Poppies, poppies and more poppies. Now they’re appliqued in wool. They were so lovely to make, I’ve been daydreaming about all kinds of little quilted squares with wool applique – fruity fairies, silhouettes, birthday cupcakes, christmas angels – the possibilities are endless. But today, just poppies.
I cut a long strip of fabric – the rest of the ecru and black border fabric from the Poppies for ANZAC Day quilt – 6 1/2 inches wide. I then cut a strip of iron on pellon 3 inches wide and pressed it onto one half of the fabric. I sliced this up into 3 1/2 inch rectangles and then sewed up the open sides, leaving a wee gap for turning out. I even remembered to tuck the hanging ribbon into one of the corners before sewing it – this is a novelty for me – I usually forget and then sit, cursing, whilst I clumsily sew the ribbon onto the back!
I even chained pieced them – I loooooooove chain piecing – it’s so quick and satisfying and you wind up with a long tail of little pieces – snip, snip, snip, snip!
Turning them out – I ALWAYS leave too small a gap – I try not to, I say – now make it bigger – and it never is – it’s always too small. Struggling to pull the right side out can be almost claustrophobic – “Oh dear, oh dear, it’s stuck inside out – eeeeeeeee!” Then pop! And I’m pleased because now I don’t have to sew shut a long gap! I’m a Contrary Mary.
Then, the slow, lovely bit – appliqueing the poppies onto their little quilted beds. I finished them tonight – and hung them on my little wooden tree (Julian made me this for Christmas – I had seen something like it in the English Country Living, so drew it for him on plywood and he worked out the measurements for the slide-together-bits and cut it out using the jigsaw). I even added some little black beads (mill hill antique) to the black centre – you know, seeds!
Julian thinks they’re odd, but I like them! And they look pretty with the quilt.
And if I was going to be poetic, I could suggest the bare tree is a good place for them to hang as it could be reminiscent of the devastated trees on the Flemish battlefields of World War I.
Actually, I did read a very interesting account of poppies and their association with the first World War. They did grow like weeds in the gruesome mud of the trenches and feature in several poems written by soldiers at the time. However, they became symbolic of Remembrance Day when a group of French war widows brought silk poppies they had made to the British Legion – a welfare group established to provide aid and assistance to veterans and their families – and offered to sell them to raise much needed funds for the Legion’s work. The first poppies sold for Remembrance Day in Australia were indeed French.
I admire these women – how hard it must have been for them – emotionally, socially and economically bereft at the end of a horrible war – and yet they were able to use their skills with a needle to raise money for those that came home, broken and needy, and those that had waited in vain for their loved one to come home at all.