Knitting community mourns speedy crafter

Knitting community mourns speedy crafter

The knitting community all over the world is mourning the passing of a woman who broke two records with her speedy crafting.

Gwen Matthewman, 86, lived in Featherstone and first appeared on TV in 1968 after she became the fastest hand knitter at 111 stitches a minute and the most prolific hand knitter - she created 915 garments from 11,000 ounces of yarn in a year, the Pontefract and Castleford Gazette reports.

She was invited to Japan, where professors of knitting were astounded by her abilities.

Son Roger recalled: "When she appeared on their live TV, they examined her body for electric motors because they couldn't believe her speed, which was just basically a blur."

Mrs Matthewman became famous across the globe, appearing on TV programmes including Record Breakers with Roy Castle in this country and the David Letterman Show in the US.

She was also tasked with some very unusual jobs, including knitting some pink leg warmers for an elephant once.

However, she had friends in even higher places, having knitted a sweatshirt for Neil Armstrong that he wore for photoshoots and created garments for the Dutch royal family.

In her later years, Mrs Matthewman was not able to knit as often as she would have liked - or as fast, no doubt. However, she still lived an active life and pursued other hobbies too.

She passed away last week and her son said well-wishers can donate money to a cancer charity in lieu of flowers.

"Mum was a fantastic ambassador for the craft of knitting and also a fantastic ambassador for life, too," he commented.

Mrs Matthewman is great inspiration for anyone who wants to try their hand at speedy crafting. The UK Hand Knitting Association welcomes entries for speed challenges, which will be measured over three minutes.

However, don't worry if you can't knit, purl and crochet so fast that your colourful yarn is a blur - crafting is a joy in itself and you should feel free to enjoy it at your leisure. Perhaps you could think of Mrs Matthewman and her amazing legacy as you do so this week.

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