In-person course

Make a needle-felt Herdwick doorstop or a gorgeous bunny at Greystoke Craft Garden & Barns

Herdwick Doorstops in Needlefelt with Annis McGowan - a Quirky Workshop at Greystoke Craft Garden


Since 2005, ‘Quirky Workshops’ in Greystoke has been offering an eclectic and unrivalled range of arts, crafts and heritage skills courses. We now run over 140 ‘Quirky Workshops’ each year from our pretty 17thC farmhouse on the fringes of the beautiful Lake District and Eden Valley in Cumbria. In July 2020 we opened a lovely new, listed & spacious 'Covid-secure' teaching studio - the 'Swallow Barn', which now enjoys consistently excellent feedback; please see below for all details.

About the workshops:
We will be making a different animal at each workshop, including hares, bunnies, owls or a Herdwick doorstop. Please select the 'Contact the Maker' button to confirm which dates relate to which animal.

Annis will arrive with everything you need to create and learn to carefully needle felt the soft blended Herdwick wool mix to make a fabulous Herdwick sheep. She is highly accomplished in needle felting and her work is for sale in local galleries in Cumbria. She also sells needle felt kits online.

This type of felt is produced by locking the wool together through repeatedly stabbing it with your needle, it sounds complicated but can easily be learned and some beautiful pieces can be created in this way.

Following Annis' careful instruction you will leave at the end of the day with your very own unique hand made real adorable animals.

About the Swallow Barn:

“I’ve been thinking about last week’s workshop session. I am SO impressed with the loveliness of the Swallow barn. In the midst of this COVID world of chaos and uncertainty, it’s such a calm, safe space and I’m sure that everyone who visits will agree. I also appreciate the abundance of extra safety/hygiene measures that you’ve put in place. It works so well. Also, as Gwen mentioned, the extra space and its layout has made for a more social environment - it’s easier to chat and to look at what others are doing. I’m so glad I came, I feel uplifted, somewhat healed and much more positive as a result. Oh... and the salad lunch was just wonderful! “

“Attended an art class with artist Margaret 23 August and was extremely impressed with the tuition and the venue. All possible precautions were taken to maintain social distances and enable personal sanitization. The Swallow barn was a fantastic place to paint, light, airy and very peaceful, all mod cons were set up to show tuition and display our work on a screen. The lunch food was homemade, three types of soup, hunks of bread and two pudding choices. I couldn’t fault any of the day and look forward to going back if any more art courses are run. Well done all’

We spent the time during lock down upgrading a first floor barn and our very spacious ‘Swallow Barn’ is now up and running! The new Quirky Workshop studio allows plenty of distancing for up to 10 people using 8 separate tables, two hand washing stations, a one way system, 2 stairways, sanitising and a large screen on which to project the live stream of tutor’s detailed work, allowing students to stay at their desks for all the previous ‘gather round’ moments.

Lunch is provided on separate trays and brought to each student at their desk by staff wearing masks. We’ve had very positive feedback from students remarking how safe they feel, whilst still being able to enjoy a favourite crafting day out, under as normal as possible circumstances.

Here are some of the measures we will have in place, both within the Swallow Barn and its environs, to ensure the safety of us all during the workshop day:

• Each student has their own desk unless you have booked with others, in which case we could seat you together at the same table.
• Hand washing facilities and hand sanitisers will be available at key points, on entry and within your room. You will be asked to wash your hands frequently, especially just before and after breaks.
• There will be several windows open to ensure the room is well ventilated throughout the day. So please also bring ‘extra layers’ if the day outside is cooler.
• Lunch will be provided individually on trays and students can take this at their desks. Of course, you can bring your own lunch if you prefer.
• You will keep your allocated mug for the day, the usual hot drinks will be available and served at arm’s length.
• Please bring a face mask with you. Although, during the normal course of the day the wearing of face masks is optional, they may be required if you're moving about or in the event that close tutor contact is necessary for whatever reason - in which case both tutor and student should wear masks. We have some beautiful handmade masks for sale here for £3.
• We have a camera in place that films the tutor demonstrations close up, allowing a projected live feed to a large screen at the front of the room. This means all previous ‘gather round moments’ have been replaced with students remaining safely at their desks watching from afar.
• Sanitising procedures for ‘shared use’ tools will be in place. Many tutors will provide sets of tools for each student.
• There will be one-way circulation with distancing maintained in compromised spaces, including stairs ‘up and down’ for students.

We look forward to welcoming you here in Cumbria and the Lake District.

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 8 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.

What's included in the price?

Welcome drinks: fresh coffee & home-made biscuits; a lovely 2 course Aga lunch served on individual trays at your desks or outside on the Tea Lawn if it's warm enough. To finish off the day, a freshly made Cream Tea (including Aga-baked scones, cream and jam).

Our days are considered special treats; many come back time and time again and often combine it with a short break to the Lake District.

We have been hosting and organising 'Quirky Workshops' since 2005, from what was the original C2C Greystoke Cycle Café situated on the northern fringes of the Lake District. It was with great sadness that the Cycle Café was closed to the public in 2018; we since have become ‘Greystoke Craft Garden & Barns’. All our tutors are carefully hand selected professional experts and many are considered as national leaders in their field.

