Sunday 26 April 2020

Rainbows for Rowntree Park - A Yarnstorm

Knitted Rainbows - pattern from Knitting by Post


A Rainbow Yarnstorm

I have been asked recently what yarnstorm I was organising this year and I had to say I wasn't organising one, but it turns out I know some people who are!  The Friends of Rowntree Park Craft Group are creating Rainbows for Rowntree Park as their project for these challenging "lockdown" times.


Why Rainbows?

The Craft Group plan to create a giant rainbow to go on the tennis court fence in Rowntree Park, York and to have a rainbow display in the arbour as a way to say thank you to the NHS, carers and everyone who has helped us during this pandemic and as a celebration of the park itself.  The rainbows are also a symbol of positivity and hope which will be a great welcome to visitors to the park.

How Can I Join In?

You can join in by making 6 inch/15cm squares in one of the rainbow colours - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo or violet...

Blue, Indigo and Violet Knitted Squares

It can be knitted, crocheted, stitched or felted and you can make them as simple or elaborate as you like...

Red Stitched Square

Or you can make a flower in a rainbow colour.  There are some knitting patterns for flowers on my blog here and here - just adjust the colours as appropriate...

Orange & Yellow Knitted Flowers

But you can use any knitted or crocheted flower patterns that you like - or make one up or stitch one...

Green Stitched Flower

Here's what I've had a go at...

Rainbow Offerings

All the single coloured squares and flowers will be collaged together to make the giant rainbow for the tennis court fence.

However, if you prefer, you can knit, crochet or stitch whole rainbows to hang in the arbour...

Small Knitted Rainbows - Knitting by Post Pattern

You can use your own patterns or make one up but I've also posted some links to patterns if you'd like to use these. There's a link to a Ravelry crochet pattern - Rainbow of Unity - from Kerry Jayne Designs here and a link to easy knitting patterns from Knitting by Post here (there are small, medium and large knitting pattern options). Why not check out their other patterns too - you may want to buy one of Kerry Jayne Designs or Knitting by Post's patterns as well!

Why not post pictures of your makes on whatever social media you use with the hashtag #RainbowsforRowntreePark - it will be great to see what everyone's making!

Where do I send my makes?

As Rowntree Park Cafe is closed at the moment you can't leave or send your makes there.  However if you are local to York there is a lidded box at:

118 Bishopthorpe Road
YO23 1JX

where you can leave your makes if passing while on your daily exercise, going to shop for necessities or going to work. If you are further afield you can post them to that address, marking them Rainbows for Rowntree Park.  Please have your makes delivered by the end of June 2020.

When will it go up?

It is hoped that the display will go up in time to celebrate Rowntree Park's 99th Birthday on Saturday 18 July 2020.  Keep your eye on the Friends of Rowntree Park Facebook page for more information or you can sign up to my mailing list for my regular newsletters where I'll include info about the project.  You can sign up from my blog or the Hippystitch Facebook page (fill in your details and tick to keep in touch by email).

More Information...

If you need more information about this project you can message the Friends of Rowntree Park Facebook page or you can contact Sara from the Craft Group on 07723722868.

Stay safe and happy making!

Sunday 19 April 2020

Dyeing with Rhubarb

Rhubarb Dyed Fabric & Yarn

It's that time of year when rhubarb is coming into its own and we have a sizeable rhubarb plant on the allotment.  The other day when I picked some to make a rhubarb pudding, I remembered reading about rhubarb leaves.  You can use them to make a mordant solution. A mordant is a dye fixative.  It helps bind the dye to a fabric to make it more colourfast and can affect the resulting colour.  For example, mordants may intensify the dye colour and can also be dyes in their own right.

Rhubarb in the Allotment

The recipe I used was from the Selvedge magazine website where they have a number of different craft projects for you to try.  You can find them all here and the Rhubarb Mordant instructions here.

Harvested Rhubarb

First, chop up the rhubarb leaves.  You need about twice as much dry weight leaves as dry weight fabric.  Five leaves became about 450gm of chopped leaves. The dye is best for animal fibres like wool and silk rather than plant fibres like cotton and linen.

Chopped Rhubarb Leaves

You put the leaves in a pan and cover them with water, bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for an hour.  I didn't have a pan lid so I fashioned one out of  tinfoil.  It suggested using a stainless steel pan but I used an aluminium one because that's what I had.  You shouldn't use any pans that you use for cooking food and as the fumes are toxic you need to do this in a well ventilated area or outside!

Strained Rhubarb Mordant/Dye

Let the mixture cool and then strain the rhubarb leaves and discard.  The remaining solution is now ready to use.

Fabric Submerged in Rhubarb Solution

Next, add the damp fabric and yarn.  You should have washed everything you are adding to the solution to remove any dressings that are on the fabrics/yarns that may affect the uptake of the dye.  I added a piece of wool blanket and what I thought were 2 different thicknesses of wool yarn.

Fabric after Simmering in Rhubarb Solution

Bring it to the boil and simmer, covered, for about an hour.  I then left mine to cool overnight.  After that the dyed items need to be thoroughly rinsed and washed. It was a lovely day so I pegged my fabric and yarns out to dry...

Fabric and Yarn Drying after Washing

You can see the results here.  One of the yarns must have been a mix of wool and other fibres as the dye uptake was very much paler...

Yarn Showing Original & Dyed Colours

And here's the blanket with a piece of the original to show the colour change...

Fabric Showing Original & Dyed Colours

The colour is a sort of mustard/ochre colour.  I knitted up the darker rhubard dyed yarn into some tree brooches...

Tree Brooches Knitted With Rhubarb Dyed Yarn

which you can find in my Folksy shop here.  They will add nicely to my forest of tree brooches...

Other Tree Brooches

Hope you found this interesting.  Have you tried any natural dyeing?