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19 October 2010
Stitch and Spooky Sheep Stitching
... INTERVIEW: Meet Vern the stitching Sheep ... EVENT: Stitch a Sheep Book Launch and Competition ...
... FREE PATTERNS: Halloween Handknits and Hooks ... GRAFFITI KNITTING
... EVENT: Halloween Horror at the Hunterian ...
OH DEAR: Gerty's String Theory

Stitched sheep and spooky shadowy greetings to you

We hope this newsletter finds you well, ready to meet one of the world's nicest knitting sheep and armed to the teeth with your sharpened DPNs as Stitch London go Halloweeny.
Stitch London learners:  Look out for the learner icon (left) to see dates for learner meetings. Places may be limited so please arrive early to sign up.

Questions? See our Learn to Knit and FAQ pages.

Help Us teach by becoming a Stitch Sage

Meet Vern, the stitching sheep: We meet Vern, from the brand-new brilliant Vern and Lettuce book, to ask him what it is a knitting sheep knits.

Stitch a Sheep, Win a Prize: You are challenged to Stitch a Sheep for this week's Stitch a Sheep special event. Will your woolly wonder win?

MWA HA HA HAAAA! We stake out some of Lion Brand's Halloween handknit horrors, and return to the spooky and surgical Hunterian Museum for another round of stitching amongst the bones and body bits.

Gerty's search for science love: Our Aunty Gerty tries to tempt Prof. Brian Cox into her woolly embrace by getting studious.

Sneaky Stitch explodes: Graffiti knitting and crochet yarnstorm the media during Wool Week.

Wear a Woolly Hat for St Mungos: Also don't forget to wear a woolly hat to help St Mungos on 22 October. Full details here.

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

Time: From 6pm 
Venue: Stamford Arms 
62 Stamford Street 

Map More info


Time: From 6 – 9pm
Venue: Hunterian Museum
Royal College of Surgeons of England
35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields
Map Website    
MONDAY 1 November
Time: From 6pm
Venue: Royal Festival Hall (Level 2)
South Bank Centre
Belvedere Road

Map More info

We need your sheep! You may have noticed that the Stitch London banner has been overrun with sheep, rabbits and Halloween pirateness. That's Vern and Lettuce, a mild-manner knitting sheep and rabbit who live in a tower block in London's Pickle Rye.

Vern and Lettuce are the stars of a brand-new book, Vern and Lettuce, by the lovely Miss Sarah McIntyre. As Vern is a knitting sheep Sarah has kindly agreed to share the Vern and Lettuce book launch with Stitch Londoners. Woo hoo!

The Stitch a Sheep event is on 21 October from 6pm

Stitch a Sheep! Want to win a shiny Stitch a Sheep Medal and the glory of being the best sheep knitter in town?

On the big night we're holding a Stitch a Sheep competition. All you need to do is a make one of the handmade herd and then enter it into one or more of these categories on the night:
  • Handsomest sheep
  • Lumpiest sheep
  • Most deranged sheep
  • Most radiant sheep
  • Best coiffure
  • Most stylish sheep
  • Most likely to become a popstar sheep
  • Most misunderstood sheep
There'll also be cupcakes, a free round of fizzy stuff (not sheep dip!) for those who arrive in time to grab one, and Sarah will be selling and signing copies of Vern and Lettuce for a mere £10! She'll even draw you a sheepy sketch in there too.

Start making your sheep now! There are tons of free and quick patterns on Ravelry and we'll have a really really simple Square Sheep pattern on the night for you to follow if you don't have time before. Bring your own yarn and needles and any other bits you might need to stitch a sheep (4.5mm best for square sheep, buttons for eyes, wisps of wool) to get your sheep on!

Can't make it to the meeting? Snag Vern and Lettuce online here.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Meet Vern the knitting sheep by Deadly Knitshade

Vern is a sheep. He's a slightly worried knitting sheep who spends his time with Lettuce, his bouncy bunny best friend, living in a tower block in London's Pickle Rye where he battles with moles, parties with polar bears and meets some very dodgy pigeons.

