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Stitched beer and bratwurst greetings to you
We hope this newsletter finds you and your stitching sitting comforably with cake in hand and steaming cup of tea at the ready. Here's a stash of stitching news we made just for you.
Stitch London learners: We offer learner knitter sessions once a month. Look out for the learner icon (left) to see dates for learner meetings. Places may be limited so please arrive early to sign up. Our next teaching meeting will be March 2.
Want to know what to bring or how it works? See our Learn to Knit and FAQ pages.
Graffiti knitting hits Berlin: To celebrate the German edition of their new book Knit the City are hitting Berlin and you're all invited.
Win tiny tentacled terror: Win one of Whodunnknit's Finger-fighting Stitched Squid patterns and wonder at the biggest knitted squid in the world.
Meet the P/Hop People: We put some yarn-flavoured questions to p/hop knitting hero Clare Storry, as the project wins a HUGE award.
Stitch and Boogie: Feel like taking a whirl with your wool? Come Stitch and Boogie with us and also enter a draw for free South Bank Centre DancEUnion tickets.
Gerty's goes Gok: Our woolly gin-soaked agony aunt tells a lost soul what not to wear when it comes to wool.
For more information on each venue click on 'More info' to go to our Venues page
For anyone who might have been wondering how a string of knitted hearts found their way onto Eros's Bow seven metres above Piccadilly Circus on Valentine's Day we can solve the mystery. Sneaky stitching team Knit the City have been up to their yarnstorming tricks again with their Hubbub of Hearts.
The team of four fibre-flinging females: Deadly Knitshade, Shorn-a the Dead, The Fastener and Lady Loop, have been graffiti knitting London for a good few years now, and they're finally found a bit of woolly fame and are off to Berlin to share the stitching celebration.
The Knit the City book (released first in German by Hoffmann und Campe and later in the year in English) shoves the sneaky stitching of KTC in your face in 128-pages of full fabulous colour. It's crammed full of Deadly Knitshade's words and pictures following the story of KTC from Deadly's first solo knitblasts to team yarnstorms when KTC was seven stitchers strong.
The Knit the City Yarn Corps are travelling to Berlin on March 5th to yarnstorm, and Berlin city dwellers are invited to come along, see the yarnstorm and celebrate the release of KTC's graffiti knitting tome. (If you're on Facebook you can tell them you're coming here)
German stitchers can stomp over to the KTC website for more details on when and where.
For those who can't make it you can follow Knit the City on Twitter and shamelessly stalk them on their blog and on Facebook.
We'll keep you posted on when the UK book will hit the shelves. Fingers crossed it will be soon...
To help Knit the City celebrate their papery success we've got five Finger-fighting Stitched Squid patterns to give away. The mini-squid pattern is featured in the KTC book. It's easy peasy, great for tempting in beginners with its ten tentacles and quick enough to knit that you could make a whole squid army.
The pattern is based on Deadly Knitshade's much more ambitious Plarchie, the giant knitted squid
(which has Twitter fame this week when tweeted by the master of button-eyed brilliance Neil Gaiman) and some of you may have given it a go a the Natural History Museum at our Stitch a Squid event last year.
All you need to do is answer this easy stitched squid-based question:
What was Plarchie, the knitted squid, made from:
a. The entrails of a hundred dead pirates
b. The love of a giant mummy and daddy squid
c. A whole lot of Sainsbury's plastic carrier bags
Drop us an email at winstuff@stitchLDN.com with:
• The subject line"I MUST MAKE TENTACLED TERROR!" (Please make sure you enter the right subject otherwise your entry might get missed)
• Answer A, B or C
• Your full name, contact email and address
As with most Stitch London competitions anyone can enter. Even if you live outside the UK. The deadline for the competition is 4 March at 8pm.
If you don't win you can get your tentacles on how to knit the tiny terror over at Whodunnknit's Pattern Page.
Please note: Offering to sacrifice members of your family to the giant knitted squid will not help you win this competition. Just send in the correct answer and cross all ten of your tentacles.
Since the onset of Glee and the smooth moves shown in TV's switch-your-brain-off shows folks seem to be getting their boogie on more and more. Just because we sit and stitch doesn't mean we don't know how to shake our stuff. Or maybe just stitch and watch other people do it.
Stitch London are being beckoned to the dance floor byThe Institutes of Culture from 20 European countries and the European Commission for a bit of a dancefest. A short festival of contemporary dance at the South Bank Centre called dancEUnion running from 15-17 March.
