WOOL SHOP OWNER URGES PEOPLE TO SHARE THEIR YARNS

Caring crafter Fiona Williams is urging Middlesbrough folk to share their yarns.

The 52-year-old crochet queen achieved her lifelong dream earlier this year by opening her own shop.

Now she’s urging fellow knitters, crocheters, hobbyists – as well as novices – to join her every Monday morning to show their skills, tell their stories and enjoy each other’s company.

The first Knit & Natter will take place at Jean’s Kitchen in the town’s historic Dundas Indoor Market between 11am and 1pm.

“The idea is to get people together and if you’ve got other crafts you’d like to share please come and join us,” said the mum-of-three who lives in Grove Hill.

Fiona hopes the new group will also help less fortunate members of Middlesbrough’s community.

“Even somebody who can’t do anything could learn to knit or crochet a square,” she said.  “The plan is that towards the Autumn we’ll put all these together and make blankets for the town’s homeless people to help them keep warm through winter.”

Fiona opened her shop Woolen Wonders in the Indoor Market a few weeks ago.  She has been crocheting for more than 30 years and until now gave away everything she made.  “My children have always said why not make a business instead,” she said. “After my husband got some compensation after an accident at work we thought we would do something with the money rather than waste it.”

Woolen Wonders sells everything you need to crochet, knit or sew.  Fiona is determined to help people who already share her passion or are just starting out: “It’s given me so much pleasure over the years so if I can help in any way I will.   Anybody who needs some advice can pop into the shop or email me.

“I remember when I was bringing up my children I couldn’t always afford to buy the yarns I wanted, so I’m trying to make everything in the shop affordable.”

As well as hosting Fiona’s Knit & Natter group, five members of staff at Jean’s Kitchen – including owner Jean Hall and manager Louise Matthews – are putting on their running shoes to raise money for a cause particularly close to their hearts.

Mum-of-three Donna Duffield, whose sister Rachel Andrews has worked at the café since 2008, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  The team from Jean’s Kitchen will be taking part in the Race for Life in Stewart Park in Middlesbrough on 5 July to raise money for Cancer Research.

Dundas Indoor Market Manager David Harris said: “One of the things that sets us apart is how close we are to our communities.  The independent businesses based here are run by people who really care about their families, friends and neighbours.  And – as Fiona and the runners from Jean’s Kitchen are demonstrating – they’ll do anything to help in any way they can.”