Lonely Planet Writer

World’s fastest knitter and ‘hat architect’ among stars of Scottish festival

The world’s fastest knitter is to lead workshops at a Scottish festival, reports the BBC. Shetland-born Hazel Tindall earned her crown by knitting 255 stitches in three minutes in 2004. She defended her title four years later, knitting 262 stitches in the same time.

The Loch Ness Knit Fest gets under way in October
The world’s fastest knittter will make an appearance at the Loch Ness festival in October. Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

She is one of the stars of Loch Ness Knit Fest, which is expecting to attract thousands of visitors from over 20 different countries to Inverness in October. The festival features over 30 workshops and presentations, as well as demonstrations, live music, a crafting village, a fashion show, a marketplace and a gala dinner.

Festival organiser Cecilia Grigor told the Scotsman: “We are absolutely over the moon that Hazel can join us for 2017’s Loch Ness Knit Fest – what better way to promote the festival than to have the world’s fastest knitter joining us. Hazel is a fantastic ambassador for this festival – with her skills and her passion for knitting really showcasing what Loch Ness Knit Fest is all about.”

Tindall will be running a presentation on knitting in Shetland in the 1960s, as well as talking about her specialism, Fair Isle knitting. The style, named after a small island in the Shetland Islands, sees stitches knit alternately in different colours, and became popular after the future Edward VIII wore Fair Isle tank tops in public in the 1920s.

Other guests include Meg Rodger of Birlinn Yarn Company, who will be at the marketplace offering yarn from seafaring Hebridean sheep, while ‘hat architect’ Woolly Wormhead is a qualified electronics engineer who will be presenting sessions on headgear. Kurt Payne is travelling all the way from New Zealand to lead a workshop called ‘twice the fun’, which showcases techniques for knitting socks and sleeves two at a time.

Knitting’s roots go back thousands of years. While the invention of the knitting machine reduced hand knitting’s importance, knitting groups and activities such as yarn bombing (in which knitted cloth is applied to the environment) have helped it remain a popular artform.

The Loch Ness Knit Fest  runs 13-15 October in Inverness.