Tuesday, 5 November 2013

My 'paper' poppy

 It feels like forever since I last blogged....  Oh hang on, it is!!!  My excuse?  The girl has started school and all the running around doing the school run whilst juggling full-time work, cooking and housework (I have to admit 'housework' is a loose definition of what actually occurs nowadays!) leaves me wanting to slob out on the sofa rather than blog.  But alas, I have managed to motivate to get blogging again because I want to share something that is dear to my heart.  I won't go off on one about poppy-wearing - it's not for everyone, but if you're still reading I don't imagine I need to explain their significance at this time of year.

Every year, since I was at primary school, I have worn a poppy.  I remember accidentally stabbing myself with a pin trying to attach my poppy to my school jumper.  Never mind the fact that my poor poppy ended up in a very sorry state by the end of the first day.  My little girl will be turning five this month, and the boy is three and a half.  I'd like them to wear a poppy without stabbing themselves with pins, and I certainly don't trust the boy to keep his looking neat and respectable.  My local Sainsbury's has a selection of knitted and crochet poppies available next to the Royal British Legion collection box but I have two issues with them:
  • they are still not child safe - safety pins
  • they all resemble real poppies, not the iconic paper poppy that I love
Cue me and my experimental hooking.  I think I have come up with something that looks like a 'proper paper poppy'.  I've even solved the pin-risk by sewing a little button to my daughter's school cardi and making a poppy with a button-hole =)  It all started with my wanting to make button-hole poppies for the children, but I've ended up deciding to make as many poppies as I can with a 50g ball of red yarn (it's looking like I'll manage to make 40), and I'll donate the excess ones to various Royal British Legion collection points so people can buy them (a £2 donation is probably an appropriate suggestion).  So before I get carried away typing the pattern, I would like to remind everyone who does decide to make one of these poppies to do their part by either donating a load for sale, or by making a donation via the website: The Royal British Legion

OK.  Let's get on with it then.  I used yarn that knits to 4mm needles with a 3.5mm crochet hook throughout to achieve a poppy roughly the same size as an official poppy.  You will need:
  • Red yarn
  • Green yarn
  • Black yarn and safety pins, or black buttons (and needle and thread if you're going to need to sew a button in place)
  • Yarn needle
The poppy is worked in four simple continuous rounds.  Round 1 is worked slightly different depending on whether you are buttoning the poppy on or attaching a safety pin.  I always use Britich crochet terminology so please refer to UK crochet terminology, and if you've never worked into a magic circle before, you may find working crochet in continuous rounds  a useful read.

Stitches used:
  • ch: chain
  • dc: double crochet (US single crochet)
  • htr: half treble crochet
  • tc: treble crochet
  • slst: slip stitch 
Button-hole fastening:
Round 1: ch 8
Work the first stitch of round 2 into the first chain, thus forming a button-hole

Safety pin fastening:
Round 1: work 8 dc into a magic circle and pull to close

Round 2: (dc, 2 dc into next stitch)  x4 [12]
Round 3: (slst, htr, 2 htr into next stitch, 3 htr into next stitch, 2 htr into next stitch, htr into next stitch) x2 [20]

It's round 4 that gives the poppy its small and big petal.

Round 4: slst into the next two stitches, 1 dc and 2 htr into next stitch, 3 htr into next stitch, 2 htr into the next three stitches, 3 htr into next stitch, 2 htr and 1 dc into next stitch, slst into the next two stitches, 1 htr and 2 tc into next stitch, 3 tc into next stitch, 2 tc into next five stitches, 3 tc into next stitch, 2 tc and 1 htr into next stitch

Cut yarn and pull through.  If making a button-hole poppy, sew in loose ends.  If making a safety pin poppy, don't cut the yarn ends until after you've used them to sew on the safety pin.

Here's a load of safety pin poppies I made on the train to work (note the absence of button hole, and rather dirty train seats):


I worked the leaf in double crochet and slip stitches.  I've made an attempt at drawing a chart because I'm not convinced my typed instructions will be clear enough - if in doubt, refer to the below:

Ch 8, dc in second ch from hook.  Work 5 more dc, then work 3 dc into last chain.  Do not turn work, but instead rotate the work 180 degrees and work 6 dc down the opposite side of the starting chain, wrapping the yarn tail as you go.

Ch 2, rotate the work 180 degrees again, refer to chart and work 5 dc

Ch 2, turn.  Work 1 dc into second chain from hook.  Work 1 dc into next stitch then slst into next 4 stitches.

Ch 3, rotate the work 180 degrees again, refer to chart and work 5 dc

Ch 2, turn.  Work 1 dc into second chain from hook.  Work 1 dc into next stitch then slst into next 4 stitches.

You should end up with something that looks like the picture below.  Use the yarn ends to stitch to the poppy, positioning it at 11 o'clock if you can.

Black middle:

If you are making a safety pin fastening poppy, make a black middle by simply working 10 dc into a magic circle and pulling to close.  Use yarn ends to sew the black middle in place, then use the red yarn ends to sew your safety pin in place.

Enjoy, and don't forget to donate!!!


  1. Hiya, need a little help on row 3 as I only get 20 stitches and not 22. is there a stitch missing by any chance?
    Many thanks Cheryl

    1. Hi Cheryl, I am doofus and my boo boo illustrates why I need a pattern tester! You are right - you will end up with 20 stitches at the end of round 20. Updated =)