sewed up the poppy with my extra large sewing needle which is almost 20 cm (8 inches) long ...

So here we are - poppy petals complete.  They are about 90cm in diameter (3 feet) ...

Giant poppy petals complete!

Now it was time to create the centre.  I decided on finger knittng for this with some black super chunky, 2 lots of eyelash yarn and some double knitting yarn.  2.7 metres later with all the super chunky used up (200g) and about half the eyelash yarn (50g - 2 x 25g) and a fair bit of DK yarn, it was ready.  Once coiled up and stitched together, the slightly fluffy centre was approx. 30cm (12 inches) in diameter.

2.7 metres of finger knitting
Finger knitting coiled up to make the poppy centre

Now it was just a case of stitching the centre in place on the poppy. Et voilĂ  ...

Giant knitted poppy in the garden

I'm hoping to use my poppy in a project next year - watch this space .....

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