Fiona's knitting victory

Fiona Anderson, Volunteer Bunting Co-ordinator, Upton House & Gardens

Fiona Anderson - Fiona Anderson, Volunteer Bunting Co-ordinator

“Be a knitted bunting coordinator”, they said. “OK”, I replied. How hard could it be? Counting and logging knitted triangles from visitors and volunteers. We estimated that we had to get 15,000 to beat the current world record. I can’t knit, but I can measure and count, so I thought it would be a good way to get involved.

Groups of people holding up knitted bunting

The idea came from a fellow volunteer

One day our sewing and crafting volunteer Laurelie was talking with Michelle (Upton’s Collections Manager) about how much visitors had enjoyed knitting squares as part of our 2015 ‘make do and mend’ project.  As 2016 was to be our victory celebration year, we had planned on decorating the house inside and out with patriotic bunting. So, they came up with the idea of knitted bunting.  Laurelie (far right) then suggested going for the world record, and then it began…

Pick up your knitting needles and join the world record attempt at Upton House
Five ladies holding up a length of knitted bunting.
Pick up your knitting needles and join the world record attempt at Upton House

It started with just a few

At the beginning a few hundred were coming in every week, but there were moments when we worried that we wouldn’t make it.  However, at the summer party we were able to announce that we were half way there, and having been knitting for about three months, with another three to go, we started to relax and believe we really could do it. 

We are over half way in our goal to break the world record
People lined up holing a sign showing how many bunting triangles have been recieved so far.
We are over half way in our goal to break the world record

It caught everyone’s imagination

We thought they’d carry on coming in at the same rate.  Oh how we laugh at that thought now!  It appeared that our ‘call to knitting needles’ had really captured the imagination of knitters far and wide. 

Unbeknownst to us, the clackety clack of knitting needles was gathering pace.  Balls of red, white and blue wool were rapidly disappearing and the Upton postman was getting a chance to flex his muscles. 

I have been amazed at the sheer number of contributors we’ve had, from all over the United Kingdom, as well as from Canada, America and Australia!
All that creativity in a triangle    

We’ve had furry triangles, glittery triangles, stripy triangles, triangles with tassels, triangles with pompoms and triangles with all manner of embellishments. The designs never cease to amaze me!

Amazing stories from knitters

I’ve also been heartened by the letters we’ve received.  It seems that knitting triangles is a good way to get into or back into knitting (even after 30 years!).  Many people have told us how knitting has helped them through bereavements, or periods of immobility following illness or an accident. I’ve read stories of grandmothers, mothers and daughters all sitting down to knit together.  I’ve also enjoyed all the wartime memories that have been shared.

Everyone is getting involved

If you’ve visited Upton House and Gardens recently, you may have spotted some of our room guides threading triangles together.  Our visitors have also been helping with bunting sessions in the squash court.  It’s been lovely to see families threading together while the rain has lashed down onto the skylights. And next week, we have a local group of Cub Scouts coming along to help!

Thank you

We are now way past our original target of 15,000 (our bunting could go across the Severn Bridge four times) and they are still coming in.  We never ever thought that we would have such a fantastic response and would like to thank everyone who has contributed. 
The final chapter

I can only guess that Lady Bearsted would be getting stuck in to help us.  I’m sure she’d also be very happy that the triangles will be made into blankets for a homeless charity.  Which means of course, that at some point, we’ll have to do a lot of unthreading.  But maybe I won’t think about that task just yet…..

Watch the film and see what Fiona has been doing as part of her role as a bunting co-ordinator.