This year, I celebrated World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKIP) in Cambridge, Ontario.
The Cambridge area was once the home of several knitting yarn mills, including Monarch, Galt (Lady Galt yarns), and others, and the textile tradition of here runs deep.
The Cambridge Arts Centre has embarked on a project to recognize this history later in 2010 -- a 'yarn bombing' event they're calling "KNIT camBRIDGE."
KNIT camBRIDGE is a project to completely cover the Main Street bridge that spans the Grand River (?) with knitting. When I told Mom, she said "Oh! A covered bridge!" My Mom has a pretty good sense of humour.
To boost publicity for Knit the Bridge, Sue Sturdy, Artist-in-residence at the Cambridge Art Centre, put together a huge team of volunteers for the 2010 WWKIP, with a view to breaking the Guinness World Record for the number of knitters knitting simultaneously. Fortunately, an event in the Civic Square the night before resulted in some shelter -- enough for several hundred knitters. Dozens of the pieces for the Knit the Bridge project were displayed on a vintage fire truck.
Sue and the team put together a great program, with prizes for numerous categories -- oldest knitter present, youngest knitter present, highest number of generations of one family present (4), and many others. Several pairs of pool cues had been sharpened, and teams of three vied for prizes for who could knit three rows of 10 stitches the fastest. Volunteers were easily spotted by their neon-coloured balls of yarn threaded through lanyards.
There were several speakers present, too. Dr. Karen Dearlove gave an all-too-brief history of textiles and knitting in the Cambridge/ Hespler area (I could have talked to her for hours), and Lynn Spence, from City TV's Cityline was on hand to hand out some prizes and say a few words to the hundreds of knitters in attendance. Steve Robinson, a Federal government employee by day, did a terrific job as Master of Ceremonies for the event.
The weather didn't co-operate fully, but still, hundreds of knitters turned out. A brief shower happened just before the serious knitting began. It was just enough to encourage people to come in under the tents and fill all the chairs.
There were knitters from Newfoundland, Texas, Germany, and Australia. One lady had brought some vintage Barbie doll clothes a relative had knitted in the 1960s.
At the appointed time, with needles at the ready, everyone set to their knitting. I stopped only long enough to sneak a photo of one half of the large tent full of knitters, and discovered that there were knitters almost as far back as the Art Centre!
The Cambridge WWKIP event was superbly organized. At present, they are looking for volunteers to help stitch together the bridge blanket. Volunteers can contact KNIT camBRIDGE at http://www.knitcambridge.com.
To Sue and crew, I send a wave and a big thanks for such a terrific morning!