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Knitting with love, women weave their way to Guinness record

When a group of expatriate women in Dubai came together to help underprivileged children, they didn’t know their small effort would make a massive impact.

Eight women first launched a ‘knitathon‘ project in April last year, aiming to knit 1x1m blankets that could keep kids warm worldwide.

But then the initiative gained momentum, attracting more people from all walks of life – and before they knew it, they were already on their way to breaking a Guinness World Record.

After 18 months of hard-work put together by over 500 people of 27 nationalities, the GWR Knitathon team on Friday managed to set two records: The world’s largest knitted blanket in non-crochet category and the world’s largest display of knitted hearts.

Hearts were sewn with love on each of the blankets, which were then stitched together to create the record-breaking, mega version.

Once all Guinness certification processes are completed, the mega-blanket shall be dismantled and distributed to orphanages and refugee camps worldwide in time for winter.

Manju Ansari, one of the people who led the knitathon, said: “We have had children and schools participating, teaching the kids a new skill and empathy for others, as well as people over 70 years of age giving them a new purpose in life.

“We have approximately 500 contributors with about 400 in the UAE. What this effort has shown us is that when you get together and do something with love and interest, then you can achieve anything in a short period of time.”

The knitathon output was astounding not only because of its size that covered an entire stadium – but also because of the vibrant colours that were put together.
Hundr of people were left in awe when they saw the giant blanket at the Football Academy in Dubai Sports City.

The blanket measured 3,949 square metres – almost double of the last world record which was 1,994.81 square metres – and the number of knitted hearts were roughly over 5,200.

One of the main organisers, Kanika Kapur – who knitted around 100 blankets – said: “The motivation and underlying purpose that helped us achieve this feat was to help children. Each blanket has a knitted heart on it to show the children that someone somewhere cares about them.”

Group member Avani Shah, said her 25-year-old daughter and 85-year-old mother also took to knitting to help. “For us, the knitting activity was also a good family bonding. We all sat together, knitted and chatted. I also found it very therapeutic,” she said.

Besides Kapur, Ansari and Shah, the other women who led the initiative were Dipika Kalra, Jyothi Kapoor, Nishi Singh, Mamta Saxena and Anuradha Ananth.

Among the chief guests at the world record event were Indian Consul-General Vipul and Mariam Matar, chairperson of the UAE Genetic Diseases Association.

saman@khaleejtimes.com

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