Please note that there will be an additional charge of £30 for the Herdwick sheep.


Annie Swarbrick at Quirky Workshops at Greystoke Craft Garden and Barns
Greystoke Craft Garden
CA11 0UT

Suitable for

  • Accommodation offered
  • Adults
  • Christmas
  • Intermediate level
  • Mothers Day
  • Romantic
  • Seniors
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Teenagers
Platinum Badge
What does this mean?

This craft course provider has been awarded Platinum status for receiving 50 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.

The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.

They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.


In-person course
- - #25043

A very fullfilling, enjoyable course. Annis is a great tutor, very supportive and enthusiastic. Anne at Quirky Workshops is inspiring, arranging these courses, providing the venue and great lunches. 5 plus stars all round

In-person course
- - #24994

Yet another great day out at Quirky workshops!
Annie is a wonderful and welcoming host, nothing is too much trouble for her. The home cooked lunch was delicious, this time served in the very welcoming kitchen.
What a patient lady and tutor Annis is. I broke so many needles! My Herdwick doorstop is fabulous and now has pride of place.
I would not hesitate to recommend this course.

In-person course
- - #24984

Fabulous course. Very patient and clear instructions. All easy steps leading to a beautiful doorstop to take home. Delicious home cooking in a beautiful relaxed setting. Couldn’t be better

In-person course
- - #24982

Annie's courses are always brilliant in this wonderful venue, and this is no exception. Annis is patient and helpful, providing all the materials for a very reasonable price, and her precise instructions and use of 'stage' examples in the process of building the sheep are excellent for novices and more experienced needle-felters alike.
I would recommend this course and venue without hesitation, and plan to be doing more to build up my menagerie of needlefelt animals!

In-person course
- - #24981

Thoroughly enjoyable day in a lovely venue with great company, and food.
Annis was an excellent tutor, and we all went home happy with our herdy doorstop under our arm, I look forward to returning!

In-person course
- - #14037

Great workshop, lovely lunch and teas. Brilliant teacher - thank you.

In-person course
- - #14036

Fabulous day, fabulous food. What more can I say?!

In-person course
- - #14035

Very enjoyable and relaxing day. Many thanks.

In-person course
- - #14034

Excellent day - good atmosphere - good food - good workshop - thank you to all involved.

In-person course
- - #14033

Fantastic workshop - lovely patient teacher and lovely subject. Beautiful lunch and hospitality. 5* thank you.

In-person course
- - #14004

Really enjoyed the day ... thank you so much for your patience and help to ensure we all came away with a lovely herdy. Will be back!

In-person course
- - #14003

Brilliant fun and delighted with my Herdy! Thank you Annie for your fabulous hospitality and Annis for your patience and sharing your expertise.

In-person course
- - #14002

I have had a fantastic day. Annie was wonderful and I can't wait to come again for the hare workshop!

In-person course
- - #13994

Only boy again, always. Brilliant, informative and lovely grub, thank you so much. Baaa.

In-person course
- - #13993

A fantastic course run by the brilliant Annie. Will be back to do the hare next year. Great food too!

In-person course
- - #13992

Such an interesting day and a new skill learnt. Annie was excellent and such a talented person!

In-person course
- - #13991

The most fantastic day at the Quirky Workshop and to round off the great company, lunch and coffee with a super herdy doorstop. Annie you have been amazing, thank you so much.

In-person course
- - #13990

Great fun, wonderful tuition, good food and a lovely gift to take home!

In-person course
- - #11961

Had a fabulous day today at a needlefelt workshop. Gorgeous setting and simply fantastic hospitality. Gorgeous home baked food eaten in the lovely Annie's kitchen. Workshop was great, teacher was fab and my hare now has pride of place. Thank you all!

In-person course
- - #11812

It was a fantastic day. Annis was a great tutor. Can't wait to go back and do more. The hare is next!!

In-person course
- - #6364

An excellent course that was a lot of fun, as well as packing a lot into the day to make a great Herdie doorstop. As ever the setting of the Quirky Workshops at the Cycle Cafe was welcoming, with a delicious lunch.

In-person course
- - #6199

Greatly enjoyed it although it was sometimes a bit difficult following instructions from the other end of the table

In-person course
- - #6183

Had a wonderful day, I have no hesitation in recommending this course, was great fun learning a new craft amongst like-minded people, eating lovely food and sharing banter in a perfect setting. Annie is awesome and the Quirky workshops at the Cycle Cafe are a real treat day away from it all, can't wait to return!

In-person course
- - #6159

I have been on a number of courses here and they have all been excellent. My herdwick doorstop is lovely and even admired by James Rebanks of "shepherds life' fame. The food is lovely too, I always eat too much!

In-person course
- - #6158

What a great day !
The venue is lovely, with a great atmosphere. The course was excellent, all the materials required were provided. The tutor showed all the steps and no sewing is required. We all went home with our own doorstop - wonderful.
There are so many courses available, I will be returning.
Vouchers are available which make great gifts.

In-person course
- - #6156

Excellent and fun course. Great tutor with easy to follow steps. Amazing lunch and treats during the day. One of many great courses offered by the cycle cafe st greystoke. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend and would even attend this course again!

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