Every-flavoured bean and chocolate frog-covered greetings to you
We hope this newsletter finds you well, grabbing a pair of wands to knit yourself a snuggly Hogwarts scarf as you prepare to take your woolly weapons and go up against Voldemort (yes, we said it. We have no fear!) for the very last time. We'd also like to introduce you to another magical boy hero whose bodyguard gets a bit knitty.
Stitch London Christmas Shindig 8th December
Stitching Secret Santa • Fabulous Raffle • Much Merriment
Put it in your diaries!
Stitch London learners: The last learner's lesson of the year is on 2 December. The first lesson of 2011 will be on 3 January. It's going to be a beast! Look out for the learner icon (left) to see dates for learner meetings. Places may be limited so please arrive early to sign up.
Questions? See our Learn to Knit and FAQ pages.
| Stitch and Wingardium Leviosaaaaaaaaaar
"Oh, there you are, Albus." he said. "You've been a very long time. Upset stomach?"
"No, I was merely reading the Muggle magazines," said Dumbledore. "I do love knitting patterns."
Iron your dress robes, shine your broomsticks and break out the butter beer. The latest installment in the Harry Potter series is here at last. The first part of The Deathly Hallows hits our screens like a howler from your mum when you've crashed your VW into a whomping willow. Woo hoo!
In honour of the movie here is a selection of Ravelry's most popular FREE Potter patterns for you to get your hooks and needles into:
Amigurumi Crochet Owls: They're so cute you probably wouldn't mind them bringing you the Daily Prophet even if it said something scandalous about you in it.
Bellatrix Socks: Socks of disturbingly smirky evil. Don't knit these for Neville.
Dobby Hat: Warning: This hat may tempt you to beat yourself over the head with a copy of Lockheart's Magical Me until someone offers you a sock.
Calling all London-based Harry Potter knitters
Stitch London are planning a Harry Potter Stitch Cinema trip! A gaggle of us are going to see The Deathly Hallows at some lucky London cinema.
Fancy joining us to pour scorn on the muggles, envy Mrs Weasley's knitting skills and discuss whether or not it is okay to think that Draco is quite hot?
(Knitting isn't compulsory. It does tend to get in the way of popcorn munching.)
Stitch and Meeting Madame Magic Thief
You can't beat a story featuring sneaking, magic stones, bacon, biscuits, dragons, beards and Benet, the bodyguard who knits when he's not crushing skulls. Sarah Prineas's Magic Thief Trilogy (published in the UK by Quercus) introduces you to Conn, sneaky pickpocket turned magician's apprentice and the damp and dusky world he lives in on the streets of Wellmet.
Conn meets the wizard, Nevery, when caught picking Nevery's pocket. Instead of finding money for food Conn ends up stealing the wizard's 'locus magicalicus', a stone that each wizard must have in order to do magic. Touching the stone should kill him but Conn mysteriously survives and the yarn of the story unwinds from there...
Each book in the series features something you can make yourself. The first book beckoned you into the kitchen with biscuits, the second book offered you pie and the third book in the trilogy, The Magic Thief: Found finally got a bit knitty.
We managed to drag Sarah Prineas away from her words to answer a few questions about The Magic Thief and bringing a little knitting to the world of children's books.
Can you describe The Magic Thief books in a single sentence?
Hmm. It would be a very long sentence, so I'll try to do it in a list of words:
Each of the books has something the reader can make themselves at the end. Why add the handmade do-it-yourself element to your stories? Was this your idea?
It went like this:
Me (to editor): Wouldn't it be cool if we put recipes and stuff in the back of the book?
Editor: YES! I WILL MAKE IT SO!
And she did!
As it happens, the editor of The Magic Thief: Found is a knitter, so she was very excited by the idea of putting the scarf pattern in the back of the book. Oh, and I know she's knitted it, and I did a reading once and a member of the audience was busy knitting the Benet scarf. That was a thrill.
Tell us a bit about Benet.
Ah, Benet. Everybody loves Benet. He is the wizard Nevery's bodyguard, and when I began writing The Magic Thief, he was going to be a minor character, just a tough guy. Then I started thinking about what bodyguards do. They take care of people. Usually by knocking heads together, but it occurred to me that he might take care of people in other ways, by baking them biscuits and knitting them sweaters and socks and scarves.
Why knitting for Benet, and not sewing or crochet?
It had to be knitting. The main character of the book, Conn, is a street kid who needs a home, and it's Benet who provides it. The coziness of the black sweater Benet knits for Conn in Book One, it's all about home and warmth and comfort.
Book One features a recipe for Benet's biscuits. Have you tried making the biscuits yourself?
