Lost In Yarn

The Hook Stook

Picture this: it’s the height of summer, the sky is dreary, and you’re lost in the coils of a maze.  A knitted maze.  This was the second Saffron Walden Maze Festival, a celebration inspired by the town’s two historic mazes – one, an ancient turf labyrinth, the other a nineteenth century hedge puzzle.

Is there a difference between a labyrinth and a maze?  The two terms are often used interchangeably but they are actually distinct things.  Labyrinths came first, dating back at least four thousand years, and are based on a unicursal design with a single path to the centre.  Mazes are far more recent, appearing about five hundred years ago, and are challenges with dead-ends to confuse and frustrate.

Undoubtedly the most famous labyrinth story is that of the slaying of the Minotaur, a beast who periodically required human sacrifice.  The hero, Theseus, managed to slay this bull-headed monster…

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