On March 16 Stitch London will have a special stitching area and are invited to watch, as we're stitching from the sidelines, as the In 'n' Out performance, a mix of dance and stand-up comedy, takes place smack bang in the middle of our stitching home at the Royal Festival Hall.
FREE LONDON DRAW: The festival folks are also offering a pair of free tickets for the DancEUnion 2 performance, showing on the 16th March, to one of our lucky London stitchers. You can go and see the show and then stitch was us at the interval.
All you need to do to enter the free draw is drop us an email to winstuff@stitchLDN.com with:
INTERVIEW: Meet the People Behind p/hop
p/hop. Is it a dance? Is it a form of travel? Or is it an utterly genius way to save and change lives through the power of knitting?
We managed to dig p/hop champion volunteer Clare Storry out from under a mountain of donated yarn to ask her what this P/Hop business is all about.
What exactly is this thing they call p/hop? Is it a dance?
p/hop?? what's p/hop??? Only the Most Creative Fundraiser in the UK (according to the Just Giving award it just won!!) It's made by knitters, evolved by knitters, and run by knitters!
We raise money for independent humanitarian aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Lots of generous knitting designers have donated fabulous patterns which are available to download from the p/hop website. All we ask is that people make a donation in return for their knitting pattern based on how much
fun they'll think they'll have knitting their pattern:
=> p/hop= pennies per hours of pleasure
It's entirely up to you how much you donate.
It's not a dance (maybe we should invent one?) but it is has become a verb. I p/hop, you p/hop, we all p/hop!
How did P/Hop begin?
Natalie Fergie (aka theyarnyard) is an MSF supporter, knitter and yarn dyer. In November 2008 she ran a competition (for knitting event tickets) where entrants had to go to MSF UK website and answer questions. Pete Masters, MSF's web editor, saw her blog and got in touch and she said she'd like to do more. p/hop was born!
The first pattern was donated by Jacqui Walker and is the beautiful Flowers in the Rain Scarf.
Who runs P/Hop now? You're up to so much there must be an army of you, right?
Loads of people make p/hop happen from the pattern designers, to test knitters, to our brilliant Ravelry group members, raffle prize donors, knitting groups...
I coordinate p/hop, running the website, organising our stand and volunteers at knitting events, writing articles and press releases, liaising with designers, and working with MSF UK staff. It's supposed to be a one day a week voluntary job but I often end up doing something for p/hop every day. Unexpected opportunities appear all the time so it keeps me on my toes and I've learnt loads of new skills since I've been volunteering.
(Clare and Ann, another handy p/hop helper, at Woolfest)
How many patterns does P/Hop have?
p/hop has grown from just one scarf pattern to a staggering 29 patterns. We have 12 sock patterns (including a great beginners sock pattern designed for double knit weight yarn so sock learners don't have to wrestle with tiny needles while mastering turning a heel), eight scarf and shawl patterns, 5 hat patterns, 3
mitten patterns and a very cute baby kimono jacket pattern.
Do you know how many patterns p/hop has sold since it began?
Ummm, muchos? We can't tell from the website how many patterns have been downloaded but last summer we p/hopped (
How much has P/Hop raised so far?
Our current UK fundraising total is a staggering £23,440. Adding in over US$4000 and 1500 Euros makes the grand total over £27,500 which is pretty awesome. Knitters are superb!
While the monetary total is great, and provides MSF with funds to send nurses (watch MSF nurse Ghadas crocheting in Nigeria), doctors, midwives and other staff into the field, it's also about raising awareness for MSF. Because MSF don't have high street shops or charity muggers (which I think is a good thing) people don't always know about MSF and the French name can be confusing.
Lots of people I meet at festivals know about MSF but just as many don't. I love explaining what MSF do and what makes them stand out from other aid organisations and listening to people's reactions which are always positive.
Any weepy tear-jerking stories you can tell of us the wonderful things knitters have done for p/hop?
Someone in our Ravelry group made a beautiful white shawl which was perfect for a bride. As she didn't know anyone getting married she offered it for a donation to MSF for a bride in need. The person who received the shawl prefers to remain anonymous but was very grateful for the handmade shawl as she had suffered a very close bereavement just before her wedding as well as serious illness herself.
The response of knitters to the earthquake in Haiti was heart warming too. People can be so willing to give even if they don't have much themselves. That always brings a tear to my eye.
