The Poppy Project

Update May 2024: The installation is complete. Thank you, everyone, for contributing to the new fence decor!

History of the Project

Kal, the knitting squirrel

If you’ve visited us in the past couple years, you’ve seen Kal busily working on their scarf on the railway fence outside the shop. We’re going to let Kal retire and Kal's creator, Dawn of Dawn Kathryn Studio, is planning a new collaborative installation to celebrate both the community of crafters built around the shop and our beloved state flower, the California Poppy. Dawn's taking care of the foliage and we're tasked with the flowers. Dawn will combine the individual petals made by staff and friends of the shop to form a visual representation of the creative and caring community we love.

close-up of a California poppy

If you’re interested in helping, we’ve got an outline of the petal shape and sample patterns below for both crochet and knit to get you started. Poppies vary, as do craft projects, so the only guidelines are that the petals should be some shade of orange, preferably made of acrylic for longevity, and approximately the size and shape of the outline. They also need to arrive at the shop by March 1st to complete the installation in time for the upcoming Bay Area Yarn Crawl.

Local crafters: If you’re short on time but have orange acrylic yarn you’re like to contribute, you can drop it off at the shop. Or if you’re short on stash but want to make a petal (or more!), stop by and we can help kit you up.

crocheted poppy petal

Click for full image view.chart for crocheted poppy petal 


three completed knitted poppy petals

knitted poppy petal

For a fast, durable project that won't curl, use two strands of yarn held together and work in garter stitch (knit every row).

  • about 1.1 oz / 60 yds (30 g / 55 m) of worsted weight acrylic yarn in some shade of orange
  • US 10 (6 mm) needles

Cast on 5 stitches. Knit 2 rows.

Increase row: k1, increase by knitting into the front and back of the next stitch (hereafter abbreviated as kfb), knit to last 2 stitches, kfb, k1.

Knit 2 rows.

Repeat last 3 rows 12 times, until there are 29 total stitches and the piece measures about 6” from cast on.

Work 2 more rows (4 rows after the last increase row).

Now you'll work some short rows to form the top curve. Since we’re working in garter, you won’t have to pick up the wraps to resolve the short rows. You can substitute another short-row technique if you prefer.

Rows 1 and 2: knit to the last 3 stitches, wrap and turn.

Rows 3 and 4: knit to last 6 stitches (3 stitches before the previous w&t), wrap and turn.

Rows 5 and 6: knit to last 9 stitches (3 stitches before the previous w&t), wrap and turn.

Rows 7 and 8: knit to the end of the row, knitting across the short row gaps.

Knit one more row, then bind off!