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7 May 2010
Stitch and Votes for Knitting (and cake)
... SPECIAL EVENT: Knit Crawl 2010 ... Stitch London: The Movie ... 
... Exclusive interview: ReKnit tells all ... 
WWKIP Overseas
... Gerty goes to the polls

Yellow, red and blue splattered post-Election greetings to you

We hope this newsletter finds you well, keeping calm and knitting on in the face of some feisty UK election battles, admiring the hung parliament drying in the sunshine and ready to face whatever happens to us crafty folks with a strong cup of tea and a huge slice of cake.

S&B London learners: Free knitting lessons will take place twice a month from 6.30 at S&B London meetings. If there are lots of you then you may have to wait. Check for the Learners Lesson icon next to the meeting title.

See our Learn to Knit and FAQ pages.
Please note: All learners should aim to arrive before 8pm.

Race for Life - June 13th
Stitch Yourself for the Science Museum
Help Us teach by becoming a Stitch Sage

The Stitch London Knit Crawl 2010 is back: Having slumbered for a whole year the fibre-based beast that is the Knit Crawl awakes and this year it's going to be epic.

Stitch London the Movie: You've read the newsletter. Now see the film. Help a fledgling filmmaker make your knitting group famous.

Vote for Change! We bag an exclusive interview with the brains behind ReKnit. The wonders of bad knitting, one crafty mum and a bit of reknitting magic.

Knitting in public on strange shores: We hunt down the coolest WWKIP events overseas.
Surgical stitching: Are you joining us for a Stitch Up at London's kookiest and coolest museum, The Hunterian, next Friday? A multitude of crafts, a bit of surgical stitching and the clinking of glasses as you celebrate your stitches amongst the bones and body bits. (We're also looking for volunteer teachers. Email us if you fancy being a special Stitch Sage for an hour on the big night)

Gerty goes to the polls: Our gin-sipping woolly agony aunt saves you from political knitting hell.

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

Time: From 6pm
Venue: Hunterian Museum
Royal College of Surgeons of England
35-43 Lincoln's Inn

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

Map More info

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

The 2010 Stitch London Knit Crawl    by Deadly Knitshade

Worldwide Knit in Public Day comes but once a year and this year it's the 12th of June. The Stitch London Knit Crawl rises from the depths of the Thames to stomp across the city once more.

What on earth is a Knit Crawl? It's a day when you and your knitting proudly go out into the city and show yourself off. There's sunshine, there's cake, there's hayfever-based sneezing, there are curious passers by and there are some of London's loveliest sites. You can see last year's Knit Crawl here. It rocked the knitted moustache.

When is it? This year it's the 12th of June from 12pm till 6pm.

Where will it be? Locations will be announced but this year's Knit Crawl is going to be epic. We'll take you through the Wild, the Wondrous, the Musical and the Magical. Four venues, four places to sit and knit, four chances to win something woolly and wonderful in our Knit Crawl raffle.

What will it cost? The Knit Crawl is free for anyone to join. Bring yourself, bring your knitting and bring a brain ready to be filled with the fabulous. We'll take you and your knitting on a tour you and your stitching won't easily forget.

What can I win? We'll have a grand prize at each stop of the Knit Crawl. The grand prizes will be announced nearer the time but they will be very cool.

What's it for? The Knit Crawl promotes the lovely art of stitching. We also raise money for charity. This year we're raising money for the Brain's Trust (in honour of the late great Alan Potter who donated his mother's entire gargantuan yarn stash to us last year and was sadly carried off by a brain tumour late last year).
What else you got? Next newsletter we'll have a free pattern to sew your own Stitch London Simple Stitched Project Sack. Tote your project in something you have sewn yourself. Break out those sewing machines, people.
Stitch London: The Movie  by Deadly Knitshade

Back in the hazy summer of last year some of you may remember the camera lens of Ms Anouk de l'Ecluse peering at you while you knit knit knit. Anouk took five of our Stitch Londoners (S&B Londoner's back then) and found out just what being part of our feisty but friendly knitting group meant to them.

What she ended up with was a beautifully produced ten-minute movie called (RS) P1, K2.

It was such a lovely little film that the Manhattan Film Festival have picked it as one of 19 potential winners.

 Anouk needs you vote to ensure that her film about our little knitting group win.

 All you need to do is log in to Youtube here and click on the LIKE button to vote.

Anouk sent this message along:

"Dear Stitch Londoners

As you may know last year a short documentary was made featuring a few members of the then called Stitch & Bîtch. "(RS),P1,K2" was when I was a student at the MET Film school London. It shows 5 individuals and how an ancient craft has transformed into a social necessity to individuals in a metropolis.

Shown through beautiful camera work and lovely personal stories "(RS),P1,K2" gives insight in what knitting means to five Stitch Londoners and how it has affected them. All different in age, gender, background and nationality, just as we are, to show that knitting nowadays is very different from the stigma knitting has.

I promise to keep you all informed about "(RS),P1,K2" and thanks all in advance for your votes! I hope I have portrayed you well and will be proud of being a Stitch Londoner! 'Keep up this craft which has the power to merge all people together through just a ball of yarn!'


