67 Blankets aim for 4.5km portrait

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KNITWITS across the country are on a mission to create the largest portrait blanket in the world for Nelson Mandela Day next year, depicting the face of the father of our nation. But they need the wool and the will to make it happen.

“The idea was to keep it as simple and straightforward as possible to create the most effective depiction of the face of our beloved Nelson Mandela, which will only be visible from the sky,” 67 Blankets for Mandela founder Caroline Steyn said.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE YET: Knitters throughout the country will join together to create the largest portrait blanket in the world depicting the face of Nelson Mandela Picture: SUPPLIED
BIGGEST CHALLENGE YET: Knitters throughout the country will join together to create the largest portrait blanket in the world depicting the face of Nelson Mandela Picture: SUPPLIED

Each pixel will be a square blanket measuring 160x160cm. The 67 Blankets team require 1764 blankets in six specific colours to be knitted or crocheted.

The finished product will cover an area of 4515m².

The 67 Blankets project has existed since December 2013, when Zelda la Grange, late former president Mandela’s trusted assistant, challenged philanthropist Steyn to knit 67 Blankets for Mandela Day.

She realised she would need help and that was where 67 Blankets was born.

Since then, “knitwits” and “happy hookers” throughout the country, and some from around the world, have joined together to bring warmth to others in honour of Mandela.

In April last year, to mark 21 years of democracy, 67 Blankets smashed the Guinness World Record for the largest crochet blanket in the world, measuring 3377m² at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The latest challenge is even bigger but just as achievable.

They will need 964 silver grey (colour code 011), 480 black (code 017), 84 red (code 136), 76 bright yellow (code 138), 84 royal blue (code 008) and 76 emerald green (code 022) blankets.

If you decide to work in groups, make sure you stick to the size and colour requirements, creating squares of 20x20cm each or using crochet hook size five.

“We need precision from everyone in order for this project to work,” said Steyn.

East London 67 Blankets public relations officer June Stagler said: “We will be selling pancakes to generate money to purchase wool for the challenge, as we do not have any in our cupboards to assist our very willing knit- wits who have tons of will but not the wool.

“Without the community and business support, we unfortunately will not be able to contribute to this challenge.”

They will be hosting a get-together from 9am to 12 noon on September 3 at Wool ‘n Stuff in Berea to sell pancakes and start knitting.

Donations of wool can be dropped off at the Vincent Park information desk, Wool ‘n Stuff, or at Destiny Family Church.

“Let’s rock this project for the entire world to witness how we are keeping the legacy of our late great father of our nation, Tata Madiba alive with each and every stitch we make with our own two hands,” Steyn said.

For inquiries contact June on 082-716-2299.

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