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29th July 2010
Stitch and Stitching Some Strange Sealife
... EXCLUSIVE EVENT: Stitch a Squid at the Natural History Museum ... WIN Stitch London Cake Badge ...
Yarn Weight 101 ... Gerty says NO
Summer holiday ice-cream sticky greetings to you

We hope this newsletter finds you well, basking in the surprising hot English summer and keeping your brolly to hand in case the rain gods decide we've had enough fun.
Stitch London summer break: The Stitch London newsletter will be    taking a little break for a little summer holiday for the month of August.
Newsletters will resume, in a slightly more tanned and relaxed form, in September.
 We'll also be taking a break from teaching at meetings throughout August to give our volunteer Stitch Sages a summer break. Free knitting lessons will begin again in September, but if you can't wait there are plenty of excellent learner videos online.
London meetings will continue as usual every week throughout August. Sit, knit, crochet, sew and enjoy your summer stitching.
Stitch London learners: Stitch London be taking a break from teaching in August to give our lovely volunteer Stitch Sages a summer break. Look out for meetings in September when free lessons will resume. You're always welcome to come along and knit with us but no learner teaching will take place till then. In the meantime you can find excellent learner videos online.

Questions? See our Learn to Knit and FAQ pages.

Help Us teach by becoming a Stitch Sage

Buy badges at Knit Nation: The lovely girls from The Bothered Owl will be selling Stitch London badges on their stall at Knit Nation from the 29-31 July. Find them and wear your knitting love in badge form.

Stitch a Squid: Stitch London are joining forces for some under sea stitching at London's Natural History Museum. Join us and stitch a squid.

Yarn Weight untangled: No need to wonder about which yarn to use. We untangle the confusion.

Win free cake! You can win a free "Will Knit for Cake" badge and nine other exclusive Stitch
London shiny shiny badges in our competition.

Gerty won't do it: Find out how to politely refuse those knitting requests with our woolly gin-sipping agony aunt. 

Stitch London meetings:
For more information on each venue click on 'More info' to go to our Venues page

Time: From 6pm
Venue: Royal Festival Hall (Level 2)
South Bank Centre
Belvedere Road

Map More info
TUESDAY 10 August

Time: From 6pm
Venue: The New Moon
Ledenhall Market
88 Gracechurch Street

Map More info
THURSDAY 19 August

Time: From 6pm
Venue: EV
The Arches
97-99 Isabella Street

Map More info
FRIDAY 27 August

Time: From 6pm to 9.30pm
Venue: Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road

Map More info
WEDNESDAY 1 September

Time: From 6pm
Venue: Royal Festival Hall (Level 2)
South Bank Centre
Belvedere Road
 SE1 8XX

Map More info

  EXCLUSIVE EVENT: Stitch a Squid at the Natural History Museum  by Deadly Knitshade

This summer Stitch London is teaming up with the folks at London's Natural History Museum for a Late event on the 27th August from 6pm to 9.30pm to bring a little stitched sealife to the world.

To celebrate the weird and watery Deep Sea exhibition the Stitch a Squid event invites you to come along and learn to knit a stitched squid to add to the tiny Stitched Squid Shoal or take home with you.
You can stitch your ten-legged tentacled friend in the shadow of Dippy the Dinosaur skeleton in the Museum's main hall then wander about one of London's most magical museums to get your fill of the furry, finned and feelered.

There will also be a display of Stitched Specimens from the Deep Sea stitched up by members of Stitch London and the Natural History Museum's group of knitters.
Join us and Stitch a Squid under a dinosaur. Go on.

(Thanks to the lovely Gary Northfield for our bog-eyed knitting squid)

Stitch and knowing your WPI from your ply by The Fastener

If you’re like me, you’ve spent many an evening finding the perfect pattern to only find out that the yarn you’d love to use in your stash is completely the wrong weight for your next wooly item. Then the search begins – you choose to keep your yarn or the pattern.  

Choose the latter option and you begin the search for the correct weight yarn in a colour that either suits you or your wardrobe or, preferably both.  By this stage you’ve spent nearly the whole night trawling the net without so much as a swatch on your needles or hook.

Wouldn’t it be easier if you knew the weight of your yarn in all the different techno terms before your search?

Ravelry has made this a lot easier through the genius of searching for patterns by weight and yardage, as well as looking up your yarn and finding out the weight (where would we be without Ravelry?!).  

However, with my curious mind I wanted to find out exactly how you find out what weight your yarn is before your pattern hunt (and if you find yourself without Ravelry).

In comes wikipedia, another fabulous internet invention.  Someone has written some brilliant charts and detailed instructions on how to measure your WPI (wraps per inch for those -like me- not in the know) against your ply, and how to convert it all into the US yarn type (e.g sport, DK, worsted etc).

So, next time you find that gorgeous vintage yarn and don’t know the weight, head over to wiki and check out your WPI and delight in knowing that the pattern you choose will be the perfect match for your stash.

WIN: A yummy 'Will Knit for Cake Badge" by Deadly Knitshade

Knitters and cake go hand in hand (or rather 'cake in mouth' as far back as we can remember). In honour of the cakey goodness that we all adore Stitch London would like to announce the creation of our newest Stitch London button. Ladies and gentleman, the "Will Knit for Cake" badge.
The badge was created for the knitter who knows that cake in an important part of knitting bribery. An issue we think should be addressed.
The cute cakey artwork was whipped up by the talented Sarah McIntyre (whose cake-drawing talents you can also see in the new You Can't Eat a Princess book).
We'll be selling the badge for the very first time on the Bothered Owl stall at Knit Nation, but you can win one in a set of all 10 of our Stitch London badges by entering our competition. We have three sets to give away to you wherever you are in the world.

