A SOUTH Tyneside-based knitting group is set to complete its biggest challenge yet – producing a cover for a traditional London taxi.
The Materialistics were set the task in early July by leading children’s author Safia Shah, who wanted a series of knitwork to represent characters and scenes from her book, Carnaby Street’s Great Uninvited.
The book is aimed at eight-year-olds, so the work includes plenty of animals and flowers, and it is part of a campaign to save endangered words.
Other work which has been produced includes a 28ft python, an Aardvark and 10 tiny tortoises.
Miss Shah asked the Materialistics if they could produce them for her on knitting website Ravelry, which has more than two million readers.
Within two days of her making the request, the group had started work on the taxi, which is now close to being completed.
The group, which has about 20 members, admits that knitting the London cab cover has been a huge challenge.
Leader and chairwoman Sue McBride said: “By the time we complete it, it will have taken us around three months.
“We started on July 4 after being asked on July 2, as everyone was really enthusiastic about it.
“The taxi is huge – a full-size Fairway taxi.
“This is one of the most difficult things we have done because we have never actually seen the taxi.
“We have only had measurements and diagrams, which has been difficult.
“There are no straight lines on it at all, and it has great big headlights and unusual shapes.
“There are no taxis like that here, so we haven’t been able to have a look at one to make sure we are doing it right.
“A lot of people were saying it wouldn’t be possible, but we always believed we could do it.”
The group meets every Wednesday afternoon at Cleadon Park Library, South Shields, and has also been helped by the Knit and Natter group there.
The taxi will be covered on Saturday at the house of group member Rosemary Eccles in Harton Lane, South Shields.
Tea and coffee will be served and there will be a collection box for Parkinson’s UK, with the event set to start at 2.30pm.
The taxi will then leave South Shields for London and will appear at Alexandra Palace’s four-day knitting and stitching show from October 10.
People in South Tyneside can see some parts of the taxi cover before that, though, as much of the group’s work will be on display on Wednesday at Cleadon Park Library, Prince Edward Road, between 10am and 4pm.