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16 May 2008
Reporter: Tension increases as the seven top knitters in the land prepare their needles for combat. On this final judgment day, speed and accuracy in following eight separate patterns, each for 20 minutes, will produce a new National Knit-Off champion for 1971. Two rounds down and six to go.
Official: Right. Now, get on your marks. Get set. Go.
Reporter: Mrs Nazar, representing Western Australia with the controversial European technique, has been knitting since she was a little girl of nine in her native Bavaria. Top Tasmanian Mrs Newman keeps herself and her family in all knitted garments. She had an early start at the age of four. New South Wales Wool Knit-off champion Mrs Green has been knitting for over 50 years, with something on her needles all the time - from ladies' dresses to men's cardigans for family and friends. Mrs Greenwood, knitting for Victoria, began her practice of the craft 40 years ago with two nails and a length of string. The fastest pair of needles in the Northern Territory wielded by Mrs Smith of Alice Springs, a cardigan and jumper specialist. The hopes of South Australia are pinned on mother of three and grandmother of six, Mrs Glasebrook, visiting Sydney for the first time in her life. Mrs Rope entered the contest just for fun and with her dextrous continental style, became Queensland champion.
Reporter: What can go wrong?
Mrs Greenwood: Suddenly find you've got too many or too less stitches at the end of the pattern and you know you've thrown the whole thing out.
Reporter: How do you think you're going anyway?
Mrs Green: Oh, not too good. Nah.
Reporter: You're being a bit pessimistic.
Mrs Green: Oh, no, I've made mistakes, I mean unforgivable mistakes. So I've just gotta put up with it.
Reporter: You must've done very well anyway to be your own State champion already, to be here in the first place.
Mrs Green: It might've been a fluke.
Reporter: Mrs Glasebrook, do you get very nervous in a competition like this?
Mrs Glasebrook: Oh, yes, I do. A bit jittery, you know? My fingers sort of won't work quick enough.
Mrs Greenwood: Well, with nervous tension, one tends to get a little bit clammy and it makes the wool sticky on the needles.
Judges: This particular one is quite good, except there is a mistake here. Fault on the edge. The side edge is very poor. Very poor.
Reporter: As completed samples come off the needles, they go to the judging panel, a strict but compassionate triumvirate, expert knitters all, representing the CWA, the Wool Board and Patons Knitting Wools. After three years' experience on the bench, Miss M Tregonning can almost pick a winner by watching the contestants at work.
Judges: That's even. The pattern's correct, yeah.
Miss M Tregonning: You can tell by the temperament of the woman just how she's knitting. Temperament is one of the main things, really.
Reporter: Isn't knitting a bit old-fashioned today?
Judge: No, knitting isn't old-fashioned, it's more on the increase. And these knitting competitions that we hold have certainly inspired a lot of people to take up knitting again.
Reporter: Do you really like knitting?
Mrs Green: Oh, I love it. Yes, I do really. I love it. But not under these circumstances, by any means.
Reporter: What sort of chance do you think you've got in the competition?
Mrs Nazar: Oh, well, I haven't thought about it at all. I just try to do my best for the honour of Western Australia.
Mrs Green: We're all just going hard at it and hoping for the best.
Reporter: Thank you.