Funniest P/Hop moment for you so far?
Our Ravelry group often comes up with amusing slogans and phrases:
"p-hop sucks you in. Its tentacles of humanitarian goodness creep out and grab you."
"p/hop the less sweaty way to give"
Most popular pattern?
There are a few. I seem to spot Cranfords mittens and Trinity shawls all over the place. Both patterns make great gifts or a nice treat for yourself.
You've just won a HUGE award? Tell us more!
YAAAYYYY! Sending virtual bubbly and cake to all Stitch Londoners!
Last week p/hop won the Just Giving Most Creative Fundraiser Award! I was lucky enough to go to the award ceremony at the Emirates Stadium, along with Pete and Natalie (pictured right with Clare and shiny award) which was a very humbling experience being surrounded by other people who have done incredible things for charity. It really was an honour to win. We all did a spot of knitting at the awards too.
The award really is for everyone who has helped p/hop in some way, no matter how small.
p/hop is about community which is our focus for this year. It's something everyone can take ownership of and do something to help people living in difficult and horrible situations. That's what I love about it. It's not just one person running a marathon or jumping out of a plane, it's lots of people contributing and it's something you can come back to time and time again.
How can knitters help other than donating money for your lovely patterns?
The easiest way to help, which is also completely free is to spread the word. Tell your friends, mention p/hop on Ravelry, add our donation buttons to your blog, tweet about us (@msf_phop), join our Ravelry group, get a p/hop tattoo (OK, maybe not this one).
If you have any unloved yarn in your stash you can "p/hop" it in the Ravelry group by offering it for a donation. We're taking the p/hop swap national this year, more details on that coming soon.
We are trying out our first fundraiser on Ebay with this fabulous blanketChristi1 being auctioned for MSF. If this takes off that'll be another way to help MSF.
(left) which was knitted by
If there are any budding designers out there who want to help?
Please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you. We have submission guidelines on the website and there is plenty of help available in our Ravelry group with lots of willing test knitters waiting.
If P/Hop were a kind of cake what kind of cake would it be?
Fruity and magical. A cake which is so jam packed with delicious ingredients you get a lovely surprise with every bite, which grows whenever you share it and has health giving properties for people in developing countries.
Huge thanks to Clare for the interview and to p/hoppers everywhere for spreading the knitty love. Find out more about p/hop at www.p-hop.co.uk
Ask Gertrude: A Woolly Not What to Wear
Dear Auntie Gerty,
My best friend has asked me to knit her a jumper for her birthday. She has picked out a pattern that she has her heart set on, but there’s no polite way of putting this – she’s a curvy girl and the clingy roll-neck design will make her look like the last sausage left in the butcher’s window.
How can I dissuade her from demanding this knit without hurting her feelings?
Lots of love,
Lilly-Livered of Leyton
My dear Lilly,
What a tangle you’ve got yourself into. It’s clear that your friend is knit-worthy otherwise you would have Just Said No, but she has asked you to knit something that is time-consuming and inappropriate. If you knit it and she wears the offending item, people will laugh and point at her and you wouldn’t wish that on a friend; if you knit it and she realises her poor choice the jumper will languish at the bottom of her wardrobe and all that yarn and hard work will be wasted. It’s a catch-22 and no mistake.
You have two options – either tell a little white lie and suggest that you are allergic to the yarn that the pattern stipulates, or that the jersey is beyond your capabilities, or you have developed RSI and won’t be knitting for at least 6 months on doctor’s orders as you have a rare tropical disease which means your head expands to eight times its normal size should you even pick up a pair of knitting needles.
Or you can bite the bullet and have a Gok Wan moment with your friend.
Explain that you love them, and that they are beautiful, but the choice of sweater won’t do them any favours, and it would upset you to knit it for them as it won’t make the most of their unique features.
Have a couple of more suitable patterns to hand, and consider investing in Amy Herzog’s Fit to Flatter e-course on www.stashknitrepeat.com. When you’ve agreed on something that you want to knit for your friend and she will enjoy wearing, by golly you knit it!
If she has a tantrum and claims you’re being a selfish knitter, threaten to set Trinny and Susannah on her...I understand they’ll be glad of the work too!
Keep calm and carry yarn, Stitch Londoners.
Stitch London x
A woolly Godzilla since 2005
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 a host of volunteers so please be patient if we make mistakes.
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