Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mystery of the Speed Knitter - Solved!

Miriam Tegels of The Netherlands, breaking the record for fastest knitting.
Over the weekend, Shay Barsabe wrote in to ask about the above photo, which appears in Astounding Knits!: 101 Spectacular Knitted Creations and Daring Feats and shows Miriam Tegels breaking the speed-knitting record back in 2006. Was the photo reversed, Shay wondered? And furthermore, was Miriam supporting her right-hand needle (something Shay had never seen)? The answer is in, provided by Miriam herself, who says: "I knit continental style, picking the yarn with the left hand, as the picture shows." An unusual method to some, to be sure, but then again, so is knitting at Tegels' breakneck speed of 118 stitches per minute.

Carla Meisjen, founder of Stitch 'n Bitch Nederland, was the event's official witness and stitch counter. She emailed to say: "Mystery? Not to me...Miriam uses continental knitting and does not cross stitch, she doesn't do any kind of combination knitting (all stitches are always right leg in front)."

Miriam getting ready to beat the world record, pictured here with Carla Meijsen (in the flowered stole) and the mayor of Swalmen.
Carla makes an appearance in my next knitting book, Knitting Around the World: A Multistranded History of a Time-Honored Tradition, (October 2011), discussing a project dear to her heart: her recreation of a Dutch knitting sampler. I'll be posting updates about my next book in coming weeks. In the meantime, keep your questions and comments coming!

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