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26th Oct 2009

Stitchin’, Bitchin’ and Mwa Ha Ha HaaAAaaAaaAaaaaAa!

  ... Win! Signed Handknit Heroes comics ... Brains! Exclusive meet at Hunterian Museum ...

Ghoulishly ghostly greetings to you

WHAT’S THAT ON YOUR SHOULDER?!?! Oh it’s just a stray bit of yarn and not a brain-eating parasite. Ahem.
 
We hope this newsletter finds you terrified to your very marrow, watching out for witches wandering off with your wool, purling around the pumpkin patch and knitting yourself some very nasty nightmares to keep those pesky trick or treaters from your stash of sweet stuff.
 
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. Lessons are free. But we may attempt to bite you if we're feeling peckish.

 


BRAAAAAAINS! BRAAAAAAAAINS! In jars! We’re gearing up to the spookiest Halloween in the history of S&B London with our next meeting. You get to knit where no one has ever knit before. An exclusive meeting at The Hunterian Museum amongst the skeletons and pickled people parts. Put on your best Halloween spooky stitching (fancy dress is optional) and join us. Go on.
 
Disguises and dastardly deeds? Who doesn’t love dressing up in a cape with your knitted pants over your tights and saving the world? Enter our Handknit Heroes Comic Competiton to snag yourself the first two Handknit Heroes comics signed by the writer and artist. There’s one fabulous HH t-shirt to give away too. 
 
What was that noise?!?! Is that a scratching and sooty showering at the chimney! AGH! It’s Santa Claws. Here to snap his pincers at you to remind you to start thinking about your Secret Santa for the S&B London Christmas Par-tay! Be gone with you spooky Saint Nick! See our blog for more info. Join us! Last year was wicked.
 
Christmas Party date and venue to be announced next newsletter. Woo hoo!

ARRRGGHH! Winners!!! We’d also like to announce the winners of our exclusive 15 Knitting Kit competition. The lucky Jane Sydor and Clare Tovey got the correct answer B and snagged themselves a pukka knitting kit.
 
The answer was B. Jamie Oliver has never said “Cor blimey, I'm hungry. I could murder a plate of turkey Twizzlers”. He really never has. He’d much prefer a nice bit of homemade grub and you know it.

Blanket! (Ok we ran out of ideas) For all those of you who knit for the Macmillan Comfort Blanket see the finished cosy cover in all its knitted splendour on our Ally Pally 2009 blog post. Awwwww. You guys rule.




 
The swarm! The National Theatre was the usual crowd of culture and craft as the sheer numbers of S&B Londoners threatened to block all escapes should the building burst into flames. Newbies were everywhere! It was madness.
 
For scared newbies take a look at this post that the very lovely Sara wrote on the fabulous Oolamoola site after her first ever meeting. We don’t bite. Unless you’re a cake. In which case we can’t promise a thing.
 
The hunger! Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant saw the Stitchettes (including the lovely Gerty) stir up a blindin’ bit of knit. Five of our lucky Twitter/Ravelry S&B London members won exclusive places and joined us for food, fun and fibre.
 
The knitting kits were scrumptious, the food was utterly pukka, and we left them a little yarnstorming present by knitting some wool-based decorations for the room's pillars. Sad to have missed out? Catch up on the Fifteen fabulousness on our blog or with Hoxton Handmade’s Electric Sheep episode recorded live at the event. You can almost hear how tasty the grub was.
 
Someone is watching you! EV was a mixed of mezze and making stuff. We had a visit from a journalist from the Gay Times, a few documentary shots from a film student, and some vox pops from the commendable Learning Revolution folks. Hope the press of press wasn’t too overwhelming!
 
The trendy people are coming! S&B London managed to make it into the November issue of Vogue. Page 130 in the More Dash than Cash section. We’re trendy?! Who knew?




  Stitch and ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH! MY EYES! MY PRECIOUS EYES!
 
Details of the next meeting:
 

Scare yourself stupid in the weirdest and most wonderful S&B London meeting venue ever. You can sit and knit in rooms full of bones, brains and bits of bodies as we hit the Royal of College of Surgeon’s Hunterian Museum in true Halloween style.
 
