08 February 2018

Where there’s wool there’s a way

Anyone stopping for refreshments during their visit to Ayletts Garden Centre next week may be mistaken for thinking they have entered a whole new world that’s made of wool!


This new look is all down to members of local sewing and knitting group, The Sewing Bee, who are “Yarnbombing” the Dahlia Coffee House as a fun and colourful way to raise funds for Rennie Grove.

Yarnbombing is a type of “graffiti” or street art that uses colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk. It is believed to have originated in Texas, with knitters trying to find a creative way to use their leftover and unfinished projects, but it has since spread worldwide.

Heather Hunt from Sewing Bee who is one of the yarnbomb organisers explains: “Four years ago I started a social sewing and knitting group at Ayletts. At first there were just four ladies but we now have over 25 regular attendees. We meet twice a week to chat, knit, crochet and enjoy various other crafts.

“Sadly, last spring, Marilyn who was one of our original ladies, died of cancer and at her funeral it was requested that donations be made to Rennie Grove Hospice Care. Marilyn was a very talented and prolific sewer and knitter and was very generous with her time and shared her talents with the group. 

“Shortly after her funeral, the group decided to celebrate Marilyn’s contribution by knitting a blanket made up of squares in her favourite colour pink and organised a raffle. We raised over £400 for Rennie Grove.

“Inspired by some local yarnbombing, I thought it would be a lot of fun to do something similar. Adam and Julie at Ayletts agreed to let us yarnbomb the coffee house so since May 2017 Rosalie Rudd and I have been knitting various things to display in the cafe. Basically we have knitted covers for anything we can cover. Trolley stands and vertical beams will be covered in knitted and crocheted flowers. Cushions have been knitted for all the chairs and about 100 metres of bunting has been crocheted and knitted with donated bits coming from across the globe

“Because we are holding the yarnbomb in a garden centre we have decided on a flowers theme with various other fun items on display such as dinosaurs, bugs and bees, mushrooms and lots of knitted people and toys. The idea is to collect some more money for Rennie Grove in Marilyn’s memory by having donation tins in the cafe for the week of the display. This coincides with February half term. It will be a very colourful fun event and there will be lots for children to see. We will have also some blankets and cushions for sale with all proceeds also going to Rennie Grove.”

Gillian Barnett, Director of Fundraising at Rennie Grove Hospice Care said: “A massive thank you to The Sewing Bee and to Ayletts for organising the yarnbombing week to raise funds for Rennie Grove. Rennie Grove is a local charity that provides care and support for adults and children diagnosed with cancer and other life-limiting illness. Through our Hospice at Home service, Family Support services and range of Day Services at Grove House in St Albans, we give thousands of patients the choice to stay at home, surrounded by their families and friends. We rely mainly on donations to fund our services and are so grateful for the efforts that have been put into this unusual and fun event.”

The event is taking place from Monday 12 to Friday 16 February at Ayletts Garden Centre, North Orbital Rd, St Albans, AL2 1DH and the table top sale is open from 11am to 2pm each day.