In Case You Missed It: International Back-to-Back Wool Challenge
August’s Guild Meeting was a presentation by Margaret Tyler and Patricia Mulcahy from the San Diego County Spinners, the only USA team in the International Back-to-Back Wool Challenge. From the back of a sheep to the back of a person in the shortest amount of time, this event has its origins in Scotland in 1992 as a way to raise funds for cancer research. All teams follow identical Challenge rules and knit a sweater pattern exactly as it is written. The San Diego County Spinners have been competing since 2012 and took first place in this year’s competition with a winning time of 7 hours 52 minutes 00 seconds, beating last year’s time by 17 minutes 05 seconds.
Team members Patricia and Margaret brought detailed posters and examples of previous years’ practice and finished sweaters, fleece, and the trophy. Margaret gave an informative and humorous talk supported by Patricia’s slides. We learned about the history of the international Back-to-Back Wool challenge and how the San Diego team came about. A fascinating part of Margaret’s talk was how they managed to whittle their time down to be this year’s winning team by studying marathon runners. The key was managing their hydration, no talking, a strategy which fostered competiveness between the knitters, plus lots of practice.
The San Diego County Spinners have been competing since 2012. They practice several times a month from October up until the competition in April which is held the last weekend in April each year. The USA team competes at the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center. Margaret said they are looking for more fast knitters and spinners who knit to join their team.
If you want to see them practice, they will be at the Vista Fiber Arts Festival October 5 and 6, 2019.