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29th Jan 2010

Stitchin', Bitchin' and CakeKnitRaceYarnSwapWinLegoHipHopRagePhew
... WIN! Lego Stitch Markers ... Go Green with knitting ...  Join the Race for Life ... Swap Yarn and help Haiti ... Gertrude turns a bit odd ...

Soggy socked greetings to you

We hope this newsletter finds you well, cosied up by some kind of heating implement stitching away while it's cold outside and planning some knit-flavoured purchases for the weekend as pay day pennies land in your hungry bank account.

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.


RACE: Fancy keeping fit while you knit for a very good cause? Join your fellow S&B Londoners this summer for our annual Race for Life. We're doing it all again this June and knitting as we go. Run your eyes past our Race for Life article for full details.
WIN! WOO HOO!: You can also WIN with our plastic fantastic Lego Stitchmarkers competition.
Gerty: Watch Gerty go yarnballistic in a slightly scary episode where we put a few technical knitting questions to her woolly brains. She's also broken into Twitter as @askgertrude. Oh the horrorrrrrrr.
Help Haiti and gain lovely yarns: Have a bit of a destash, pick up something nice to purl and donate to Help Haiti. Join us at our Yarn Swap meeting.
Go green. Go on: You're also invited to go all eco (and relive your student days) with an exclusive Go Green meeting at London's University of the Arts.
Meet the alpacas: Purl Alpacas are having another of their unique knitting workshop on February 14th. Green surroundings, locally sourced homemade grub, five balls of squishy alpaca yarn, tips and tuition from their designer, and the opportunity to find love with a large woolly alpaca. See more on our blog.
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.

Two weeks ago we headed back to the Royal Festival Hall, after a few venue problems...
*waves sadly at the National Theatre*

...for our second teaching meeting of the year. Around 150 of you congregated in our biggest venue, took over the whole of the seating area (well...almost!) and taught whole gaggles of newbies the love of the knit. We had cake (thank you for the red velvet cup cakes! Laura Kate They were lush!) and more cake (thank you for the macaroons. They too were divine!) and then we bounced around on a huge sugar high! Boing!!
At Leon, we squeeeezed ourselves in and got knitting while sipping Dark and Stormy's and munching on wholesome tasties. We welcomed lots of newbies, made new friends and sampled organic cider. Yum!

Stitch and swap ya that for this
We’re heading to a new venue this week to raise money for the Haiti Earthquake Appeal by swapping our unwanted stash for something more us! Bring as little or as much as you like, and for a donation towards this charity appeal you can make the swap. See the article below for more details.
The girls from P-hop will be in attendance too with info on their fund-raising patterns and to say thanks.
Time: From 6pm
Venue: Stamford Arms (first floor)
62 Stamford Street
Tel: 020 7928 6445

  Map Nearest Tube: Southwark, Waterloo

 Stitch and Going Green with the arty types
This special meeting is to coincide with the University of the Arts' GO GREEN WEEK 2010, during which there are lectures, exhibitions, talks, films and campaigning . . . and now they're going to be overrun by knitters. Run, arty types, run!!
In a bid to encourage activities that are kinder to the planet, you've been invited along to relive your student days by seriously taking advantage of special food and drink deals (including Kopparberg cider for £3 a bottle, making one cider-drinking knitter incredibly happy!!) at the student Hub Cafe. Sashay in, plonk your arty self down and showcase your groovy green knitting skills, darrrrrlink!
You will need to sign in when you get there, but do not fear! Security know we're coming!
Time: From 6pm
Venue: University of the Arts
The Hub Cafe
Ground Floor
The Student Hub
65 Davies Street

Tel: 020 7514 6000
Map Website Nearest Tube: Bond Street, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch. 

Stitch and it aint over till the fat lady sings ...

Time: From 6pm
Venue: The Royal Festival Hall (Level 2 at the back)
Address: Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

Map Website Nearest Tube: Waterloo, Embankment

 Stitch and knit 1, step 1, knit 1, step 1, eat FREE CAKE

Last summer a small team of S&B Londoner's, inspired by the lovely Tina Bragaglia, knit and raced in the 2009 Race for Life. We loved it so much we're doing it allllll again.

This year you can join us on an inspiring London race around the City of London on the 13th of June. Peer in at St Paul's, go woooooo at the London Wall and wave your wool at any City types who might be hanging around. See full details of the City of London Race here to help make your decision.

We'll be knitting as we go to (though this is optional if you fear jamming a DPN in your pancreas in a knit/race related injury) and the mystery pattern (an easy one we promise) will be announced nearer the time.

Fancy joining us for the big Race? Go on. Last year there was cake. FREE CAKE!

Please note:
The earlier you sign up the better. It's a popular event and there are limited places. Quick! Quick!

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Go to the City of London Race for Life page
  2. Click enter now
  3. Sign up for the race
  4. Put in a minimum amount for money you will raise. You'll still be raising from the team page as it's a team effort.
  5. Fill in your details
  6. Pay the fee (£12.99 per racer)
  7. Shout "Woo hoo! I'm in!"
  8. Have a cup of tea
  9. Email us at with the subject "I want to Knit and Race around the City" and your name
  10. We'll add your name to the team
  11. Start raising money by sending this link to everyone who is anyone:
  12. Get training

See last year's tale of cake stops (within the first 200 metres), knitting and proudly marching in last place on our blog. Be inspired by Tina's story too.

It's an easy race. It's involves much giggling and many dropped stitches. It's all rather fabulous. Join us.


