Stowmarket museum sets Guiness World Record

PUBLISHED: 19:00 12 July 2018

Measuring day for the Guinness World Record attempt to make the world's longest Suffolk Puff caterpillar Picture: MUSEUM OF EAST ANGLIAN LIFE

Measuring day for the Guinness World Record attempt to make the world's longest Suffolk Puff caterpillar Picture: MUSEUM OF EAST ANGLIAN LIFE


Have you ever heard of a Suffolk Puff? The people of Stowmarket have broken the record for the longest ‘caterpillar’ ever created using the unique sewing technique – and it’s quite a sight.

Suffolk Puffs being made at an event Picture: MICHAEL JAMES STAMPERSuffolk Puffs being made at an event Picture: MICHAEL JAMES STAMPER

A popular Stowmarket museum has set its very first Guiness World Record after successfully creating the world’s longest ‘Suffolk Puff’ – a giant fabric caterpillar sewn together by the community.

The 90m-long masterpiece was made by over 350 visitors to the Museum of East Anglian Life, who cut out fabric, sewed, gathered and threaded puffs onto strings to create the caterpillar.

A total of 5,864 puffs were strung together to make the finished product – which measured nearly four times the length of the museum’s 13th century barn.

The giant Suffolk Puff was inspired by a sewing technique used to make quilts in the early 20th century, which saw a revival in the 70s and 80s as it was adapted to make children’s toys.

Lisa Harris, collections and interpretation manager at the museum, said: “A Suffolk Puff (British) or Yo-yo (American) is a circle of material gathered in on itself to form a smaller, double thickness, puffy circle.

“They were particularly popular with sewers in the 1920s and 30s when they could be joined together at the edges to make quilts.

“The technique has seen a revival in the last few years with many children in the 70s and 80s given toys made from puffs threaded onto elastic.

“We want to thank everyone that took part, whether at the museum, as part of a group or in your own home. You’re all officially amazing.”

This activity, supported by the Big Lottery Fund’s Celebrate programme, was part of the museum’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

This is not the first time that Suffolk has seen a quirky world record attempt.

Last year, the Suffolk Food Hall in Wherstead set the new (unofficial) world record for the greatest number of sausage rolls eaten simultaneously.

Meanwhile, a Suffolk man bagged a Guiness World Record for the fastest marathon completed while carrying a household appliance – crossing the finish line with a tumble dryer strapped to his back in just under six hours.

Anybody who would like to see the giant caterpillar can catch it wobbling about on the museum’s float as part of the Stowmarket Carnival this Saturday, July 14, and then on display in the museum until October.


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