By 2018-10-09 InAlgarve

Monchique wants to set Guinness World Record for largest crochet blanket

A community initiative to make the “world’s largest crochet blanket” and then exhibit it for a day at the top of Fóia is being developed in Monchique by local association Espiral de Vontades.

The goal is to set a new Guinness World Record by the end of 2020 and the association is calling on everyone to help.

The process involves knitting ‘rosetas’, crochet squares with a flower design in the centre. Each ‘roseta’ should be 40cm high and wide and have a yellow flower centre.

The association already has around 2,500 ‘rosetas’, but to make the blanket and set a new record an impressive amount of 112,250 are needed.

If all goes according to plan, the blanket will be 18,000sqm large once it is all sown together. It will be disassembled again after it is displayed with each individual piece being donated to hospitals and institutions to help keep patients warm.

The project was already in the works before this summer’s devastating fires. But as the association’s president Luísa Martins told us this week, it is also helping to bring some “colour and life” back to Monchique.

“The idea initially was to find strategies to bring people to our charity shop. Monchique is a small town that is not yet used to the concept of shopping at a second-hand store,” Luísa told the Resident.

“We also wanted to fight solitude, and crochet is something that can be done together in a group.

Luísa, who is a Monchique native, also explained that it is “a dying art” in the area.

“It is part of our tradition but it is being lost as newer generations are not learning the skill,” she said.

But after the fires that ripped through Monchique, leaving many families without a house or their land to tend to, the project became an even more important endeavour.

“It is bringing joy to the borough. Some of the people who were affected by the fires no longer have their farms to look after; they are not living their normal lives. But making these ‘rosetas’ is giving them something to do, occupying their time and encouraging them to meet with other people,” Luísa told us.

She added, however, that the project is not aimed solely at the people of Monchique.

Anyone can take part, and even if you are a complete beginner in the art of crochet, you can visit the association’s charity shop in Monchique to learn how to knit the needed crochet squares.

People can also help by donating wool or even money to buy wool.

The association’s charity shop is located on Rua Bernardino Moreira (no.19), the street located behind the town’s taxi square.

Espiral de Vontades was created in 2011 to help people with disabilities obtain much-needed wheelchairs through donations and the collection of bottle caps.

A big step was taken in August 2017 when the association opened its first charity shop in the town.

Luísa, who juggles her time as a nurse and head of the association, admits that the job requires a lot of commitment and responsibility but that the payoff is worth it.

“To see the smile on people’s faces when we are able to help them is the motivation I need to keep doing this. Changing a person’s life for the better brings me great joy. It takes up a lot of time, but in a way that fulfils me,” she concluded.

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