It is that wonderful time of the year when spring is finally showing its true colours. This year I have been snapping photos of the pretty flowers and blossom as it appears around me, I have so looked forward to the warmer weather and longer days!
My local village of Marsden holds a festival every April to celebrate the coming of spring, or more technically the Marsdener’s of old attempts to keep spring all year round by capturing a cuckoo. The legend goes that
“Many years ago the people of Marsden were aware that when the cuckoo arrived, so did the Spring and sunshine. They tried to keep Spring forever, by building a tower around the Cuckoo. Unfortunately, as the last stones were about to be laid, away flew the cuckoo. If only they’d built the tower one layer higher. As the legend says, it “were nobbut just wun course too low.”
Obviously they were not too bright back then. So every year the village of Marsden in Yorkshire has a day of fun with Morris dancing, brass bands, a big parade with a giant cuckoo and a duck race. It’s a bit zany but fun.
A couple of years ago I was inspired the night before Cuckoo day to knit a cuckoo. I have no idea why, but it felt like a good idea. This is how my cuckoo was born. I named him Colin. It seemed to suit him. At his first festival he got a mention on the local Two Valleys Radio and had a great time being interviewed.
Last year the pattern to make Colin was available to buy as a kit from the National Trust stand at the festival.
He also had a girlfriend knitted for him by my friend Sue!
This year the festival was very special for me as it marks a year since I joined the Thieving Magpie morris group.
I thought it was about time that I released my cuckoo pattern into the world and let it fly from its nest. This is an easy toy to make and quick to do as he is made from chunky yarn. I used Wendy merino chunky which is lovely and soft. He is knitted flat and then seamed together. He features short-row shaping (instructions are given in the pattern) to give his lovely round belly and the curve of his wings. I think he makes a fun gift or if you have a garden with not many birds, a cute decoration.
Kits containing everything you need to make a cuckoo, including Wendy merino yarn, pattern, how to knit instructions, stuffing, knitting needles and sewing needle, are also currently available from Crafty Praxis in the Byram Arcade, Huddersfield and will also soon be available through my etsy store.
Happy spring cuckoo making!