Fancy dress is optional if you have the urge to zombie yourself up, flaunt your fangs or get your ghoul on. The Stitchettes will be putting on their spooky gladrags. Be brave. Be fun. Horrify your fellow stitchers. Go on.
 
THURSDAY 29TH October
Time: From 6pm – 9.30pm
Venue: Hunterian Museum
Royal College of Surgeons of England
35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London
WC2A 3PE
 
Map Website Nearest Tube: Holborn, Chancery Lane, Covent Garden
 
This event forms part of the Learning Revolution and is free for any adults to attend




Stitch and Bloomin' Bargain Booze

 

Details of the meeting after that:


A purl and a pint, you say? Gwan then! This week we're dipping our toes in a Wetherspoons to give you credit crunched crocheters and pennyless purlers the chance to save your pennies. It's a brand-new venue so stand by for a bit of 'What on earth are they doing?' until they get used to an army of pointy stick wielders taking over the joint.

WEDNESDAY 4th November
Time: From 6pm
Venue: Shakespeares Head
Africa House, 64-68 Kingsway
Holborn
London
WC2B 6AH
 
Map Website Nearest Tube:
 



Stitch and Sing It, Lady!

 

Details of the meeting after that:

TUESDAY 10th November
Time: From 6pm
Venue: The Royal Festival Hall (ground floor)
South Bank Centre
Belvedere Road
London
SE1 8XX

Map   Website Nearest Tube: Waterloo, Embankment
 



 Stitch and Surviving the Undead Swarms
 
Run for the hills! The undead are coming! Hang on? Are we knitters or are we mice? (Not that we have anything against mice. There are some very brave mice out there)
 
S&B Londoners stand your ground! Don’t let the undead push you around. You’re part of a brave tradition of crafty warriors. You have sticks. You have string. Let’s stand, pull up our stitches and kick some undead arse!
 
We’ve put together a helpful list of how to turn your humble knitting kit into Weapons of Knit Destruction.
 
Knitting needles: Your average wooden knitting needle is no less than a vampire-busting stake through the heart. Take that Nosferatu! Taste my bamboo 4.5mm!
 
Grab yourself a handful of interchangable Knit Picks Harmonies and you can take out a whole nest of bloodsucking fiends from one convenient zip-up bag. Knit Picks – when you have to take out every last bloodsucker in the room, accept no substitute.

Tape measure-circular needle combo: There’s a zombie coming!
waits till several minutes later
It’s still coming!
makes cup of tea
It’s almost here!
ties tape measure between sturdy posts or trees at ankle height
Here it is!
watches zombie shuffle into makeshift tripwire and fall on its rotting face
HA!
slices off zombie’s head garotte-style with circular needle
Ewwwww.
washes hand and finishes tea
 
Stitchmarkers: “Ooooo, get you with your fancy silver stitchmarkers,” they say. “NO SURRENDER!” you scream in their faces as you apply said stitchmarkers to a handy drinking straw et voila! Silver bullets. Take a werewolf down from 20 paces and still have the time to finish your bloody mary.

Yarn swift: The Mummy appears from the crypt. It shuffles towards you. Its ancient dusty hands outstretched for your throat. Duck and in one swift move (the one you practiced while bagging bargain yarn at the John Lewis sale) grab the end of a bandage, attach and start your swift spinning. In no time your Mummy is dust, bones and a neat little ball of fabric. Make yourself a nice rug with him.
 
UFO (unfinished knitted object): Aliens descend from space. Oooooo ooooo OoooOoOoo! They pull you up towards the mothership with your knitting bag in tow. You whip out your handy UFO. You begin to knit.
 
Like the commuter who sits opposite you on the tube the aliens are mesmerised. Before you know it you’re holding an S&B in the UFO. Grak is having trouble with rib stitch. Thok and Lunk have just moved onto purling. They get hungry for cake and take the ship down to the nearest bakery for some battenburg.
 
