Where did that two years go?

September 2, 2016

It seems I have not posted on this blog for some time.  It was never my intention to be away so long … but I have been a little preoccupied …

Just a warning that this is a long post … making up for lost time … mostly just images, because I think this is the best way to show you what I have been involved in over the last two years.

The 5000 Poppies Project is a community tribute of respect and remembrance to our servicemen and women, their families and their communities.  It was created by my sister in law Marg Knight and I in honour of our fathers.  If you’d like to know more about that you can read all about the project on the 5000 Poppies blog … there is a link at the bottom of this post.

So … 5000 Poppies kinda took over my life somewhat and has left very little room for extra curricular activities … although I must admit I was tempted a few times (but more on that in a later post).  And as I come up for air after a whirlwind two years I am delighted to share with you.

It has been an honour and a privilege I must admit.

In all we collected around 300,000 stunning handmade poppies from people all over the world, and in the process we have met many wonderful people and shared many wonderful stories with our contributors and volunteers.  It has been an incredibly humbling experience and we have created some amazing installations.

First there was the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in March 2015 … in a collaboration with Australia’s acclaimed landscape designer Phillip Johnson, our wonderful team planted 5,000 beautiful stemmed poppies as part of a tribute garden in honour of Phillip’s great grandfather who fought and died on the Somme in WWI. It was a very beautiful, very moving installation and there were tears aplenty.  The poppies were knitted and crocheted, and attached to stems of knitted i-cord over bamboo skewers.

5000 Poppies Project Melbourne Flower and Garden Show March 2015 Photographer Clare Takacs

5000 Poppies Project Melbourne Flower and Garden Show March 2015 Photographer Claire Takacs 1

5000 Poppies MIFGS 2015


Next came our spectacular installation for Anzac Day as part of the Centenary of Anzac Commemorations in April 2015.  It was simply amazing.  Again, in collaboration with Phillip Johnson and his team who worked with us to put together a massive jigsaw of beautiful poppy panels on the steps of Fed Square in the heart of Melbourne.  Plus a series of static displays in the atrium. The installation featured Adrian Egglestone’s beautiful Gratitude Sculpture as a centrepiece.  Stunning! Emotional! Heartfelt! It goes without saying that there were many tears shed here.

2 day fm 6Fed Square Deakin Edge


Fracture Gallery Fed Square

The Atrium Fed Square post Anzac Day 2015 Marilyn Healy 2

On Anzac Day, not content with hundreds of sqm of poppies being laid on the steps of Fed Square … with the help of our many volunteers and the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade we moved them onto Princes Bridge in the dead of night so that our Anzac Day March could march through the centre of them and then moved them back to Fed Square again.  It was wet wet wet on Anzac Day and every one of those 80 nets were very very heavy.

The outcome of these two amazing installations was an invitation to feature the whole project at the 2016 Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show in London.  Such an incredible honour … and we loved every minute of it to tell you the truth.  With the wonderful financial assistance of our major sponsor the Victorian Government, our official carrier Qantas who took us to London and home again, as well as our friends at Carpet Call who generously provided 300 sqm of carpet delivered to site … our incredible team of volunteers laid more than 2000 sqm of beautiful poppies in tribute including 26,500 stemmed poppies.  A mammoth effort.  London really turned on the weather for us and we thoroughly enjoyed talking about this amazing tribute to all who came to visit including the British Royal Family.  What an honour!!!


Chelsea 23

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Marg

Lynn has a chat to Prince Phillip and Princess Anne

Lynn Meets Prince Harry

Lynn Meets the British Home Secretary



And if that wasn’t enough, we managed to secure an Australian Government Grant along with some private funding, to take our poppies across to Fromelles France for the Centenary of the Battle of Fromelles.  An incredibly moving experience for all of us. Again our team came with us and were complemented by a team from the local Rotary District in France, the Australian military, and many others who wanted to help out on the day.  We installed approx 26,000 poppies at Cobbers, a small piece of sacred land in rural France that many Australians as well as British, French and others lost their lives fighting over in WWI.

Fromelles France 2016 Photographer Claire Takacs


We are also on tour with the fabulous Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience … a spectacular WWI exhibition which is touring Australia from 2014 to 2017.




It has been a full on couple of years … and the truth is its been a massive community effort … I cannot stress enough how many thousands of contributors from all over Australia and indeed the world coupled with an amazing team of volunteers helped to pull it all together.  They have made this evolving dream a reality.  It’s probably taken around a million man hours …  I kid you not!

Words just cannot express my gratitude … it’s been amazing.

We will continue our work until 2018 which is the Centenary of the end of WWI, and are in discussions with the Australian War Memorial in Canberra about our final installation … We expect it will be HUGE!  Stay tuned … exciting stuff.

We are also continuing support smaller localised installations on request and have done quite a few … all beautiful, all unique … and all with one aim (at the risk of repeating myself), and that is to honour our servicemen and women, their families and their communities.

How lucky am I, are we, to get to do this work?

