a poppy for remembrance

(Note at 4:00 pm: I just realized that Round 4 should have been in red, and that the increase in Row 9 should have been a kfb. A new version is available for download if you click the link!.)

Right after Halloween in Canada, poppy pins blossom on lapels across Canada. We have Remembrance Day on November 11th to commemorate the sacrifices of war.

The poppy is a symbol of remembrance, and was popularized after the First World War due to a poem by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. Few poppies grew in Flanders, France, before the war broke out; rubble from bombardments enriched the soil with lime, and then the fields exploded with the blood-red flowers. Once the war was over, the lime became reabsorbed and the poppies disappeared.

lapel poppy

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– Lt. Col. John McCrae


So to help you remember, here’s a little free pattern for a poppy. It knits up very quickly in scrap yarn – I used aran weight black something, and triple-stranded Schaefer Anne for the red. You want to use a small needle so that it’s stiff. Finished size is approximately 2 inches across.

Download Poppy.pdf

(Note at 4:00 pm: I just realized that Round 4 should have been in red. A new version is available for download if you click the link!.)

Poppies are not bought or sold; people make a contribution for their poppy.
Any donations from this pattern will be given to the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund, which is used to provide immediate assistance to ex-servicemen and women in need. This may include food, shelter or medical attention for them or their families. Also, education bursaries are granted to children and grandchildren of ex-service personnel.

More information about the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Campaign.

DONATIONS CLOSED – please donate to your local legion!






30 responses to “a poppy for remembrance”

  1. Mary de B Avatar

    A lovely idea! And I didn’t know that about the lime and the poppies: interesting.

  2. Alice from france Avatar

    I didn’t know that poem and it’s beautiful! Thanks Laura to share that part of Canadian commemoration!

  3. Andrea Avatar

    What a lovely idea. Heading to Lettuce now with Simon and Kate to choose just the right yarn.

  4. Brenda Avatar

    Thank you for doing this. I am heading out at 6 pm to do ‘Poppy Duty’ at one of our local stores. Complete in my Legion Uniform. We owe the veterans so much.

  5. Stacy Avatar

    I always loved getting one of those little poppies on a wire at this time of year…. I feel as though I haven’t seen them in years! Thanks for the pattern and the history lesson.

  6. Liz Avatar

    maybe I’ll make one in white – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Poppy

  7. gleek Avatar

    great pattern and idea laura! :)

  8. Mary Avatar

    Laura, this was a lovely idea. I read the other day that you’re not supposed to re-wear the poppy (i.e., wear the same poppy next year), and I felt a little upset at the unenvironmentalness of it… this is great, because I can go ahead and donate, but make something that I can reuse! Plus take time to ponder over the meaning of the poppy! Thanks Laura!

  9. […] Are you wearing your poppy? […]

  10. Robyn Avatar

    Thank you for this pattern – it is very timely as I have a 5 month old this year and my older children are learning about Remembrance Day at school and wanting to wear poppies and I am concerned about all of us getting poked by pins! I made one last night – 4 to go! R

  11. Anne Avatar

    Lovely pattern! The 11th is Veteran’s Day here in the US, and folks sport poppies sometimes as well, though not as many as you’d wish to see.

  12. Gaile Avatar

    This is such a great idea. I saw the pattern on Ravelry just today. Thank you so much, I think I’ll knit one up for Remembrance Day.

  13. Susanne Avatar

    You are sooo clever! I always get bothered as I buy a poppy each year but ALWAYS lose it:) This way I can keep it and bring it out but still contribute to the boxes and still REMEMBER. Thank you.

  14. beverly Avatar

    Thanks! I was happy to donate for the honor of making my own poppy. I loved wearing them as a child, but so rarely see anyone collecting donations for them anymore.

  15. With a Q Avatar
    With a Q

    A little more history on the Poppy from the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day Commemoration Committee (we also remember on 11/11) http://www.anzacday.org.au/education/tff/poppy.html

  16. Marie Avatar

    Thanks so much for this brilliant pattern – I will wear it carefully over my heart as we all should do and in return for the pattern I’ll make a donation to the first veteran I see today!

  17. Ella Avatar

    Thank you for the pattern – I missed wearing a poppy this year because I couldn’t find one. I’m a Canadian living in Australia. Although the Australians mark Remembrance Day, poppies do not bloom on lapels in November as profusely as they do back home. Here poppies make a brief appearance on November 11 and they aren’t available everywhere, unlike Canada where they seem to be available in many places from late October, and are proudly worn for weeks before November 11. I meant to ask someone in Canada to send one to me – now I will be able to make my own for next year!

  18. swsan Avatar

    I am learning to knit, and would love to knit this poppy.But I don’t really understand how to start off. Could you please simplify it in english terms for me. Many, many thanks.

  19. janis Avatar

    an easy design ti knit, just glad that those who fought and died the world over are still remembered wherever they are from regardless of race, creed or color

  20. AmbridgTricoteuse Avatar

    Thank you for this. I will be making a contribution to the British Royal Legion (who raise money by selling poppies for Remembrance Day in the UK)

  21. Sladie Avatar

    Blessed to the fallen of both past and present. As a Canadian who has had family fighting both world wars and many of my generation fighting new wars I always wear at least 2 poppies. Thank you for this pattern.

  22. Jeannie Avatar

    Thank you for the lovely pattern. I made a donation to the Royal British Legion.

  23. bettijo @ PagingSupermom.com Avatar

    I wish I could knit! I was looking for a simple red poppy that my girls and I could make. We came up with these no-sew felt ones: http://www.supermommoments.com/2011/11/remembrance-day-red-poppies/

  24. Louise Avatar

    Thank you for this charming pattern, I am a poppy person (I sell poppies for the Royal British Legion)
    I’m not a great knitter, but I’ll be attempting to make one of these for next year.
    Many Thanks.

  25. Michelle Avatar

    Thank you!!

  26. Stephanie Avatar

    I always donate to Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund. My family was in WW2 and Husband’s family was in WW1. Thank you for remembering and LEST WE FORGET

  27. Marilyn Avatar

    Hi, I’m from the UK and have found your pattern on LoveCrafts, this is perfect this year as we won’t have the normal British Legion sellers on our streets. I’ve started knitting but think I’ve found an error in the pattern. In round 5, if you increase every other stitch you end with 18 and not 20 stitches, I’m going to carry on knitting as I can’t see it will make much difference but just thought I’d mention it. Love the pattern by the way ?

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