Woolly Worstead 2016

My last post on Woolly Worstead 2016.  So . . . how did we do ?

Were our Members the best team workers ever ?  YES

Were the stall holders happy ? VERY

Did the demonstrators have lots of interest ?  YES

The refreshments ?  DIVINE

The musicians ?  EXCELLENT

Did we fulfil our mission to teach ?  YES

How about the visitors ?  LOVELY

Did we make a pound or two towards the maintenance of the Workshop ?  YES

So . . . shall we do it again ?  Watch this space !!!




“Fibre Fun for the Whole Family”

Saturday and Sunday, 18th and 19th June 2016

10 am – 4 pm

The Weavers’ Workshop and Village Hall, Main Street, Dilham NR28 9PT

Free entry, and free parking

Join us for:  demonstrations of spinning, weaving, braiding, rag-rugging, corn dolly making, knitting; free workshops for children; sales & trade stalls; sheep shearing,;alpacas & goats; games & quizzes; folk singers; home-baked refreshments

For further information please use the “Contact Us” page

With only weeks to go to D Day (Dilham Day !) we have decided to “drip feed” you with information about the event – TMI (too much information) can be a turn-off, so we shall focus on three activities/retailers each week until The Big Weekend.


It’s here !  

After all the planning and hard work, all that’s left to do is enjoy meeting folks, enjoy Jill’s delicious home baked food, enjoy looking at (and maybe treating ourselves to) all the goodies our traders have brought, and sit back and enjoy the music on Sunday.

This week’s pics were taken at our meeting on Tuesday.  Ellie is modelling a delicious shawl crocheted for Guild funds by Gerri (snapped up by Margaret), and Rose, Rita and Sue are labelling tombola prizes, under Sharon’s strict supervision !  




Only a week to go !  

Cakes are baked, plans drawn up, sheep sheared, electric cables looked out, bunting stitched, dye baths prepared, knitting patterns sorted, talented local craftspeople selling yummy stuff booked, prizes wrapped, items priced.  Now all that remains is to give the Workshop a spruce, erect the marquees, hope for good weather, and look forward to welcoming lots of visitors.  

Please don’t forget that the Woolly Worstead Weekend (so called because we are the Worstead Guild) is held at our workshop in Dilham, the next village to Worstead.

Look out for the 3-sheep signs on the roadside.


There’s plenty of free parking around the edge of the field, and spaces near the entrance for those with a disabled parking badge.  

C U there !

Only 12 “sleeps” to go to WWW – scarey !

Two of us went on a recce at the weekend, to Ickworth Wool Fair – a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Sheep, Morris Dancers, yarn, alpacas, handmade crafts, and yummy cake – topped off by sunshine – LOVELY ! (And how on earth “somebody” could justify buying a fleece – even though it was a bargain – when she has 18 sheep of her own, remains an unfathomable mystery.)

With visitors in mind Worstead members had a grand clear-out of our store room last week. We have cone upon cone of yarn that is perfect for machine knitting, but not SO great for weaving. It will all be for sale, so come along and bring your biggest shopping bag.

This weekend is my first ever visit to a WSD Conference, in Lincoln. I shall be the one wearing a crocheted sheep with wiggly legs, and handing out WWW flyers – DO please say hello cos I don’t know the ropes and may feel intimidated.



Only Three Weeks to D Day !





It’s our last scheduled Making Day today and hopefully, by teatime, we shall have produced yards and yards of bunting, wrapped dozens of Lucky Dip prizes, and appliquéd several cute sheep.  (Rest assured, no critter will be harmed in this process).




Our “newly born” mascot – the HUUUUUUUGE lamb made by Sandra and Tim – is currently without a name.  What would YOU call a sheep?  Yes . . . you’ve guessed it . . there’s  to be a “Name That Sheep” competition !




Excitement is mounting.  I spoke to several of our retailers yesterday at the Aylsham Country Market (a real hidden gem for high quality crafts, cakes, coffee and plants) and they’re busy producing “secret stuff” for Woolly Worstead – mental note to self to take purse !

Four weeks to go, and The Worstead Weavers are still making lists –

Children’s prizes: check !     Letter to residents: check !     Tombola tickets: check !

