The project is being led by a creative team of Palmerston North City Council staff. In their own time they’ve hand-stitched metres of contrast red edging and felt applique letters. Others have machine stitched rows of quilting. The transformed blanket will now have hundreds of woollen poppies sewn on to it and the project team are keen for members of the public to get involved.
New Zealanders knitted thousands of the poppies in 2015 for a National Army Museum project as part of the World War One centennial. So many were knitted, the project had a surplus. Hundreds knitted by Palmerston North residents were retained in the city, where for the past two years they’ve hung from black ribbon in the Central Library to recognise Anzac Day.
"While everyone loved seeing the poppies hanging, we wanted to do something more permanent with them," says Robyn Wilson, a Senior Service Guide at Palmerston North City Library. "Our ideas morphed into creating a wall-hanging, known as a ‘blanquilt’, that would be timeless and enjoyed by the whole community."
A request sent out to Council staff to work on the project quickly resulted in offers from people with a variety of quilting, sewing and craft skills. A thick grey blanket was sourced and donated by the Ashhurst RSA. And over a number of weeks staff took the blanket home and spent hours preparing it for the public sewing sessions.
Four sessions are being held at the Central Library to hand sew the poppies to the blanket.
"People don’t need great sewing skills," says Robyn. "We have the needles and thread and are happy to assist. It would also be lovely for those who may have knitted the poppies to come along and see the completion of the project."
The finished wall-hanging will find a permanent home in the Central Library after being displayed at the Mayoral morning tea at the Convention Centre on Anzac Day. It will also be available for community groups and schools to borrow.
Central Library mezzanine:
- Tuesday 4 April, 1pm to 3pm
- Wednesday 5 April, 10am to 12pm
- Thursday 6 April, 10am to 12pm
- Sunday 9 April, 10am to 12pm