Belper in Bloom

Once again this year Belper will enter the RHS Britain in Bloom competition. The competition is now over fifty years old and is entered by communities in towns, villages and cities with different categories for each size of settlement. Groups are assessed for their achievements in three core areas: Horticultural Excellence; Environmental Responsibility; and Community Participation. Over 1,600 communities around the UK enter each year, participating in their local region’s  “in Bloom” campaign. From these regional competitions, roughly 80 communities are selected to enter the national Finals of RHS Britain in Bloom.Last year ‘Belper in Bloom’  was selected to represent the East Midlands in the Large Town Category in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom UK Finals.

Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Community Outreach, reacted by saying: “Congratulations to Belper on reaching the UK Finals of this year’s RHS Britain in Bloom campaign. To represent their region on the UK stage is an incredible achievement and shows they are already at the top level of community gardening, going the extra mile to improve their local area and make it cleaner, greener and more beautiful for everyone.”

Belper has numerous  volunteers and groups who get involved with the towns involvement in Britain in Bloom. These include Belper Gardening Group, Transition Belper, the Open Gardens Team, Belper Goes Green, Friends of the River Gardens, Guides, Brownies, Scouts, local schools and for the first time this year St Peter’s Parish Community Garden. As well as volunteers, the staff at Belper Town Council and Amber Valley Borough Council, will be working to make Belper bloom. Once again this year they will be planting thousands of bedding plants in the parks and planters in and around the town, putting up hundreds of hanging baskets, keeping Belper Railway Station and the grounds of Strutts looking beautiful and keeping the Parks, Wyver Lane and other Nature Reserves accessible and well maintained.

This year as part of the town effort the Belper Woollen Woods are asking  local people who can knit, crochet or felt to make flowers which will be used to brighten up part of the route that the judges will walk along.Belper is a fantastic town full of residents willing to be part of Community events. So I am asking everyone who reads this to help make flowers for the Belper in Bloom Group. There are plenty of free patterns on the internet that can be used for events such as this.

I am a knitter so I am adding a few quick and simple knitting patterns to this blog post. However flowers can be crocheted or made out of felt.Flower OneOne main colour of DK Yarn (A) and a small amount of a different colour for the centre of the flower, (B). Needles size 3.25 (10)

Body of Flower Using Col A Cast on 60 stitches
Rows 1 –10 : K2, P2 across whole row. Row 11 : Knit 2 stitches together across the row (30 sts).
Row 12 : Slip 1 stitch, Knit 2 stitches together then pass the slip stitch over… repeat across the whole row (10 stitches).
Break off yarn with long tail and thread back through remaining stitches and pull tight. Join edges with mattress stitch

Centre of Flower Using B, cast on 20 sts, knit 2 rows, cut the yarn and thread through all the stitches. Pull the thread tight and sew base to the centre.

Flower TwoUsing 3.23mm (10) needles and DK yarn, cast on 160 sts, Knit two rows. Next row: Knit two together across the row (80 sts), Knit the next row.

Knit two together across the next row (40 sts), Knit the next row.

Knit two together across the next row (20 sts), Knit the next row.

Knit two together across the next row (10 sts)

Break off yarn with long tail and thread back through remaining stitches and pull tight. Join edges with mattress stitch.

The flower will naturally curl to make an interesting shape.

Flower ThreeUsing 3.25mm (10) needles and DK yarn, cast on seven sts

Row 1: knit,  Row 2: Knit 1, kfb k to last two sts, kfb, k1. (9 sts)

Row3:as Row2. (11sts),     Row 4: as Row 2. (13 sts)

Rows 5-8: knit,    Row 9: Knit 1 (knit two together through the back of the loops) twice,   k to last four sts, (k2tog) twice. (9 sts)

Rows 10-12: knit,   Row 13: (k2tog through the back of the loop) twice, k to last four sts, (k2tog) twice. (5 sts)

Rows 14-16: knit,    Row 17: knit 1, slip 1,k2tog, psso, k1. (3 sts)

Row 18: knit and then Cast off.

Make three or four more petals to complete the flower.

Sew lower sections of petals together by threading a length of wool through all five petals and pull up tightly.

Centre of Flower Cast on 20 sts. Knit 2 rows.

Cut the yarn and thread through all of the stitches and pull to make a circle, sew onto the centre of the flower.

Flower FourUsing DK yarn and size 3.25 (10) needles cast on 86 sts. Knit 2 rows.

Last Row, (Knit 2 sts, cast off 12 sts) repeat this across the row.

Cut the yarn and thread through the remaining stitches and pull up to make a flower that looks a bit like a daisy. Put in a few stitches to hold in place.

Flower Centre Cast on 20 sts. Knit 2 rows. Cut the yarn and thread through all of the stitches and pull to make a circle, sew onto the centre of the flower.

It would be fantastic if lots of people would help with this effort and we do not have very long before Britain in Bloom. The completed flowers can be left in a box in St Peter’s Church Chesterfield Road, Belper or given to me Anne Clark

If you would like to print off the patterns here is a PDF Flowers

Simple Patterns for Woollen Woods

The Woollen Woods are once again planned to come to the Parks Wood in Belper during May 2018. Lots of individuals and groups have already expressed interest in being part of the event. There are no set patterns and it is perfectly acceptable to make one item or to take on a whole tree. At the moment I am enjoying myself making woodland birds to install in the wood.

