“Gee, that’s cool !” ; “OMG !” ; “Wow ! You guys have history”. These are just some of the comments the Worstead Guild of Spinners, Weavers & Dyers has received from American woolly friends. Local folk, however, are rather less demonstrative, and tend to take it for granted that a world-famous, top-quality cloth was born in a tiny village hidden away in deepest North Norfolk – Worstead.
The wool trade was the medieval equivalent of the internet – it was BIG and it made this country very wealthy indeed. (That’s why the Chancellor of the Exchequer still sits on a woolsack to this day.) And whilst the woollen industry is now mechanised and highly sophisticated, a few of us continue to enjoy the (very long and painstaking) process of taking a newly-sheared fleece from a sheep and, using our own hands and basic equipment, turning it into a hat, or a jumper, or a rug, or a scarf. It keeps us off the streets, and keeps the traditional skills (that go back thousands of years) alive.
Although we embrace medieval skills, we prefer modern plumbing ! Thanks to the foresight of some members the Worstead Guild has its own premises in Dilham, and visitors to the Weavers’ Workshop are relieved(!) to learn that we have recently added an access ramp, wide doors, and an adapted lavatory for people with disabilities. These alterations were funded using a generous donation from the Worstead Festival Committee.
Creating something “from scratch” is very satisfying, and not difficult. Do come and visit us in our marquee and try your hand at spinning and/or weaving. We have especially-easy projects for children that they can make and take away. All of this is free of charge, because our mission in life is turn otherwise “normal” people into “woolly enthusiasts”. A warm welcome guaranteed – whatever the weather!