A bunch of Indian expat women in the UAE - mostly housewives - are having fun engaging in their hobby, while also knitting their way into the Guinness World Records.
As many as 23 ladies from the UAE, along with their teammates from India and various other countries, united collectively under the group Mother India's Crochet Queens (MICQ) and broke the Guinness World Record for the third time after unveiling the largest display of crochet sculptures.
MICQ's Dubai regional head Vinothini Ramesh Babu, who flew to Chennai for the Guinness event, spoke to Khaleej Times, saying: "MICQ is the brainchild of Chennai-based Subashri Natarajan, who started the group in August 2015 to revive the art of crocheting and to simultaneously help those in need by donating fabrics and raising money. The MICQ Dubai team has almost 55 members but for this particular record, only 23 of us were available. Although we aimed to make 1,200 sculptures, we managed over 1,600 stuffed and unstuffed crochet sculptures. We took up the challenge six months ago and each one of us submitted about 50 sculptures for the record. Our Dubai team included a 16-year-old girl and a 9-year-old as well."
MICQ from around the world crocheted thousands of items by hand and sent them to the organisation's base in Chennai for counting, where the Guinness world records adjudicators confirmed a new record of 58,917 crochet sculptures.
Previously, the group created the world's largest blanket, measuring 111,48 square metres, and donated it to needy people across India. This was followed by the second world record in 2017, when MICQ made the longest crocheted scarf as a team, creating a giant 14.089-km-long (46,223 feet 9 inches) accessory and then cutting it up and distributing it to the poor.
Hooked on the hobby, MICQ Dubai team members said crochet is a way for them to relax and take a break from the stress of balancing work and family life in Dubai. MICQ Dubai member Tara, a working professional, said: "This is my way of relaxation and de-stressing. Since I don't have time at home or at work to do this, I do it while travelling in the Metro. I do it for one hour while going to work and also while coming back in the evening."
"We joined the group for our love for crochet and because charity is a huge part of this initiative. For example, the crochet blanket we made was divided and distributed it to the needy after the after the Guinness record. Our Dubai group also keeps donating our work to charities. We are now making caps and mufflers to donate to the Indian Indian army soldiers. We are also sending scarves to refugee camps in Jordan, " said team member Anjana.
What drives them to put in so much time and effort into the art is "passion for crochet, relaxation and the happiness we get out of this. It makes all our creativity come alive. It is the best and the most meaningful way to use our talent," said Shahana, a senior member.
Another participant, Mini, said: "Patience and concentration is something that this art has made us good at. Seeing us busy at crochet, even our kids join in and I am quite happy about it as this keeps my children away from TV and other electronic gadgets. They have also started making crochet items to gift their friends."