You use the opportunity to slip away unnoticed – your derriere probe-free thanks to the power of the knit. Future alien abductions reports are peppered with mentions of excellent bobble-hats and armwarmers.
  




COMPETITION: Stitch and Shhhh, Don't Reveal Our Secret Identities
 
Are we going to fight crime or what?”
Just let me finish this row...”
 
If you've been hiding under a rock (or tied up in a basement making i-cord ropes for the nefarious but ill thought out schemes of the evil Dr Macrame) for the last few months and don't know what the hell we're talking about, let us fill you in.
 
Handknit Heroes is the brainchild of Stephanie Bryant and Marc Olivent and is the world's first knitting graphic novel starring Alex and the superbly sweary Ana, twins with superpowers and a yarn store-owning mum. We're not sure which of these to be most envious about.
 
Their friend is Sue, who has the dual powers of crochet and teleporting and their mysterious mother seems to have some secrets of her own. Together, they use their powers to fight crime like woolly vigilantes.
 
Not enough for you? Well, not only does the graphic novel feature the adventures of the group, but it also includes an exclusive knitting pattern with each issue. So far there's been a hooded scarf and a bag. How much more could you want?
 
We got a little excited about the first issue back in March and since then they've gone from strength to strength.
 
Want to find out more? Well, that's where we step in. In advance of the release of issue 3, we've managed to snaffle some signed sets of the first two issues and another special treat. That’s four prizes. One spectacularly lucky winner, and three merely very lucky winners.
 
The first name out of the hat will win a signed set of the first two issues and a Handknit Heroes t-shirt.
 
The next 3 names will get a signed set of the first two issues of Handknit Heroes.
 
All you need to do is answer this question:

Which of these is not a character in Handknit Heroes?
 
a. Ana Miller
b. Gertrude Woolsworthy
c. Sue Ho
 
Drop us an email at stitchettes@stitchandbitchlondon.co.uk with:
  • The subject line "I hear Batman likes needlepoint"
  • Answer A, B or C
  • Your full name, email address, and contact phone number (if you have one)
The deadline for the competition is Weds 4th November at 10am. The 4 winners will be picked (by telekinetic-dart-throwing at a sheet of paper) from all correct entries, and notified by email within 48 hours.

Please note: bribes of yarn, cake or special super-power-giving potions are not accepted. Just pick your answer, email us and let the higher powers take effect as the winners are chosen. Good luck!

Competition rules: 1. One entry per person. 2. Competition ends Wednesday the 4th November 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. Comics can be collected from us or will be posted to the winner.
 
They’re about to release their third issue. You can see their shiny website with updates on progress and lots of goodies to buy. They've even got a free superhero secret identity mask pattern, should you feel inspired to fight as a lonely woolly crusader in your own hometown.



Stitch and a Pain in the Neck

We’ve got a bit of a thing for vampires here at S&B London HQ (“No?! Really?!” we hear you cry). So what with it being Halloween and all that, we thought it high time to feature some Undead (or should that be Life Challenged?) inspired craftiness.
 
We took our shovel and dug through Ravelry for some vampire find to get your fangs into. If you’re not a member of Ravelry click here to join and see the patterns.
 
Here’s S&B London’s rundown of the top five bloodsucker-themed patterns. The stakes couldn’t be higher (sorry!). We’re going to stick our necks out and say that none of these suck! (OK we’ll stop trying now!) Just don’t bite off more than you can chew (we really will stop now!). If you crave the undead True Blood charms of Eric Northman and Bill Compton, pine after sulky Edward Cullen, or if you’re a purist and just want Dracula, then there’s something for you...
 
In at Number Five: he was where it all began. The somewhat blood-curdling Dracula or Vlad. We thought both these patterns were worthy of a mention.
 
At Number Four, and only recognisable to you Twilight fans out there, are Julie P. Miller’s Eclipse Socks. Simple and understated, but to those in the know, so Team Edward!


 This year’s Number Three is Edward. Yes, you can possess the most sought-after 17-year-old dead guy in the world. He’s our own brand of heroin...

