Can't read this newsletter? Click here to see it online. Want to share the knitting love? Forward to a friend

18th Dec 2009

Stitchin’, Bitchin’ and Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Knitting?

... Derek The Sheep Winners ... Yarnorama Christmas Party Pics ... The S&B London Year That Was 2009 ... HELP!!! Teachers Wanted ...

Frosty fibre-filled greetings to you

We hope this newsletter finds you well, full of eggnog and mulled wine and Christmas spirit, well on top of your Christmas knitting and looking forward to the woolly wonders Santa might leave under your Christmas tree.

S&B London learners: Free knitting lessons take place twice a month at S&B London meetings. Next Learner Lesson is our first meeting of 2010. See below for details.

Please note: Knitting lessons are free but please remember your teachers are volunteers and do deserve a thank you at the end of the night. Thank-you cake and booze offers are also appreciated.


  This newsletter we’re look back at the S&B London Year That Was 2009 from Race for Life (and for cake) to hat for smoothies to Secret Santa shenanigans. If you've ever wondered why it takes five Stitchettes to run S&B London this will help explain. We promise it'll make you tired just reading it.
We’re also calling for volunteers to help teach at our first S&B London meeting of the year. You don’t need to be the most accomplished knitter in the world to pass on simple knit and purl knowledge. See below for more details.
And who could forget the lovely Gerty as she nudges scared newbies towards their very first S&B London meeting with a few sneaky strategies to boost your bravery.
The winners of the baaarmy I Wish Derek the Sheep Were My Boyfriend competition are Laura Porter, Paula Finch, Jessica Corlett, Emma Toft and Rachel Lalchan. Signed copies will be herded towards you if you haven’t picked them up already.
For those who missed it you can still see our exclusive interview with the nutty Beano sheep here.
We’re also excited to say we have a lovely new Stitchette waiting to hatch from her lovely egg of Yarnia. Watch this space in the New Year.
We also had a sneak peek at Anouk de l'Ecluse's lovely documentary featuring members of our group and would like to say thanks for all the lovely things you guys said about S&B London. *wipes away tear*

Graffiti knitting eye: Those sneaky Knit the City stitchers have gone all Christmassy with their Nutcracker Knitmare Before Christmas. Do let us know if you nicked a bit as it was gone within 24 hours.


Christmas Parties don’t get much more yarny than our Christmas Party Yarnorama.
We raised over £300 for the Treasure Trove Charity with over 25 raffle prizes ranging from fabulous hand-spun yarn to magazine subscriptions going to happy S&B Londoners.
Secret Santa was stitchingly spectacular with dinosaurs, hats, scarves, penguins, bears, leather wallets and all manner of handmade bits of heaven. The results were jaw dropping and we take our knitted hats off to you all (except the person who sneaked in a non-handmade rather pants booby prize. You know who you are. Next year we expect double the effort to make up for it). You guys are genuises. Our knitted hats are off to you all.
If you missed out you can see the full Christmas Party Yarnorama in pictures here on our blog with a photo of each Secret Santa prize featured.
Thanks to KAL Media, Debonnaire and Yarn Box for your sponsorship, and thanks to all you other lovely yarn-flavoured sellers and magazine publishers who donated to the Really Rather Marvellous Raffle.
We also kicked it Christmas styleeee on the South Bank where our last meeting of the year saw us reluctantly relocated to the first floor. Sorry if you missed us.
Our Second Secret Santa sent squeals of joy ringing across the cultured creatures below and a very merry time was had by all who found us. See pics of Second Secret Santa on our blog here.

Stitch and You Can See Us From Space


CALLING ALL HELPFUL KNITTERS: Know the ways of the knit well enough to pass on basic knitting? We’d love some help to pass knitting skills for free this January. Please drop us an email at if you’d like to help. It’s a brilliant feeling to teach so kick off your year with that warm fuzzy sensation of giving.

Details of the next meeting:

Newbies and oldbies (you’re not that old and we like your faces) join us for our first Stitch of 2010. We take over the Royal Festival Hall for our biggest meeting of the year.
Come to learn the ways of the knit, come to pass on your knitting knowledge, come for the stitchin’, stay for the bitchin’ but do come.
If you’ve never come to an S&B London meeting before this is the one to attend. Go on. Fight the shyness and start your New Year with a woolly bang.
Monday 4th January 2010
Time: From 6pm
Venue: The Royal Festival Hall
South Bank Centre
Belvedere Road

Map  Website Nearest Tube: Waterloo, Embankment

Stitch and It’s Going to Get Mezze
Details of the meeting after that:
EV is one of S&B London's tastiest caves of wonder. Arrive, marvel at the iron frog band, give the straw chickens a cheeky wink and get your knit on over a plate of tasty treats.
Time: From 6pm
Venue: EV Delicatessen
The Arches
97-99 Isabella Street
Map Website Nearest Tube: Southwark, Waterloo

