Friday, 11 June 2021

Second Rowntree Park Butterflies & Bees Workshop

Workshop Participants

Today was International Yarnbombing Day which was quite appropriate as we were making butterflies and bees for the Butterflies & Bees Yarnstorm that's going up in Rowntree Park, York!  Although the weather wasn't quite as good as at our last workshop it was still warm.  Butterflies and Bees were being stitched, knitted and pompommed...

Stitched Bees & a Pompom Bee

Stitched & Knitted Butterflies

Some flew off to be finished at home.  Gina brought the butterflies she'd been knitting at home to add to the swarm...

Gina's Knitted Butterflies

A group of friends popped by...

Di, Beth, Anne & Monica

to deliver their makes...

Flowers, Butterflies & Bees

and after the workshop, Deborah & I went for a lovely coffee & pastry at Rowntree Park Cafe and collected a few more makes...

Crochet & Pompom Bees and a Fab Felt Butterfly

All in all it was an excellent day for increasing the swarm of butterflies & bees.  Thank you so much to everyone who has made some!

Want to find out more about the Butterflies and Bees Yarnstorm? Take a look here for details, workshops and patterns. If you can't make a workshop, you can join in by making at home or with friends.  You've got till the end of July 2021 to get your makes to Rowntree Park Cafe.  All the patterns are online here or use your own.  Saturday is World Wide Knit in Public Day - so there's an opportunity to dust off your needles and get knitting - in public!

Sunday, 6 June 2021

First Rowntree Park Butterflies & Bees Workshop

Workshop Participants

We had our first Butterflies & Bees workshop in Rowntree Park on Saturday.  It was lovely to have an in person workshop.  The weather was glorious and there was plenty of room to spread out.  We had knitting, stitching, pompom making, crocheting, some garden fork weaving and finger knitting going on!

Plentiful supplies were available...

Plentiful Supplies

And lots of fab things were made.  This lovely garden fork butterfly was a team effort by Charlotte, her step-mum Mandi and her dad, Martin...

Garden Fork Butterfly

Candi, Alice, India and Louise stitched some fab bees...

Stitched Bees

Sara crocheted and Louise knitted some super cute bees...

Crochet & Knitted Bees

Val, Iris, Cara & Agnes stitched some beautiful butterflies...

Stitched Butterflies

Cara & Iris, Vicki & Heidi & Charlotte made pompom bees...

Pompom Bees

Heidi also knitted a tiny purple and blue bee which is sitting on a lovely leaf that Muna crocheted...

Knitted Bee Perching on Crochet Leaf

It was a very productive afternoon!

We have another workshop in Rowntree Park on Friday 11 June 2021 - International Yarnbombing Day (how appropriate!).  There are still some places available.  You can book here.  Let's hope for more lovely weather.  If you can't make the workshop you can still join in by making at home or with friends.  You've got till the end of July 2021 to get your makes to Rowntree Park Cafe.  All the patterns are online here or use your own.  More project details are here.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Garden Fork Weaving & a Butterfly

Garden Fork Woven Butterfly

I've been scaling up and being a bit creative with some fork weaving that I watched on YouTube.  On that video (which you can watch here) by Nakshi Kantha World, it shows you how to weave a flower petal on an ordinary, everyday fork and then combine the petals to make a flower.  I thought the petal could be adapted to become a butterfly wing and if done on a larger scale would make a great big butterfly. 

Where, I thought, am I going to find a large fork though?  After a trip to the garden shed however, I had my answer!

So, first wash your garden fork...

Luckily the fork fitted in the bucket!

Washing the garden fork

Find some big yarn.  I had some brightly coloured selvedge edge ribbon that I got from the Cone Exchange (which is a completely amazing place and well worth a visit - at the moment you have to book an appointment).  Alternatively you can make some yourself from old textiles or T shirts - try about 2.5 cm/1 inch wide.  

Start weaving in and out of the fork tines - this is one round

Next, begin weaving round your garden fork.  Don't forget to count how many rounds you do as you have to produce two the same size and then two more but a little smaller! These will be the butterfly's fore and hindwings.  I used orange for the hindwings and pink for the forewings with 15 full rounds for the hindwings and 20 for the forewings.

Continue weaving

You may have to push your yarn down the fork in order to fit on all the rounds you need. When you have done enough rounds, finish with your yarn at the same end you started at.  You will have to cut your yarn off now if it's on a roll.  Make sure you leave enough to feed up and down all the tines and knot the ends.  Err on the side of caution! Next, feed the yarn down between the yarn strands by the end tine.  Turn your fork round and knot your yarn to the end you started with.

