Ma’am in yarn: Norfolk knitters produce life-size Queen and 1953 coronation village
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
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.
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.
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"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.
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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.
"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.
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