It’s not often you have a knitting story right on your doorstep. Well, as much on your doorstep as is practically possible in Snowdonia, where about ten miles away and across a toll bridge counts.
Porthmadog, one of the main towns of the area, isn’t an old town. It was developed in the early nineteenth century by the incredibly modest and really rather wealthy William Madocks (he generously gave his name to Tremadog as well; not a man to hide his light under any sort of bushel). He built – not personally, of course, ho ho – a long sea wall, the Cob, to reclaim a large part of the low-lying land in the estuary of the Afon Glaslyn.
The Cob is the long straight line in the middle which appears to dam the sea, and the aerial view gives a good idea of its length (more than 1.5 km, depending on where you decide it starts and ends), which is significant. It carried a railway, which it still does, and now it carries the main road too. There’s a separate footpath along it – the views towards Snowdon are stunning – and that’s also significant. This year is the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Cob, and various celebrations are planned. Some of these are comparatively mainstream – concerts, exhibitions, a triathlon, that sort of thing – but others are less so.
The Cob is being knitted.
Well, to be more accurate, a scarf is being knitted for the Cob.
It’s down to our local LYS, Siop Anna in Porthmadog, and Delyth. She decided that a spot of charity yarn bombing would be a good way of celebrating, and for the past few months many local knitters have been producing metre-long sections of scarf about 20cm wide. The idea is to make two long scarves, one coming from each end of the Cob, and get them to meet in the middle.
I’ve just taken in the first piece of knitting I’ve both started and finished since my injury, a piece of scarf knitted in some left-over wool/acrylic (Sirdar’s Escape, I think):
I was quite stunned when I took in my little section, and somehow don’t think there’ll be a problem in joining the scarves, however long you consider the Cob to be. There’s been some serious sewing up going on, and fat rolls of scarves have been created, rather like the knitted equivalent of quilters’ jelly rolls (but much, much, much larger).
There are plenty in the shop, in a huge variety of colours and textures. The window is draped in scarves, and contains even more rolls:
(I just realised that there are more lurking in the background. You wouldn’t have thought you could miss a huge roll of knitting or three, but evidently you can.)
The rolls are surprisingly light and can be lifted easily – but they are bulky, and at the moment the plan is to use a quad bike and drop rolls off at points along the Cob footpath before unrolling them.
I rather liked this one:
I’m not sure how the second scarf is doing, but this half – the one which comes from the Porthmadog / Caernarfon side – will probably reach right over the Cob by itself. The scarves are due to be unrolled on 18 May, weather permitting, so watch this space…
(And afterwards? Well, they will be unsewn, then resewn into blankets and donated to local old people’s homes and other charities.)