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27 April 2011
Stitch... and the Marriage of Wools and Cake  
  ... BREAKING NEWS: Hoxton Handmade on Woolly Weddings ...
 ... KEEP CALM & CROSS STITCH: Mr X Stitch goes craftivist ... YARNSTORM: Sneaky Stitching meets the Royals
 ... FREE PATTERN: Free Cross Stitch Royal Wedding Chart
  Gerty: Royal Wedding Blues ...
Dearly be-knitted
We are gathered here today, within the sight of the yarn gods, to celebrate to union of stitch-based craft. Two members of London crafty Royalty have said yes to Stitch London’s proposal to show what happens when the Royal wedding meets the handmade hoards.

Please give a warm woolly welcome to The Electric Sheep’s Hoxton Handmade and Mr X Stitch aka Jamie Chalmers. Two folks wed to their crafty love in stitches and in health, till an accident with an errant pair of scissors do them part.

Love the Royal Wedding or hate it, at least it's a good chance to have a day off and celebrate our favourite things: wools and cake.
Stitch London learners: We offer learner knitter sessions about once a month. Look out for the learner icon (left) to see dates for learner meetings. Places may be limited so please arrive early to sign up.

Want to know what to bring or how it works? See our Learn to Knit and FAQ pages

 Woolly Wedding Gear: Hoxton Handmade reveals shock news about 'the dress' and takes a slightly worrying look at knitted nuptials of the past.

Keep Calm and Marry On: Manbroider Mr X Stitch unpicks the tangled tale of Royal wedding and sneaky fat cats. And there a fantabulous free cross stitch sampler chart too. You lucky ducks.

Purly Future King and Queen(ish): Woolly Wills and Kate, the weird world of the web and a peek behind Knit the City's most challenging yarnstorm.

Gerty and anarchy in the UK: Our woolly agony aunt soothes the Royal Wedding rage of an irrate London local.

Stitched Science still needs you! Stitch Londoner’s everywhere are invited to team up a scientific stitching extravaganza you can see from space! London's Science Museum need your stitching!

Stitch London meetings:
For more information on each venue click on 'More info' to go to our Venues page


Time: From 6pm
Venue: Royal Festival Hall (Level 2)
South Bank Centre
Belvedere Road

SE1 8XX 
Map More info
Venue: The Draft House
206-208 Tower Bridge Rd


Time: From 6pm
Venue: Arts Bar & Cafe
Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
E1 6AB

Map More info

SHOCK NEWS: Kate's Wedding Dress to be Handknitted
by Hoxton Handmade (the article is by her, she won't be knitting the dress)

“As 2 billion people stare goggle-eyed at their television sets on 29th April they will all be awaiting that first glimpse of one thing - The Dress. Kate Middleton's chosen attire for her Big Day has been subject to the kind of military secrecy and diplomatic subterfuge William Hague can only dream of. But here, in a worldwide exclusive, I can now reveal an astonishing detail about Princess Catherine to-be's gown - it will be KNITTED*.
It seems so obvious now, doesn't it? With weather that will inevitably be either scorching hot, or pouring with rain, what could be better than a floor-length woollen dress? No doubt created from the royal flocks on Duchy land, it's the perfect way to celebrate British fashion with a sense of ecological responsibility. Ms Middleton will be something of a style leader, taking formal knitwear to the masses, but she is not the first to discover the joy of wool on your nuptials.
This charming lady (right) decked herself out in fleece for her rural wedding, which looks great, although unfortunately also caused several sheep to get a little frisky.
However one must be careful - the wrong shade of yarn, or over-eagerness with the loops, can result in an outfit that is less wedding dress, more toilet roll cover (left).

And it is always essential to remember that when trying to protect a princess's modesty it is possible to take things too far (right).
Of course the world champion of knitted weddings is Cast Off, who didn't stop at the gown, but also stitched the bouquet, the top hat, the sandwiches and the cake. A little OTT for HRH?
And if you're still not convinced by the wonders of the wool for a royal extravaganza, just take a look at this oh-so-chic crochet number.
Meanwhile, the Sheep is taking refuge from the fashionistas as he's none too keen to part with his fleece, even by royal command. Then again, the Windsors have been known to have a very good supply of gin....
*Possibly. I mean, it could be, right? Neither the editor nor the author take any responsibility for the veracity of any of the facts in this article.
 The mellifluous Katie, better known as Hoxton Handmade, creates The Electric Sheep, a (mostly) knitting podcast from Hoxton Handmade taking a humorous and quirky look at London, craft, culture and the web, with everything from knit graffiti, to crochet bikini horror to impressive beards. She’s been know to croon a few tunes to her ukulele too, for which she always apologises in advance.
Her co-podcaster, the eccentric Hoxton Sheep, is the knitting world’s favourite ovine hero with ninja moves, a taste for gin (often shared with our own Gertrude Woolsworthy) and an impressive way with flaming chickens. He tweets too.

A Right Royal Yarnstorm

Back in February a woolly Will and Kate were part of Knit the City's Hubbub of Hearts yarnstorm.

The sneaky stitchers managed to get a string of handmade hearts onto the end of the archer's bow of the famous Piccadilly Circus 'Anteros' statue. The end of the bow was 7-metres in the air.

