Poppies Poppies Everywhere – ANZAC Day 2015

The 5000 Poppies Project is Complete!

You may remember I crocheted a red poppy in memory of my Great Grandfather, to donate to the 5000 Poppies Project for the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC Day landings in WWI.  I blogged about it here.

Poppy for ANZAC Day

Poppy for ANZAC Day

My little poppy winged its way to Melbourne months ago and was incorporated into the art piece known as 5000 Poppies, now installed at Melbourne’s Federation Square.   When the organisers originally started this project 2 years ago they were hoping to collect 5000 Poppies to display, thinking that was a super ambitious number.  Guess how many poppies it takes to produce a result like this?

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5000 Poppies at Federation Square, Melbourne

By the end they had received over 250,000 (!!) handmade poppies created by over 30,000 individuals from all over the world!  An extraordinary example of community organising that has beautifully found the sweet spot between the emotional, remembering the fallen and those who have served – and the practical, that knitting and crocheting poppies is easy enough for just about anyone to do so participation was easy and high.  It turns out that 250,000 handmade poppies creates over 800 square metres (that’s over 8600 sq ft, for those who still use the old money) of poppies!  A true ‘Field of Poppies’, which was, after all, the actual point of the exercise.  Many have dedications attached to them.  I wish I had thought to do that.

I particularly love this amazing sculpture created by a local, Melbournian metal fabrication plant, Uniweld Engineering, under the direction of artist Adrian Egglestone: entitled GRATITUDE.  Stunning.

Gorgeous sculpture by Adrian Egglestone entitled: Gratitude

Gorgeous sculpture by Adrian Egglestone entitled: GRATITUDE

GRATITUDE

GRATITUDE

I don’t know why but I can’t get the video feed to link right now.  To see some video footage to get a true appreciation of the scale click here for link to SBS News’ footage.  And here for some newspaper coverage.

5000 Poppies will be on display in Federation Square, Melbourne, from Thursday April 23 – Sunday April 26 after which it is starting a national tour around the country.

So glad I could participate in such an extraordinary event.

Happy ANZAC Day.

Lest we forget.

Proliferate Poppies – from 5000 to 200,000!

Check this out!  This is the 5000 Poppies Project I crocheted the poppy for a few months ago and told you all about. You can read about it on my blog post here.  It seems that there has been much media coverage of late and so much interest and I am just so thrilled to hear that the 5000 Poppies Project has received this kind of support!

An example of part of the 5000 Poppies installation.  It will certainly look amazing once all 200,000 poppies are sewn together!

An example of part of the 5000 Poppies installation. It will certainly look amazing once all 200,000 poppies are sewn together!

Such a lovely idea and remembrance for those that served.  I can’t wait to see the final installation this ANZAC Day.  And I have to say, it does feel good to be involved in a home-grown, very Aussie, community project from so far away.  Feeling quite patriotic, actually (humming … Once a jolly swagman/Camped by a billabong …).

If any of my Aussie readers happen to see the finished project would you please take a pic and post it for me?  I know the display will start in Melbourne on ANZAC Day (April 25 for those unfamiliar) but as I understand it the plan is to travel around the country to display the finished piece all over during the 100th anniversary year (this year).  So it may well come by your neighbourhood sometime.  Keep a look out for my little poppy I made in honour of my Great Grandfather, Pvt Edgar Gibbons!

Anzac Day 2015: Melbourne handmade poppies project exceeds expectations, hopes to collect 200,000 flowers

Updated about 10 hours ago

Two Melbourne artists behind a project to create 5,000 handcrafted poppies to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings say they expect to finish with about one kilometre’s worth of flowers.

Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight started the project in June 2013, and thanks to other volunteers, their 5,000 poppy target was shattered and they are now on track to reach 200,000.

Margaret Knight told ABC News Breakfast the project was initially a way for the two women to commemorate their fathers’ war service.

“We were into commemorative art and we decided to do what we call a ‘yarn bombing’ around the battalion tree [for the battalion] that Lynn’s father fought in, and on the walk to the shrine,” Ms Knight said.

“And my father was a British soldier [so] that’s where it all started.”

Lynn Berry said the idea quickly snowballed.

“Everybody was asking, you know … do you mind if I knit a couple, my mother would like to knit a couple, my aunt works at a retirement village and the retirement village ladies would like to knit a couple,” Ms Berry said.

Ms Berry said the project had now collected about 170,000 knitted, felted and crafted poppies.

“And we’re expecting by the end of it to have somewhere in excess of 200,000,” she said.

“It’ll be about one kilometre of poppies by the time we’re finished.”

The poppies will be assembled onto nets and placed around Melbourne as fields of poppies.

She said the finished product will be beautiful, because no two poppies are exactly the same.

“Well, many of them follow the same pattern, but everybody puts their own slant on them,” Ms Berry said.

“We get tatted and knitted [ones] and just the most glorious creations.”

Ms Knight said the project was also initiating plenty of conversations among families.

“I think it’s encouraged people to have a look into their family history of service,” she said.

