Crochet Plants With A Difference

Around a year ago, my WI group started a really interesting project to create a crochet plant exhibition for the Cambridge’s Festival of Ideas. I blogged about our progress back in May.

This weekend, G and I visited the exhibit and joined the rest of the group for a ‘meet the makers’ hour. Our crochet plants were displayed in the glass houses of the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens and were integrated with their real counterparts, making it like a spot the difference game.

We chose plants from an arid environment, but you wont see the popular crochet cactus here! We had advice from a botanist throughout the project and monthly sessions working on our plants.

I should warn you that this is a photo heavy post, but I really hope you all enjoy our unique creations.

crochet-plant-exhibition

Each plant had a hand embroidered sign for the latin name.

flowers-made-from-crochet

Believe it or not, this plant was largely crocheted by someone who had never held a hook before we started! Even the plant pot and soil were crocheted.

Crochet-plant-and-pot

The flowers included delicate seed beads for the stamen.

crochet-flower

One group decided to make a sea onion. It was well integrated into the existing plant life and had some hessian surface crochet.

Sea-Onion-made-from-crochet

crochet-sea-onion

We used as many natural resources as we could including cotton, linen and bamboo yarn.

Cam-City-WI-Plants-Exhibtion

Cam-City-WI

My group’s plant was named Cissus Quadrangularis and intertwined with other trailing plants.

trailing-plants-made-from-crochet

The Cissus Quadrangularis looked different each time we studied it, so we decided to make a number of trails of the plant, including it’s brown edges and grape like berries.

I think we managed a realistic interpretation! Here it is next to the real plant.

Crochet-trailing-plants

We created the four sided crochet plant by starting with a double crochet foundation chain and then made half treble stitches up and down the chain until it had four sides.

crocheted-trailing-plants-

It affectionately became known as ‘sausage plant’.

Crochet-cissus-quadrangularis

The project was extended to all our WI members, who helped towards a lichen mat. The crochet lichen was placed within the rock garden and was almost difficult to spot!

Crochet-plants-lichen

lichen-made-from-crochet

crochet-plants-exhibition

Crochet-Lichen

Having the exhibit open in October meant we got to enjoy the autumnal beauty of the Botanic Gardens.

flowers-at-Cambridge-Botanic-Gardens

Cambridge-Botanic-Gardens

This tree was stunning!

Autumnal-colours-botanic-gardens

Red-leaves-autumn

The best part of the project was spending time with lovely ladies who were as passionate about crafting as I am. We are already dreaming of our next project which could involve crochet lemurs if our botany advisor has anything to do with it!

The project was featured in Issue 7 of Crafty Magazine and a local news article. We are so proud of all our efforts and I think we have really brought something to the craft/art debate.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! You can find all my other crochet related posts here.

Toodles!

Claire

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Crochet Plants at the Cambridge Botanic Gardens

Every second Saturday of the month, I have been spending my mornings working on crochet plants at the University of Cambridge University Botanic Gardens.

The project I am involved in is organised through my local women’s group, Cam City WI and the wonderful crochet teacher/designer Joanne Scrace of Not So Granny. We are working on a yarn installation of arid plants to be displayed in the glass houses as part of the University’s Festival of Ideas. The final exhibit of our work will be in October.

I thought I would share a few photos from our last session, as Spring was slowly arriving.

Botanic Garden Cambridge

Cambridge Botanic Garden

We are split into groups to work on different plants from the arid environments and were given photographs of our plants. Then we worked on creating a crochet pattern for our selected plant.

Crochet Plant

Crochet Plants

KnitnRun4Sanity and Crafty Glitten are working on a sea onion!

Crochet Sea Onion

There is plenty of inspiration around the gardens and lots of flowers to brighten our visits.

Flowers at Cambridge Botanic Garden

Where possible we have chosen yarns in natural fibres such as cotton, bambo and linen.

Umbrella Yarn Winder

I am working with Miss Chaelaboo on a 3D crochet plant with berries. We have direct input from a botanist at the gardens who explains the different stages of the plant (flowers, berries etc) and what we need to create to make our plants authentic looking.

The entire WI group are assisting with a larger part of the project to create a mat made from crochet lichen.

Yarn for Plants

I think it’s going to look really interesting when complete. The project has progressed in such a relaxed way, that I have learnt so much without even realising. At the start in January, I knew I could only crochet with a pattern. Now, we have used free form crochet, written our own patterns and selected suitable yarns. As an utterly rubbish gardener, I’ve also learnt a little about plants!

It feels like a hugely creative project to be involved with and I’m looking forward to sharing the progress with you all!

There are a ton of free plant related patterns on Ravelry (you have to wade through all the crochet cacti first!), but you can see my favourites here.

One last thing, thanks to Anna who kindly nominated me for the versatile blogger award this week! Please check out her blog if you get a moment.

Claire