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17 January 2011
Stitch and Shoving New Stitching Stuff into Your Brain
... NEW STITCH SKILLS: Online tutorial treasures ... FREE WORKSHOP: Learn how to Plarn and be in a book ...
... ASK GERTRUDE: Fear of Group Stitching for Nervous Newbies Solved ...
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Damp, soggy, isn't-it-spring-yet?! greetings to you

We hope this newsletter finds you well, keeping your stitching out of the rain, battling to keep to your stash diet resolutions, but finding good excuses to buy that bargain yarn in the January sales if you accidentally slip up.

Stitch London learners: Learner knitter sessions take place every two weeks. 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.
Brave New Stitching: We tell you where to find new stitching stuff to shove into your brain if you want to learn to knit, crochet or sew this year.

FREE plarn workshop and be in a book: We're offering a free Learn to Make Plastic Yarn Workshop and the chance to get your name in a book. Woot!

Fight your group stitching fear: Our woolly gin-soaked giant ball of wool agony aunt gives advice to the fearful newbie who has never knit in a group before.
Zombie Felties competition winners: Ruth Bettany, Dee Yau, Monique Cooper, Jacqueline Edwards, Michele Cashen (USA), Valentina Tartar
Stitch London meetings:
For more information on each venue click on 'More info' to go to our Venues page
(plus regular meeting)
WEDNESDAY 19 January 

Time: From 6pm
(Plarn workshop from 5pm)
Venue: Royal Festival Hall (Level 2)
South Bank Centre
Belvedere Road
SE1 8XX 

Map More info
MONDAY 24 January

Time: From 6pm
Venue: Leon
Spitalfields Market
3 Crispin Place
E1 6DW

Map More info


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

Map More info

Stitch and Stuffing Your Brain with Crafty Mastery

2011 is the year where you plan to learn to (insert your stitching ambition here). Where to begin? Galloping to the rescue on a garter-stitched steed we're here with our traditional 'Help! I need new knowledge!' article with some of our favourite how-to sites:

Watch and learn
Get your eyeballs around this little lot.
Knit: If you fancy casting your peepers over a cable cast on, watching a wrap and turn, or eyeballing an increase you cannot go wrong with Simple, straight-forward videos that show you exactly how to do it right when you've been doing it hideously wrong.
Crochet: America's Lion Brand do a fine flock of How to Crochet vidoes. They'll have you hooking in no time.
Sew: The folks at Video Jug wave all kinds of needle and thread films at you. All uploaded by the sites members.
Favourite: Roxycraft's Amigurumi Lesson videos. Make cute with your crochet.

Pick someone's brains:
Join Ravelry, find a group and ask someone for heeeeeeeeeeelp!

Knit: Our lovely Stitch Londoners are a marvel or ask on Techniques or Tips and Techniques. My but those people are helpful.
Crochet: Wander over to Crochet on Ravelry and ask the wise hookers. Just don't call them hookers.
Sew: Be proud of your passion for your skinny thread and tiny needle with the Sew Obsessed crew.
Favourite: Ravelry Rubberneckers. When you want to learn about what happens when overdramatic knitters meet in cyberspace. Bring your popcorn and a comfy chair and prepare to spray tea on your keyboard giggling at what you shouldn't.

Need more help? See last year's Knitting Help the Virtual Way
FREE LONDON WORKSHOP: Stitch and Plarning It Up

House full of so many plastic bags you can barely move without crunching and crackling and you have no idea where the cat is? It's about time you learned to turn your carrier-bag mountain into Plarn, the wonder that is Plastic Yarn.

Plarn can be used to make anything from bags, to bathroom mats, to 8-metre giant squid. It's easy to make and cheap as chips too. Actually it's even cheaper than chips. And doesn't smell of salt and vinegar.

On Wednesday 19 January Stitch London are offering you a free Plarn Workshop and the opportunity to get your name in a top secret stitching book that is coming soon.

WEDNESDAY 19 January
Time: From 5pm throughout the evening
Venue: Royal Festival Hall (Level 2)
South Bank Centre
Belvedere Road
SE1 8XX 

How do I sign up? Arrive anytime from 5pm. Find pink-haired Deadly Knitshade and say "I want to plarn!" or something to that effect.

What to bring:
Your colourful plastic bags (bio-degradable carrier bags not allowed. Sorry Tescos)
Optional (as we will provide them too):
12mm needles

What you'll learn:
How to turn your plastic bag into 'plarn'
How knit with plarn

What will happen to my squares? The squares you knit will be collected and used as part of a top secret project for an upcoming book. In return for your squares you'll get your name in the book as a one of our 'Plarn Platoon'. Woo hoo!

What's this book then? We can't tell you just yet but it's going to be a good one. You'll see very soon.

A free workshop in return for a bit of book fame? What's not to love? Plarn with us!

Can't make the Workshop? Learn how to make Plarn at or check out this Youtube video for thicker doubled plarn.
  Ask Gertrude: Fighting Your Fear of Group Stitching

Dear Gerty,

A couple of nights ago I was at London's Royal Festival Hall, enjoying a cup of tea and a sit-down whilstusing the free wi-fi access to catch up on a few emails, when I spied a large gaggle of knitters.
They were having such a jolly time, I was tempted to whip out the scarf I’m working on and join in, but I was overcome by shyness.
Also I’m not a great knitter – I can do the basics, but the speed with which the fibres where being flung intimidated me – how good a knitter do I have to be to join a knitting group? And will it help if I bring cake?

Nuala Newbie of North Greenwich

Dear Nuala,

Well bless your cotton socks (although they’re probably acrylic, aren’t they?). There is no great
mystery to joining a merry band of knitters, no arcane initiation ceremony involving dpns, and certainly
no minimum knitting-ability requirement. After all Stitch London and many groups are multi-craft and welcome knitters, crocheters, spinners, seamstresses and macramé-istas of all types. Although cake does make for easy introductions, it’s certainly not expected.

All you need to do is approach the group, select an empty chair, saying something to the effect of “Is
this chair free?”
Occasionally someone might say “No, we’re saving it for LittleMissLighteningSticks who’s getting the wine in”, but will then indicate a chair that is free and wriggle along to fit you in. If you have cake you may want to offer it at this point, but at this time of the year people may decline, citing New Years resolutions – not that there’s anything wrong with having a more spherical figure, as the late Mr. Woolsworthy would have attested.

Once seated get your knit on, but take a few moments to have a look around and see what everyone else is up to – don’t be afraid to ask about a patterns or yarn – your fellow knitters will be flattered that you noticed, and frankly will be hard to shut up once they start on about their favourite casting-off technique or the virtues of one brand of yarn over another.

One last pointer for your first group meeting - it might be a good idea to avoid wearing pink and yellow when you first introduce yourself to the group just in case someone mistakes for a slice of sweet, sweet Battenberg and tries to take a bite out of you.
New Years Resolutions never last that long, do they?

Stitch London

Keep calm and carry yarn, Stitch Londoners.

Stitch London x  
 A woolly Godzilla since 2005
Edited and sewn together with words by Deadly Knitshade
with grudging help from Gertrude Woolsworthy and Gerty's Rage Counseller LondonBusKnitter.
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