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15th Jan 2010

Stitchin’, Bitchin’ and Learning Not All Knitters are Nice
 Historic nasty knitters ... Gertrude sends ya packing ... London Almanac winners ... 4th Birthday huge meeting  Join Team S&B London for the Ravelympics ... Haiti Earthquake Help ... MEETING MOVED

Snow up to your eyeballs greetings to you

PLEASE NOTE: Our meeting on the 19th has changed venue. Please check here for details.

We hope this newsletter finds you well, keeping your stash from freezing by sitting on it in the style of a giant chicken and deftly using icicles as knitting needles if you’ve made thick enough gloves to hold them.
S&B London learners: Free knitting lessons will take place twice a month at S&B London meetings. Check for the Learners Lesson icon next to the meeting title.
Please note: Knitting lessons are free but your teachers are volunteers and do deserve a lovely thank you at the end of the night for giving up their time. Thank-you cake and booze offers are also appreciated.


We’re offering you the chance to better yourself this newsletter with a bit of an education in some rather nasty knitting history and a call for all of you to join Team S&B London for the 2010 Ravelympics – two weeks, one stitching challenge and the chance for glory.
VOTE FOR US: We’ve also had a bit of recognition for our past good (if a bit nutty) works with a nomination for our London Lion Scarf to win Best Group Project in Ravelry’s Bobby Awards. Vote for us here. Pretty please.
If you have no idea what the London Lion Scarf is see what you missed.
Not on Ravelry? What on earth is wrong with you? Sign up here and join our online S&B London message board immediately. *tuts*
S&B London was also featured in the Domestic Sluttery newsletter this week to. Hello to any Domestic Sluttery-types out there who joined because of it.
Join our Race for Life Team: We're knitting the Race for Life again this year. We've chosen the 13th of June in a 5K race around the City of London. Sign up online here or ponder it and do it nearer the time.
Donate to MSF for Haiti Earthquake help: Knitters everywhere wanting to donate have a quick read of the Yarnharlot's advice for the most helpful way to donate.
And in HUGE news we’re also running a knitting workshop in the music and madness-fuelled Camden Crawl this year too. Stitch and seriously loud music, anyone?
Feel like passing on the knitting love? Email us to volunteer as a Stitch Sage and teach at a meeting. You get a lovely exclusive Stitch Sage badge too.
Fancy knitting for cash? Email us to sign up to our Stitch Squad

It snowed and snowed. The perfect excuse for the knitting masses to finally take over the world and take over we did. Our 4th Birthday at the Royal Festival Hall saw a staggering stitch storm of over 200 knitters sit down to knit and crochet.
With our fabulous team of over 20 volunteer Stitch Sages we taught nearly 50 newbie knitters. We also gave out a whole stash of raffle prizes and consumed more cake than anyone thought possible.
A huge thanks to all our lovely Stitch Sages and a warm woolly welcome to our S&B newbies.
More snow failed to have any impact on our EV stitching this week as we filled the tasty cave of mezze goodness with knitters, crocheters and spinners and ate them out of house and humus. Just goes to show it takes more than snow to keep a hardcore knitter at home.
Shut up and tell me if I won! The London 2010 Almanac Competition winners are: Esther Armstrong, Christina Walton, Louise Martin, Dana Montgomery, Susanne Fayadh, Molly Jackson, Helen Bolger, Cathy Stoddart, Mina Bach and Esther Malvern

Stitch and don’t mention the Scottish play…
PLEASE NOTE: This meeting venue has been changed to the National Theatre since the last newsletter. Find us on ground floor or first floor.

Come and get some culture, cake and drinky-poos on the Southbank.  We'll either be in the Long Bar on the ground floor or upstairs on the first floor. Sadly if we're upstairs the cafe is a bit further away, but think of all those calories you'll burn walking up and down the stairs.

Time: From 6pm
Venue: National Theatre (ground floor Long Bar or first floor)
South Bank

Map Website Nearest Tube: Waterloo, Embankment

Stitch and Eek! I got spicy sauce on my stitching!

Leon gobi? Check! Dark and stormy? Check! Spanish fennel biscuity-thing that we can never remember the name of? Check! With so many yummy things to eat and drink, you’ll have to tie a piece of yarn around your finger to remind you to actually knit!

Time: From 6pm
Venue: Leon at Spitalfields Market
3 Crispin Place
E1 6DW
Map Website Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street

Stitch and swap ya that for this

Time: From 6pm
Venue: The Royal Festival Hall (ground floor)
South Bank Centre
Belvedere Road

Map Website Nearest Tube: Waterloo, Embankment

Stitch and evil knitting supremos

Here’s a little history for you:

Way back in 1789 some angry people in France decided they didn’t like the people in charge of the country. There was some hoo-haa about eating cake and something about tennis courts, blah blah blah, and then the king and queen were relieved of things that the angry people thought were surplus to requirements, their heads.

During a time called The Terror, some bloke called Robespierre decided that lots of people should lose their heads too and the guillotine was used as the method for execution for all of those who disagreed with the angry people etc etc.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the French Revolution summed up in less than a hundred words...badly!

