ON Jan 31, the Guinness World Records had a new entry.
That of India making the largest crochet blanket in the world, measuring 11,148 sq m against the previous record set at 3,377 sq m by South Africa.
A group of 2,000 Indian women were behind it, and some of them came from Singapore.
The crochet enthusiast helming this crusade was 44-year-old Subashri Natarajan. The Chennai-based CEO of Vaigai Engineering enthuses: "I am passionate about crocheting and wanted to achieve BIG, which would make all Indians proud and this Guinness World Record has made my dream come true."
It all began in August 2015 when Mrs Natarajan formed Mother India's Crochet Queens (MICQ) with this aim.
"Social networking sites were a boon to us. We created our MICQ page on Facebook and a WhatsApp group.
Through these forms of communication we could plan, coordinate and execute our plans. We finally had around 2,000 Indian women participating from across India and New Zealand, UK, the US, Bahrain, Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Singapore, Malaysia and some European countries. The oldest crocheter was 89 years old and the youngest, six years old," the leader of the group recalls.
There were a total of 8,034 square, equal-sized pieces joined together to make up the record-breaking blanket.
The dimensions of each blanket were 40 inch x 40 inch. The maximum number of blankets made by one person was 101 - and not surprisingly it was by Mrs Natarajan who initially learnt crocheting while at school.
As a befitting tribute to their hard work, MICQ has donated all the crocheted blankets to charitable organisations across India.
Future? Mrs Natarajan concludes: "We are planning to take MICQ a step further by using our skills to help those in need."
57 blankets made in S'pore Mrs Deepa Vasan was the Singapore coordinator of MICQ, overseeing the progress of its 22 members.
"By posting photographs on Facebook, and sharing designs and suggestions, we kept in touch with MICQ members globally.
The Singapore chapter made 57 blankets which we sent to Chennai in batches. These were also distributed to NGOs all over India. We are all overwhelmed with this achievement.
At this happy moment, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all my Singapore team 'queens' as without their contribution and support this wouldn't have been possible," Mrs Vasan says.
Having learnt crocheting from her cousin at the age of 17, the 34-year-old housewife was "very happy to be a part of this mission which was started for a good cause".
She added: "We never dreamt that this would give such great visibility to us. It has boosted our self-confidence and motivated us to undertake many such opportunities in future."
Gurgaon-based Neena Pawar, 64, a volunteer at NGO Earth Saviours Foundation's gurukul, has been "a compulsive knitter" since her school days at St Mary's Convent in Nainital, Uttarakhand.
"Recently I saw the crochet Granny Square blanket which my daughter's grandmother-in-law had made. This motivated me to learn crocheting from YouTube," says the self-taught crocheter.
"Last October my husband showed me an article about MICQ. The idea of the blankets being donated for charity appealed to me.
I joined them and since then MICQ has become like a family to me, as I made many friends in these few months. Crocheting became an addiction and I completed 10 blankets," says Mrs Pawar.
The crocheter, who along with a few MICQ members from Delhi and NCR was in Chennai on Jan 31 for the record-breaking feat, remembers: "My heart knew no bounds when the result was declared. It made me feel so proud of all of us, especially Subashri Natarajan and her coordinators who so professionally managed MICQ members globally."
Mrs Pawar has now undertaken to teaching knitting and crocheting to residents at ESF's gurukul "as the happiness you feel from sharing this craft is immense", she says with smile.
Get a copy of tabla! for more stories.