Queen's Norfolk home created in knitted masterpiece
PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:10 25 January 2020
A 90-year-old great-great-grandmother has created knitted royalty with her latest creation.
After attracting national attention last year for her woollen version of Great Yarmouth seafront in the 1970s, Margaret Seaman has created another Norfolk landmark with her needles - Sandringham House.
Inspired by a visit with her grandson last spring, Mrs Seaman's knitted model of the Queen's much-loved country retreat took around six months to build.
She said: "I had been thinking about it a lot and I suddenly hit on the idea of Sandringham. My grandson took me and my daughter there for my 90th birthday. We stayed a couple of days and it was so lovely - and everybody knows Sandringham House.
"I'm doing both sides of the main house, which is the entrance that the public use when they visit and then the other side which is the royal side.
"I'm also doing all the lawns, trees and paths, the lake with the little house on it, the entrance and the rhododendron walk which is about half a mile long I think - it seemed to take ages walking through that."
With the creation set to go on display at the Norfolk Makers Festival next month, Mrs Seaman will donate all money raised to Anna Poppy, a young girl diagnosed with brain and spinal cancer, as her family fundraise for further treatment abroad.
After starting work on the project in July, Mrs Seaman has been knitting around the clock to create the masterpiece, with her kitchen and dining room currently filled with knitted chimney tops, windows and trees. She said: "We were in the process of moving at the same time I started so it wasn't easy to do anything. I usually knit for about eight or nine hours during the day and then I go to bed at 9pm and I knit for another three or four hours. I don't normally go to sleep until about 1 or 2am sometimes with so much to do at the moment.
"It's all in my head normally, I don't stop to write things down. I always think that's a waste of time.
"I start on a piece, work so far on it and then if I get stuck and can't think what to do next, I leave it and start on something else. Usually I've got five or six pieces on the go at the same time and I work on whichever one my brain tells me to do."
Mrs Seaman lives in Caister with her daughter Tricia, 71, who also lends a hand with the knitting and constructing.
She said: "I've got a friend who knits the model people for me," Margaret said. "She has knitted the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and lots of characters to walk around the house including a gardener with his wheelbarrow.
"Another lady helps me with some of the flowers and of course I have my daughter who does anything she can to help."
With countless boxes of wool stored under her bed, Mrs Seaman has carefully studied photographs of the estate for make sure the colours are perfect.
She said: "It's amazing, I've got about 15 boxes of wool and sometimes I still haven't got the colour that I need so I go and buy more, but I do get wool donated to me as well which is very useful.
"I don't use any particular make of wool, I just use whatever I can get which is the right colour. I use normal needles, usually a size eight, nine or 10, and crochet hooks anything from a size two to a size seven."
The knitted creation will be on display as part of the Norfolk Makers Festival, running from February 8-23 at the Forum in Norwich.
Last year's model of Great Yarmouth seafront attracted thousands of visitors to the festival, with people eager to see Joyland's famous snails and the historic Wellington and Britannia piers, as well as raising £13,000 for the Louise Hamilton Centre, based at the James Paget University Hospital, where Mrs Seaman joined a knitting group following the death of her husband Fred seven years ago.
Mrs Seaman said: "I still can't believe last year happened, it was such a surprise.
"I don't think I ever had any courage in what I was doing. It never seemed to me that it was going to be any good to raise money with, but I was wrong about it and it has raised a lot of money which I'm very pleased about."