Despite use of only one arm, Matthew completes tapestry with perseverance and patience

By Sue Read   |   Senior Reporter   |
Thursday 10th June 2021 5:47 am
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Matthew Woolland with the big tapestry. SR 3578 ()

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FOR anyone to complete an intricate tapestry two feet-long and 16-inches deep is a feat of perseverance. When you only have the use of one arm, it is perseverance and patience.

Matthew Woolland and his mum, Dot, were given a tapestry kit of a little girl and her dog.

“A friend lost his wife and passed the tapestry to me. It had never been opened. It was a new kit. Matthew saw it and said he would do it,” said Dot.

“It took him two years. A friend had a wooden frame she had not used for years which I had to adjust a bit.

“It had to be turned four times before Matthew could finish the tapestry. He’d thread the needle by holding the wool between the fingers of his right hand and tapestry needles have a big eye anyway. So no problem with that.

“Every time he put the needle in, he had to turn the whole frame over to make a stitch, then back again. It has 18 different colours.

“But there was not enough room when he was in his arm chair in the sitting room, so I turned out a table and got rid of some of the furniture in the conservatory and that was how he managed to finish it,” explained Dot.

This was the biggest tapestry Matthew has ever done, and he has done several, winning prizes at the local show with some.

Dot added that Matthew was determined to get the tapestry right. He has also done cross stitch work. Matthew was born with hydrocephalus, which means the right side of his body would never be as strong as the left.

He went to Vranch House in Exeter and then Southbrook School. He did a variety of jobs before working for Vapormatic who deal in tractor and agricultural parts, taking early retirement in 2008.

An accomplished wood carver, Dot’s cookery has also won cups at the local show. They used to live at Hittisleigh where Dot’s husband was the lengthsman and now live at Tedburn St Mary.

Sue Read

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