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The Woolly Writer Winner Revealed

The time has come to reveal The Woolly Writer champion. After launching our annual competition back in issue 92, LGC HQ was flooded with fantastic and imaginative crafty stories. The team loved reading through each and every one – we’ve shared many laughs and were also touched by plenty of emotive reads. It was certainly a tough one to judge, but we want to congratulate Natalie Ahmed on her winning story. We suggest you sit back, relax and enjoy this one with a cup of tea. Thank you for entering crafters – we can’t wait for next year’s competition.

The Woolly Writer Winner Revealed

She slowly turned the ball of bright red yarn over in her hands, imagining all the wonderful things she could make, but before she could pop it into her basket, she felt a tapping on her shoulder…
“Excuse me,” the shop girl said. “I’m sorry, but have you chosen what you’d like? We’re closing early today, for the holidays.” She gave Mary an intentional smile, a shared joke. Of course Mary knew it was the holidays, and of course the girl knew who she was – everyone in the village did. Mary thanked the girl and bundled the yarn into her hand-knitted bag – a present from her husband last year. She wrapped her overcoat tightly around her and trudged into the dreary, cold day. She didn’t mind the icy weather, and it wasn’t a far walk back to their cabin’s inviting log fire.

She moved slowly through the snow-covered pavements, barely bumping into a soul. She still couldn’t decide if she’d bought enough yarn – her husband’s waistline had been increasing over the years, and she was sceptical whether the pattern had made allowances for middle-aged spread. She opened the door and was enveloped by a reassuringly warm wave of heat and spices; their home smelt so beautiful this time of year. Once again she couldn’t believe she’d left her knitting until the last minute. Her mantra of ‘just begin’ went out the window as quickly as she had printed the beautifully designed words from Pinterest. ‘“It’s fine,” she muttered to herself. “It’s only 3pm and he’s working late tonight, he won’t be home for ages.”

She prioritised putting the kettle on – no knitting project can be completed unless fuelled by tea and biscuits, this she knew adamantly. She’d already started a few rows a couple of months ago to make herself feel better about leaving it so late. The yarn was the boldest shade of red, reminiscent of a stop sign, funny when all Mary could think was ‘go, go, go!’. Her husband was going to love it – he was the sort who truly appreciated a handmade gift, especially from his loving wife, and red was his colour. He’d been complaining about the holes and snags in his favourite cardigan that Mary had made over four years ago. He wore it all the time and it certainly showed. They weren’t particularly flashy dressers, who could be bothered at their age, but still, she couldn’t stand the thought of him walking around the village in threadbare cardies, especially as they were so well-known in the local community.

The only audience for Mary’s click-clacking of needles was her cat Claws and the dancing fire. She liked to knit in silence, it provided the calm among the storm of her ferociously moving fingers. She allowed a break in the silence to listen to The Archers at seven o’clock, and made time for a few more tea-stops. As she knitted into the evening, unfurling more and more bright red cardigan as she went, the only movement in the cosy room was Claws’ eyes flickering as he tried to sleep through the noise by the fire. At around 11 o’clock Mary’s husband found her with a newly born, bright red cardigan keeping her warm as the fire sizzled and shrunk. He knew it was for him and kissed her on the head as she woke. “Sorry to startle you dear, I must get going if I’m going to make all the deliveries.” Flustered and worried that she’d fallen asleep before she finished, she looked down to see what she’d produced.

The cardigan was the most magnificent colour – and beautifully knitted piece – of clothing she’d ever made, if she did think so herself. And to Mary’s delight, it was finished, hooray! “Er, well I’ve made this for you to replace your old one, it’s nothing really, I hope you like it,” she said wearily. She was always slightly embarrassed when she gave someone a present she’d made, no matter who it was for. “I absolutely love it,” he said, as he whisked it off her lap to try on – a perfect fit. As he headed out, she rattled off a few instructions that she couldn’t help herself from giving. “Well, if you’re off be careful and don’t drive too fast. Has Rudolph eaten enough carrots? He’ll need the energy.” He cut her off: “Mary. I do this every year you know. Love you Mrs Claus.” And with a straightening of his beautiful new red cardigan, he went into the night.

Our winner
“I’m absolutely delighted that I’ve won The Woolly Writer. I love writing and Let’s Get Crafting magazine, so to be part of something that combines my passions is wonderful. When I read the opening sentence about bright red yarn I knew I wanted to weave in a Christmas theme – and reading it back has reminded me that I need to get started on my handmade gifts! I certainly won’t be short of yarn, ideas or materials with my incredible prize – thank you so much.”

Read the runners-up stories by Leska Beikircher here and Vivienne Millward here.

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