Crafty Grove Hill mum turns 30-year hobby into dream job

Fiona Williams, 52, opened her shop Woolen Wonders in Middlesbrough's Dundas Indoor Market
-Credit: (Image: Newsmaker PR and Video Production Ltd.)

A Grove Hill mum has turned her 30-year hobby into her dream job.

Crochet queen Fiona Williams opened the doors to her own shop a few weeks ago. The 52-year-old Middlesbrough woman has been crocheting for more than 30 years and until now gave away everything she made.

But after some unexpected compensation, the mum-of-three decided to take the plunge and has now achieved her lifelong dream. Fiona now welcomes customers to Woolen Wonders in Middlesbrough's Dundas Indoor Market.

Fiona explained: "My children have always said why not make a business instead. 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," she said. "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.”

The caring crafter is also 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 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 Fiona. She 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.”

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 July 5 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.”

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