I have a sad confession to make, which is that I never have. My editor did though, to make sure they were edible, and I've been served them many, many times at book events. I should note, too, that these biscuits are not cookies, but American biscuits, which are kind of like scones, but not sweet. Best eaten hot with butter and jam.
Do you hope to encourage crafts such as baking and knitting in your younger readers or is it just a happy side effect?
I am certain that kids love books best when they feel truly engaged with them, with the characters and the story. I see the recipes and knitting pattern as another way to foster that engagement.
Conn, your magic thief, has a skill you call 'quick hands'. Perfect for picking pockets but also for knitting. Do you think he'd like to learn?
Oh, this is such a great idea!! Conn would love to learn knitting from Benet. I'm totally stealing it for an upcoming Magic Thief book or story.
Good to know the skill will be passed on! In the books each wizard has their own 'locus magicalicus', a stone which they must find in order to do magic. Are you always on the look out for your own locus stone?
This is going to sound like a weird answer, but I already have a locus magicalicus, and it's my MacBook laptop computer.
Have you ever picked a lock or picked a pocket yourself?
No, I haven't! But when writing The Magic Thief I did lots of research about picking locks and picking pockets. I wonder if I could do it...
In the first book the 'embero' spell, which transforms people into their animal form, turns Conn into a cat. Which animal would it turn you into?
Oh, that's easy. A dragon. Not a cute, fluffy one, either.
Do you think knitting and magic have elements in common?
For sure they do, the same way writing and magic do. As a writer or a knitter you're making something out of nothing (or nothing much), which truly is magic.
How does it feel to end the trilogy after getting to know your characters for all this time?
So awful that I couldn't bear to do it and have written a fourth Magic Thief book.
That's fabulous news. Can't wait for the next installment! Do you have plans for future stories with more nods to craft?
Maybe! My next book, Winterling (which is out in 2012), has herbal medicine in it, which isn't exactly crafty, and also riding and shooting with a bow...also not crafty. But things that require attention and study, the way craft-related activities do. After that, who knows?
Check out Sarah's website for more Magic Thief goodies and news. And, lucky you, you don't have to pick a pocket to get your own copy. You can win a set of Magic Thief books by entering our competition. Read on...
*sneaks valuables out of your pocket while you read*
|COMPETITION: Stitch and Picking Magician's Pockets
The good folks at Quercus have given us four sets of Sarah Prineas's Magic Thief books to give away, for those of you who don't have the Conn's pick pocket callousness and would rather win or buy them.
Answer this question:
Before he became a wizard's apprentice The Magic Thief's main character made a living from which profession?
a. Angora rabbit shearer
b. Sneaky pick pocket and lockpicker
c. Lady Gaga impersonator
- The subject line "If I could pick locks my yarn stash would be huge"
- Answer A, B or C
- Your full name, contact email and address
The deadline for the competition is Sunday 5 December at 8pm.
Please note: Offering to steal us precious cashmere from the fabled cashmere hoard of Eastern princes won't help you win. Just pick your answer, email us and cross your fingers. Good luck!
Competition rules: 1. One entry per person. 2. Competition ends Sunday 5 December 2010 at 8pm.
3. No cash alternatives. 4. Winners will be drawn from all correct answers, and notified via email. 5. If winners don’t reply within two weeks of closing date then new winners will be chosen. 6. Prizes will be posted to the winners by publishers.
| Stitch and Christmas Shindig
The Stitch London Christmas Shindig creeps ever closer like Santa on your roof with a bag full of knitted goodness and a slight scent of gin.
This year the Stitch London Christmas Shindig is on 8 December. We'll have Stitching Secret Santa, our usual fabulous fibre-filled raffle raising money for The Serendip Children's Home in Sri Lanka, and a Christmassy invite to your non-knitting chums. Anyone and everyone is welcome.
(If you miss it we'll have Stitching Secret Santa: The Return on Wednesday 15 December)
The search for raffle prizes begins. Here're a few of the gems we have so far:
The lovely Loop are donating a skein of the woolly wonder that is Wollmeise. Woo hoo!
Knit Nation yarn and a sheep tape measures from a mystery gifter.
HUGE thanks to all our Stitch Sages helping teach recently. You're all amazing folks.
Back to the world of muggles and non-magical things for you all now. Go on. Shoo. We've got Christmas Shindig stuff to sort.
Keep your wands at the ready for Death Eater attacks, Stitch Londoners. Expelliarmus!
Stitch London x
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Edited and sewn together with words by Deadly Knitshade
with no help from Gertrude Woolsworthy, the lazy beast.
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