Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Yew is Ready - Are You Ready?


The yew tree wood is ready! This is the first Pop-A-bobbin shuttle to be made from it, only please don’t all rush to order one because Jane will be putting it, and any future shuttles in her Etsy shop soon. There are so many different woods that “I’m in the Garage” now makes into shuttles that it has got too complicated (for the time being), to send in personnel requests, do hope everyone understands. Jane and I will review the situation in the future when perhaps we both have more time and energy!
It is commonly known that yew trees have been traditionally planted beside churches. However, in some cases it seems that very old yew trees may have already been growing on a site before the earliest church building was erected there. I have no idea how long this particular tree has been standing next to the church in our village, especially as parts of the church date back to Saxon times. Last year a few branches had to be taken down as they were hanging over some gravestones. So the Archdeacon, who lives quite near to this particular church, got his chain saw out and cut some of the branches off. As soon as I learnt that this had happened, I was quickly up the hill and removed some of the thicker bits of wood, knowing that they would make lovely shuttles. Judging from the picture above I am sure you will agree. Yew is a slow-growing tree, it has a tight-grained wood, tough and resilient.


However, some of you warned me of the dangers of working with yew. Apparently the entire tree is poisonous - wood, bark, needles and seed. The only part, which isn’t, is the fleshy part of the seed. Our ancestors revered the Yew above all other trees. It has always been held sacred and understood as a link with death and rebirth. It was used by early man for making weapons, tools of death, especially in the Middle Ages when long-bows were fashioned from it. Today instead of an instrument of death a beautiful shuttle has been made from it, and more are sure to follow.

So are you Ready? In the next post there will be details of my 100th Blog Anniversary Give Away. .......... Are you Ready?


  1. Beautiful shuttle. Hmmmm, we have one of those damp meters as our house 'leaks' from time to time!!! BIG damp patches on the walls suddenly appear. The joys of living in old houses!!!!
    Interesting stuff about the yew tree. Didn't know you knew so much about yews!!!!!

  2. Exquisite Yew shuttle! Made me yearn to reach out and take it off the screen, even considering it's poisonous origins.

    NOTE: JK Rowling chose Yew as the source wood for the dark wizard Voldemort's wand. Wondering how many other writers have used Yew to foreshadow dire portents in their works?

  3. That shuttle is absolutely lovely. What an interseting comment on the Yew Tree!!!!!!!

  4. One hundred posts! - and I remember the very first one! Congratulations.

  5. Re: News of Yews

    I must say that I have been waiting for this news from the moment you mentioned the Yew wood that was drying out! Am itching to get my hands on one of these and am surprised it is already in production! Very exciting news!
    Fox : ))

  6. Did you know that chemicals extracted from the bark of the Pacific Yew can be used to kill cancer cells? I would love a yew shuttle!!

  7. You are going to get weary of my saying this, "But I LOVE your blog" I loved learning about the Yew tree and the history attached.
    The shuttle is lovely and I'm not partial to light colored woods, but this one has a grain pattern…very nice.
    My best to you as you go forth each day, taking care of the 'business' of life.
    love, Bev

  8. Beautiful, as always. You mentioned on a post of mine that you had considered using wood dye to colour light coloured shuttles, but didn't want to take away the natural look. I'm not sure about in the UK, but here, you can buy transparent coloured wood stain that would colour the wood, but let the grain to show through. Since I'm not sure you'd want to offer coloured shuttles, perhaps I could buy an unfinished shuttle sometime and finish it myself.

  9. Hi Isdihara, Oh didn't know about Voldemort's wand - yew does have a bad name!
    Thanks Typs Tatting I could have written more about yews but didn't want to bore you all!
    Fox the purchase of the meter has helped us to find out if certain woods are ready, I know you have been waiting!
    Yes umintsura I did know about the healing properties associated with yew and cancer, especially as my son studied bio-chemistry. Its fascinating how trees and plants are being studied afresh with regard to finding cures or at least help for those suffering from illnesses, but then our ancestors knew all about this!
    Thanks Bev never tired of hearing that you like my blog!! Agree Yew does have a lovely grain.
    Jeff we haven't tried the coloured varnish but wonder whether that would really make much difference to the overall colour? Interesting. Although we did use a wood stain on one that Jane used - I must get her to blog about it!! Thanks for the offer will get back to you about that, shuttle production is a bit slow at the moment!!!

  10. Your blog is NEVER boring. Love hearing all the info that you have found out. That shuttle looks gorgeous.


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