Christine achieves a dream with her wool shop

Christine O'Neill has opened her new shop, O'Wool in Wherstead Road, Ipswich

Christine O'Neill has opened her new shop, O'Wool in Wherstead Road, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Schoolteacher Christine O’Neill has achieved a dream with the opening of her own wool shop in Wherstead Road.

49 Wherstead Road, Ipswich

49 Wherstead Road, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

It has taken Christine, and her husband Patrick, a year to refurbish the former shoe repair shop ready for its new use.

She is calling her shop O’Wool and is opening on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays initially.

Christine, said: “I will be selling wool, needles and other accessories. plus some kits and other things I maken such as sensory bands for people with dementia.

“I have knitted all my life. My grandma and mother taught me when I was six or seven years-old.

“And I have always wanted to have a wool shop.

“We saw this little property was available, and it needed quite a lot of work doing to it.

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“It has taken us a year to get here.

“My husband, Patrick, has put such a lot of work into it. I have discovered he has talent I never knew he had.

“Now I am very pleased to be opening the shop.”

They have replaced the electrics, plumbing, plastering and woodwork, fitted out the shop and decorated too.

The shop window is full of items Christine has knitted and some she has also designed, including the bunting.

“I want to encourage peope to knit,” she said, “and I will always help with advice, I have always knitted, for my family - now my grand daughers, and for charity projects.”

The sensory bands are like hand-muffs, personalised with various items attached, for people with dementia to use, she said. “I call them FiddleFums, ” she explained.

Something similar could be made for elderly people, living in nursing accommodation, to keep their belongings with them; things like keys, glasses case and purses - HandyHavs.

Christine has knitted clothing for many years and designed other items, and entered competitions.

One of her entries for an HMS Victory competition was among the prize winners.

She has designed craft items and toys too.

She has a prototype Wool-I-Am, woolly mammoth, which she intends to offer as a kit. She also has a Rosie the Rhino and a Suffolk Punch.

“I am hoping to produce a series of historical characters too,” she added. “I was asked to do a Clanger recently.”

One current project is making small knitted Teddybears or finger puppets to go into Samaritan’s Purse boxes which are distributed around the world as international aid in times of crisis.

Each bear requires 30 grammes of wool. so could be made from her bargain bucket for just 50p, she said.