Friday, February 18, 2011

Grad sets world record -- 33 years later

Gini Woodward Ski hatThe 700-foot hat is displayed in Sandpoint, Idaho.

     Gini Woodward proves the value of patience.
     In December, she graduated from WSU Online with aGini Woodward mug degree in Social Sciences, 42 years after she left the Pullman campus to get married. In January, she set a Guinness World Record for a feat she’d accomplished 33 years earlier.
     While the WSU diploma was carefully planned, the world record came as a surprise. In 1977, the Bonner County, Idaho, resident used a knitting machine to create a 700-foot-long ski hat. The process took eight days. The hat contains panels from about 540 local businesses that contributed funds, Woodward said. About 25 of those businesses still survive, according to the Sandpoint Daily Bee.
     The hat sat in the Bonner County Museum until this winter, when a real estate agent used it to drum up publicity for the Sandpoint Winter Carnival. “She pranced it around town as a promotion,” Woodward said of the 80-pound hat. “No one told me about it until someone called and asked, ‘When did you have time to knit that?’”
     In January, the hat was entered in the Guinness contest, and won the longest ski hat award. There is no previous record for the longest ski hat, but the largest knitted hat, according to the Guinness website, is 22 feet high, and 49 feet in circumference.
     By that time, the hat was back in the museum. “I hadn’t seen it in 30 years,” Woodward said. “It was returned very dirty and wet. The thing needs a bath.”
     The hat may be put away, but Woodward is getting good use out of her diploma. She will be an Idaho representative at the Civility and Democracy in America Conference this March at WSU's Riverpoint campus in Spokane.
     “It is an honor to participate,” she said. “The education I gained from WSU Online classes is already being put to good use!"

When Gini Woodward left WSU, tuition was $52.50 a semester, see story.

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