Knot the ends together

Then continue threading your yarn up the next tine and down the following one and up the final tine.

Feed your yarn up and down the tines

Then take the yarn down the side of your weaving on the outside and take it up the final tine again.

Ready to take the weaving off the fork

You are now ready to take the weaving off your fork, after which you can pull on this final end and it will gather up one side of the wing.  You can use the yarn tails to attach the wings to the body.

Butterfly wings

I finger knitted a body on four fingers and tied the wings on.  I used the remaining yarn ends to plait some antennae with I attached by threading through the centre of the head. Et voilà...

Finished butterfly

My butterfly is about 46 cm (18 inches) - antennae to tail by 40 cm (15.75 inches) - wingspan.  He's going to be part of the Butterflies and Bees & a Happy 100th Birthday Yarnstorm in Rowntree Park York.  I'll be bringing my garden fork to the two outdoor Butterflies & Bees workshops in Rowntree Park if you fancy having a go.  Don't forget to book you place though!  You can book here. Full Yarnstorm project details here.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Butterflies & Bees & a Happy 100th Birthday Yarnstorm for Rowntree Park, York - The Details

What's happening?
It's Rowntree Park's 100th Birthday this year With your help, Deborah New & I are making a birthday banner and a swarm of butterflies and bees to create a yarnstorm installation as part of the 100th Birthday celebrations.  Just as a bit of background and so you know, Rowntree Park was gifted to the City of York in 1921 by Rowntree & Company as a permanent memorial to the Rowntree Cocoa Works staff who died or suffered during the First World War and as a public park for the benefit of York people.  

Why Butterflies & Bees?
The presence of lots of butterflies and bees indicates a healthy environment and ecosystem. Both creatures help to pollinate plants – trees, flowers and the crops used in our food.  Butterflies also help with pest control and of course are part of the food chain.  Bees provide honey and beeswax as well as being important pollinators.  Recent decline in the numbers of both insects results from the loss of habitat, toxic pesticides, climate change and extreme weather affecting their behaviour.  The yarnstorm in the park will highlight the need to provide bee and butterfly friendly environments and encourage people to consider what they might do to help this e.g. avoid using pesticides and plant bee and butterfly friendly plants.  This is something the Friends of Rowntree Park are doing with their Pollinator Project.

Yarnstorming Workshops
At our Butterflies & Bees workshops, you can unleash your creativity with knitting, stitching, pompom making, finger knitting and possibly even a bit of yarn creativity involving a garden fork (only at the outdoor sessions – but please feel free to ask about this if you’re curious!)
All materials for the workshops are provided, then leave your makes behind for display in the park.  If you prefer to bring your own materials, please do. 

Yarnstorming Workshop Dates

Saturday 5 June 2021 – Friends Railed Garden Rowntree Park
Terry Avenue, York, YO23 1JQ
14:00 – 16:00 – This is an outdoor event so please bring your own picnic rug or chair

Friday 11 June 2021 – Friends Railed Garden Rowntree Park
Terry Avenue, York, YO23 1JQ
10:30 – 12:30 – This is an outdoor event so please bring your own picnic rug or chair
(This is International Yarnbombing Day)
Monday 28 June 2021 – Rowntree Park Café 
Rowntree Park, Richardson Street, York, YO23 1JU 
13:30 – 15:30

Tuesday 6 July 2021 – Trafalgar Bay Pub
7 Nunnery Lane, York, YO23 1AB
19:00 – 21:00

Although all events are free, BOOKING IS REQUIRED in order to ensure numbers comply with Covid regulations.  CLICK HERE TO BOOK.  Events in the Friends Railed Garden in Rowntree Park are outdoors and not under cover so please bring your own rug or chair to sit on and suitable clothing/sunscreen etc.  There is plenty of space for you all to maintain social distancing.  

You will be required to check in for all events and leave your details.  Hand sanitiser and wipes will be available.  Children must be accompanied and everyone coming to a workshop must have a ticket.

Please do not attend if you have any Covid symptoms.

