There’s nothing “little” about this Little Norway scarf

POULSBO — Marianna Mears and Michael Love sit in Mears’ Poulsbohemian Coffeehouse, knitting away leisurely and with laughs, as if there’s nothing remarkable about the activity.

But on closer inspection, it becomes clear neither is knitting a set of socks, mittens or a hat for the cold winter weather. Mears and Love are working on a scarf, and like many knitted items, it could definitely do its part in keeping out the cold.

In fact, several people could stay warm wrapped up in it — it’s as long as a football field.

Usually tucked behind a chair in the coffee shop’s corner, lifting up the scarf it’s obvious: much like that infamous Energizer Bunny, it just keeps going and going and going.

So do Mears, Love and a host of other knitters responsible for its creation.

“I kept thinking, what could we do as a group and get started with some kind of project?” Mears asked.

That was five years and roughly 100 yards ago, and the project is still going strong.

Now out to best a 33.74-mile world record scarf, Mears and her needle-weilding “Sip-N-Knit” warriors meet each Thursday, as well as pick up the hobby throughout the week, to see just how long that colorful, patchwork scarf can become.

The current record, as measured by the Guinness Book of Records, was handcrafted by more than 2,000 knitters in Wales, and is being sold in segments to benefit the Feed the Children organization.

When Mears first begain the project, a group in Scotland held the record at 21 miles, and now she’s working to step up her aspirations.

Though still a ways away, Love — who joined the Thursday night group two years ago and now works at Poulsbohemian — said something benevolent may be done with their creation as well.

“It’d be cool if when we’re done, whenever that would be, we could cut them all up and donate them,” he said.

Providing, of course, they first have somewhere to store it. Already long enough to stretch from one end of a football field to the other, should Mears and her fellow knitters reach a new world record, they’d have scarf enough to span from Front Street to the Olhava Marketplace a dozen times and then some, or stretch from Hansville to Bremerton with room to spare.

“We’ve got some really talented knitters and then there’s me and I only do one stitch,” Mears said. “We’ve taught quite a few people how to knit.”

Mears said well over 100 skeins of yarn have already been used; they are donated by knitters and those who deem the scarf a worthy cause.

“It’s all over,” she said of the colorful yarn, which is stored in the coffee shop, a basement and an attic. “We get a totally crazy quilt look to it.”

Mears said anyone who wants to contribute to the scarf can, and there’s a guest book for knitters to write their name in. So far, she said more than 300 have added their stitches, and often they’ll return to find their own piece of the patchwork. Because the scarf can be worked on at both ends, it should take half the time to create.

“It’ll only take 50 years instead of 100,” she said with a laugh.

Of course, whether they reach their lofty goal or not, Mears said it’s simply the joy of the activity that really counts.

“There’s no deep reason for doing it,” she said. “Really it’s just fun. And now it’s a big deal.”

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