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Mail monster Mint

Knitwit newspaper takes another pop at greetings publishers with Knit & Purl yarn


MINT are the latest greetings publishers to be monstered by the Mail with the newspaper’s Sunday edition lambasting their Knit & Purl gentle humour range for “pulling the wool over our eyes”.

Following on from their regular rants about rude cards, greetings stores putting children’s innocence at risk, and not enough cash from charity cards being handed over, the knitwits at the newspaper had a pop at co-owner Debbie Williams for saying the props for the designs are: “Lovingly hand knitted for you by Avis and Aileen and all the girls from the Harborough Ladies Knitting Circle.”
The group isn’t an official one but it’s what Debbie and mum-in-law Aileen and her pal Avis – who are in their 80s and been best friends all their lives – called themselves because they live in Market Harborough and sat knitting the props, including peas, sheep, frogs and mushrooms, used in the photoshoots for the card designs.
However, the story on Sunday, December 17, said: “They are among the most successful greetings cards of the past few years, featuring charming soft toys created by the Harborough Ladies knitting circle, accompanied by gently humorous puns.
“But the thousands of fans of the whimsical images have been spun a yarn – which The Mail On Sunday can unravel today. For we can reveal that the decidedly Middle England institution behind the knitted dolls is entirely fictitious.”
The Mail went on to claim that an Australian woman had been trying to get hold of the patterns from the circle and ran the story under the headline: “They've pulled the wool over our eyes: Knit and Purl novelty cards are ‘lovingly produced by a small town knitting circle’ that does not really exist.”
Debbie told the paper: “I knit all the creations and when we first started I enlisted the help of my mother-in-law, Aileen, and her best friend Avis.
“When the creative team heard about Avis and Aileen they couldn’t resist putting something on the back of the card, but they no longer help me with the knitting as they’re quite elderly now.”
She has built up the business with husband Alan over the past 11 years and they now also own both Real & Exciting Designs and Museums & Galleries – which they rescued from administration four years ago – and employ more than 30 people at their head office and warehouse in Corby.
Debbie told Greetings Today: “It was a shock to see the story in the paper – they’d contacted me about it and I explained that it’s true we all did the knitting, sitting together at home in Harborough, but they just went with their version anyway. The daft thing is the Australian lady had contacted us as the pattern she wanted isn’t in the two knitting books I’ve done.
“I went on Radio Leicester because they asked me for our side of the story, they wanted to know if we’ll take it further after being misquoted but I said I’m too busy knitting a gin bottle and chameleon for the newest designs. I’ll just keep knitting!”
Most of the 524 comments under the article online are positive with the majority happy the props on the “cute and creative” cards are “genuinely hand-knitted”, and one joked: “If there’s three of them, wouldn’t it be more of a knitting triangle?”
However, one showed their ignorance of the manufacturing process, seeming to think Debbie knits a different prop for every single card: “She admitted the other two don't knit for her any more and claims she knits them all entirely herself. If so, she must be knitting like mad 24/7, 7 days a week!”

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