— With the queen’s Diamond Jubilee around the corner, Britain’s patriotism has come out in force. But it’s hard to beat one grandmother’s dedication to queen and country.
Sheila Carter has spent the last four months knitting a scene of the queen’s boat pageant down the River Thames, set to take place on Sunday, June 3. Wooly versions of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip sit comfortably on their barge, accompanied by the queen’s guard in red and a flotilla of other boats.
Carter certainly didn’t skimp on the details. Set in front of London’s Tower Bridge, where the pageant will end, the 6-foot long and 3-foot wide model even includes tiny flags flying from the top of the bridge’s towers and spectators celebrating the queen’s arrival.
The toughest part of the job? Not knitting the detailed barge or the tiny faces, but the water underneath — because of the tight stitches it required.
“I quite like the queen and wanted to knit something either for her Diamond Jubilee or the Olympics,” Carter, 75, told TODAY.com. “Then I heard about the boat pageant and knew that was a perfect scene to knit. As I went along, I added more elements to my original idea to make it look just right.”
She first picked up her needles in January, and using bits of spare wool she had lying around her house, worked up to five hours a day. By the end, she had used nearly 400 balls of yarn in dozens of colors to create 50 separate pieces.
Carter hasn't actually seen the Tower Bridge in person, having never made the hour and a half trip to London from her home in Southampton. She used photos and descriptions to design the elaborate scene.
Now that it’s complete, what will happen to her pet project?
“It’s sitting on my table where it will stay until all my family’s seen it,” said Carter, who has four children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. “After that, I will pack it up into boxes. I don’t think the queen will want it, as she has an awful lot of things sent to her.”
This isn’t the first time Carter has used her knitting needles to pay tribute to the monarchy. Last spring she knit a 2-foot tall wedding cake for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. But it may be Carter’s last project of this scale.
“I don’t think I will do anything this big again,” she said. “It really took a bit out of me.”