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

4th Dec 2009

Stitchin’, Bitchin’ and a Sheep is for Life Not Just for Christmas

The S&B London Christmas Party is sponsored by the lovely
...  S&B London Christmas PAR-TAY Raffle Prizes Announced ... WIN! Signed Derek the Sheep books ...  Exclusive Interview with the Beano’s Derek the Sheep ... Pimp This Goat for Charity ...

Red-nosed Reindeer greetings to you

We ho-ho-hope this newsletter finds you well, knitting, drinking and being merry as Christmas comes dashing through the snow like a giant white-bearded Godzilla and you wish you’d promised less people you would knit them their Christmas gift.

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. Look for the Learner Icon to see when.

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.

  This newsletter we’re finally tearing the woolly wrapping off the biggest and most prize-tastic S&B London Christmas Party Yarnarama you S&B Londoners have ever witnessed. A £2 raffle ticket will give you the chance to win a pile of wonderful purl-based presents from a host of London and UK knitting stores and magazines.
There’s Secret Santa too and you’re invited to bring non-knitting partners and friends to join the Christmas shindiggery. See our Christmas Party Yarnarama announcement for more.
For those who can't make the party we have some special Christmas discount codes for some fabulous yarn-flavoured shops too. See the Christmas Party info for more. Woo hoo!

There’s also an exclusive baaarmy interview with the Beano’s Derek the Sheep and the chance to snicker while you stitch if you win one of five personally signed Derek the Sheep books in our competition.

Sadly Gertrude is having a week off this week. She's been at the egg nog and it wasn't pretty. We promise she'll be back to her feisty pink yarntastic self next week.
We'd also like to remind you to bring get stitching your Secret Santa stuff. You have to give the stitching love to get! For more Secret Santa info see our blog.
Graffiti Knit News: Alt Artist's Knit the City documentary is up for three-minutes of fame on 4Docs. Pop along for a watch and pretty please vote for it by clicking the heart if you feel like spreading the crafty love to the telly-watching masses.


  You’ve been taking advantage of some tasty treats and feeling the Christmas spirit at recent meetings.

Leon saw a whole stream of lovely learners taking their first stitches between bites. While the rest of us chugged down the hot chocolate and admired panicky almost-done Christmas knits.

At Kristie and Coralie’s Drink, Shop and Do we got our Christmas knit on in a kitsch and crafty world featuring mulled wine and cakey treats. See pics from the night on our blog.

The S&B London Christmas Party Yarnorama in sponsored by the lovely

The S&B London Christmas Party Yarnorama
Details of the Christmas party:
Grab your knitted mistletoe and your purled party frocks. Ladies and Gents of S&B London the Christmas Party Yarnorama is upon us and it is going to be fabulous. Bring your partners and non-knitting friends too. Go on.
This year you'll be exchanging your handmade gifts in the very merry Stitching Secret Santa (more info here), there'll be free samples of Soak Wash and we're running a Really Rather Marvellous Raffle with some stupendous stitching prizes to raise money for the very worthy charity Treasure Trove. The prizes come from all across the knitting world and quite frankly they're so good we're not sure we want to give them away. Lucky for you we're feeling the Christmas spirit. Squeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
The Really Rather Marvellous Raffle:
Tickets: £2 each. All money goes straight to the Treasure Trove charity Registered Charity No. 1065582
Time: From 6pm
Venue: The New Moon
The Arches
97-99 Isabella Street
Map Website Nearest Tube: Bank, Liverpool Street, Monument

Special offers: For those who can't make the party we have online discounts for you lovely lot too. Use coupon code stitchlondon for 30% off all orders over £10. Expires 24th December. Use coupon code CK09SABL for 15% off everything in store. Expires 31st March 2010.

More about Treasure Trove: Treasure Trove is a week-long residential project held once a year for 40 or so young people. The young people may or may not have physical disabilities and are aged between 16 and 25 years. To read about why we chose Treasure Trove read S&B Londoner Emma's story here and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

More about our sponsors:
KAL Media are the publishers of Yarn Forward, Inside Crochet and Sew Hip magazines. Each magazine offers crafters a variety of original projects with clear instructions so you can make them at home. There's also plenty to read, with news, reviews, interviews, the latest products and fascinating features. Contributors include the UK's top designers and manufacturers, plus the hottest new talents emerging in the industry.

