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Ma'am in yarn: Norfolk knitters produce life-size Queen and 1953 coronation village

PUBLISHED: 18:51 04 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:34 05 July 2019

Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church.
Lois Gill (blue top) and Penny Evans


Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019

Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church. Lois Gill (blue top) and Penny Evans Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Archant 2019

It was a right royal task but a group of avid Norfolk knitters spent six months and got though a thousand balls of wool to create a life-sized model of the Queen.

Members of the Petal & Purl group began the knitted monarch to mark the 65th anniversary of the Queen's coronation and to raise money for the church, village hall and community projects in Caston, near Watton.

But the project quickly gained a life of its own becoming a celebration of village life in 1953 with countless painstaking hours of knitting and stitching to produce scenes featuring 60 woollen people.

Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church.


Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Church warden and group member Lois Gill, 67, said the idea for the amazing yarn creations came when the group were asked to make the centrepiece for the Norfolk Makers' Festival at The Forum in Norwich.

She said: "I decided what would be a good centrepiece would be Her Majesty in her coronation robes because it was the 65th anniversary year. Now two years later because we were putting on a festival and decided to continue the 1950s theme.

Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church.
Lois Gill (blue top) and Penny Evans


Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church. Lois Gill (blue top) and Penny Evans Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

"They are all created out of knitted squares, knitted strips or just knitted garments. All that have been made by us, there is nothing that has been bought or fashioned from other people. They are all fairly authentic in the way the way people dressed in the 1950s."

The figures included everything from a street party scene, a pub landlord serving drinks, to a couple baking in their kitchen, a shopkeeper selling pork pies and sausages, and a milk maid with cheeky calf licking from a bucket.

Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church.


Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Hundreds of people visited when they went on display in Church of the Holy Cross in Caston and in 12 gardens around the village. Some figures have sold to buyers keen to own one, raising £15,000, though not the Queen who is being used by the group for talks and events.

Mrs Gill, a retired bank clerk, who has been knitting for 50 years, said they had researched the Queen before producing her woollen replica.

Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church.


Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

"We feel we have got quite a good likeness. The faces are needle felted which has given them a life of their own. Some are better than others, but the Queen I feel is the best of them all," she said.

Petal & Purl has 20 core members who each brought different skills. The group is now on the look out for a new project.

Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church.


Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Mrs Gill said: "Most are local but we do have people from other villages who are keen to knit. I do find myself spending a lot of time to Attleborough, Watton and further afield to Norwich with wool and patterns. I think it has to be in excess of a thousand balls of wool that have gone into this in total."

- Find out more about Petal & Purlevents, joining and donating

Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church.


Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church.


Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church.
Lois Gill (blue top) and Penny Evans


Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church. Lois Gill (blue top) and Penny Evans Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church.


Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Group of knitting-mad ladies based in Caston spent six months and hundreds of balls of wool making a life-sized model of the Queen and 60 other woolen figures to recreate village life in 1953, the year of her coronation. The Queen and figures are now on display in Caston church. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

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