We’ve had confirmation that the Weekend will actually begin on Friday evening with an illustrated talk by Alison Larkin. Alison specialises in traditional hand embroidery and period-correct costume making. During 2014/5 she worked on a project to create a replica of a waistcoat made for Captain James Cook by his wife, Elizabeth. The finished item has been on display in the Cook Museum in Whitby and will be available to view, along with examples of replica costume and embroidery from the 18th century. The talk will be of interest to those with a love of textiles, stitch, costume and history and will take place in the Heritage Centre, Aylsham at 7 pm. Tickets cost £4, and booking is essential.



In this digital age it’s easy to forget that sheep were responsible for the wealth of this country. Yes, sheep – two ears, four legs, woolly coats, mooch about in fields. Hard to imagine? Not if you’re a spinner or a weaver, or a knitter or a crocheter (is there such a word? But “hooker” sounds rude!) It’s coming up to shearing time again, and that means lots of lovely fleeces for sale. Whilst it must be acknowledged that the fleece from certain breeds of sheep is easier to spin/produces a better yarn than others, some of our Members firmly believe that there’s no such thing as a “bad fleece” – you simply do something different with it. (Even the VERY mucky bits do wonders for the compost heap.) Whatever you’re going to do with it, it’s best to have a really good look and a feel before you buy, and that’s why we’re delighted to welcome Pat Littleboy to WWW. Pat is an experienced spinner/weaver/dyer as well as “mother” to a flock of sheep. So come along and buy your fleece from someone who knows first-hand what crafters need.



Oh crumbs !  Only FIVE weeks to go to D Day.  Our Guild Members are a great bunch – I took a “jobs to do” list along to our meeting this week, and almost all the slots are filled.  One of our newer Members even volunteered to do “loo duty” !  

And such excitement yesterday afternooon.  We woolly crafters here in Norfolk are very fortunate in that a knitwear designer/author of knitting pattern books lives here.  She has kindly donated to Woolly Worstead several hundred vintage knitting patterns dating from the 1940s to the present.

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They range from egg cosies to slippers, tea cosies to knitted vests, twin-sets (there’s a whole section for those) to 80s picture-knits, cushions to Aran sweaters.  



All will be on sale, but be warned – you’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to browse and salivate, and you’d better bring a spare shopping bag.  (I just had to share “man doing impersonation of teapot” with you)

At the risk of showing favouritism, I’m going to mention Cath, the Crochet Lady again because I’ve just taken delivery of a flock of sheep.  They were designed and made especially for Woolly Worstead customers.  Well . . . one of them might not make it onto the sales table cos its bleating at me.


Wednesday was a good day too.  The Countryside Guild had one of their members demonstrating weaving.  BUT . . . not just any old weaving . . . WOW Weaving !  Lorraine Helen Rivett weaves colours and textures and creates items of stunning beauty.  Check out her website to see for yourself.  And the best thing of all ?  She’s one of the traders at Woolly Worstead !



I’m not actually against crocheted doilies, but . . .     as a child growing up in the 1950s, crocheted doilies were an everyday item. They were under glass pots on the dressing table; supported vases of daffodils in the spring; and lurked beneath the cut glass fruit bowl on the sideboard at Christmas. They were always “ecru”, ornate and . . . naff ! So I never did learn to crochet. HOWEVER, meet Cath – a woman who has changed my view of crochet forever. With zingy colours, funky buttons, and eye-catching designs, her crochet is a breath of fresh air.




Stunning”, “adorable”, “fantastic attention to detail” – all describe the unique needlefelted items created by Jayne. Whether it is a hare, a Father Xmas or a custard cream, Jayne’s handcrafted pieces are a joy. Come and see for yourself.



A prize every time! Worstead Members have been holding “Making Days” to handcraft textile-related items for our Tombola and Lucky Dips. (It wasn’t just an excuse to get-together, stitch/knit/weave and eat cake – honest !)


It is Week 4 on our Countdown to D Day and dedicated followers of this site will have seen that last Tuesday evening we were “Playing with Peglooms” with Sue St John. Pegloom weaving, along with weaving using Finger Sticks, is one of the easiest ways of producing a fabric



. And this is why they are the first two types of weaving students learn when they sign up to one of our “Introduction to Weaving” days. Students have usually thoroughly mastered both techniques mid-way between coffee-and-cake and lunch, and they then move onto the Rigid Heddle Loom or Knitter’s Loom.