Vern is one of the stars of Sarah McIntyre's brand-new Vern and Lettuce book that we're helping to launch this week at our Stitch a Sheep meeting. I was lucky enough to catch up with the fine fleecy fellow and ask him a few questions about yarn, life as a Stitch Londoner and knitting himself silly.

Hi Vern. Welcome to Stitch London. Thanks for agreeing to an interview.
You’re welcome! I don’t usually speak to humans, so this is quite an event. My friend Lettuce the rabbit is quite jealous, actually. She loves the media spotlight.

Can you tell us who taught you to knit?
Well, we have our own version of Stitch London here in Pickle Rye. Most of the animals who come along are ewes, and you should see the way they fuss over me! They had me knitting in no time at all.

We even had a film crew come to our meeting once and Lettuce was hopping mad because they spent
ages filming me, and she’s a much better knitter. My knitting had this big fat hole in the middle, but they asked me lots of questions so there would be a boy sheep in the documentary. The interviewer kept trying to get me to say that Pickle Rye was like ‘a ball of wool’, but I didn’t understand what she was
getting at. I am kind of like a ball of wool, but I am not spun yet.

What's your most shameful knit?
Most of my worst knitting moments come from over-shearing. I think, if you have a bit event to go to, like a wedding, you should be sure to get shorn several weeks before the event, not the day before. And that freshly shorn look makes my ears look too big.

What's the best thing you've ever knit?
I once knitted some jumpers for the bunnies who lived upstairs. But then I was cold and they felt sorry for me, so they unpicked their jumpers and we all knitted a big jumper for me with a pocket in it for each bunny.

We wore it together a few times, but then the bunnies wiggled so much that they
stretched the pockets. It’s rather saggy now.

Do you feel some friend only want to be be friends with you because of your fine fleece? *eyes fleece hungrily*
Stay away from me! …Argh, that tickles!

What are your friend Lettuce's knitting skills like?
She thinks she’s an amazing knitter, but she really should put more time into it. She’s always picking up new hobbies, but she needs to be like me, and stick with them. It’s all about dedication to the art. I tell her that knitting is the highest calling.

Ever fancied graffiti knitting? If so what would you graffiti and why?
Oh, but what if we were arrested? I think Lettuce and Derek the Sheep were talking about something like that the other day and I tried not to listen so I wouldn’t have to lie if the police asked me if I knew anything. You wouldn’t do something like that, would you? You look like a nice person.

You joined Stitch London recently. What prompted you to join?
I think I need to get out more, sometimes the animal world can get very gossipy. And one of the yaks kept stealing my stitch counters.

I think humans must be above that sort of thing. I am eager to listen to their deep, thoughtful discussions about life and art.

How was your first meeting?
It was pretty good, but I kept dropping stitches and that made me a little bit embarrassed. I was aware that they would have high expectations for my knitting and I think I may have let them down. I will spend a lot of time practicing for our next meeting so I can be a proud ambassador for all sheep.

What do you family and friends think of the fact you're now a celebrity with a book out in all the shops? They must be proud.
Yes! The polar bears who live downstairs gave me a photo album with lots of newspaper clippings in it from my adventure in the city with Lettuce and the bunnies. That must have taken them ages to put together!

Even one of the moles in the park asked me for my autograph, which made me realise that I
need to practice my signature so it looks more like a famous person signed it. Right now it just looks like the autograph of an ordinary sheep.

Can I have a hug? You look so squishy and fleecey.
Only if you promise not to steal any of my wool! The nights are getting rather chilly and I need it all.

Thanks, Vern. It's been a pleasure to meet and bleat with you!
And you! I think you are a very nice human. You should come visit us in Pickle Rye sometime and I will bake a cake. And you can teach me how to stitch a little sheep, I hear that is becoming a big fashion in knitting.

But be careful about this graffiti knitting business, I don’t like to think of my friends leading a life of crime. You could try baking brownies if the urge strikes you again, that is what I do!