You can read more about the 5000 Poppies project, its origins, and its metamorphosis at 5000Poppies.wordpress.com

You can also join our facebook group if you would like to join the Project … 5000 Poppies

I would like to acknowledge the photographers … the professional Fed Square photographs were taken by Patrick Redmond and the Chelsea Flower Show and Fromelles professional photographs were taken by Claire Takacs.  All other photographs are either taken by me or have been posted on our facebook group … with many and varied authors.



Inspired of Glen Iris Here …

August 1, 2014

It is impossible not to be inspired (and a little overwhelmed) by the plethora of extreme crafty talent around the world.  I could waste hours trawling pinterest, following facebook leads and jumping from site to site looking at really stunning works of art (and I sometimes do).  For those of us who get excited and inspired by these things, the internet has opened up a multitude of avenues for googling, ogling, and salivating over incredible artworks.  I am constantly amazed, stimulated and inspired.  No wonder I wake early most days with my head brimming with ideas.  So to share a couple of my recent favourites with you … and I can see what will happen here … you will link onto one or another of these links never to see my post again.  My tastes are eclectic and range from the cutest little bunny softies to the hardcore steampunk knitting at the end of this post.  So lucky to live in the age of the internet.

This one because it’s close to my heart …. nearly 900,000 ceramic poppies planted outside the tower of London … but that’s not the only amazing thing on this site http://www.thisiscolossal.com/

888,246 Ceramic Poppies Flow Like Blood from the Tower of London to Commemorate WWI WWI multiples London installation flowers ceramics blood

Loani Prior … the DOYENNE of tea cosy art https://cosytea.wordpress.com/tag/loani-prior/

Prudence Mapstone … the Queen of freeform http://prudencemapstone.blogspot.com.au/
who inspired me to think outside the knitted square so many years ago and really urged me to think creatively about my craft work

The ladies at Yarn Corner and I expect there will be men in there somewhere too … who decorate our everyday lives with colour and life http://www.yarncorner.com.au/


What I am calling rightly or wrongly Steampunk Knitting … that is really knitting on the edge, gritty, edgy and very, very sexy.  I love these looks (although the model could use a good feed).  This at the Darker Horse … the Photo is attributed to Caroline Munro (must follow that name)

And Tess Gibersen (must follow that name)





2014 International Freeform Challenge

July 28, 2014

So excited here …. Finally the 2014 international Freeform Challenge book has been released and I can now publish our entry. Sister in Law Marg and I have again collaborated on a piece for the challenge which we both really enjoyed …. The process as well as the outcome!  The theme this year was One Colour and we chose Eucalypt as our colour … The colour of the Australian bush.  We hand dyed all of our yarn … Mostly commercial yarn … Wool, cotton and mohair, but Marg did have a go at spinning some yarn too … Turning into regular earth mothers here …. We had a great time playing with raw materials and mordants and seeing what colours would emerge from the dye pot … And then crocheting up the yarn into cute little pods.  We could not have been happier with the outcome.  Its simply called Eucalypt …

2014 IFF Challenge Lynn Berry Margaret Knight

It’s really interesting to see all of the different interpretations of the theme.   You can preview the book here.


Dear Blog …

July 5, 2014

Oh dear … six months since my last post!!!!

I can’t quite believe it’s been that long … there is no excuse …. suffice to say I have been SO busy … much like the rest of humanity, and although I have thought of you often dear blog … other things have taken precedence.

Let me share with you what’s has been keeping me so preoccupied for the last year really … in the main …. Poppies.  Poppies.  Poppies.  The 5000 Poppies Project has taken over my life and my backroom and my living room and just about every other room in the house.  Who knew it was going to be as big as it is …. and that’s not as big as it is going to be … but oh what an amazing journey it has been for me.  Getting excited now as I start to plan the display.  Keep your eye on the  5000 Poppies blog or follow us on facebook.  Very privileged to be involved in this project I must say.

5000 Poppies Craft and Quilt Melbourne 2014

photo (8)

photo (9)

I also made a little time to finish the beautiful Rowan Lima sweater that I had been knitting for my son’s 20th birthday … he turned 21 recently and I thought I should be a good mummy …  BUT it’s a bit tight on him … so he won’t wear it and wants me to start again (oh dear). It is a lovely sweater and very very soft … the yarn was beautiful to knit with, but was a bit of a battle keeping the 4 row pattern (Star Stitch) correct especially on the increases/decreases … I love the finish though … and I have said I will knit him another in a slightly bigger size.  Don’t quite know what happened there because for the first time in my life I knitted a tension swatch … measured twice (or maybe even 3 times) … and no he has NOT put on weight … I knew it was going to be a struggle after I had finished both the back and front but given my battle with the pattern I was not about to pull it out … so the only way was forward.  Not sure what I will do with it … oh well.


evan's jumper

And my muse and collaborator Margaret and I have made and entered our piece for the International Freeform Challenge this year … that was inspiring.  I can’t show you it yet because the book has not been published but very soon I hope.