Sellers of fine knitting and needlepoint, original knitting patterns and Debonnaire Soft Spun, Sock and Lace yarns
Find them on Ravelry: ehdknits

Simple luxury – Yarn Box is a shop passionate about yarns and bringing the world's most exquisite yarns to you as well as sourcing delightful knitting and crochet accessories.

Stitch and Last Stitchmeet before Christmas
Get yourself and your festive stitching to the cultured climes of the National Theatre for our last public stitch before S&B London takes a break for Christmas. We'll try to get in as many cries "Oooo look! People knitting!" as we can before it's all over for another year.

Tuesday 15th December
Time: From 6pm
Venue: National Theatre in the Long Bar (ground floor main foyer)
South Bank

Map Website Nearest Tube: Waterloo, Embankment

Stitch and You Can See Us From Space

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 Baaaaaaaaaarmy Beano Sheep
Derek is a sheep but he's not just any sheep. Derek is a sheep who is so flippin' marvellous he's got his very own comic strip in The Beano.
So we were all kinds of excited when the woolly wonder turned up one S&B London meeting and demanded to be taught how to knit. Since then he's become a bit off a purly king and his hoofmade marvels are the talk of the farm.

In an exclusive interview we caught up with Derek to ask him about knitting, the sneaky stealing of wool from his fellow herd members and his plans for yarnstorming revenge on Rodney the Bull...
Sooooo Derek. You recently joined S&B London. What prompted you to join the public knitting masses?
Wotcha! I decided to start knitting as I was getting fed up with my wool looking all white and fluffy and boring and reckoned it was time I stood out from the flock and moved into designer woolly wear. I drew up patterns that made me look handsome and beautiful and popped along to S&B to see if I could learn to make my dreams a reality. And I have. Sort of.
My duck hat is coming on a treat, as are my knee-length fluffy socks. My rainbow sweater is a disaster as I'd forgotten that I have four legs and made six accidentally, so maybe I might pop it in a hot wash and give it to my mate Cecil the bee.
Where do you get your yarn from? Is it your own wool?
I generally shave my friends when they sleep and pop it in a bag. I've actually collected many varieties of farm hair, from cows, to pigs (we have some very hairy pigs) to chickens. Nothing knits better than good old fashioned sheep wool though. Especially from my mortal enemy Big Baz, a really fat sheep. I've got four dustbin bags of his wool cos he's so fat. Result! I might get a black eye for my troubles, but it's worth it for the yarn!
What do the rest of the herd think of your new love for knitting?
They love and admire me anyway, but I get many wonderful comments about my duck hat. I've had five orders for duck hats for Christmas, but due to my many appearances at celebrity events around the country (I switched on the Christmas lights at Bob's Burger van in Romford for example) I'm unlikely to be bothered to make them. Next.
Can we tempt you to spread the S&B London love to other Beano characters? We're particularly keen to see what Minnie the Minx can do with a set of DPNs and a bit of cashmere and several of us would like Billy Whizz or Roger the Dodger to help out with some Christmas knitting.
Of course. All the other Beano characters are my best mates and they all love and adore me like their long lost son. I often send them emails detailing brilliant things we could all do together, like tobogganing, skiing, white water rafting and bingo. Hopefully, if they ever decide to reply to my emails, they would certainly jump at the chance of coming out with me knitting and having a brilliant laugh with all the lovely S&Bers; which is almost a certainty when I'm around as I'm hilarious! Hahahar!!!

Erm... I've just got to pop to the loo, won't be a sec. Can you hold my ice lolly please? Ta.
*A short and unsuccessful period of trying not to eat the ice lolly ensues*
What's your favourite thing about being an S&B Londoner?
Sorry about that, the door got jammed! I thought I was going to be stuck in there for hours!!! Hahahaahaa!! Anyway...what?
Oh yeah. S&B London is an amazing experience where one gets to meet all sorts of lovely people and enjoy a warm friendly atmos ... wait, what does this bit say? I can't read your handwriting. Oh right. Atmosphere. And the Stitchettes are some of the greatest knit teachers in the whole of the world and very pretty too. Is that right? Hold on, where's my ice lolly?!

