World’s largest hand-knitted blanket brings knitters together across the globe
Posted 25 July, 2012
Alzheimer Scotland’s hand-knitted blanket challenge went from a local event to a global phenomenon. Now you can find out the story behind the blanket and how you can make your very own contribution to this incredible story by buying a ‘virtual’ square.
No-one would have believed, back in the early days of 2010, what a simple idea about knitting blankets could evolve into. The concept – creating 71,000 knitted squares, a metre squared and each representing a person with dementia in Scotland, was the brainchild of Chris Doogan (then a link worker with Alzheimer Scotland in Oban, now a volunteer).
The idea was supported by other Alzheimer Scotland staff in what began as a local awareness-raising event. What it became was a huge collaboration of knitters across Scotland, and indeed the globe, to create a new world record for the largest hand-knitted blanket; an attempt to beat the existing record of 557.34 squared metres.
Offers of help (and submissions of knitted squares) started to flood in from the USA, Canada, Europe and all over the UK. Schoolchildren were taught to knit by residents of a local care home; in turn, the children taught residents how to text. Whole families knitted together. Local Alzheimer Scotland services across Scotland were overwhelmed and humbled by the passion and enthusiasm of thousands of knitters.
Many knitters were motivated by the the memory of a loved one. Others simply by the desire to help raise awareness of an illness that affects almost every family in Scotland.
Dementia is a journey of incremental loss that leads to an inevitable end. What you and the other knitters are doing is knitting – by increments – awareness, support and a tribute to those affected. A giant, poignant blanket of a hug. Beautiful.
On Saturday 23 June 2012 at Inveraray Castle, all those dedicated knitters not only managed to beat the previous world record, but comprehensively smash it, with a blanket comprised of an amazing 91,400 square metres of knitting!
Now we are offering a unique opportunity for you to make your own stitch in this special blanket by buying a ‘virtual’ square: a donation of £2 to represent the hard work, fond memories, family feelings and devotion from all those who purled, cabled and edged to achieve this world record. This money, alongside that achieved through the direct auctioning of some of the blankets, will go towards ensuring that no-one has to cope with dementia on their own: providing the information, advice and practical support to live well with the illness. Donations should be made via the dedicated JustGiving page. Alternatively, our Dementia Resource Centres and other services across Scotland will also have collection boxes where you can give your £2 blanket donation.