Handmade poppy project to bloom in the Manning Valley

BRILLIANT red yarn twists and turns around the crochet hook worked by the hands of Nicky Abraham.

She rests the 3.5 hook on the counter in Sweet Ser'n'dipity in Manning Mall to serve her customers, laugh and to talk to them about her current crafting passion - the 5000 Poppies Project.

Poppies colour the counter and are beginning to pile in a storage tray. Nicky began playing with poppy crochet patterns a few days ago to see which one she would turn her hand to over and over again until her ball of red yarn was exhausted. Trial and tweaking of an existing pattern has enabled Nicky to create a red poppy that has a heart of soft green and black stitches with the use of eight ply acrylic making the flower lush, soft and beautiful. Each bloom takes Nicky about 10 minutes to craft and she thinks her 100 grams of yarn will yield about 25 poppies.

Nicky learnt of the 5000 Poppies Project during a conversation with a sales representative that supplies her Taree store with craft products. The casual conversation prompted her to go looking for more information about the 5000 Poppies Project and she is now keen to inspire and unite our community to handcraft poppies for a display in Federation Square in Melbourne on Anzac Day 2015 for the Anzac Centenary Commemoration.

The origin of the project stems from the creative collaboration of two Melbourne women, Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight. In June 2013 they set what they thought was a "challenging but achievable target" of 5000 poppies for Anzac Day 2015. The project captured the imagination of the crafting community all over world and in five months the target was achieved. The pair decided to revise the target to 25,000 poppies and that's when Nicky decided to join the craft collaboration.

Nicky's hands will work yarn into poppies using her crochet pattern but she says the poppies can be knitted, felted or sewn from any materials, with the only rule being that they can be no larger than 15 centimetres in diameter. She also says the project is not limited to local individuals or craft groups and hopes schools will look to become involved in the project.

Sweet Ser'n'dipity is nestled between Jodadi and People Cafe in Manning Mall and Nicky says she is happy to help people select yarn and be a collection point until July, at which time her store will close.

For further information as well as knit and crochet patterns visit Sweet Ser'n'dipity or the 5000 Poppies blog: 5000poppies.wordpress.com and on the Facebook group page: 5000Poppies or email 5000poppies@gmail.com

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