You can see more about Anouk on her website at
How do I vote? To vote go here, sign into YouTube and click the LIKE button

If you've never been to Stitch London before it's also a great sneak peak into what an average meeting is like. It's never as scary as you think. :)

Virtual cake for all those who vote. Please pass it on to your friends and get them to vote to. It's about time public stitching got a little screen time. I'm sure Anouk will remember you all in her Oscar speech.

 Stitch and Oh no! I'm out of the country that day!!!  by The Purple Purler

So you've just checked your diary and you've noticed that the weekend of the Knit Crawl you're in [insert exotic-sounding city here].

Never fear, Stitch Londoners. You don't have to miss out on the World Wide Knit in Public Day madness. Here's our guide to the best events taking place around the world...

Down Under on 12th June? Head to Wyong Youth & Community Centre, Kanwal, NSW and support Friendship Angels Network - a community project of Candles Cancer Support Group Inc. There's a AUS$2 registration fee and all proceeds go towards supporting local families dealing with cancer.

In Ontorio, Canada on 19th June? The Cambridge Centre for the Arts are hoping to break a world record for the most people knitting simultaneously. There are strict rules, which you can see here. There are also games and competitions...but it starts really early for a Saturday! Make sure you take advantage of the coffee that's for sale.

Denmark? The land of incredibly beautiful people...fact!
Meet some of these beautiful people at Ladingsvej 1, 4500 Nykøbing Sjælland. According to google translate, they're interested in the following: Do you have yarn you would like to donate to dosshouse knit core are knit to the socially vulnerable in Denmark, we receive the like of lawn. I think they're after charity donations of yarn...

Stateside? There are probably more taking place in America than the whole of the rest of the world. And you can see them all here. One that stuck out though is on 13th June at Barnes and Noble, Pensacola, Florida. They want you to bring along charity donations, such as preemie hats and hats for the homeless.

And there are many, many more events taking place between Saturday 12th and Sunday 20th June. You can find out more on the official WWKIP website and on the Ravelry group, although as one Raveller pointed out, if you're in South Africa over these 12 days, you'll have to fight football fans for the public spaces!!

Exclusive Interview: Stitch and Turning unwanted knits stylish

At some point in our lives many of us have experienced 'ugly sweater' syndrome. You know it well. You unwrap. Your face and heart drop. How could such a loved one make such a mistake? As quickly as you can say WTF your face lights up and you say "I love it, thank you", knowing full well it's going right at the back of the cupboard or the charity shop.

Haik Avanian comes from a family of knitters and he started Reknit It. Haik and his mother take old jumpers and cardigans, unwind them into balls of yarn and then knit them into items that people will use again. The concept has been hugely popular and our Fibre Flinger has scored an interview with Haik who explains a bit more about how they go about this feat.

The website is currently down but they aim to be up and running soon. Until then you've got the inside scoop:

Can you tell me a bit more about the set up and who is involved in the project. Is it just you and your mum on your living room floor? I designed and maintain the website, my mom does all the knitting, with some assistance from my grandmother– who does the templates for each item, and my sister does all the photography.


How did you come up with the concept?
It's something that we already do and something that's culturally ingrained in us (we're Armenian), and my mom thought it'd be interesting to share with people. My family moved to the US from Armenia in 1995. My sister and I are both designers and artists, and my mother is a programmer by day.

As I haven’t been through the process of purchasing a product from your website, how does it work? Do you get to choose what your final item looks like or is it pot luck? The design of the items are fairly simple, and the colors used will be whatever colors are available in the sweater. If a design requires more than one color, and the sweater doesn't have any additional ones, my mom picks out a complimenting color from yarn that we have around.


The templates for each item are followed pretty closely each time, but in terms of color/pattern, it varies from case to case.


Do you use all the yarn that you unravel from a sweater into the new project, or do you have a yarn monster that you feed the scraps to? All of the yarn doesn't get used up and sometimes people ask for the left overs back, or choose to donate it to us. We end up using the donated yarn as additional colors for other projects...and we've been trying to think of something interesting to do with the rest of the left over yarn.

What role did knitting/clothing/fashion play in your family as you were growing up? What values did your upbringing and family culture instill in you? My grandmother knew how to knit, so we always had knit clothing growing up– and in many cases, the clothes would be reknit  into something else once we grew out of the clothing. It really seems like a perfect alternative to just throwing away kids clothes every 4-5 months! I think there's a sort of subconscious resourcefulness instilled in me, almost like having a different perspective on things. e.g. looking at a sweater, and seeing it as yarn, instead of just a sweater. 

I read that you have a family tradition of repurposing yarn for new projects and generations. Were you aware of this when you were growing up and what was your reaction to it? I know when I was growing up there was a real stigma if you wore something that was made at home and not shop bought/branded as it was seen as a sign you couldn't afford 'proper' clothes. My grandma was an expert knitter and made clothes for all her children, but unfortunately that skill wasn't passed down. I think that stigma exists very distinctly in the US, but it wasn't really an issue in Armenia at all. I certainly don't remember caring or worrying about what other kids would think.

