Paignton Zoo gardeners are a bunch of knits
Gardeners at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park have been caricatured in wool by a colleague.
The knitted figures have been made by cleaner Sue Ball. Each one is about 10 inches tall and stuffed with kapok. So far she has completed five members of the Zoo’s gardens team.
The characters are closely observed, with Paignton Zoo uniforms and badges. They also show individuals with familiar items or the tools of their trade. Bill Corner is depicted with a chainsaw and Martin Holt with cream cakes. Mike Phillips is seen checking his hair in a mirror and is dressed in shorts, which he wears all year round, regardless of the temperature.
The most complicated figure is John Baxter’s, which is pushing the cleaning machine, complete with vacuum hose and sweeping brush, that he uses to sweep up litter around the 80 acre site.
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Sue, from Paignton, has been knitting for 30 years but has previously only made jumpers and scarves for her children when they were small.
She said: "This is the first time I’ve made figures. I saw a pattern for a knitted Father Christmas and I thought it looked like one of my colleagues and so I was inspired!”
She started making the characters last year and added: “It was just something to do!”
She spends about an hour and a half each evening on her hobby – one figure takes about a week. She uses 3 millimetre needles and standard double knitting wool.
Sue said: “It’s really quite easy. It’s a simple pattern that I’ve adapted.”
So what do the people who have been knitted think of their caricatures?
Mike Phillips said: “I think my figure is very good – too good! She has been very kind to us!”
Other colleagues are looking forward to seeing their figures in due course. Sue is hoping to make more figures as soon as she has time.