You can see more of Sarah's adventures in sheepy sketching over at her Jabberworks blog and catch her and the Fleece Station team at The Fleece Station (home of Stitch London Towers too).

Stitch and Spooky Museum Stitchery and Witchery

A handmade Halloween is the best kind you can get and Lion Brand (you'll need to sign up to see them) think you should take your knitting with you. They've conjured up some horrific Halloween patterns for you to get your sticks and string and hooks into: 
If you're in London you can also join Stitch London at one of your favourite frightening venues for our Handmade Halloween of Horrrrrror! We're going back to the bodies and bones of The Hunterian Museum.
Missed last years' Halloween at the Hunterian? See the spooky stitching on our blog.
You're encouraged to bring along some treats to share with your fellow Halloween stitchers. Drinks will be available from the bar. Gerty requests these Graveyard Cupcakes, please.
 Stitch and Sneaky Stitching

There press has had a woolly field day with Wool Week and graffiti knitting has swept the nation.

Stitch London yarnstormed John Smedley's swanky Brook Street store with the help of sneaky stitchers Knit the City.

You can see pics of the whole installation here or catch them in the Brook Street store for the rest of the week.

Knit the City also popped up all over the place with an article in The Guardian on The Graffiti Knitting Epidemic, an appearance on ITV's This Morning and a chat about all things graffiti and wool on the BBC World Service.

And more Campaign for Wool events appeared bleating and stitching all over the UK and London.


ASK GERTRUDE: String Theory Suggestions  

Dear Gerty
I think I’ve made a terrible mistake. Whilst under the influence of a bottle of duty-free vodka I found myself watching some programme on the telly about physics. It might have been the booze, it might have been the fresh-faced charms of Prof. Brian Cox, but I heard the words “String Theory” and decided that I should apply for a post graduate degree in advanced particle physics – after all, as a knitter of some years standing I know more about string than most.  
It turns out that this so-called String Theory has absolutely nothing to do with knitting whatsoever, and I’m finding it difficult to keep up with the lectures. If they find out that my only other qualification is a Level 2 NVQ in kitten-wrangling I’m sure to be thrown off the course, and then I’ll have to pay back my student loan, which has already been spent on EasyJet flights to the continent and Wollmeise.
Gerty, I’m desperate – will you write my dissertation for me?
Worried of Walthamstow

Oh WoW, I do feel for you, really I do. But not enough to give up my bridge evening with Sean Connery to write your dissertation. You have got yourself into this mess, and only you can get yourself out of it.
In order to do than and not keep dear old Sean waiting, let me tell you the biggest secret in the world of all things science-flavoured. Professor Stephen Hawkins let this one slip when we were playing a round of golf at St Andrews a few years back, well I say playing ... neither of us are too adept at the game so we spent most of the afternoon in the bar. He does like his Singapore Slings does our Steve, but I digress.
The secret is that the vast majority of science is simply made-up – that’s why it’s full of so-called theories. And what’s a theory? It’s a story that no-one can prove or disprove. So make like a tabloid reporter (and my dear, even the dimmest of kitten-wranglers can manage that), and make up your own theory.
After all, Prof. Hawkins claims that the universe is saddle-shaped and a slightly yellowy-beige colour – how can he possibly know this? It’s not like anyone’s able to stand far enough back to take a photo.
You just need to write a paper saying that the universe is in fact purple (or cerise, or chartreuse, or whatever colour yarn you have that needs de-stashing), and shaped like a tea-cosy. Then knit the tea-cosy and submit it as a scale model.
The ball is then in their court and it’s up to them to prove you wrong. By that time all your student loans will be repaid and we shall both be rich from the takings of your all-star dancing kitten spectacular.

That's all the bleating we can squeeze out of our sheep this week. Find us on the Ravelry message board, and via the mediums of Twitter and Facebook if you need us. Happy handmade Halloween!

Keep your DPNs primed for vampire attacks, Stitch Londoners

Stitch London x


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Edited and sewn together with words by Deadly Knitshade
with the help of Gertrude Woolsworthy and LondonBusKnitter

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