Dozens of volunteer knitters contributed 15cm-wide panels to the scarf.
Leigh Community Hall was wound up in a giant woollen web last month, as a 260-metre-long hand-knitted scarf was displayed as a distinctive and cuddly community artwork.
Snugleigh was the brainchild of Foundation Arts Hub & Gallery founder Hillary Austin Calder, who was inspired to bring locals together in a post-Covid community project when her daughter in Australia knitted her a large scarf last winter.
Her original plan was to drape the streets of Leigh with the excessively lengthy neck-warmer, with stalls and activities along the way, but that had to be scaled back when the size of the task was realised.
“Originally, we hoped to get around the school, skate park, ovals, hall, preschool, fire station and back to the school entrance, but I learnt this is a really long way and a lot of knitting!” Hillary said.
Instead, the event was moved inside and the scarf strung across, around and up and down the hall, providing an unusual art installation and a great diversion for local children.
In addition to a range of stalls, Leigh School ran a sausage sizzle, there was mulled wine and Studio 11 provided music. A competition to guess the length of the scarf was won by Caroline Haggitt, who came within seven metres of the actual figure and won a $75 voucher from Leigh Sawmill Cafe. The event raised almost $400, which will be split between Leigh School and KidsCan, the charity for children in need across NZ.
Hillary says the aim now is for Snugleigh knitters to continue to add to the inaugural scarf over coming months and years, until the length required to go right around the block is reached.
“We hope that this annual event – until we reach the original project length – will continue to attract local support,” she said. “This was all about community participation and cohesion through art in these Covid-impacted times, and so was a very successful project that we hope might be considered a worthy community artwork and inspiration for other small communities by Te Papa – here’s hoping!”
Hillary said she was thankful to the many knitters, artists, community groups and individuals who helped to make the first Snugleigh “wonderwool!”.