Rumours that the graffiti knitting crew have grown wings are about to be disproved. Knit the City take you behind the yarnstorm, and into the weird world of Wills and Kate on the web, in their latest confession:

A Right Royal Stitch Up: Behind the Hubbub of Hearts

  Keep Calm and Marry On
by Mr X Stitch

“A Royal Wedding is a strange thing. I was a child when Charles and Di got hitched, have vague memories of the joy that seemed to ripple throughout the land. It’s funny to reflect back on that wedding from the perspective of an occasionally cynical adult and realise that the economy and the state of the country was very similar to how it was now. I can’t escape the feeling that the wedding of William and Kate, much like Charles and Di, is a distraction tactic, designed to take our minds off the deliberate damage being caused by the current administration.
It was this line of thinking that led to the creation of the Keep Calm and Marry On cross stitch pattern that we created with Subversive Cross Stitch. I like to call it “Don’t think about the banks, some rich people are getting married!” However, my natural cynicism is mitigated by the joys of stitching and it’s interesting to see how the craft world has responded to this ‘special occasion’.

 Cross stitch takes quite a lot of time to produce and you have to be quite good at planning and time management if you want to get a piece created to celebrate these kinds of events.

Fortunately, in this case, it’s been mentioned in the press for ages, so I’m sure that there are plenty of people who have honoured the wedding in cross stitch, and fair play to those who have.
 I think it’s great to immortalise significant moments of history with a needle and thread; embroidery is such a wonderful craft that combines meditation and creatively to unlock a magical state of being that any excuse to do it is alright with me. At the end of the day if you want to celebrate some rich people getting married, that’s cool and if you want to poke fun at them, that’s also cool. Just make sure you do the poking with a needle!"

Download the Keep Calm and Marry On (A Royal Wedding Brought to You in Association with the Coalition Government) cross stitch chart here
 Jamie Chalmers, also known as Mr X Stitch is on a mission is to bring the world of cross stitch and embroidery to a whole new audience. A seasoned cross stitcher, he really believes in the benefits of stitching, both from a relaxation and a sustainability perspective.
 Mr X Stitch site was born in 2008, as a way of highlighting cross stitch patterns that Jamie was excited about, it’s now a grown into a thread-wrapped Godzilla, showing off the best in new needlecraft and textiles. Jamie’s position as a premier manbroiderer both excites and frightens him, but he is embracing the craft with both tattooed arms…

Royal Gerty image by Clare Tovey
Ask Gertrude: Royal Wedding Rage

Dear Aunt Gerty,
I’m simply dreading the end of April. Besides the usual lousy weather British Bank Holiday weather and Easter-egg-induced-indigestion, as a resident of Westminster I’ll have to put up with an influx of ‘Wills and Kate stalking’ tourists with their flags, flashing cameras, noise, litter and, arrgh, it’s making me feel quite angry already.
It was bad enough knowing the Olympics would soon be coming to town with all the hullabaloo and twisted ankles that will involve, but at least there would be athletic entertainments. Frankly I think all this pomp and circumstance is a waste of time and tax-payers money.
I’d leave town for the weekend, but it seems that every last train, coach and taxi is already fully
booked, and I can’t get enough yarn in the basket of my bicycle for that to be a sensible option.
Wit’s End of Westminster

My dear WEoW,

Reading your letter brought a tear to my eye, it reminded me so much of my younger self. I too was once as easily moved to rage by all things Royal, for I am indeed related to one of the sacks of wool that filled the breached walls of Newark during the Civil War. Not so long ago I would have advised that you get a bigger basket for your bike, fill your water bottle with something more sustaining, and pedal down to Brighton for a weekend of knitting and inebriation. And cake.

But that was then … a few years ago I was introduced, by my darling wine merchant, to a kindly old lady who could put away more gin than me. Dear Lizzie B-L introduced me to a drink that changed my life, the Devonshire Iced Tea. You take a champagne flute, add a large measure of gin, and top it up with elderflower champagne. Health-conscious types might want to include a slice of lemon to count towards their five-a-day. Before you know it you’ll be wearing a tiara at a jaunty angle and declaring that everything is either “Absolutely spiffing”, or “Utterly soooper”.

If that doesn’t get you into the celebratory spirit, try knitting yourself some bunting or your own

The bottom line is that not enjoying the Royal Wedding won’t get you a tax rebate, so you may as well throw yourself in whole-heartedly and make the most of it. Or you can charge the hoards of tourists £5 a time to use your toilet, and if you don’t tell the taxman about your new income, ahem, stream, I won’t either.
Much Royal love
Dame Gerty xx

P.S. If your Easter Eggs are giving you indigestion you’re eating them too quickly. May I suggest a sip of a full-bodied well-oaked Merlot between bites?

Stitch London

Keep calm and carry yarn, Stitch Londoners.

Stitch London x 
 A woolly Godzilla since 2005
Edited and sewn together with words by Deadly Knitshade
with help from Gertrude Woolsworthy, Gerty's Rage Counseller LondonBusKnitter and the paintbrush of Clare Tovey.
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