An Art & Design student is keeping everything crossed that she has broken a Guinness World Record for creating the largest knitting needles!
Betsy Bond chose the end of year Creative Exhibition at Wiltshire College Chippenham on Tuesday 13th June to unveil her giant needles, which measure a staggering 4.4metres in length and are 9cm in diameter.
She then impressed visitors to the event, including Chippenham Mayor councillor Mary Norton by demonstrating how to knit on such a large scale.
Betsy, aged 30 from Dauntsey Lock, said: “It was a wonderful evening and I am thrilled that so many people came along and saw all the hard work that the entire creative art department has put into the event.
“I decided to go for the record as when I found out what it was I believed I could beat it.
“I wanted to achieve rather than just aspire.
“It has been a challenge that I have enjoyed every minute of.
“I’ve had to take time to consider the method and practice to get it right.
“Bringing all the components together, finding materials, methods and getting aesthetics right, took a lot of talking to the right people, research and imagination.
“I was a little nervous knitting in front of everyone but just tried to focus and not think about the crowd!”
Mayor Norton was accompanied by her husband Cedric and acted as an official witness for the record attempt.
She said: “I was thrilled to be invited but really couldn’t picture in my head what giant knitting would be or look like.
“I was even more shocked when I saw just how big the needles were and have nothing but admiration for Betsy and all her hard work.
“She is an exceptionally talented young lady.
“I was thoroughly impressed at the work of all the students involved in the exhibition, there was some remarkable work.”
Level 3 student Betsy, who returned to college to pursue her passion for art having previously worked in hospitality, was taught how to knit by her mum Gillian as a youngster and it was a skill she never forgot.
It was in 2010 that she excitedly discovered giant knitting.
She said: “I found out about giant knitting and projects grew quickly, which appealed to my impatient nature.
“I started to knit in public places and it always struck up lots of conversation with strangers, some just curious and others wanting to have a go, which I love.
“Knitting has connected humans for centuries through practical applications and recreation.
“It is often a skill we are taught by another passing the understanding through generations.
“Through creating what I hope are the world’s largest knitting needles I can communicate more, create conversation, share and pass on traditional skills.”
Until she took on the challenge of breaking the world record, the largest knitting needles Betsy had previously used were 60cm long with a 4cm diameter.
The current world record for the World’s Largest Knitting Needles is 3.98metres long with a diameter of 8.25 metres and was set by Jim Bolin from the US in May 2013.
The knitting needles were then used to knit a tension square of 10 stitches by 10 rows.
Betsy has so far knitted 85 stitches using Stockinette provided by Manchester based company Rodo Group, who kindly donated 16kg to help her achieve her challenge.
She wants to make 100 stitches.
The needles, which had to be transported from her home to the Chippenham campus on a trailer, have been made from polypipe and the points and stoppers were printed in college by Nicholas Llewellyn-Jones at the Wiltshire 3D Enterprise Centre.
All the evidence will now be submitted to the Guinness Book of Records and Betsy said achieving the record would be a wonderful end to her time at college.
Betsy was one of several Level 2 and 3 art students all show casing major projects as well as Level 3 Creative Media Production, Games Development and Music students.
She would like to thank the following people for supporting her in her challenge – Jake Hobbs, Andrew and Theresa Chapman for measuring the needles, Gary Bent from Rodo for supplying the stockinette and Nicholas Llewelyn Jones from the Wiltshire 3D Enterprise Centre.