Adopt a Tree for Belper Arts Festival

This year as a new event for Belper Arts Festival, local individuals and groups were asked if they would Adopt a Tree on King Street.  The trees were decorated for the duration of the Arts Festival. The idea was suggested back in Autumn 2017 and was quickly taken up by a number of people in the town of Belper. Trees were installed on May 5th and taken down on May 28th.It was great fun and the people of the town plus visitors loved looking at the trees. We were extremely lucky that Andy Savage made a film of all the Yarn Bombed trees. This film is fantastic and really gives a good feel of how all the very different amazing trees looked. The photo above is one of the tree made by Spencer Grove Care Home and here is a couple more of their tree.Trees were also also decorated by the young as can be seen on the next two photographs. The first by Stepping Stones and the second by Creartii Belper who offer workshops for both children and adults.Local gardeners were involved, with one tree being created by Belper Gardening Cluband two trees decorated by Belper Open Gardens.Local Church Groups got involved with the Methodist Church,  Knit and Natter group decorating a tree which showed all the different people that meet at the Methodist Church. St Peter’s Parish decorated a tree with flowers and wildlife to show how they are working towards becoming an Eco Church. This is a movement for churches right across all denominations to look at how they can care for God’s world with both their buildings and land.During this last year we have been all been made increasingly aware of the problems that plastic is causing our planet particularly single use plastic. It is not a new problem but since the programme Blue Planet more of us are starting to think about how we can cut down on the amount of plastic we use in our daily lives. This year a new Facebook Page has been set up Belper Beats Plastic to try to keep the issue uppermost in our minds. Belper Beats Plastic had a tree near to the bus stop on King Street.Community Groups made trees, including the Blue Box Community who are looking to build, a community facility on the Parks Estate in Belper.Another local group who had great fun making a tree were B.E.A.R.S a support group who offer, ‘Breastfeeding Experience, Assistance and Reassuring Support.’There was one tree decorated that was not on King Street. It was the tree opposite the cafe and chocolate shop I Should Cocoa . The reason is because this tree was knitted and created by a knitting/crochet group that meets every other Tuesday in the room upstairs at I Should Cocoa. The next meeting is on Tuesday May 29th from 10.00-12.00. We were also very pleased to have trees made and constructed by the Pedder Family and Suz Hennessey. 

There was a tree decorated outside our newest charity shop in Belper, Derbyshire Wildlife Shop. This shop sells good quality second hand goods as well as new items with the money helping the Trust to protect wildlife and wild spaces. The Wildlife Shop tree is decorated with bees and a large sunflower.

The last tree decorated this year was completed by members of a craft group from Belper North Mill Museum, called Cotton-On craft Club. The group started meeting once a month at the North Mill and has now moved to The Fleet Arts centre in Belper. The tree has many decorated socks as a nod to Belper’s heritage of sock making with the socks being decorated by hand which is known as chevening.A big thank you to Kim Kerry who organised the making and construction of the last two trees on the blog post.

Woollen woods 2018

We have just taken down the Woollen Woods and 2018 has been an amazing year. The sun has been very good to us and more individuals and groups have joined in the fun. I have written about previous years on this blog and also linked to videos Woollen Woods 2015 . This one was created for us by a Derby company . We were written about on the Angel Eden Blog in 2016 and there are links to videos on their page.2017 was very wet year but people still visited and we added two story sessions with the help of Lauren from Into the Wild Wood. There were  also two new videos Part 1  and Part 2 .I am still waiting to see if we have any videos from this year’s event. I do know however that hundreds of photographs have been taken and I am going to share a few to show some of the amazing new trees we had in 2018. A Tree hugger was seen in the woods as was a Viking Tree.The photos below show a very small part of a large tree decorated by a group called Chronic Creatives. Items for the tree were made by people who are often unwell and unable to leave their homes.The next amazing tree was made by a group called Chatterbox, they are a group of adults with learning difficulties who meet socially once a week and often do something creative.

This large tree covered in flowers and birds was made by the volunteers of Kedleston Hall National Trust.The beautiful blue bunting was made and hung in the trees by the Blue Box Community Group.

There were also a number of schools who joined in and decorated trees for the woods, these included Long Row in Belper, Milford Primary School and St John’s School Ripley.

Long Row School
Milford primary School
St John’s Knit and Natter Group

Valley Arts organisation decorated an area with work from children from a number of different schools. One of them was Shirland Primary School

Work by valley Arts Amber valley

Stepping Stones Creative Playgroup decorated the area around a large den made from sticks and branches. There was also a tree decorated by tree Tops nursery Belper who I know visit the woods regularly.For the second year Spencer Grove Care Home decorated one of the trees.Two of the many new trees this year were the Secret garden and the Wizard of Oz.

There was a tree hung with bacon and eggs, ice cream cones, roast chickens with gravy, delicious muffins, carrots and sprouts and a deconstructed sandwich.One of the trees was seen to have an infestation of giant red ants.

There were so many trees in 2018 that it is impossible to include them all in this blog . There are many more photos on Belper Woollen Woods Facebook page. I am really grateful to all those who took part in the event this year and I know others are already making plans for 2019 which is exciting.

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. Continue reading Simple Patterns for Woollen Woods

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

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

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

Belper Woollen Woods 2017

Its that time of year again when the people of Belper are working hard to produce this years Belper Art Festival. A tremendous amount of planning goes into this event which each year gets bigger and better. Yesterday there was a small crowd who met at Number 28 on the Market Place to produce the festival trailer for 2017.  Continue reading Belper Woollen Woods 2017