Wednesday 27 April 2016

Big Knitting & Fantasy Fish

Big Knitted "Stripey" Fantasy Fish - 75cm long

Having completed my extreme knitting fantasy fish I quickly moved on to a bit of big knitting using these needles:

25mm diameter big needles x 580mm long

and choosing from this recyled material that I used for yarn:

Selvedge edges make good ribbon like yarn

I picked up the "yarn" at last year's Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate from The Starbeck Cone Exchange.  This is a Betty's & Taylor's community recycling project based in Starbeck, near Harrogate.  Here, people deposit their unwanted materials which are then sold as craft materials to support the Yorkshire Rainforest Project.  I bought some colourful reels of what looked like selvedge edges of a synthetic shiny fabric which knitted up a treat with my 25mm needles.

Silver & Navy "Fat Fish" Underway...

I've started on big fantasy fish no. 2, this time using the fat fish pattern, in silver & navy.  If you fancy knitting a big fish why not come along to one of our Fantasy Fish workshops in May 2016 and find out all about this year's Fantasy Fish Yarnstorm!  We'd love you to join in and if you can't make it to the workshops you can find Fantasy Fish Knitting Patterns here.  Send #FantasyFish from York (#fishfromYork) or send #fishfromafarDo post photos of your fish if you use social media.  Fish can be dropped off or sent to Fantasy Fish Yarnstorm, c/o Rowntree Park Cafe, Richardson Street, York, YO23 1JU


Monday 18 April 2016

Extreme Knitting & a Fantasy Fish

Beached Fish

You may have read about this year's Fantasy Fish Yarnstorm which will be on display in Rowntree Park, York, later this year.  In preparation I have been doing some extreme knitting to create a large fish (over 2m long!) which will swim along and join the display.

Extreme knitting to scale

Anticipating the possibility of bad weather on a recent trip to Scotland I took my extreme needles and some yarn with me in case I was stuck indoors for a while.  Actually the weather wasn't so bad but I managed to fit in some extreme knitting anyway.  I had some yarn left over from a previous project - I think it might have been from those big jerseys from the Knit a Bike Installation.  Anyway I soon ran out of that!  However a quick trip round the charity shops for wool blankets and the local household store for some dye yielded positive results ...

Starting with a cream wool blanket

Nice bright coloured dyes

Add to the washing machine
Excellent results

Having got some lovely colours I decided to have a pink stripe in my fish and as I'd already started with yellow I decided to continue in that colour.  I cut up my blankets to form more yarn - 1.6kg of yellow and 900g of pink and then I was ready to carry on.

More yarn ready for extreme knitting

After all that I needed a break - did they know about my fishy theme?
A well deserved break - coffee and a chocolate fish!

When I returned home I just needed to make an eye ...

Finger knitted fish eye with pompom pupil

Now it just needs stabilising and it'll be ready for display - but that's a job for another day!

If you want to join in with our #FantasyFish project, details of the workshops are here.  If you can't make the workshops you can find Fantasy Fish knitting patterns here.  We would be very pleased to receive #fishfromafar as well as close by! 

Monday 11 April 2016

Fantasy Fish Yarnstorm - The Details

Fantasy Fish

What are we doing?
In May it's
Craft & Design Month which celebrates crafts across the UK, and with your help, Deborah New & I plan to make a giant Fantasy Fish installation for Rowntree Park, York in time for the Rowntree Park Birthday Party on Sunday 17 July 2016.

Why have we chosen fish?
In Medieval times, York had the King’s Fishpool. Created by damming the River Foss, this large expanse of water, as well as contributing to the city’s defences, was well known for its abundance of fish.  In Rowntree Park, where our display will be, the lake becomes so laden with a variety of fish, following flooding that the York & District Amalgamation of Anglers have to net and rehome them.  Also, fish come in many different colours, shapes and sizes.  This offers lots of possibilities to both experienced crafters and those who are looking to try making them for the first time. So for historical, local and crafty reasons and just so everyone’s imaginations can run riot – we’ve chosen to make Fantasy Fish!

One of our workshops is in Voluntary Arts Week 2016 (6-15 May).  This is an annual celebration of cultural creativity across the UK & Republic of Ireland.  At our Fantasy Fish workshops, you can unleash your creativity with knitting, stitching, pompom making, finger knitting, or knitting with very large needles. 

Workshop Dates
Tuesday 10 May 2016 – The Winning Post Pub 
127-129 Bishopthorpe Road, York, YO23 1NZ 
19:00 – 21:00

Saturday 21 May 2016 – The Golden Ball Pub 
2 Cromwell Road, York, YO1 6DU
12:00 – 14:00

Thursday 26 May 2016 – Rowntree Park Café 
Rowntree Park, Richardson Street, York, YO23 1JU 
14:00 – 16:00

Drop in – all materials provided
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 Fantasy Fish knitting patterns here.  Completed fish 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 twitter why not post a picture and use #FantasyFish in your post.
And you don't have to use these patterns - we'd be happy to have a knitted, stitched, felted or crocheted fish of your preferred design.

When will the installation be up?
The Fantasy Fish installation goes up in Rowntree Park on Monday 27 June (by the tennis courts, near the café and beyond) and will be on display until after the Rowntree Park Birthday Party on Sunday 17 July 2016.

And afterwards? 
Because the recent floods in York were so devastating to homes and businesses we have decided to raise funds for the York Flood Appeal.  After the installation comes down the handmade fish will be sold to fundraise for this purpose.  There will be two sales days in the Park on Saturday 27 August 2016 and on Friday 2 September 2016 (unless we have sold out!) Further details about the sales and where in the park they will be, will be available nearer the time.

Want to see what we've done before?

Yarnstorming Event in Rowntree Park - 2013


The Fantasy Fish project is sponsored by the Friends of Rowntree Park.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Spotlight on terrific textures for stitching inspiration

Rusted, flaking metal

A day at the seaside is always good for me.  Mine was at Filey - looking for some textural inspiration for stitching.  Here's what I found ...

Nets & floats
Fine nets
Metal surface

Peeling paint and rusty railing
Rusty chain and plastic sheet


Painted boat surface
Wooden surface
Sea & shore
Bempton Cliffs

Who knows where it will take me.  I also met a fisherman and the Ginger Ninja ...

Ginger Ninja

Lovely day out.  Don't forget to visit Ebbing Tide at Neil's Gallery and grab a coffee at The Coffee Shed!