Stitch and I Got Spicy Sauce on My Stitching
Details of the meeting after that:
TUESDAY 19TH January
Time: From 6pm
Venue: Leon at Spitalfields Market
3 Crispin Place
E1 6DW

Website Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street 

Stitch and So That Was 2009
Another year is being cast off and what a hell of a woolly year it’s been for you lovely S&B Londoners. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve dropped more stitches collectively than is healthy. You must be exhausted.
Here, have a nice cup of tea and relax over a look back at the S&B London Year That Was 2009.
In January 2009 you helped us explode on the knit-in-public scene when nearly 200 of you turned up for our first meeting of the year. The Royal Festival Hall didn’t know what hit them, the yarn flew and the woolly whirlwind took over. The Londonist website featured a little story on the strange stitching phenomenon.
We also took over the Make Lounge the very same month where much making and lounging was had in the heart of Islington. Ah sweet memories of tiny cakes.
In February you reached across the globe to give a woolly hug to those affected by the Australian bushfires. Donating to the Red Cross and sending handmade heirlooms to those who had lost their own.
February also saw London get knitted when Magda Sayeg from Knitta Please came over for a cup of tea and a bit of a yarnstorm. We hit the South Bank from the Festival Hall to the Tate with our sneaky stitching and ended up yarnstorming outside St Pauls only feet away from the filth.
In March you turned Trafalgar Square knitwise with Knit Me’s knitting in public art installation where many of you settled down to stitch amongst the people and the pigeons.
In April we said goodbye and oodles of thank yous to spectacular Stitchette, Annisa ‘Dr Stitchlove’ Chand. Her socks were a wonder.
In May you helped knit a bit of funky furniture with Knit a Chair on the South Bank. You can see some of your efforts on the Knit a Chair video of the day.
May also saw ten of you Racing for Life along with the lovely Tina B.
We came in dead last but won the hearts of the crowd for knitting the whole way round. Look back at pics of us cramming celebratory cake into our faces on our Race for Life blog post.
In June 100 of you sported fine knitted face fur and Knit Crawled from Tower Bridge to the Tate Modern to the London Eye to Trafalgar Square in aid of Prostate UK. We raised over £500, found free hugs on our way and ended the day with pear cider and the usual huge amounts of cake, cake, cake.
We also welcomed Marion ‘Bluestocking Stitcher’ Crick into the Stitchette fold and in July the pearlescent Purl Princess Laura Davis handed in her Stitchette badge for a less stressy and more stitchy life.
Also in July new Stitchette Emma-Lee ‘The Purple Purler’ Yarwood taught Finnish TV presenter, Jaako Selin how to knit for his show Jaakko ja maailmanvalloittajat at the Camberwell Arts Festival.
Jakko ended the night proclaiming knitting was better than sex. Blimey.

In August we helped out with Jo Roache's knitting documentary that saw several of you clamouring to teach the knit on camera. Jo's film has yet to surface but we can't wait to see it.

