Blackpool shop owner Sheila ties up a wool deal

Sheila Olpin of Bijou Crochet Crafts
Sheila Olpin of Bijou Crochet Crafts

A Blackpool crochet expert is hoping to have the wool market sewn up after landing the rights to sell a specialist Italian brand in the county.

Sheila Olpin of Bijou Crochet Craft Shop in Park Road has the rights to sell Adriafil yarns at her little shop.

But it is not just wools and knitting and crochet equipment that Sheila sells, she also sells items she creates herself.

Sheila, 74, who has been working with wool since childhood, uses her lifetime of experience to create baby clothing and items for adults and even dolls.

She used to have a stall at Abingdon Street Market for nine years, but decided to move to share premises with her partner Patricia Glover who runs Park Bicycles.

Sheila said: “I have been here for 18 months now and things are going well.

“I have always enjoyed working in wool. My grandma first taught me to knit.

“I knitted for about 4o years but due to arthritis in my shoulder had to give up.

“Crochet is easier as it does not require you to hold a knitting needle under your arm. You just use your wrists.

“I make all sorts of things. Babywear and adults clothing, hats, gloves made to suit and blankets, gifts and dressed dolls and everyday range and my Little Princess Sets.

“I also make hand made jewellery. I saw a woman at one of the craft fairs I regularly go to and it looked fantastic so I decided to learn how to do it. So now I do broaches charms and key rings too.

“I also sell decorated hessian bags and do Amigurumi, which is a Japanese thing and means ‘small toy’.

“They are crocheted toys which are stuffed and soft and have become really popular in recent years.

“I was contacted recently by a representative from the Italian wool company Adriafil who dropped in to see me.

“I believe I am the only shop in the county to sell their wool.

“I loved being at Abingdon Street Market, but having the shop is great.

“You have to come in through the bike shop door, but I have everything I need here and I can spend hours working on my crochet work.”