TERRE HAUTE —
The town of Casey, Ill., may soon weave its way into the record books as the small town with the most world records.
After setting records for the world’s largest wind chimes and the world’s largest golf tee, Casey is now looking to become home to the world’s largest knitting needles and crochet hook.
“Those are a perfect replica of a knitting needle,” said Jeanette Huisinga, owner of The Yarn Studio, a downtown Casey business and the person whose job was to actually knit with the giant needles and crochet with the massive hook on Monday afternoon in Casey’s Monroe Elementary School.
To qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records, the needles must actually knit, Huisinga noted.
The gymnasium of the school was packed Monday afternoon with kids, spectators, news media and clipboard-holding officials as Huisinga worked with her daughter, Tara Whitacre, to knit a wool swatch 10 stitches wide by 10 rows long using the massive needles. Earlier in the day, Huisinga worked feverishly to successfully crochet a wool swatch using just the giant hook.
“She knows what she’s doing,” observed Margaret Davis of Westfield, who was watching the event with other regulars from the local knitting community.
When Huisinga finished her first full swatch, those in the crowd – who actually know something about knitting – roared their approval.
“I’m sweating buckets,” Huisinga said after completing the crochet portion of Monday’s record-setting challenge. “Normally, knitting is relaxing. This isn’t relaxing.”
The two long, wooden knitting needles, both with a shiny, smooth finish, are a little more than 13 feet in length and weight 26 pounds, said Jim Bolin, the co-owner of Bolin Enterprises in Casey and the craftsman who made the needles. Bolin was also the driving force behind Casey’s big wind chimes and golf tee.
“Jim Bolin’s desire is to make Casey a destination for world’s largest things that people can see,” Huisinga said.
Nothing is official until the folks at Guinness give their OK, but the Casey needles are more than a foot longer than the current world’s record-holding knitting needles, which measure about 11 and a half feet in length and were first used by a woman in the U.K. in 2008.
Times are tough in Illinois, where unemployment is currently about 9.5 percent compared with 8.5 in Indiana and 7.5 for the U.S. as a whole. The “world’s largest” drive in Casey is something the community can do to help bring commerce to the town, Bolin said. Every Illinois community would like a big manufacturer, but, until one comes along, “world’s largest” attractions at least give people a reason to take the Casey exit off Interstate 70 to buy gas, shop in stores and maybe eat at local restaurants, he said.
“We’re struggling with our economy, just like any small town,” Bolin said, a Casey native. “I’d really like to see the community grow.”
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org