Pat began with a quick explanation of the origins of the craft and its history. She explained that the word "Doll" is a shortening of "Idol" (we all went "of course, why didn't we think of that!"), and how the original corn dollies would have been part of various rituals, embodying the spirit of the corn and often buried with the new sowing of wheat to bring good harvests in the next season. Some was more light-hearted, with young men plaiting favours to give to their sweethearts or to wear in their hats. There were many different styles of favours, knots and dollies, often associated with different parts of the country.
Pat started us off with some easy plaits which created impressive curls and hearts, then after a quick break for refreshments made with Windmill produce (it's surprising how much courgette you can hide in a lemon and lime drizzle cake!), she started us on some more complicated designs which we had a lot of fun doing, though they were a lot tricker to make than Pat's nimble and well-practiced fingers made us think at first! Everyone managed to create something impressive though, and we all agreed it was a great way to spend a sunny morning in Nottingham. Thanks to Pat and thanks to all that came, including the lovely allotment holder from over the way who turned up with a huge basket of perfect Victoria plums!