PEOPLE from all over the globe have been wrapped up in a world-record attempt initiated right here in County Clare. Inagh woman Valery Larkin has sparked a record-breaking plan to knit the world’s largest blanket which, when completed, would be able to cover an Olympic-sized swimming pool with room to spare.
In tackling this endeavour she has put out a worldwide call to knitters to donate a 6” square of knitting in any type of wool for the blanket. The self confessed “wool addict” has got responses from knitters in such diverse locations as Iceland, the Falklands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan and India.
The blanket will need around 70,000 squares and Valery has just received her first knitted piece all the way from Canada. She is also putting out a local call for people to help with sewing up the giant blanket, when all the squares are received.
The existing Guinness record holder is 1,378.28m², or 14,835.68ft² and was achieved by 67 blankets for Nelson Mandela Day and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, as measured in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 9, 2016.
Valery first came up with the idea while lying awake in bed one night.
“I’m officially going to be an old age pensioner next week and I was kind of thinking what am I going to do for the winter. So I just came up with this idea, it was two o’clock in the morning and I got up and checked the internet to make sure there is such a thing. So I thought, ‘let’s go’. I registered with the Guinness Book of Records that night. Then I got on the internet and spread the word around all of the knitting groups I could find. It’s just gone worldwide.”
She said she is stunned with the “wonderful” reaction her idea has got from all corners of the world.
“I really didn’t expect it, I got contacts from all over the world. I am on a Facebook page called We Like Knitting, and I just put it up and the responses that came back, I couldn’t believe it. My first square has arrived from a woman called Nellie who lives in the Yukon in Canada. I feel sorry for the postman if they are all going to come,” she smiled.
All of the donated squares will be logged and photographed and Valery is also planning on making a DVD for the knitters to watch when it is completed. Once the squares are collected, the job of sewing the blanket together will begin.
“I haven’t really thought out the logistics of everything yet but I know I am going to have to get a storage space and I know I’m going to have to rope in people to sew squares together. We will also need transport to get it to the place it is going to be judged. I have all of that ahead of me.”
Once the record attempt is complete, the blanket will have a good home to go to, she revealed.
“I’m planning to donate it to the Red Cross. It will be sewn up in such a way that it can be divided into individual blankets. I thought that the Red Cross would be a good place to donate it to because they are everywhere; they are there for every catastrophe. It’s a no borders organisation and this blanket is turning into an international, no borders one.
“There are friendships being made, people on the webpage are chatting back and forth, with correspondences going on from all parts of the world. It’s great to see,” she continued.
Valery admits that the attempt is a “huge undertaking”, however she is hopeful that all of the 70,000 squares will be in place before the end of January for sewing to begin.
Valery’s facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/largestknittedblanket/ for anyone who wants to get involved.
By Jessica Quinn