London 2012 Cultural OlympiadBritish wool going for gold.


Marjorie Waye (right) helped other members to get started weaving and Adelheid Jenkins (left) delivered the finished cushions to Woolsack. Photo courtesy of Martina Müller.

A Buckinghamshire Guild member with two donations: knit cushion on left and handspun, felted cushion on right. Photo courtesy of Martina Müller.

The Woolsack booth at Fibre East were athletes could select their cushions in person. Photo courtesy of Martina Müller.

What an exciting year for London! With the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Summer Olympics occurring in the same year, the United Kingdom is burgeoning with special events. While culminating with Olympics, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad has been underway since 2008 and is dubbed the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympics. Fiber artists across the UK have, of course, joined in the fun. The Buckinghamshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers, and Dyers helped to make handmade cushions of British wool for Olympic and Paralympic athletes. They learned about the cushion project through the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers, and Woolsack, a knitting and crochet guild that started the project. Bucks Guild member Marjorie Waye has a weaving studio and offered the use of two looms for guild members to weave fabric for cushions. One loom was warped in tartan and the other in white, all using British wool. Guild member Martina Müller was excited that "even non-weavers were able to have a go, and in fact, we had three people who gave up their first ever piece of weaving for the Olympics!" You can see pictures of the weavers at work on the guild's Facebook page. In the end, the guild had about forty woven, knitted, felted, and crochet cushions to donate after its February cushion-stuffing party.

Athletes continue to connect with Woolsack to select their cushions. Word about the project has spread through social media, word of mouth, and coverage on BBC TV and Radio 4. Some athletes even visited the Woolsack booth at Fibre East, a fiber festival in Bedford, England. I wonder if any athletes were inspired to learn to spin!

Looking for British wool? The Woolsack website has an excellent list of Stockists to set your heart racing.



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