We also hit Innocent’s Fruit Towers like a ton of smoothie-hungry knitted bricks as a night of stitching and smoothie tasting ensued. We made over 100 hats for the fabulous fruit-drink floggers and ate more cake than they thought possible.
In September you helped knit the world’s first giant poem for the Poetry Society and some sewing ensued too.
And Stitchette Jenny ‘Startitis’ Steere hung up her Stitchette hat to start new things.
Also in September new Stitchette Gertrude ‘Large Pink Ball of Yarn’ Woolsworthy became our resident agony aunt. Untangling your woolly woes with her knitted brains.
October was Ally Pally time and you spent all your hard-earned cash on so much knitted goodness. To balance it out you also helped knit the Macmillan Comfort Blanket, which we handed over at the show.
Also in October we filled our faces and had fun with fibre at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant to help launch their pretty knitting kits. Several lucky S&B Londoners won places at the event and a tasty time was had by all.
Halloween saw us haunting the Hunterian Museum for the spookiest S&B London meeting ever as you got down with the knit amongst the bones and body parts.
December shoved us into a Christmas knitting frenzy at Christie and Coralie’s Drink Shop Do where the mulled wine flowed and the making was marvellous.
We also bagged an exclusive interview with the Beano’s Derek the Sheep and became the first ever knitting group in the world to have a cartoon critter as a fully-fledged member.
We ended the year with a woolly explosion of Secret Santa stitching and Really Rather Marvellous raffle prizes as you came together with the knitting community to raise over £300 for the Treasure Trove Charity.
Quite frankly you've been a very busy bunch.
The Stitchettes (even Gerty) would like to give a fibre-flavoured hug to all of you for making S&B London the finest knitting group to pour our time into.
We’re proud to be able to have brought together such a generous, funny, fabulous, friendly and quite frankly ever so gorgeous knitting community. Thanks for coming along, thanks for staying and thanks for sharing cake.
Please raise your Christmas glasses to a 2010 that knocks the knitted socks off last year. It's going to be knitastic.
Ask Gertrude: HELP! I’m a newbie and I have the fear!
Gertrude Woolsworthy sits scared newbies down and slaps a bit of bravery into them as she’s asked for tips on how to brave a knitter’s first ever S&B London meeting.
"Dear Gerty
I am an avid reader of the S&B newsletter, especially your column. I would love to come to one of the meetings in the New Year, but I am very shy around new people and also not able to knit yet. I fear that my lack of skills or my newness will show me up. What do I do?"
Yours timidly,
Shy of Shoreditch
Oh Shy, for goodness sake stop worrying, take a deep breath and have a slice of Stollen cake and a nice cup of tea. Let Gerty calm your nerves. I was once an S&B London newbie too and now look at me! Here are a few ways to help you avoid that first S&B London fear.
Option one: Steal existing member’s identity
Quite simply all you need to do is wander along to the Flickr group and choose your target. The more they resemble you the better. Weeks of sitting in a tree with a pair of nightvison goggles strapped to your face will then be necessary to make sure you have all the facts. Knit yourself a nice set of woolly undergarments to keep you toasty while you stalk. Go through their wheelie bin, sit behind them on the bus reading their text messages over their shoulder, follow them to their LYS and peer at their picks.
Once you have enough information simply soak a handy ball of cheap acrylic in chloroform, lie in wait for them as they reach the meeting venue, leap from the shadows, put them gently to sleep, steal their WIP (work in progress) and stash their sleeping bulk in a handy loo cubicle.
Then simply stroll into the meeting as them. Greeting old friends and adding a few rows to their knitting as a balm to the fact they will wake up with a chloroform hangover and the urge to call the police in a few hours.
A warning though: try it on me and you’ll have to remove a very spiky pair of DPNs from somewhere tender…
Option two: Pretend you’ve been before
Appear at the meeting full of confidence, plonk yourself down with a chattering crowd and deal out highly offended glares to those who ask you if you’re new. Use the phrase “How very rude! Don’t you know I’ve been an S&B Londoner since the terrible cake shortage of 2006!” and grumble on about how back in your day people knew an S&B Londoner by the flick of their yarn-holding finger, donchaknow.
Option three: Be prepared, you numbskull!
Our S&B London website has a lovely page which tells you what you need to bring if you wish to learn to knit. You’d do well to read it and bring the right tools for the job. It makes me weep when someone turns up with eyelash yarn and a pair of sharpened broomsticks. Oh the horror!
Option four: Knit or fashion a fake beard or moustache
Any kind of fake facial fur is the ultimate S&B London icebreaker. For some reason we can’t get enough of the hairy handsomeness that is face furniture. Check out pics of this summer’s Knit Crawl to see what we mean.
Turn up with a nifty knitted nose neighbour or a purled piece of great goatee and watch the eyes of your fellow S&B Londoners light up. It is allllll about the tash that you’ve made from your stash, Shy. Use the tash and you can’t go wrong.
I hope this has been helpful, my shy stitching questioner. As for lack of knitting skills you’ll be fine. All knitters newbie or old hands are welcome. You won’t be alone in taking your first set of stitching steps and your fellow knitters will be encouraging, friendly and sympathetic.
Take heart, pull a chair up to a table of knitters, and join the stitching storm. A life lived in fear of public knitting is a life half lived, take it from a giant pink ball of yarn who knows a thing or two.
I hope to see you at a meeting soon. Mine’s a pint of gin and a slice of Battenberg.
See this question and others that didn’t make the newsletter on Gerty’s blog.
Do you feel like roasting your chestnuts of knitting rage on a giant ball of pink yarn’s fiery intellect? Email her at

That’s it for another fibre-fuelled year, lovely S&B Londoners. We hope to see you (yes you!) for our first meeting of 2010 at the Royal Festival Hall. If you get lonesome for some S&B London love over the festive period do remember we’re on Twitter and there’s yarny hugs on the message board. We can’t wait to see what woolly wonders next year brings.
If you have any ideas for venues, articles, events, cake donations or competitions drop us a line by replying to this email or emailing us at
Now go help yourself to some of that mulled wine and finish off that hat for Great Auntie Iris.
Merry Stitchmas, lovely London.


The S&B London Stitchettes x



submit to the,knit

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 four volunteers so please be patient if we make mistakes.