cooking up a yarnstorm!

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Fantastic Lancaster Beasts Inspiration – Dragons in Lancashire Folklore

To provide some inspiration for those who are involved, or who might want to be involved, in the trail this year, we are going to post a series of inspirational posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays from now until 2nd May.

And what better to start with than Dragons!

English folklore with Dragons sometimes calls them serpents, and sometimes wyrms. There’s a lot of variant St George’s, with knights slaying dragons.

Lancashire Dragons

We’ve had a few people question how relevant Dragons are to Lancashire folklore, but the fact is, Lancashire does some folk lore stories featuring these beasts.

Farnworth Dragon

This story is associated with ‘a strange skin formly displayed in Farnworth church’, and found in Terence Whitaker’s Lancashire’s Ghosts and Legends (1980).

The area was once plagued by a flying dragon, which came from the woods to pray on cattle. A blacksmith took it upon himself to destroy the dragon and forged a case large enough to fit in himself and disguished it as a cow. When the dragon carried him off, he wounded it, then slew it when they landed. He was knighted in reward, and the marked cow hide was displayed in the Church.

The Unsworth Dragon

This is the better known of the two stories.

The Unsworth family, linked to the ‘chief mansion’ of this small village have a number of carvings depicting the dragon of Unsworth and their ancestor who was said to have slain the dragon.

There are some variants on this one, most have Thomas Unsworth slaying a maneating dragon that had a hide too tough for any bullet to pierce. He either loaded a dagger into his gun, or used an axe. The story appears in Harland and Wilkinson’s 1873 collection of Lancashire Legends.

The locals still talk about this one:Β  http://unsworth-primary.co.uk/the-unsworth-dragon/

Other Lancashire Dragons

There’s also a dragon tale for Silverdale, relating to the Buck Stone/Rocking Stone – https://lancashirefolk.com/category/dragons/

And Runcorn is said to have had a tiger striped dragon!

Neighbouring Yorkshire and Cumbria also have some dragon tales of their own.



Westwood & Simpson – The Lore of the Land

Serpents and dragons in British folklore



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Yarn_caster 2019 – Fantastic Lancaster Beasts

It’s time to talk yarn_caster 2019!

fantastic lancashire beasts leaflet

The Backstory

We had a lot of fun creating the Yarny Potter trail last summer, and we know people had fun doing the trail as well – so we just couldn’t not do another trail for summer 2019, but the question was what theme to use and how best to use our crafty skills for good…

We loved the creatures we made last year, and with the lion being the symbol of Lancastee, it seemed like a good starting place for ideas. We worked to an intial theme for this year was ‘Lions and Lambs’, but it didn’t quite work for us, and after some consideration we thought we could play with a sideways connection to Yarny Potter, and have the chance of more of a range of creatures, and ‘Fantastic Lancaster Beasts’ was born!

In the past we’ve been raising money for the Friends of the Lancaster City Museum as we have always worked with the museum. but we wanted to make a change this year’s trail. We’re all based in the Lancaster area, so we wanted to raise money for some other local causes. After some debate and serious consideration, we’ve decided on Wolfwood and Morecambe Bay Food Bank, thus covering both the humans and the animals of the district.

The other change for this year will be how we promote the trail. We’ve always been more a guerilla craft group, using work of mouth, yarn bombs and little bits of advertising to promote our trails. Last year tying into the Harry Potter exhibition meant we got a lot of attention without having to push ourselves promoting the trail. That isn’t going to be the case this year, so there’s going to be some serious promotion work on our part later in the year (so keep your eyes, and ears, peeled for the elusive feline and weasel).


Fantastic Lancaster Beasts

The plan as it stands is that the trail will be up for the Summer Holidays – from around mid July to early September – with the beasts located inside local businesses. There will be free trail sheets, collection tins and a few goodies that can be purchased.

(Lessons learned from the Yarny Potter Trail – inside is easier to maintain, and free trail sheets means more coverage/is less complicated).

After the trail finishes we will auction off the beasts as the final funding raising ‘event’.



We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us and the more people willing to help out the better.

Knitters, stitchers, crocheters, felters, hand makers all are welcome, if you’re up to the task of creating a beast for the trail, let us know.

If you want to help out on the organisation and promotional side of things, let us know.

People have been asking for ideas, or more details on the types of beasts we have in mind, so here’s some more detail to get your creative juices flowing!

The idea is to celebrate aspects of Lancaster, from echoes of the past from Phoenix Street and Dinosaurs to folk tales of the likes Ginny Greenteeth. Each ‘beast’ will tie into something real or something from Lancashire folklore.

There’s a lot of inspiration, from the names of Lancaster streets like Brock and Phoenix, to the carvings on some of the buildings and statues around the city.

Lancashire has a very rich folklore, some Lancaster folks may even remember when the King of Cats exhibition was at the City Museum! There are milk jugs turned into geese, cows with endless milk and water witches lurking in the canals….

There are some great sources for folklore online, with the wonderful Lancashire Folk, Folklore Thursday and other features available with just a quick google πŸ˜‰Β  There are always the Spooks books by Joseph Delaney for a little light reading and inspiration combined!

Check out our pinterest board for some extra inspiration πŸ˜‰


And finally, a sneak peek of a make in progress


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Yarnypotter and the #yarnbombbonus week 3

It’s week 3 of the #yarnypotter trail, and something extra has been added πŸ˜‰

This fellow is close to the castle (he was almost inside the castle….but I decided he might not want to be in gaol again…..

There used to be another block of houses right outside the castle gateway, running along by where you’ll find him. They were demolished in the first half of the 1900s, and you wouldn’t even know they’d ever been there!

You should also take a peek in the window at the Cottage Museum, where an extra little feature has taken up residence! Take a pic and let us know what you think πŸ˜‰

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Yarnypotter and the #yarnbombbonus week 2

It’s week 2 of the #yarnypotter trail and it’s time to add a little something extra…

If you have found this weeks bonus you’ll be at Horseshoe Corner, where Market Street, Penny Street and Cheapside meet.
There are three different stories about how the corner got its horseshoe and its name. The most popular is that John o’ Gaunt’s horse lost a shoe on this spot when he left Lancaster Castle for the final time and the townsmen fixed it on the spot to commemorate the visit. Another story connects it with the Young Pretender or Bonnie Prince Charlie as he was also known. The third tail suggests it may have been connected with the city’s horse fairs.

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Yarnypotter and the #yarnbombbonus week one

Finally the trail is up and running and a couple of teething problems have been ironed out it’s time to think about what else we have planned… Each week of the trail we’ll be adding a little something extra a #yarnbombbonus you might say. Some of them will remain for the rest of the trail others will be fleeting as they will be removable treats for people to take home like this week. We’ve been leaving #pygmypuffs around town for people to adopt.