The poppies will go on display at Melbourne’s Federation Square on Anzac Day.

La Tour Eiffel Goes Green – Oh La La!

This news story came across my FB feed this morning and I just had to tell you all about it.

Eiffel Tower Goes Green.

A €25 million (£19.7m) renovation of the Paris landmark is expected to improve the tower’s energy performance by 30 per cent.

Solar panels and small, vertical wind and hydraulically-powered turbines will be installed on the tower’s first platform 187 feet above the ground.

The new power generators will not be visible from the ground, or change the tower’s famous silhouette.

“We’re hoping to give ourselves the tools we need to move into the next century,” said Jean-Bernard Bros, president of the Société nouvelle de la tour Eiffel (New Eiffel Tower Society).

“We’re going to produce our own hot water,” and “part of our energy.”

Four solar panels on the roof of one of two renovated buildings, called the Ferrié pavilion, will provide about 50 per cent of the hot water used on the monument, mostly in the restaurants and restrooms on the first floor. Four vertical wind turbines will be tucked away under the same building, creating an estimated 8,000 kWh/year of electricity, and water-powered turbines will be integrated into the first floor’s water supply network, to generate a “mini power station” producing 4,000 kW/year.

Rainwater will also be stored under the Ferrié pavilion, and used for tap water in the restrooms, and 95 per cent of the new lighting will be LED-type, which has a longer lifespan and low consumption.

The Eiffel Tower uses 20,000 light bulbs to make it sparkle every night, for 10 minutes on the hour. The monument consumes 7.8 million kWh of electricity per year, the equivalent of a small village, including 580,000 kWh for all its lights. 60,000 m3 of drinking water, and 705,000 kWh of heating and air conditioning are also required every year.

Eiffel Tower Wind Turbine

Eiffel Tower Wind Turbine

So amazing!  And seriously, those turbines are kinda gorgeous, amiright?  C’est magnifique!  I love that a great big hunk of iron, one that has up until now consumed a hunka hunka resources (what with the elevators and the restaurant and the 20,000 sparkly lights every night) can move towards a more sustainable model of energy use.  If La Dame de Fer (The Iron Lady) can go green then what excuse do we sentient human beings have for not moving that way??!  Collect rainwater and compost, people!!

Now, how to get the HOA to approve a wind turbine in my yard…..

Vive la France!!

What to Do with Heavily Variegated Yarn?

What are You Knitting?

I bought this fabulous hand-dyed yarn when I was in New York for my birthday back in June.  Quite the lovely souvenir.  I had researched yarn stores before I’d gone and had been led towards Knitty City in the Upper West Side (208 W 79th).  I love their tagline: Delicious Yarn Without the Calories.  It is the most fabulous store!  Small (of course, it is NYC after all) but jammed to the rafters with the most divine yarn everywhere.  I particularly took a shine to this fabulous colourway from Nooch Fiber.

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Leda and the Swan, Nooch Fiber in the skein

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And wound into a ball. Looks so different, right? It is at this stage I start to get nervous about how it will knit up.

Squishy, Superwash Merino with Nylon.  Fabulous!  I especially love that the designers hand dye their yarn in their tiny New York apartment kitchen sink – truly, a unique New York City souvenir for sure!  The other part of their story is that they are inspired by the amazing art found all over the city.  In this case, this colourway is entitled ‘Leda and The Swan’ (Cy Twombly) as the colours are inspired by those used in the painting of the same name.  It is housed in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and looks like this:

Leda and the Swan by Cy Twombly, MoMA, New York

Leda and the Swan by Cy Twombly, MoMA, New York

There was also an amazing colourway called ‘Starry Night’ (Vincent Van Gogh).  It won’t surprise you to hear that it had the most amazing shades of deep blue, indigo and and yellow.  Just gorgeous!

Now, what to make?  Well, with just one skein of sock yarn, socks were the obvious answer but I was nervous about the strong variegation and wasn’t certain how it would knit up.  I truly have absolutely no vision and can’t imagine at all from a sample what it might look like as a finished piece. Ugh!  Something with texture but not too much.  I knew a lace pattern would likely get lost in the striation and yet plain knitting is just so tedious.  I needed a nice balance.  Nothing I had on hand was really suitable.

A little research on Ravelry (such an amazing site) revealed all sorts of options but this pattern, Hermione’s Everyday Socks, came highly recommended and seemed to fit the bill.  And so far so good!  I do feel the colours are a little jarring together and closer to Clown Barf than I would normally be comfortable with but I find it grows on you after a while and now I kinda like it.  A parent at swimming commented that the colours reminded him of a flashback to the 70s.  I don’t know whether to be complemented or insulted.

The colours are more vibrant in reality, closer to those shown in the first pic with the yarn still wound in the skein. They looked kinda washed out here.

The colours are more vibrant in reality, closer to those shown in the first pic with the yarn still wound in the skein. They looked kinda washed out here.

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Close up of stitch definition. Still blurry though – sorry.

What do you think of the colours, too much? Do you have favourite patterns you love that are great for breaking up flashing or Clown Barf-y yarn?