What’s this got to do with knitting, you ask? Well, are you sitting comfortably? We shall explain...

Remember The Terror? Well, knitters were very vocal participants. Women, known as Les Tricoteuse (meaning The Knitters, amazingly!) would sit around the guillotine, knitting.

Decisions on executions had to be public, and these sinister women were paid by the new ruling ‘we’re not really the’ elite to add their opinions, which was always that the accused should become about 5kg lighter thanks to a whacking great big blade!

To be fair to them, times were hard and they probably needed the money for bread (or cake if Marie Antoinette had had her way!).

But it just goes to show that not all things knitty are nice and fluffy...

Knitting history 101 over. Class dismissed.


Stitch and the temptation to take knitting steroids to win knitting gold

Ladies and Gents of S&B London
That time has come again. Last year we were sweating blood, straining wrists, and blistering our needle/hook holding fingers to cross that finish line in a blaze of woolly glory.

Next year we’re going to do it even better.

Let the Ravelympics 2010 madness begin!

Here’s the skinny:

When is it?
Ravelympics runs from Feb 12-28, 2010 (when the Vancouver Winter Games is on)

What is it?
Two crazed weeks of focused, intense personal & team stitching challenges to tackle while watching the actual Olympics unfold before our eyes (ok you don’t have to watch, you can watch True Blood instead. Just knit/crochet!)

What do I need to do?
Join Ravelry and join the S&B London group.

Go to the Team Stitch and Bitch London thread and tell us you’re in.

Start thinking about an event. There’s a list of the events last year here but it isn’t complete yet.

How do I join the team again?
Give us a holler on here. Your best ”I’m gonna kick Ravelympic arse!” line, please.

Then what? During the Winter Olympics 2010 you knit like a wild thing and attempt to complete the project you have set yourself in just two weeks. GO! GO! GO!

What do I get?
You get a shiny medal at the end (read as “A real Team S&B London Ravelympics badge to pin on yourself”)
You get the admiration of all those around you
You get to KICK SOME ARSE!

Still don’t get it?
Go to Ravelry and have a look at the Ravelympics 2010 group on there.

What the hell are you waiting for?! Sign up! Now DROP AND GIVE US 20!

Ask Gertrude: Glamorous Jet-Set Knitting
Worried about finding knitting opportunities while a mile-high? Gertrude Woolsworthy turns her mind to creative ways of getting around airline securty for lovely and sadly leaving S&B Londoner, MrsNeedles (we’ll miss you).

Dear Aunty Gerty,
I am about to leave these snow-bound shores for an (even snowier) life on the other side of the pond. It’s only a short sojourn you understand, at around four months, but the perils of packing for a journey such as this given the limits of modern air travel have put me into quite a quandary with two major questions.

Firstly, what sort of project would you choose as being appropriate for my initial journey, and secondly what level of knitting supplies would you consider taking with you for the longer term?

After all I need to consider any possible confusion by the powers that be at Heathrow between tools required to create fibre-filled joy and those required to create havoc and devastation, and even a slow knitter such as I will need more than one project for this kind of duration.

Yours in search of guidance,

My Dear Needles, what a pickle you have landed yourself in by leaving our lovely shores for distant lands.

Now, to address your first problem. In these cautious times, you need to find some way to disguise your knitting kit. After all, a shiny needle can be mistaken for a stiletto knife and a lovely set of interchangeable circulars for a deluxe garroting kit by a shortsighted security man, and that ball of lovely merino, why, it's rope for tying up the pilot.

No, you need to be more creative these days.

Your first point of disguise is when you book your flight. Emphasise to the booking staff that you are a high-class traveller and you have very specific dietary requirements. You can only eat Chinese food. With chopsticks. Emphasise that they don't need to worry about the chopsticks as you will provide your own. Write “Haha! These are knitting needles, you fools!” in Chinese on the ends of your best bamboo needles to complete the disguise.

Now to get your yarn on board. Knit your yarn into a lovely blanket before the flight. Nobody will suspect a thing as your classy air traveller likes to bring their own blanket.

When on board, take out your chopsticks and blanket and start knitting from the end of the blanket to create a lovely shawl to wrap around yourself as you step off your flight. A new knit and a disguise should you be on the run from Interpol.

As for taking knitting supplies, are you quite mad?! You will be in the home of Knit Picks and the brave. There is a wealth of supplies over there that you have no access to here so you should regard this as an opportunity to acquire lovely, lovely yarn.

This will also have the advantage of leaving more space in your luggage. Is that a Gerty shaped hole I see in that bag?

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

Nobbled by knitty nightmares? Confused by crochet conundrums. Email Gerty at

That’s all the yarn-scented stuff we can spin you right now. If you miss us you can stalk us on Twitter and there’s the controvery-wracked world of the message board too where you can disagree with anything from cake to crochet.

If you wish to shove any venues, articles, events, alpaca herds or competitions for stuff you sell at us then drop us a line by replying to this email or emailing us at

Happy stitching in your igloos

The S&B London Stitchettes x



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