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 World 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.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Share the love - Valentine's Day Cards


Love Heart Valentine's Day Card

I really love receiving cards and letters in the post.  I'm a big fan of snail mail and I don't think I'm the only one.  Particularly this year, when we can't see who we want when we want, it's a good time to share some love.  Valentine's Day, 14th February, is coming up and offers an opportunity to do just that.  Don't feel the need to confine your cards to your true love - how about sending a card to a much missed friend or a family member to show you are thinking of them.  In fact why wait till Valentine's Day?

Which heart would you choose?

In preparation, I have been making some love heart cards using upcycled drinks cans, some fab textured card and paper and a smattering of stitch.  They are now available in my Folksy shop here.

Love Heart Detail

And another thing - picture stamps make a letter even better.  The current lovely stamps are of the nation's National Parks.  There are 10 different first class stamps.  If they haven't got them at your local post office and it seems to be increasingly difficult to get them locally, you can buy them online from Royal Mail here.

So, go on, make someone's day, send a card and share the love!