Want to join in but can't make a workshop?
If you can't get to any of the workshops but still want to be involved, you'll find some Butterfly and Bee Knitting Patterns here.  In all there are two different butterfly patterns.  One allows you to make 4 different sizes of butterfly.  There is one bee pattern which you can use to make 7 different sizes of bee.  There are 3 different bee wing patterns which you can mix and match with the bees you knit.  Why not give them all a try?  If you'd prefer to stitch there  are also butterfly and bee stitching instructions.  

Butterflies & Bees Patterns

Completed butterflies and bees can be left at Rowntree Park Cafe, Rowntree Park, Richardson Street, York, YO23 1JU, or dropped off at any of the workshops (see above).  If you use social media why not post a picture of your butterfly or bee and use #butterfliesandbees in your post.

And you don't have to use these patterns - we'd be happy to have a knitted, stitched, felted or crocheted butterfly or bee of your preferred design.  We wouldn’t say no to a flower or two either.

All butterflies & bees to arrive by Saturday 31 July 2021 please.

When will the installation be up?
The Birthday Banner will go up in July 2021 in time for the park’s birthday on 16 July 2021 (on the tennis court fence near the café).  The Butterflies & Bees installation goes up in Rowntree Park in time for the August bank holiday weekend, weather permittingFind it in the arbour by the tennis courts. The display will continue until the end of September 2021.

And afterwards? 
When the butterflies and bees come down and have had a whirl in the wash they will be going on sale to raise funds for the Friends of Rowntree Park who work hard to help maintain, improve and promote the park for everyone’s enjoyment.  So, keep a look out for the sale dates in October 2021.

This project is sponsored by

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Marvellous Melon Seeds

Painted melon seeds

Do any of you remember painting melon seeds as a child and then making necklaces with them?  It's certainly something I did and I can remember watching my daughter carefully threading some together to make a necklace for herself.  Well, I've been doing some more of that lately but not to make necklaces.  I was making a tree out of beads (yes, more trees!) and didn't have anything suitable for the leaves - so that's where the melon seeds came in because I did have some of those!

Tree (detail)

First, wash your seeds and let them dry.  After they have thoroughly dried, paint them.  I used acrylic paint in several shades of green.  Let them dry again.  They are then ready to use as embellishments for your stitching.  I sewed them on as if they were buttons using two holes that I just made with my needle as I went along.  You could just use one hole like a sequin and secure with a bead or a french knot.  You do have to be careful not to split them so don't sew too near the edge or use too fat a needle, or make the holes too close together.

Beads, sequins and french knots make up the flower details

I used bugle beads and the odd sequin for the trunk and branches, melon seeds for the leaves and sequins, beads and french knots for the flowers and grass at the base of the tree trunk.  Here's my finished tree...

Finished tree

If you want to be inspired further by amazing embellishment check out the work of Jess Grady and Kate Tume.  Or you can listen to them over on the Stitchery Stories podcast here (Jess) and here (Kate).  

Let me know if you use something unusual in your stitching - or if you have a go with melon seeds!

Saturday, 13 March 2021

more trees please!

Stitched booklet - more trees please!

Recently I have been working on a little fabric book entitled - more trees please!  

I love trees.  I know I'm not alone.  Nature, in all its glory, has been particularly appreciated in the last year when our worlds have been limited by pandemic worries and restrictions.  Getting outside for some exercise and fresh air has been a boon - and trees have been there to provide a beautiful backdrop to inspire and uplift us.  I nearly became a forester in the dim and distant past and whilst I don't regret not doing that, I remain fascinated by the magnificence of trees.

My stitched book doesn't aim to showcase realistic trees - think more children's drawings and you'll have a better idea of what I was aiming for.

Anyway I had a great time stitching my different trees...

The back of the stitching is interesting too and I like the frayed edges of the pages...

And I think you'll agree, we could all do with more trees please!

Saturday, 6 February 2021

New Felt Necklaces

Felt beads in the making

Recently, I have been making some new felt necklaces.  In order to make them, first you have to make the felt for the beads.  I use the wet felting method and generally combine 2 colours.  Once the felt is dry you have to cut into it...

First slice to see the colour combination

Here I am cutting the beads...

although in real life I can't do it this quickly! And this is what they look like once I've made them...

Finished felt beads

Next I match them with some beads to decide what looks good...

Magenta and blue felt beads teamed with haematite and lava beads

Turquoise felt beads teamed with wooden turquoise beads

Then I string them together and this is what they look like...

Completed felt necklaces 

The beads themselves vary in size and the necklaces are a variety of lengths.  If you want to see more, check out my Folksy shop here where I've just listed them.  Hope you like them.