*A new ice lolly is purchased and apologies are made*
What's been your proudest knit so far?
My duck hat. It's like a hat, but in the shape of a duck!!! I know! It's amazing!!!
We hear that you're planning some graffiti knitting yarnstorming on the farm. Can you let us in on the plan?
I could, but then I'd have to kill you. All though it might involve girly flowers around Rodney the Bull's horns, but you didn't hear that from me.
Do you have your own knitting name, along the lines of Deadly Knitshade, The Bluestocking Stitcher and The Purple Purler?
Um yep. The Woolly Jumper!! What? What's wrong with that? It's fantastic! Cecil the Bee is Buzz Lightyear, but that makes no sense. Where's the knitting pun? He can't even knit, the fool.
What knit-flavoured gift do you hope to give as a Stitching Santa this Christmas?
I'm trying out my new pattern - a woolly cowpat! It's quite lifelike and the recipient will have a big smile on her face when she sees it. I think.
And finally can we have a hug? You look awfully soft and woolly. We promise not to steal your fleece while we hug.
Ew!!! But you're a girl!!! Get yer mits off!!!

*Derek runs off into the sunset screaming*

You can see more about Derek by dipping into his lovely sheepy diary, stalk the sheep on Twitter or read more Derek tales and admire the fine beard of his nearly-knitting creator Gary Northfield on his website.
COMPETITION: WIN signed Derek the Sheep books

We've also got five signed copies of the entirely baaaaaarmy Derek the Sheep book to give away. Tales of the outstanding ovine fellow and his fabulous farmyard chums which will have you snickering while you stitch this Christmas.
The lovely Gary Northfield will sign them just for you and draw you a lovely picture in them too (it's the only way he can get us to release him from the S&B London cellar).
All you need to do is answer this question:

Which animal does wool come from?
a. Angry ravenous grizzly bears.
b. Bugblatter Beasts of Traal.
c. Lovely lovely sheep.
Drop us an email at with:
  • The subject line "I wish Derek the Sheep was my boyfriend"
  • Answer A, B or C
  • Your full name, email address, and contact phone number (if you have one)
The deadline for the competition is Monday 14th December at 10am. The 5 winners will be picked (by our Derek himself if we can get him to come back) from all correct entries, and notified by email within 48 hours. 

Please note: Offering to wine, dine and woo the handsome Derek will not help you win his book. Just pick your answer, email us and let Derek do his choosing thing. Good luck!

Competition rules: 1. One entry per person. 2. Competition ends Monday the 14th December 2009 at 10am. 4. Winners will be drawn from all correct answers, and notified within 48 hours via email. 5. If winners don’t reply with addresses within two weeks of closing date then new winners will be chosen. 5. No cash alternatives. 6. Books can be collected from us or will be posted to the winner.
Stitch and Give This Goat Mo-hair

Christmas is coming and our thoughts turn to charity and to presents for those hard-to-please relatives who seem to already have everything or the secret santa recipient you know nothing about. But very rarely to goats. Even though the goat selflessly gives us lovely mohair and even lovelier cashmere, we spare them little thought at Christmas, unless we're sending some unnamed, unknown goat to an unnamed village on another continent.

However, FARM-Africa are changing all that. FARM-Africa are an international development charity which supports farmers and herders in Eastern Africa – providing them with tools and training so that they can support themselves. Now, as well as the usual charity presents that other organisations such as a Raiders of the Lost Egg (a chicken), Banana beer brewing materials, and even fermented cows urine (a natural pesticide), they have something a little bit special.

Because FARM-Africa are offering you the opportunity to Pimp This Goat. This will give you the opportunity to give a little bit to charity, get a bit of glory for your marvellous creative work, create an unusual present for that relative who's never happy and give a little bit back to a poor nekkid goat.

What you do is
  • Make a £5 donation to FARM-Africa and they will send you a shiny cold nekkid goat who wants to be dressed up.
  • Pimp your goat – knit or crochet something, give it a scarf, give it a reindeer jumper, anything you fancy.
  • Take a picture of your goat and submit it to the Pimp This Goat Flickr Group and bask in the praise of people from the internet. Every week one of the goats from the site will be featured on the blog as well.
  • Wrap your goat up and hand it over to the lucky recipient.
Remember, though, a goat is not just for Christmas or cashmere. The campaign is going on well into the new year as well. Go on – give a little bit of warmth back to the goats in return for the cosiness they have given you.
We need to have a sit down and a large cup of mulled wine after all that. We hope to clink glasses with you and your guests at the Christmas Party next week. We can't wait to see your Stitching Secret Santa goodies and we're ever so very excited about handing out all those lovely prizes too.
Merry Christmas madness to you, 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 we do all this for no payment in our spare time, so please be patient if we make mistakes.