Author Archives: kurrajong handspun crafts

International Back to Back Wool Challenge

International Back to Back Wool Challenge

For many years we participated in the international back to back challenge, raising money for charity.

The “Back to Back” Story

In 1811 at Newbury in Berkshire, England, a one thousand pounds wager was made to make a coat from a sheep’s back to a man’s back in one day.  Watched by 5,000 people, the coat was completed in 13 hours.  The sheep was then eaten with much quaffing of beer to celebrate!

In Scotland, the story began again in 1992 with a keen young spinner who had developed thyroid cancer.  His desire to raise funds for Cancer Research sparked the Back to Back Wool Challenge.   The event created enormous interest in the UK because of the way it cleverly promoted wool and raised funds for Cancer Research.

Australia first participated in 1994.  An International set of rules and a sweater pattern were developed – a team of 8, consists of a blade shearer, 7 spinners/knitters and a sheep.  The Challenge is to hand shear the sheep, spin the wool and knit the sweater in under 8 hours.

The world record was set in 2004 by Pembroke Merriwa Jumbucks (in NSW) – with the time 4 hours 51 mins. It is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.

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