YARN-BOMBING is perhaps best described as graffiti - but with knitting needles instead of spray cans.

York textile artist and jeweller Sally Stone is an advocate of the art form and one of the forces behind a current project which is, excuse the pun, going swimmingly.

Fantasy Fish is her latest yarn-bombing venture, conducted alongside fellow artist Deborah New and scores of crafty volunteers.

The idea is to knit, stitch or crochet shoals of fish which will be displayed in Rowntree Park later this summer. At the end of the project, they will be sold to raise funds to help victims of the York floods.

Sally, of South Bank, says: "Yarn-bombing or yarn-storming has developed from a street art and graffiti background. Unlike graffiti, it is non-permanent and easily removable and doesn't cause any damage. It tends to be colourful and in public spaces that sometimes you'd perhaps rather not be."

She adds: "Typically is was about making a threatening space less threatening and more accessible, but it can also be used to highlight issues."

An example of this, she says, was last month when people knitted bees and hung them in the Homestead in York to highlight the plight of the insect.

Sally has taken part in several yarn-bombing episodes herself, including one Valentine's day when she hung a knitted love heart in Rowntree Park. During the 2012 Olympics, she knitted a gold medal and placed it around her local postbox. "At the time, Britain was doing really well and all these postboxes across the country were being painted gold. York didn't have one, so I did that!"

The latest project has the theme of fish - for several reasons. Sally explains: "We chose fish because of a number of connections with York. In medieval times, York had the King’s Fishpool. Created by damming the River Foss, this large expanse of water, as well as contributing to the city’s defences, was well known for its abundance of fish. In Rowntree Park, where our display will be, the lake becomes so laden with a variety of fish following flooding that the York and District Amalgamation of Anglers have to net and rehome them. Also, fish come in many different colours, shapes and sizes. This offers lots of possibilities to both experienced crafters and those who are looking to try making them for the first time."

More than 40 volunteers have turned up to three workshops in recent weeks to make the fish, with events being held at the Winning Post and Golden Ball pubs and the Rowntree Park Reading Cafe.

Sally is expecting more than 200 fish for the display - and crafters have until this Friday to hand in their work to the Rowntree Park Reading Cafe, where they will be collected.

York Press:

FOR SALE: Ceramic brooches made by Sally, £8, half of the sale proceeds will go to the York Flood Appeal

Weather permitting, they will be erected on Monday, June 27, in good time for the park's annual party on Sunday, July 17. They will be installed in two spots: on the tennis court fence by the the cafe and hung under the nearby arbour. "Hopefully, it will look like they are swimming in the air," says Sally.

A giant fish made by Sally will take pride of place in the tennis fence display. An example of "extreme knitting", Sally dyed then cut up wool blankets into thick strips then knitted them together using giant needles fashioned from plumber's pipes 5cm in diameter. Quite a work-out, admits Sally. "Big knitting gets your arms going as the yarn is quite heavy."

Besides the workshops, crafters have been busy elsewhere making pieces for the yarn-storm. "People have been stitching, crocheting and felt-making as well as knitting. And it's not just been fish - they have made sea creatures and seaweed as well," she said.

Local groups including Sew Chatty at Dringhouses, the Good Humour Ladies Club at Colton and the Easingwold Knitting Group have contributed as well as a bunch of women from Fairfax Court. Contributions have arrived from as far afield as London and Berkshire.

Sally says it has been a wonderful community experience. "People like to get involved. It's a bit of fun and nice for people to get together and meet other people doing the same thing. It's also nice for people to see the installation afterwards and to raise money for charity."

The display will be taken down at the end of the summer and sold to raise funds for the York Flood Appeal. There will be two sales days on Saturday August 27 and Friday September 2. Sally has also made some ceramic fish brooches that she will be selling for £8, with half of that going to the York Flood Appeal.

Find out more via Sally's blog hippystitch.blogspot.co.uk and via the Friends of Rowntree Park (rowntreepark.org.uk)