Educational and Therapeutic

Who we applaud…

Many schools and youth groups find our simple weaving equipment a wonderful antidote to the technology which surrounds us today. Our peg looms, weaving sticks and corkwork bobbins are used with great enthusiasm by students of all ages. Our experience tells us that those coping with learning difficulties also benefit considerably. Research proves that your pulse rate slows and your blood pressure lowers when you weave or knit. This is why many therapy groups, day centres and other similar organisations are frequently amazed and delighted at how rewarding students find their newly acquired skill. A sense of achievement is attained in a very short space of time aiding speedy recovery.

We decided it would be nice to focus on some our clients who have agreed to offer themselves as business use cases. Our products only ever come alive when they’re in use and that’s why we’re so grateful to you for sharing your experiences and acheivements with us.

Below we zoom in on Stuart Groom – Weaving Tutor and Senior Practitioner at Freeman College Sheffield.

Here’s what Stuart has to say:

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Hi there,

Thanks for taking a look at this article and I hope it is of interest to you.

My name is Stuart and I work at Freeman College the most urban of the three Ruskin Mill Trust Colleges.

We operate from a range of sites across Sheffield, including the city centre Butcher and Sterling Works, where the textile department is sited, Tintagel House at Nether Edge and we have also have our own land to grow Organic food on the outskirts of the City Centre.

Our students follow a three-year Integrated Learning for Living and Work Programme, a bespoke vocational timetable designed around their individual particular needs, talents and aspirations. For second and third-year students, this will usually incorporate work experience and/or study at local mainstream colleges, in preparation for life after college.

Our students benefit from Ruskin Mill Trust’s Practical Skills Therapeutic Education, a unique method that draws its inspiration from Rudolf Steiner, John Ruskin and William Morris, which has at its heart the core purpose of improving the lifetime opportunities for all people with learning disabilities, and is delivered through the Integrated Learning for Living and Work Skills Programme.

Both educational and residential provision are supported at the college by a wide range of Craft specialists, Therapists, GPs and psychotherapists to gardeners and IT technicians.

Our specific Programme of learning lets the students work on Personal and Social Skills it allows them to learn to be confident and feel valued through meeting people and making friends and through being encouraged and supported as they engage with the challenges of the social world.

The college has been set up in Sheffield since 2005 and I have been working here as weaving tutor since 2007 and we now have a department that covers, Wool processing inc Fleece washing, Spinning and Dying, Felting and general stitching and Weaving where we use a whole range of looms from Peg looms and Inkle looms right through to Eight shaft floor looms.

All our students choose which loom they want to work on progressing through the different types available and the type of product that they wish to make. Our emphasis is on the therapeutic benefit of the craft and by letting the students work on peg looms, etc we can observe their movements and understanding of in and out, up and down, left & right, forward and back, etc as well looking at posture, hand & eye and foot control and the use of the different limbs and based on the information we gather we along with input from our colleagues from other crafts and therapists can put together a personal development curriculum with specific targets for each individual student.

We have taken numerous peg looms of all sizes from The Hand Weaving Company as well as weaving sticks, hand bobbins and ribbon makers and all are in daily use – in fact we never have any spare as soon as one piece is finished the loom goes back into use with another student. Some students need to have more than one project on the go at any time.

Below I have included some images of students past and present working within the weaving department producing fabulous items.

Thank you to the Hand Weaving Company for giving us the chance to tell you a bit about ourselves. If you want more information then contact the college through Email: or go to our college Website for more information:

A 3rd Year Students Comment:

I started weaving in my first year. It was difficult at first, but the more I did it, the easier it became. I made a massive rug on a peg loom using multi-coloured pieces of wool. It took me a whole term. I loved it and I’m impressed with and proud of my work. It needed a lot of patience. It is now on a wall in my flat. I’ve made other types of scarves using other types of looms. I’ve used an inkle loom to make bands and belts and I made my waistcoat on a table loom.

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And we’d like to say a big thank you to Stuart and to all his students – well done! – The Hand Weaving Company Team



Sadly, Stuart passed away in November 2016 but his legacy at Freeman College lives on.

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