Lunch over, and as we make our way towards afternoon tea (and another piece of cake), students are introduced to the endless possibilities offered by a four-shaft table loom.


(The Rigid Heddle and the Four-Shaft are all set up and ready to go, so students are able to weave some fabric and really get a feel for working these looms.)

Most of our “for the public” workshops are held either in the springtime or the autumn, but visitors to our Woolly Worstead Weekend will be able to watch our Members demonstrate methods of weaving: finger sticks; peg loom; rigid heddle; four-shaft; inkle;




and rugmaking on a floor loom.

Oh dear ! I said I’d keep the information down to three items each week, and that’s SEVEN different types of weaving – apologies!






They raise money for charity with gusto and bonhomie, and we are delighted to welcome them to our Woolly Worstead Weekend – they are the Blakeney Old Wild Rovers Shanty Band. They have kindly agreed to perform for us on Sunday 19th – get ready to tap your feet and join in with folk songs old and new.


For devotees of traditional embroidery we have a real treat in store for you. Alison Larkin has been stitching almost all her life, and her dedication, skill and knowledge have won her acclaim at home and overseas. Using one single strand of silk Alison produces ultra-fine work of exquisite beauty. She has recently combined these skills with her love of historical costume, and has created a meticulous replica of the waistcoat stitched for Captain James Cook and which featured in last year’s Cook Museum Exhibition. Come and watch Alison at work, dressed in historically-correct Georgian costume.You’ll find this cheeky chappie on Alison’s website – well worth a look.A handmade toy has an irresistible charm.


Doreen has been knitting and selling toys to delight children (of all ages) for many years. Colourful and cuddly, washable and durable, they make a wonderful gift.


I don’t know about you, but for me an important part of any outing is eating !  Whether it be morning coffee with a slice of yummy cake;  lunch (perhaps a delicious soup with a hunk of “real” bread); or my favourite – afternoon tea with freshly baked scones, the food really does matter.  Which is why we are delighted to have Jill Willis in charge of refreshments.  Jill uses only the best ingredients, and bakes all of her produce at her home in Aylsham.  (Visitors to Aylsham’s weekly Country Market can vouch for the quality of her baking, and the writer once made herself quite poorly because she couldn’t leave Jill’s lemon meringue pie alone, and ate the whole thing in one sitting !)


At the risk of you throwing your laptop/iPhone/tablet at the wall at the mere mention of the word, may I say that it’s never too soon to be looking for suitable Christmas presents.    Handmade, good quality, and affordable – all describe the many items hand stitched by Linda Mears.  And for those Vintage-Lovers among you, come and check out Linda’s stash of ribbons and trims


We Members of the Worstead Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers are very proud of our heritage. As you will be aware, the little village of Worstead gave it’s name to worsted cloth – justifiably world famous because of it’s fine quality.  The weight, texture and draping properties of worsted made it the number one choice for elegant clothing.  Norfolk’s woollen industry was prominent during Medieval times, as were the prodigious letter writers, the Pastons.  Members of the Paston Historical Society will be with us at WWW – suitably attired and ready to share with you their knowledge of our famous local family.

WWW rag rug

Rag rugs – formerly common in homes of the less affluent, where the family would make a new one for the fireside each Christmas, whilst last year’s found its way into the scullery, and the one from the year before that became a door mat (you get the idea). Not so now – an eco-friendly, delightfully folksy rag rug is now a must for every country home. Edwina Ward makes hers using traditional methods and a great deal of skill. Watch her at work; perhaps treat yourself to one of her creations, or sign up for one of her Rag Rugging Workshops.

WWW patchwork fabric

Tuliptree from nearby Roughton is pleased to offer you an assortment of the goodies they sell in their wonderful shop. Beautiful handmade buttons and beads; fabrics perfect for patchwork (and dressmaking); cushions, bags and quilts. The range of their wares is amazing – be prepared to be inspired ! (See their website for more info.)

WWW corn dollies

When we think of weaving, we tend to think of fibre, but it is not necessarily so. Local maker Sandra Rutherford has been making and selling corn dollies for many years. She skilfully reproduces authentic shapes from different parts of the country. Watch her weave her magic with straw grown especially for the purpose