 
At Number Two: wear your fang marks with pride with Krysten Lewelling’s Love Bites scarf. Inspired by True Blood, and Sookie’s vampire-loving! You’ll be fangtasising (oops!) about Bill or Eric...
 
And at Number One, the bloody fangtastic (sorry – couldn’t resist!) Twilight Finger Puppet Pattern. Not only could you have your own Edward, but a Jasper, Alice, Carlisle, Rosalie etc at your fingertips.
 
Join us next year for the freshest patterns from the coffin!
 
Stitch and Bitch London would like to apologise for the awful puns in this article. We’ll get our cloaks!

  



Ask Gertrude: Curses and Stitching Superstitions
 
S&B London’s resident agony aunt gets her knitted grey cells around the legend of the ‘boyfriend curse’ and other stitching superstitions.
 
Dear Gerty
 
I have heard tell that it’s bad luck to knit for my other half and stitching a sweater for him will hail the end of our relationship. He wants me to knit him a nice chunky knit aran. I can’t see the harm in it. Should I go ahead? Where did this curse come from? And are there other knitting no nos I should know about?
Superstitious of Streatham
 
Dear Superstitious, dearie me. How on earth you function in the real world full of black cats and ladders you might walk under is beyond me.
 
The Boyfriend Curse is well known to all seasoned knitters.
 
One dark night back in the 60s a young couple, a knitter and her beloved boyfriend, stopped along the M1 motorway to pick up a hitchhiker. The hiker was a silent yet twitchy man. He barely said a word as he climbed into the back seat. It was hot in the car with the heater running. The boyfriend, getting sweaty, removed his coat to cool off, revealing the lovingly crafted but utterly vile jumper that his girlfriend had spent months slaving over her needles to create. So disgusted was the hitcher by this display of handknit horror that it set off a homicidal rage.
 
Nothing was found at the scene except a pair of scissors, pools of sticky blood and fragments of the hideous jumper.

Superstitious, is it really worth risking death by scissor-wielding maniac for an aran sweater? I think not.
 
And as for other myths I can help dispel some now:
 
Stabbing your needles though your yarn balls brings bad luck to anyone who wears something made from that yarn.
"What the...?!?! It'll bring you bad luck if I catch you doing it!! What the hell are you thinking! shakes with rage

If you knit one of your own hairs into a garment, it will bind the recipient to you.
Knitting your own hair into a garment is something that's just a hazard with long hair. If you do want to see if it works don't go too far or you may end up completely bald. Not a look that is going to bind anyone to you, I fear.
 
Don't stop knitting when you are only on the cast-on row, or the project will never be finished.
Lightweight! It’s one row! Where’s your knitting backbone!? Finish that row! Lazy swine!

Never hand knitting needles to a friend as they can stab the friendship. Put them down and let the friend pick them up.
Are your needles wooden? Is your friend a vampire? Unless the answer to both these questions is yes, then what's a little stabbing accident between friends? Helps relieve the tension too. We can’t all get along all the time. Stab away, my dears, stab away.
 
Do you feel a zombielike hunger for more of the sweet stuff from Gerty's brains? See this question and others that didn’t make the newsletter on Gerty’s blog.
 
Horrfied by a problem of your own? Email her at askgertrude@stitchandbitchlondon.co.uk and let Gerty disembowel your woes.


 
Now get out! Run while you still can! They’re coming! Take your yarn and run for the hills. We’ll distract them with a bit of yarnstorming. If you do manage to make it to safety you can check we’re still alive by following us on Twitter or dropping in to the safe haven of the message board. Be careful out there. Who knows what is lurking under your stash just waiting to spring. Oh the horror! I hope it doesn’t get slime on your cashmerino.
 
Watch the shadows, London.
 
The Exceptionally Spooky S&B London Stitchettes x

 

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S&B London promise not to sell your email address to evil spirits, not even if they ask us nicely and offer us sweet, sweet eternal life or cashmere. S&B London have secretly been stealing tiny pieces of your soul since your very first meeting, which drains us of our energy, so please be patient if we make mistakes.



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Patrick Van Acker