Weaving a remembrance poppy

1 April 2015

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flax poppyEach year in New Zealand, as ANZAC day draws near, red poppies, a world-wide symbol of remembrance for people who have lost their lives in war, start to appear. Poppies are usually made from paper or cloth, and lately knitted poppies have become popular. A few years ago I wove a poppy from flax for a friend and he told me recently that he continues to wear it every ANZAC Day. I have regularly been asked about weaving flax poppies, so here is how I made the one for him.

flax chrysanthemumI used dyed flax, one leaf of red and one leaf of black. The red leaf is woven into a Chrysanthemum, instructions for which are on pages 5-8 in my book Weaving Flowers from New Zealand Flax or on the Christchurch City Libraries’ website. Make a flat chrysanthemum by folding three to four rounds of petals. Cut off the pointed ends of the leaf at the centre once there are enough petals and keep the flower flat.

flax English RoseThe black leaf is woven into an small English Rose, instructions for which are on pages 27-31 in the same book. The stem of the rose is pushed through the centre of the chrysanthemum, tied around the chrysanthemum and the ends of both flowers cut off, taking care to ensure that they are not cut off so close to the flowers that they unravel. A brooch backing or safety pin is stuck to the back with tape so the poppy can be worn on clothing.

netted flax poppyA simple flax poppy can also be made with netted flax that has been dyed red. Cut a circle out of red netted flax and moisten the flax. Push it into a round container that is smaller in diameter than the round of flax is, so that it will curve the edges up to make the shape resemble poppy petals. Take the round of flax out of the container once it’s dry and attach a black button, preferably one with a shank, for the centre of the poppy. The button can be sewn onto the netted flax and a fastening attached onto the back.

white flax poppyIf you would like to weave a poppy without having to dye the flax, you could weave a white one with the leaf from a white hybrid flax, although greenish stripes may show where the back of the flax leaf is uppermost during the folding process. The central rose in the poppy illustrated here is made with brownish/black flax. The white poppy, which used to be seen by some as unpatriotic, and perhaps still is, conveys not only remembrance but also the hope for an end to all wars.

16 Responses to “Weaving a remembrance poppy”

  1. Teddy Says:

    Thank you Ali, very nice xx

  2. Mei Jensen Says:

    Thank you Ali. Please send details of your weaving book as soon as you have it available. I would love to purchase one.
    Many thanks

  3. V. Ann KILGOUR Says:

    Thanks Ali for the remembrance poppy. I too would like to purchase your next book.

  4. Tania Says:

    Kia Ora and thanks for letting me know you’re bringing out another book. I’ve been growing my pa harakeke for 3 years now in Hanwell, London at my allotment and I’m hoping to weave baskets’ from your new book. I’ll attempt to make some anzac poppies as well.thanks again Tania.😊

  5. Natasha Le Grange Says:

    Thanks Ali. My daughters would like to do this project for attending Anzac Day this year.

  6. Roimata Says:

    Kia ora Ali for the remembrance poppy. Please let me know when your weaving baskets book is available. I would also like to purchase one.

  7. Meri tipene-Walker Says:

    Kia ora Ali thank you for this email i will take on board your poppy design and please let me know when you have your next book out.

  8. Jenny Lyall Says:

    Anzac poppy, wonderful idea. Look forward to new book

  9. Randall Agee Says:

    Ali: What did you use to dye your flax red and black? I haven’t had much luck dying flax. Love the poppies.


  10. Ali Says:

    Hello Randall, As it was a while ago, I’m not completely sure but I do know I would have used either Rit dye, which no longer works on flax as an ingredient has been removed, or Teri dye. Check out my Dyeing page for contact details. Flax dyed with red can sometimes turn out pinkish. If this happens, add a bit of yellow dye and it will change to a real red.

  11. April Tahihohaia Says:

    ooh he tino ataahua. I do look forward in purchasing your book Weaving Baskets when it is ready to be publishing later on in the year.

  12. Cheryl Harrison Says:

    Thank you Ali for the remembrance poppy instructions. I really appreciate updates from you.

  13. Ria Waikerepuru Says:

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for the tip regarding making a real red colour to the dyes. I have found the dyes quite a dark red.

    Also, how are people doing their dyeing? Dyeing the rau first and then weaving or weaving up the putiputi then doing the dyeing?


  14. Ali Says:

    Hello Ria

    I usually dye first then weave as the putiputi can loose their shape if dyed after being woven. However I have dyed them after making them if the flax is dry as they don’t take so long to dye.

  15. desiree neho Says:

    love it ali. I am making some of those xx

  16. Heni Says:

    Hi Ali,

    Received my books today, AWESOME especially the Basket book, but love love love all 3 books.
    Thankyou :)