Cambridge woman behind NZ's royal baby gift

19:33, Jul 23 2013
Royal baby gift
ROYAL SHAWL: New Zealand's official gift for the royal baby is a hand-spun, hand-knitted fine lace shawl, held by Cynthia Read, who spun the wool and knitted it.

After more than 250 hours of spinning and knitting a secret project, the Cambridge woman responsible for New Zealand's gift to the royal baby is feeling relieved.

New Zealand's official gift to Will and Kate is a hand-spun, hand-knitted fine-lace shawl, similar to the one we gave when William was born.

The shawl was designed by Margaret Stove, who was also responsible for William's shawl.

The woman entrusted with crafting the elaborate gift, Cynthia Read, was today at her Cambridge home fielding messages of surprise from her friends as it was revealed that her top secret project was indeed the royal's shawl.
But amid all the excitement, Mrs Read said she was just glad it was finished in time.

''Oh the relief, it's wonderful,'' she said. "I had a nice lie down, it was lovely to get it finished."

Mrs Read got the call to craft the new Prince's shawl mid-March and started spinning merino yarn for the masterpiece by the end of the month.

''I was a bit astonished at being asked. It just came of the blue,''

After a few trial and errors, she got the yarn to the right thickness and 40-50 hours later, it was spun and ready to knit, and it was all go from there.

''I've got scabs on my hand from knitting. It's quite hardcore, you don't expect it to be a really lethal endurance sort of thing but its hard when you have to get it done in time. I was really worried that I wouldnt but I did,'' she said.

''The timeframe was really tight it is quite difficult to get everything done in time because there's a lot of knitting involved...I would've like another two or three months really,'' she said. 

Mrs Read said the shawl would be sturdy enough to withstand a bit of dribble from the royal tot's mouth, but although she didn't include washing instructions with the gift, the proud royal parents need not worry.

"It does take a little bit of looking after, but they've got people to take care of that," she said.

As for the anticipation of whether her shawl will make the cut for the bubs first official outing?

"Oh I don't even know if it is over there yet, I don't suppose it would get there in time."