Saturday, 14 January 2012

Giant Needles

Knitwits Yarns

Well - I've had an interesting week .........! Remember these beauties?:

Well ..... a customer came in to say she'd seen them (and me) referred to in a book about knitting. In essence the quote said, "some old dear in Cornwall" had 3.5m long, 6.5cm diameter needles made and got into the Guinness Book of Records and then "some knitters need to get a life". I stewed on this for a couple of days and then emailed the author.

I should add at this point that the needles (and this iconic photograph) have appeared in numerous publications and books and we are always happy to provide a quote or this image if people request it. The problem with this [new] book was that I hadn't been asked and I don't quite see myself in the "old dear" category ..... yet. My customer was incensed and planned to write to the publisher (Penguin).

So I emailed the author and explained that, whilst I do have a sense of humour (I did, after all, have these giant needles made) I thought she should have got her facts right and/or asked permission first.

I had a quick, profuse and heartfelt apology and - for the 2nd print run - coming soon - we have agreed that I shall be referred to as "a wonderful lady from Cornwall"!!!!!! Thank you, Jenny - your honesty and apology was much appreciated. So - if you would like to buy a copy of Jenny's book - Purls of Wisdom - please make sure you get the 2nd edition!!

Not having blogged about the needles before, I thought it might be interesting to chart their lives. It all started in 2005 (the year I bought Knit Wits) when we organised a knitting event at Land's End and I knitted with the oars from a Cornish Pilot Gig:

The Guinness World Record people wouldn't give us the record for that attempt as the needles have to be exactly sized up from real needles. So - with the help of an oar maker in Eton on the River Thames, these were made for us:

and, in 2006, at a knitting event in St Ives we did, finally, get into the Record Books (even appearing in The Times the following day!):

Since then they've appeared at numerous charity events around the country (and, indeed, the world - although getting airlines to carry them has proved "interesting").

Here they are on "Pirate Day" outside the shop (with the old shop front!):

and here is our local MP "having a go":

Here I am one Christmas with T - again outside the shop - raising money for our street Christmas lights - I well remember that evening as I was FREEZING!!:

I knitted in Truro for World Wide Knit in Public Day:

and even got a couple of hunky rugby players to have a go:

At a Soil Association festival in Bristol I knitted the whole of 50 strands of wool to make a giant wall hanging, which many of you will have seen hanging in the shop:

And our piece de resistance was a trip to Hong Kong where we knitted to raise money for a homeless charity. This has to go down in history as one of the most bizarre moments of my life:

Tavia (who I'm with) is a well-known TV personality in Hong Kong with a nightly show - she sang (in Chinese) whilst I knitted - it was hysterically surreal and an amazing experience - the only place in the world where I've walked into a wool shop and they've said, "aagh - it's Julia"!! We even had to do a photocall at the airport(!):

If you want to see the needles and/or the wall hanging - do come and see us soon!

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