It is important to me that anyone who would like to be part of the event feels confident that they can do this. There are lots of free patterns available on the internet but on this blog I am sharing some simple ideas that still look really good, especially when things are grouped together in a tree. Three years ago we had a tree full of pom pom ladybirds and I had written a blog with instructions on how to make these. http://www.anneclarkhandmade.co.uk/pom-pom-ladybirds/pom pom ladybird in the woodsIn previous years other pom pom animals have been made, including robins, bees and spiders. Here are the instructions for some Hedgehogs It is possible to make things from knitted squares and rectangles which can look really good. The first I am going to share are knitted birds. These are made by knitting a square with every row a knit row.For my square I used 30 stitches and knitted 58 rows but this can be varied according to how big the finished bird is going to be. Once knitted the piece is folded in half to make a triangle shape and the open sides are sewn together leaving a gap to stuff the bird. Once stuffed I usually bend one of the more pointed ends forwards to become the head. I put a small stitch in it to keep in place and then sew on two small black buttons for eyes. I knitted a couple of wings by casting on 13 stitches and knitting 10 rows. After this I decreased one stitch at the beginning of every right side row by knitting two stitches together. I continued this until the last two stitches could be knitted together and the wing was finished. I have also made wings for these birds by cutting out a wing shape from a piece of felt. The legs are made by putting some string or wool through the lower body and stringing beads on the ends.

Another creature that can be made from a rectangle of knitting is the caterpillar. For the green and yellow caterpillar I cast on 20 stitches and then knitted the piece in alternate stripes. The first stripe had 18 rows and the others had 14 rows each.To make this into a caterpillar I folded it in half and sewed the long edges together matching the stripes. Each end was closed by sewing some running stitches around the short end and pulling it tightly together. I closed one end and then stuffed the caterpillar, once stuffed I finished the other end. To give the piece some more realistic shaping, I sewed some running stitches around each edge of a stripe and pulled up. lastly I used some black yarn to sew some eyes and a mouth. The caterpillar will be attached to a branch making it look as if its back is hunched up.

A butterfly can also be made with rectangular pieces of knitting. I made two pieces, the first was in brown for the head and body. I cast on 25 stitches and knitted 20 rows. The second piece for the wings, I cast on 30 stitches and knitted 46 rows, 24 in yellow and 22 in pink. I made up the body in the same way as the caterpillar and then sewed some running stitches along the middle of the wing piece, sewing a line of stitches along the middle of the yellow and pink stripes. Having pulled these stitches up slightly I joined the wings to the middle of the body. To give the wings more shape, I ran some running stitches along the line where the pink and yellow met and gathered this up.In previous years I have made rabbits from knitted squares with pom pom tales.Details of how to make these can be found here Knitted Rabbit.

In 2016  we had some amazing spiders webs made using sticks with wool wound round them.Here are some instructions for making the webs. Last year we also made lots of birds by winding wool around cardboard. Instructions ca be found here Wool Wrapped Birds

I hope these instructions give people a few ideas and lots feel they would like to become part of Woollen Woods 2018.

Belper Christmas Angels

I thought I would write an update about the Christmas Angel project. Knitters and Crocheters in Belper have been very busy this year making small angels as a Christmas Gift of Love for the people of the town. The project had been adopted by Belper Churches Together as their Christmas initiative but it has also been very much a community activity with hundreds of people getting involved. Continue reading Belper Christmas Angels

The Joy of Autumn

Autumn is such a special season. There is fun to be had walking along kicking the fallen leaves, searching for conkers and brightly coloured berries. The season used to start on September 21st and it can be a bit confusing these days as media weather people start talking about it starting on September 1st. Continue reading The Joy of Autumn

Adopt a Tree in Belper

In the town of Belper people are starting to think about next years Art Festival. Unlike many Art Festivals, the one held each year in Belper is a community event, a festival of inclusivity, not exclusivity and everyone is welcome to take part.Belper Art Trail has already posted on their Facebook page asking for ideas for next years trail which is one element of the whole Art FestivalContinue reading Adopt a Tree in Belper

Belper Goes Green Fun Palace

Belper Goes Green 2017 happened during the first week of June. This year the dates were June 2 – 4th. The Friday evening as always was filled with beer and music. During the day on Saturday and Sunday there was an amazing amount on offer, plenty of food, drink, children’s activities, adult information stalls, handmade retail sales, talks including Talking Books, a variety of performances, numerous workshops and places to be quiet and meditate. Saturday evening was once again full of musical entertainment. Belper Goes Green is a local Eco Festival which is part of Belper Transition Group. Next year 2018 will be the sixth event and will take place once again on the first week of June, June 1st – 3rd.  Continue reading Belper Goes Green Fun Palace

Padley Gorge Derbyshire

Padley Gorge is a fantastic almost magical place to visit. It is easy to access from Grindleford Railway Station. You can still get to this Station by train but it is much easier if travelling from Sheffield or Manchester. The train in the photo is going into Totley Tunnel which has a date above the entrance of 1883. It was the longest Railway tunnel in the U.K. up until 1985. Continue reading Padley Gorge Derbyshire

Christmas Angels

The plan is to get as many people as possible to knit, crochet or felt, small angels. I have added a few patterns to this blog but you can use your own pattern as long as the angel is small. Once the angels are created and we hope for about 600-800 they will be placed around the town of Belper early on the morning of Monday December 18th. Continue reading Christmas Angels

Fun Palace at Belper Goes Green

After the success of our first Fun Palace in Belper it was decided to run another at Belper Goes Green. This is a fantastic Eco Festival run by Transition Belper for the local community. All the information about the festival can be found here Belper Goes Green ,this includes what’s on and parking. Continue reading Fun Palace at Belper Goes Green