Skip to main content

Previous Dates:

Wednesday, May 22nd 2013 9:00 am

The International Back to Back Wool Challenge

The SPINTHRIFTS are Scotsville School of Crafts entry in the International Back to Back Wool Challenge based in Australia. They are a group of women who enjoy getting together to spin and knit on the outside but also harbour a keen Olympic spirit on the inside.

Teams worldwide, consisting of a sheep, seven spinners and/or knitters plus a blade shearer, compete internationally in an event which had its origins in 1811 at Newbury in Berkshire, England. A one thousand pound wager was made to make a coat from a sheep’s back to a man’s back in one day. A crowd of 5000 watched the coat completed in 13 hours.

More recently, in 1992, a young Scottish spinner, having developed thyroid cancer, decided to raise funds for Cancer Research which started the modern day Back to Back Wool Challenge. The event created enormous interest in the UK because of the way it promoted wool while raising funds for cancer research.

 An international set of rules and sweater pattern which must be strictly adhered to were developed. The Challenge is to hand shear the sheep, spin the wool and knit the sweater in under 8 hours.  

The SPINTHRIFTS have been getting faster and have raised thousands of dollars for their local charity, the Central Inverness County Palliative Care Society.  In 2013, they  won the Canadian Cooperative Wool Growers Ltd. Trophy for being Canada’s fastest team, completing the sweater in 8:33:09.