All you need to do is send us the correct answer to the question below and we'll throw your name into the badge bag in hopes you'll come out a winner.

What is Stitchette Gertrude Woolsworthy's favourite drink?

a. A cool martini shaken but not stirred
b. A fresh-from-the-beast glass of yak's milk
c. A gut-rotting bottle of cheap gin

Drop us an email at with:
  • The subject line "Badges and cake will be mine!"
  • Answer A, B or C
  • Your full name and address
The deadline for the competition is Friday 6th August at 10am. The three winners will be picked from all correct entries, and notified by email within 48 hours.

Please note: Offering Gertrude Woolsworthy large amounts her favourite gin as a bribe will not help you win and will mean we have to deal with her hangover. Just pick your answer, email us and cross your fingers. Good luck!
If you can't make it to Knit Nation you can buy badges at most Stitch London meetings (just ask) or wait for the grand opening of our Stitch London eShop coming soon...
Competition rules: 1. One entry per person. 2. Competition ends Friday 6th August 2010 at 10am. 4. Winners will be drawn from all correct answers, and notified within 48 hours via email. 5. If winners don’t reply with addresses within two weeks of closing date then new winners will be chosen. 5. No cash alternatives. 6. Prizes will be posted to the winners or can be collected from a Stitch London meeting.

 Ask Gertrude: I'm Just A Girl Who Can't Say No

‘Sup Gert?

I think I’m beyond help but as a last resort I turn to you; my great pink hope. Problem is, I have never been any good at saying NO. It has landed me in many a sticky situation, not least the three teenage pregnancy scares and my glue-sniffing phase.

Anyway, that was many a year ago. After my third scare, I realised I needed to change and found salvation at my local church. Their weekly ‘Stitch and Bitch’ meetings introduced me to knitting and I accepted yarn as my personal saviour.  Once I learnt that those poor sheep died for my sins, everything else took second place. Ten years have gone by and I have been unable to say NO to any yarny project.

It wasn’t always so woeful; initially it was cool to be involved with so many great projects - I signed up for every commission knit and charity blanket square request that I spotted. When friends asked me to knit up their winter accessories or a new wardrobe for their sprogs – I’d cast on without batting an eyelid.

I genuinely wanted to take part in some of the projects – the lion scarf, the knitted poem and stitched-self to name a few. However my inability to discriminate sapped the simple joy that attracted me to knitting in the first place. I’m depressed, on the dole and surrounded by a mountain of half finished commissions, gifts and charity knits – it’s all become a big chore.

Recently I realised that I actually never learnt how to say NO – I just transferred it to knitting. I’m not complaining too much; I’m glad that I didn’t end up with an unwanted Tracy or a dissolved septum. However something needs to give soon or I’m going to have a nervous breakdown.

With a heavy heart and two haggy hands,

Heather, Hertfordshire

Dear Heather,

If I were capable of feeling pain, I would most certainly feel yours.

I always like to start by putting forward a simpler solution however I think you are in no position to be reasoned with. It is unfortunate that I recommend such extreme measures straight away but my fear is nothing else will help. Sometimes dear, one needs to be cruel to be kind and you need the immediate retraining.

When faced with such extreme retraining, I refer to a most missed friend – Ivan Pavlov. It is his experiment on dogs that will be beneficial to you in this instance.

I have adapted the experiment to you situation. You will need:

-       2 very sharp metal DPNs
-       A smartphone of your choice – it must vibrates and have voice activation
-       Sticky tape
-       Electrical wire

Start by attaching the DPNs to your phone. You can arrange them how you like however I recommend you affix them in an X fashion across the back of your phone so a sharp point protrudes from each corner of your phone. Connect the wire from the battery connections at the back of your phone to the DPNs.

Next you need to programme you phone. You need to train it to recognise all the different ways that you say yes – include other words such as ‘sure’ and ‘no problem’. Set your phone to text your number each time you utter these words. Put the phone in your pocket and away you go.

*Tosses back pink yarny hair*

Here’s the science bit: whenever you say one of the trigger words your phone sends a text to itself causing the phone to vibrate and the DPNs to dig you in your hip and thigh. The electrical wire will serve up a mini jolt. This serves as a reminder to quickly change your mind. You must always say, “I’ll check my diary get back to you”.

Continue this retraining for 21 days; that’s how long it takes to change a habit. The short time out will stop you people pleasing and give you the opportunity to decide if you really want to take on another project, once you are home and away from that social pressure.

Don’t worry if you notice yourself slipping back to old patterns – you can always give yourself a booster when you need it. It takes time to change habits of a lifetime. Be patient with yourself.

Bonne chance mon amie,


Do you long for the kind of rehab only a gin-soaked wool-based warden can dole out? Email her at
That is all the yarn-flavoured news we can possibly untangle for you right now. We're off to pack our yarn into a suitcase and start sunbathing.

If you miss Stitch London you can catch your fellow Stitch Londoners on our Ravelry message board and befriend us on Twitter
and Facebook as if we're real people and not a giant woolly Godzilla intent on crushing our woolly footprint across the world (which we are).

See you in September, Stitch Londoners 

The Stitchettes x


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Edited and sewn together with words by Deadly Knitshade
Technical wizardry by The Bluestocking Stitcher
Meeting stuff by The Bluestocking Stitcher
Articles by The Fastener, The Fibreflinger and Gertrude Woolsworthy

Stitch London promise not to share your email address with anyone, not even if they ask us nicely and offer us sweet, sweet cake or cashmere. Stitch London is run by one frazzled founder and five volunteers so please be patient if we make mistakes.