Stitching success after record bid falls short

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Knit one, purl one . . . Otago Pioneer Women’s Memorial Association president Jean Park (left) and Dunedin Night Shelter operations director Carol Frost begin the task of stitching scarves together to make warm woollen blankets for shelter visitors. PHOTO: JOHN LEWIS

There’s quite an art to wrapping up a failed world record attempt and presenting it as a success – particularly when it comes to knitting scarves.

The aim was for Otago and Southland supporters of Hospice Southland to beat the world record for the longest knitted scarf.

The present record is a staggering 54.29km, set by supporters of the Children’s Hospice in Wales.

Knitters around the southern region managed to produce more than 500 2m-long scarves for their bid, which would have equated to just over a kilometre in length when stitched together.

But Otago Pioneer Women’s Memorial Association immediate past president Jean Park said it soon became apparent that it was going to be quite a stretch to beat the Welsh record.

Rather than waste the time and craftsmanship already put into the scarves, it was decided to find another use for them.

“Hospice Southland had a huge response to the knitting project from the community,” she said.

“But when we started looking at the mathematics of it, we thought, never going to break the record. Let’s get on and start sewing them up into blankets, because they’re woollen, they’re warm, and people are greatly in need of them now’.”

She said about 40 of the 2m-long scarves had been given to the Dunedin Night Shelter, to be stitched together and turned into woolly blankets for visitors to the facility.

More than 60 blankets had already been made out of the scarves and given to other organisations around the southern region.

“We’ve taken a losing battle and turned it into a winner.

“I think that’s really neat.”

Dunedin Night Shelter operations director Carol Frost said she was delighted to receive the scarves and was looking forward to spending her evenings stitching them together to create blankets.

“I’ll sit here at night-time and stitch them together and I’ll keep warm at the same time.”

She said the blankets would be of great benefit to those visiting the shelter.

“People come in here and we try our very best to find them housing.

“When they leave, we always give them a bedding package which consists of a duvet, a blanket, a pillow, sheets and towels, so that when they go to a boarding house or go flatting, they’ve at least got something to keep them warm.”