Blossom and Yarn festival

Blossom and Yarn festival - Credit: Alan Porter

Lois Gill, artistic director of the Blossom and Yarn festival

In the Breckland villages of Breckles, Caston, Great Hockham, Griston, Stow Bedon and Thompson, the village churches are filling with unusually woolly congregations and decorations for what is believed to be the world’s first ever Blossom and Yarn festival.

Each of the medieval churches will be decorated with life-sized knitted people, animals, flowers, candles, a fireplace, food and much more, as well as real floral arrangements, for the fabulous flower and wool festival from July 10 to 13.

Knitters from all around the world have created more than 11,000 knitted squares, which were sewn together to create entrancing scenes, including a wedding and a royal baptism. The cast of knitted characters includes the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, a life-sized sheep and donkey, a harvest festival table laden with woollen vegetables, plus daffodils for Easter and poppies for Remembrance.

Each church has its own theme with Breckles celebrating Easter, Caston hosting weddings, Griston focusing on baptism, Great Hockham enjoying Christmas, Stow Bedon taking on Remembrance and Thompson marking Harvest. The churches will be filled with flowers too, including sweet peas grown by members of Caston Garden Club.

The idea for the Blossom and Yarn festival came from gardener, floral artist, craftsman and national flower arranging teacher and judge Lois Gill, of Caston. Two years ago she co-ordinated the Through the Garden Gate flower festival in Caston.

The July festival will raise money for all six churches, which worship together using each church in rotation and share a rector, Rev Bob Nichols, (who appears twice in knitted form).

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How many people have been knitting?

At least 100 people have contributed knitted items to the festival. One man has produced more than 100 pom-pom flowers. Knitters ranged in age from eight to at least 92 and knitters in the six parishes have been helped by people from all over Britain, and as far afield as Australia.

What are some of your favourite scenes?

It’s too hard to choose my favourite scenes! There is the joy and celebration of the royal knitted baptism at Griston, to the sheer sense of peace and tranquillity of the Remembrance scene at Stow Bedon.

What are you most looking forward to?

The looks on people’s faces as they take in the spectacle and atmosphere created in each church.?

The Bishop of Norwich will open the festival at a special ticketed preview evening on Thursday, July 9, in Caston Church. A festival Songs of Praise service will be held at 7.30pm on Sunday, July 12, at Thompson Church.

At each church there will be themed refreshments, and activities for children.

The Blossom and Yarn festival runs from July 10 to 13, with the six churches open from 10am to 6pm. Tickets are £6 for adults, free for under-16s. For more information, 01953 488111 and www.blossomandyarn.co.uK

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