Why do you think the knitting continued throughout your family over the generations and who else in your family knits? My mom, sister, and grandmother all knit.. I think it's just something you learn growing up because you want to emulate what your parents are doing, and its a great hobby.

I think there is a growing trend for homemade items and clothes. Have you seen evidence of that and what are your opinions on it? I guess it isn't a trend in your family, is it something that you've always kept going?
I think it's just a natural reaction at this point. In the same way that film photography has been appreciated after the digital format took over.

We are led to believe that your mum has only two hands. Have you considered investigating retractable arms so she can work faster? I believe we are considering some for one of the Stitchettes who happens to be limbless what being a ball of yarn and that.
Several volunteers have stepped forward and offered to become "one of the moms", but I think I'm all set with one.

How come you haven’t developed mad knitting skills so that you can help your mum? You don’t consider knitting a female thing to do, do you?
Haha no, I don't have anything against knitting. In fact, I tried to learn how to when I was about 7. I'm determined to at least learn the basics now though.

You could look into cloning your mum and having a (humane) sweatshop with hundreds of her. Is that something you’ve thought about?
We've thought about a separate site that would allow other knitters to find customers and re-knit on their own.

If any of our readers have mums with mad knitting skills that they would like to donate to the cause would you consider the offer? I think involving other knitters makes it more difficult for us to manage the logistics...shipping/communication, and at this point I'd rather keep it smaller :)

 Ask Gertrude: Vote Yarnball

This week, Gerty takes on an election special and solves a reader's political conundrum for her.

Dear Gerty

The elections have got me all in a quandary over my knitting. I am currently knitting a lovely blue hat, but now people are asking me if I vote Conservative! Professionally I am in a position where I am not allowed to show an allegiance to any political party. And, to be honest, I don't want people to make assumptions about what my political beliefs are based on what I am making.  While election fever rages in the UK, how can I make my knitting appear to be completely neutral?

Impartial Ingrid

My dear Ingrid, I quite understand your dilemma. Often, people ask me about my vote. But, they forget that I am a ball of wool and have no hands so could not fill in the registration to vote. And I was told last time that jumping up and down on the ballot paper to make my mark meant that I had spoilt my vote. Pah. 

And none of them have made a pledge to reduce duty on gin or make Battenburg VAT free, so quite frankly they are all dead to me. DEAD

Now the best way to make your knitting completely neutral is to address colour. Obviously, at this time, red, blue and yellow have certain associations with the main political parties.  Green is, well, green. 

No, your answer lies in the neutrals. BEIGE. Knit with very, very neutral beige.  No political party wants to be associated with the beigeness. By knitting in beige you remove all associations, political or otherwise, from your knitting.  People will instantly forget your knitting. People will not think about it. The beige will overcome all. 

The alternative to the pure neutrality of beige is to go for full-on colour.  First you need a simple two-row stripe scarf pattern.  Next, you need to carefully research all the colours used by the political parties and candidates in your constituency.  You cannot leave any of them out, even that shade of puce used by that independent candidate locally. Then start knitting in your scarf pattern. Whenever anyone notices the colour you are knitting in, simply switch to another colour. Be careful to distribute them evenly, though! 

Your final option, colour-wise, is simple to tell everyone that what you are knitting is grey.  When they mention that your hat is blue, look confused and say "But, it's grey". When asked about those red gloves, say "But these are grey. Why do you think they are red?" With enough conviction, you can get them to question their own judgement and run to the optician for an eye test

You can also show your neutrality in other ways. Don a tiara and a crimplene dress and steal a corgi from the park. Accompany each throw of the yarn with a small wave. When asked about the colour of your knitting, tell them that one does not have a political alliegance, one simply likes the colour. 

Alternatively, pretend to be Swiss. Make yourself a Swiss Cheese scarf or even a Swiss Roll and embrace the neutrality.

Your final option, my dear, and my favourite, is to declare your own manifesto. Why follow the policies of the political parties when you can make your own and start a revolution!?  Take inspiration from the fabulous Lisa Anne Auerbach and her slogan knitwear and wear your beliefs on your sleeve.

May I suggest something like "Gin for all!" or "Equal rights for the limbless!".

See this question and others that didn’t make the newsletter on Gerty’s blog

Do you want an armless, legless ball of fury to make your decisions for you? Email her at

It's the close of the polls now, folks. We're off to celebrate the glorious victory of stitching with a large slice of cake. Don't feel lonely though. You can stalk us merrily on Twitter and on the Ravelry message board too.

If you have any juicy stitching scandals you want to report or you get in a tangle or you simply want us to cover the heads of several politicians in wool to stop them talking then you can get in touch by emailing us at

Vote for stitching and jab any nay sayers with your DPNs, Stitch Londoners
The Stitchettes x


Edited and sewn together with words and pictures by Deadly Knitshade
Technical wizardry by The Bluestocking Stitcher
Articles by Deadly Knitshade, The Purple Purler, The Fibre Flinger and Gertrude Woolsworthy

S&B 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. S&B London is a non-profit group and is run by one frazzled founder and five volunteers so please be patient if we make mistakes.