91-year-old's knitted Sandringham to be exhibited in Norwich this month
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
For the first time ever, the astonishing knitted creations of Norfolk 's 91-year-old queen of knitting, Margaret Seaman, are on display together. Margaret has knitted Sandringham House, Great Yarmouth seafront, an enchanted forest and - through the coronavirus lockdowns - Knittingale Hospital.
They will be the centrepiece of the Norfolk Makers Festival Showcase at Norwich Forum from June 1 to 11.
Margaret, of Caister, near Great Yarmouth, has attracted a worldwide following for her incredible creations, which she makes to raise money for charity. She spent the first lockdown knitting Knittingale to raise money for Norfolk hospitals. Her personal tribute to the NHS teams working in the county's hospitals through the coronavirus crisis includes four wards complete with tiny patients, doctors and nurses, an A&E department, a helipad, beautiful gardens – and even a cake stall and parking ticket machines.
“I just thought, ‘What can I do to raise money?’” said Margaret. “People talk about being bored; I'm never bored. I can't do other things that I used to - but I can still sit and knit, "
Her knitting projects have already raised tens of thousands of pounds for local charities and good causes. A recreation of Yarmouth's Golden Mile raised more than £13,000 for the Louise Hamilton Centre at the James Paget Hospital.
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“I have never got time to add it all up because I have always got too much knitting to do!” said Margaret.
She began creating the knitted scenes to keep busy after the death of her husband, Fred, eight years ago, and now lives with her daughter, Tricia, who helps with some of the knitting, alongside Margaret’s friend, Jan, who makes figures to populate the scenes.
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Margaret learned to knit when she was just seven – taught by her 14-year-old twin brothers. “They used to knit their own socks and they taught me,” she said. With four children, 13 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren she has done her fair share of knitting clothes but for the past few years all her efforts have gone on her creations for charity.
Yarmouth Golden Mile has been shown at craft fairs around the country and last spring Sandringham House was featured on Good Morning Britain with Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield. Since then Margaret has added many more details to her knitted Sandringham.
She works from sketches and photographs and loves adding quirky details. Staff at the Knittingale include Dr Makewell, Dr Mendme and Nurse Woolly.
Margaret's Knittingale Hospital is raising money for three Norfolk hospitals - the Norfolk and Norwich, the Queen Elizabeth in Kings Lynn and the James Paget in Gorleston. Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/margaretknitsfornorfolk to contribute.
The Norfolk Makers’ Festival at Norwich Forum will also include many of the county’s most talented craftspeople and artists, showing some of the work they made during the pandemic.
See a fairytale grotto made from glass, the beautiful coronaquilt created by the Norwich Costume and Textile Association, masks made by schoolchildren with the help of artists from Norwich University of the Arts, plus beadwork, lacework and a giant knitted Canaries banner.
There will also be the chance to watch demonstrations of weaving, glass modelling, knitting, dyeing, painting, embroidery, craftwork and more from June 1.