Stitch and swapping and helping Haiti
We’re sure you are well aware that a devastating earthquake hit the Caribbean island of Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, two weeks ago. Over 100,000 people have died, but over 130 people have been rescued from the rubble by survivors and aid agencies. The Red Cross and Action Aid are among many of the groups working there to ensure the people of Haiti get basic aid supplies, such as water, food and shelter.
This has been helped by the international community coming together to raise funds. The Disasters Emergency Committee are appealing for donations towards this aid effort, to help prevent the disease and food shortages that sadly follow such catastrophes.
And we want to do our bit.
As you will have read in the upcoming meetings, on Monday 1st February we’re having a charity yarn swap to raise money for the Haiti Earthquake Appeal at the Stamford Arms, SE1.
To help raise money, what we need you to do is bring some yarn – it doesn’t matter what it is, how big or small, how bright or neutral – make a donation towards the charity, whatever you can afford, and go home with something you might actually use! As our favourite meerkat would say: simples!

COMPETITION: Stitch and loving the Lego
Lego. Who doesn’t love a bit of Lego?
Here at S&B London Towers we heart Lego so when we heard that Alex and Sarah of The Bothered Owl had made Lego stitch markers we were rather excited. Especially when we got our hands on 5 project bags with matching Lego stitch markers to give away to you lovely S&B Londoners.
To see more shiny goodies from the crafty London-based Aussie pair wing your way over to The Bothered Owl blog and find them on Folksy and Etsy.
The winners of the competition will receive one of five themed project bags a set of coordinated Lego stitch markers. For those who miss out, don't worry, similar sets will be available to purchase on Folksy. See close up pics of the lovely little kits here on their blog.
All you need to do to get your hands on the little fellas is answer the question. We’ll build a winner-picking merino sheep out of Lego to choose 5 winners.
How are Lego babies made?
a. A Lego stork brings them
b. A factory makes them from bits of plastic
c. When a mummy and daddy Lego love each other very much they make it out of Lego love
Drop us an email at with:
  • The subject line "Lego is my bestest friend”
  • 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 8th February at 10am. The 5 winners will be picked from all correct entries and notified by email within 48 hours. 
Competition rules: 1. One entry per person. 2. Competition ends Monday the 8th February 2010 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.The stitch markers can be collected from us or will be posted to winners.

Ask Gertrude: Stop! Gerty Time!

This week Gertrude turns her cotton wool sharp mind to some questions posed on her blog.
Dear Gertrude
Could you please help as I am trying to knit a hooded scarf for the first time and there is a piece which I am not sure what it means.

K9, P4, wrap 4, P2, [K1, P1] (4), K1, P2, wrap 4, P4, K9

I know the basics of knitting but do not understand wrap 4, could you please help me.

Many thanks
My dear Kim, wrapping is a skill which eludes many knitters, even the more advanced. And I can indeed give guidance.
You want to learn how to wrap? Well, you hip-hop, and you don't stop. However, I'm not entirely sure how that fits into your hooded scarf. Is it a hoodie scarf?  Are you going to wrap in your hoodie?  Are you mocking old auntie Gerty with your modern music and new-fangled clothing? I am outraged, I tell you! Different sort of wrap?! Don't believe you!
My advice to you my dear is to simply abandon this foolish musical neckwear endeavour and make a proper hat. You'll never get into Bluewater with your hoodie.
Dear Gertrude

I have been searching the Internet for a solution to my problem and after many days I came across your web page. Can you help me, please? I have been struggling with this question for weeks and I am just about ready to abandon the sweater I am making.
I have been stumped about how to shape the neck on a ribbed raglan sweater.  I am so confused I am not even sure how to ask the question so I hope you can help me.
As I reached the instructions for shaping the neck I had 54 stitches on the needle.  Here are the instructions to shape the neck:
1. K2, ssk, pat across 10 stitches (neck edge). Turn.
Work back as follows: Dec 1 stitch @ neck edge on next 4 rows.
AT SAME TIME: Dec 1 stitch @ raglan edge as B4 on following alternating rows. 5 stitches remain.
Can you tell me row-by-row how to decrease in the pattern and which decrease stitches to use for the correct slant? I am enclosing a copy of the pattern so that you will know the pattern I have worked in.
Ah, Judy, I see they have sent me a second knitting query this week. Do those Stitchettes not understand that my role is to provide their moral compass and lessons in life for you all.
I can't knit! I don't even have hands! How do they think I can work out these difficult technical questions?! I HAVE NO FINGERS TO COUNT YOUR DECREASES ON!
Do they expect me to do everything for them? I don't have any blood, sweat or tears to give, I'd like to point out. Just my warm, acrylic heart.
They keep my in a cupboard, you know! In a plastic bag. And the Battenberg is stale and it's all Tesco Value gin.
Stitchette edit: Oh dear, Gerty seems to be having a bit of a turn...
We'll put her back in her bag, we mean cage, no room, definitely a room, with a nice bottle of Gordon's and some fresh Battenburg. She'll be back on top form to help again next week.
In the meantime, Kim – you may find some useful information on wrapping stitches in the sites listed in our guide to Knitting Help on the Net .
Judy, you may also find something useful there, but our quick tip to you right now is that a pad of squared paper is very useful for drawing out complicated decreases and yes, the maths does work for your pattern.
See this question and others that didn’t make the newsletter on Gerty’s blog.
In a muddle about a stitching subject. Want some woolly help?  Email Gerty at

Is it over? Has Gertrude gone? Blimey. We're all of our news now but as always you can pretend we're still rambling on at you by stalking us on Twitter. There's also the message board for a little virtual S&B in the home. So you're never really alone. Mwa ha haaaaaaaaaaa!

Hope to see you all at a meeting soon. Yes, all of you. Even you. You know who you are. Come on. Jooooooooin us.
Throw your ideas for venue, competitions, articles and cake samples at us at if you fancy it.
Keep your yarn dry, S&B Londoners

The S&B London Stitchettes x



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