Wind in the Willows in Wool

A team of dedicated knitters have produced a series of creations celebrating Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s book The Wind in the Willows to adorn our Rainton Meadows visitor centre. The work is part of a national campaign to involve more people in helping wildlife.

North-East based group The Materialistics have knitted characters and scenes from the book for the Attenborough Room at Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve near Houghton le Spring as part of our support for The Wildlife Trusts’ national Wilder Future Campaign.

Wilder Future is about building support for new laws that not only protect wildlife but help to put it into recovery. It is also about people taking individual action where they live. The Wildlife Trusts recently launched The Wind in the Willows film trailer to inspire more people to back the campaign.

The textile display at Rainton Meadows is themed on The Wind in the Willows story – complete with knitted trees, bird boxes, badger setts and all of the characters in different outfits – and will be open to view over the bank holiday weekend and then every Sunday in June and July plus it will form the basis for story telling events, some during half term. Click here for more details.

The display has taken four months to put together and 19 members of the group were involved in the project.  The river alone is 247 inches long and used 15500 yards of wool to complete. The Materialistics, who became a group nine years ago, knit with wool that has been donated and incorporate recycled materials wherever possible.

Group member Sue McBride said: “What we’ve really enjoyed about this project is bringing a classic story to life. There are no patterns for creating the displays we’ve put together, so we have had to be very inventive with our knitting and sourcing of materials but as a group we couldn’t be happier with the finished product.”

Emily Routledge, the Trust’s Membership Development Officer said: “The work that we do as Wildlife Trusts is so heavily supported by volunteers. The sheer time and dedication from The Materialistics in creating this wonderful textile exhibition is an example of how you can use your skills, whatever they may be, to support a Wilder Future. It has been inspiring to work with The Materialistics, the intricacy, attention to detail and imagination present in The Wind in the Willows display must be seen to be believed.”