Until next time

Lynn x




Happy New Year

January 13, 2014

Christmas came and went … New Years came and went … and now it’s back to work … I really should NOT have blinked.  I am thinking that most of you feel the same.

2014 looks set to bring many wonderful challenges this year and I am feeling very excited about what’s in store.  Poppies will be foremost in my year … no doubt … but there are other projects that I will also be working on including the latest International Freeform Challenge … the theme this year is “one colour” … which was my preferred theme … but now that it’s settled I am starting to realise that one colour is really a difficult theme to interpret.  My sister-in-law Marg and I usually collaborate on this project and we have had our first planning meeting … and settled on a way forward.  You will need to wait now until the challenge is published before we will be allowed to reveal our work … but we are feeling very inspired.

Today was our first Poppy Playtime at Fed Square in Melbourne and we had a great turnout … with lots of poppies to add to the total.  After the workshop … Marg and I walked down to the City Square in Melbourne to have a look at the newly installed Yarn Corner yarnbomb installation  … and were suitably blown away.  Big … nay HUGE congratulations to the Yarn Corner team for an inspiring installation … worth a look if you get the chance to visit in Melbourne.

image (3).jpegYarn Corner Jan 2014

image (4).jpegYarn Corner Jan 2014

image (7).jpegYarn Corner Jan 2014

image (8).jpegYarn Corner Jan 2014

image (10).jpegYarn Corner Jan 2014

image (11).jpegYarn Corner Jan 2014

image (15).jpegYarn Corner Jan 2014

image (22).jpegYarn Corner Jan 2014

image (2).jpegYarn Corner Jan 2014


Where did those two months go …

November 14, 2013

It’s been two months since I last posted … I feel like I am making a confession here.  Not that I haven’t wanted to … it’s just that well … I’ve been busy.

Marg (sister in law) and I have had a very busy couple of months … the 5000 Poppies project has hit fever pitch much earlier than we expected and well … we thought we would have 500 poppies for our milestone display at Fed Square this week … but ended up with close to 5000 (and I mean close) so the display was a much bigger effort than we initially thought.  Coupled with the fact that we changed galleries in Fed Square for the installation at the last minute so we had to do a rethink on HOW to display … and then of course there was the actual physical installation … and it looked FANTASTIC.  Must thank EVERYONE who has been involved to date.  And grateful thanks to Sue and Anette who came along on the day to help install.  We are proud and thrilled … you can read more on the 5000 Poppies blog …


photo 1

5000 Poppies Display Fed Square Nov 13

Throughout this time, Marg and I were also preparing for our very own personal planting of Remembrance Poppies at my Dad’s Battalions’ Cypress Pine at the Shrine of Remembrance on Monday morning …. 120 poppies all on sticks planted around the tree …  This was a tribute to both our dads … Wal Beasley and Stan Knight … beautiful men both … and we miss you every day … it meant so much to us both.

IMG_0231_0802Remembrance Day 2013

IMG_0240_0811Remembrance Day 2013


IMG_0248_0819Remembrance Day 2013

I even took my other knitting to Pubcrafters this week just to get back to normal …. hahaha … forgot the pattern … knitted unpulled, knitted unpulled, knitted unpulled.  Still fighting with it even now … trying to keep a pattern correct while increasing for the sleeves … you know the drill.  Looking forward to getting back on an even keel next week … just before the Christmas fever  hits … there will be holidays and LOTS of crafting … and the poppy juggernaut will continue to roll on to its modified goal of 25,000 poppies by April 2015.

There will be more posts in the next week as I catch up on myself.



Catching Up on Myself …

September 16, 2013

Its been a couple of very busy weeks since I blogged last.  I have been to a fantastic stitching retreat with Leanne Beasley of Leanne’s House and Gail Pan to beautiful Waikiki on the island of O’ahu in Hawaii with a bunch of truly wonderful women … where I learned traditional Hawaiian quilting.  That was novel for me … I’ve never quilted before but  I think I have a taste for it now and am looking forward to a time when I may be able to add more quilting to my bow. I certainly would have loved to have spent more time in Hawaii exploring.  What a beautiful part of the world … and what beautiful people.

I am now back at work and also back into poppy making mode.  Things are moving along quite nicely in poppy land.  Tomorrow night we have our first felted poppy workshop at Open Drawer in Camberwell while the rest of the nation continues to create poppies of all shapes, sizes and materials at a rate of knots.  We now have in excess of 1500 poppies for our initial display in Fed Square in the second week of November which is unbelievably exciting … but even more exciting are the stories that the 5000 Poppies Project is uncovering.

Late last week I was able to make it to the Embroiderers Guild Victoria exhibition “Traveller’s Tales” … and was blown away by the unbelievably beautiful work these women do.  Disappointingly I was unable to take photographs but I will post an image of the piece that I purchased once I get it home.  Very excited.  The exhibition is on until 22 September and certainly worth a visit if you get the chance.  I would love an opportunity to go back and spend a little more time there.

Embroiderers Guild