Purled Pigeon-plumage-covered greetings to you
We hope this newsletter finds you well, full of the joys of our almost-summery summer, enjoying the football fever song of the vuvuzela ringing in your ears, and preparing to pop a pigeon or two off your needles and into the world. Go on.
S&B London learners: Free knitting lessons will take place twice a month from 6.30 at S&B London meetings. If there are lots of you then you may have to wait. Check for the Learners Lesson icon next to the meeting title.
Please note: All learners should aim to arrive before 8pm.
Meet the hatcher of Tiny Pigeons – We ask Mochimochi Land's Anna Hrachovec about all things knit and miniscule in an exclusive interview.
Strut peacock style – Team Stitch London pecked at Cancer like they meant it at the Race for Life.
See the rare Stitched Self Bird – We invite you to see your Stitched Self at the Science Museum. Have you made your Stitched Self yet?
|For more information on each venue click on 'More info' to go to our Venues page.
| EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Tiny Knits in the Spotlight by Deadly Knitshade
Anna Hrachovec knits tiny. Really really teeny tiny. So tiny her knits are almost painfully cute. Her Mochimochi Land knits have gained her a well-deserved crowd of tiny knit admirers and a new book out in August this year.
Anna is joining us in London on the 21st of June to return some feathered friend to a pigeonless Trafalgar Square as she teams up with Stitch London for the Tiny Perching Pigeon Party. Yay!
Before she joins is I put a few questions to the purler of the pint-sized to see what makes a tiny knitter tick...
The story behind tiny knits:
I've been designing knitted toys for a few years now, and somehow I just began making them smaller and smaller without really thinking about it. When I recognized this trend and how much fun it was, I decided to try designing a new tiny toy every weekday for a month. That was in July of last year, and after the month ended, I liked doing it so much that I continued the challenge as a new tiny thing every week. It's still ongoing at my blog!
Why so tiny? How did this quest for tiny knits come about?
What was your very first tiny knit?
The first official "tiny thing" that I made last July was a Tiny Brain, but the very first actual tiny thing that I made was a herd of tiny lemmings, which went with a knitted scene that I made for exhibit in a plush toy show at Gallery Hanahou in NYC.
Do you still have it?
The lemmings now live with the curator of the gallery (and also my boss, because I work there part-time), who was sweet enough to buy the "Swimming Lemmings" piece.
What inspires your tiny creations of knitted life?
Well, everything is cuter in tiny form, so everything inspires me! I think by now there is pretty much no animal, person, or thing that I haven't thought about knitting a tiny version of. Some things are just more challenging to convert into knitting than others, and it's going to take me a while to get around to knitting everything!
These days I'm practically a full-time tiny knit designer! I also design more normal-sized toys, and I also have a day job at Gallery Hanahou, a small gallery and illustration agency in New York .
Are you a tiny knitting designer full-time or do you have a day job involving normal-sized objects too?
Haha, my husband insists on a boring full-size couch, bed, and TV. (Actually, the TV is kind of huge.)
Is everything else in your life minuscule? I like to imagine your home harbouring dolls-house style furnishings. Though I'm not sure it would work in real life.
Do your friends and family introduce you as 'the tiny knitting chick'? And is it hard to explain what you do when someone asks? Are you often tempted to tell them you work in a bank?
I love to let friends and family introduce me to others just to see what they will say. But yes, I'm trying to get better at describing what I do without trailing off awkwardly at some point. (I would try the bank line, but I'd be afraid of getting banking questions that would be way over my head!)
About your tiny knits:
Yes, actually! I knit a miniscule twig recently and I haven't been able to locate it recently... I have two cats who have a "finders keepers" policy when it comes to anything small and wooly, so I'm blaming them.
Have you ever knit something so small you haven't been able to find it after you've finished?
I like to keep at least one of a particular design for myself, so I have a big Zip-lock bag that I keep them all in. But some have become gifts for friends, and I've also been selling a few through a nice little shop in Brooklyn called Saffron.
What happens to your tiny knits once they are cast off? Do they find homes?
I totally have! I was thinking for a while that giant knits would be my next thing after the tinys, but they present more of a logistical challenge - more time, more yarn (more money), and more space needed to put the things. But it's on my to-do list for sure.
Have you ever been tempted to knit something giant to balance out all that tiny?
I know it's terrible to ask (like asking a parent which of their kids they like best) but which is your favourite tiny knit? Go on. We won't tell the rest of them. My favorite is always the one I've just finished designing! But my all-time favorites would have to include the Tiny Cheeseburger, Tiny Forest , and Tiny Lion.
What's your proudest tiny-knitting-flavoured moment?
I had a blast making knitted factories that turn one tiny thing into another. I made them for another show at gallery hanahou.
About tiny knitting:
Nothing too special, just fingering-weight yarn and small needles - I use size 1 (2.25 mm) double-pointed needles. For stuffing, it's good to use the kind of polyester fiberfill that feels slippery to the touch - this allows you to thread I-cords through stuffed pieces to make little arms and legs. A smaller-than-usual tapestry needle is also a must.
Do you need any special tools to get your tiny knit on?
Simplicity is everything! It's all about breaking a design down to its essential shapes. And the tininess also makes some aspects of the knitting more forgiving, so don't focus too much on perfection or too much detail.
Do you have any words of wisdom for those who wish to follow in your small stitched footsteps?
About your trip to the UK/London:
Boy, I don't know - everything! I want to check out the London yarn shops, and have some authentic English tea, and visit a few pubs (is it possible to be "squee" about pubs?) Probably the cutest thing that I'm anticipating are the adorable British accents.
What are you most 'squeeeeeee!' about seeing?
You can't say no to the Queen, even if she's just a hypothetical Queen! A Corgi is now on my list of things to knit tiny.
If the Queen demands a tiny Corgi dog are you up for the challenge?
You know, I've contemplated a Tiny Umbrella before but never came through. Maybe this is my chance.
Will you be bringing a tiny knitted umbrella? We'll try to keep it sunny but it is England.
About your potential plans for world domination:
Welll, I'm currently knitting a bunch of tiny and not-so-tiny things for my own show at Gallery Hanahou in the fall! It's going to be a knitted installation with some moving parts (hopefully), and I'm very excited and a little scared about the whole thing. I plan to start posting updates about my progress on my blog soon.
What's next? Are you planning world domination via a tiny knitted army? If so can we'd like to sign up.
|Stitch and Pimping Your Knitting by The Bluestocking Stitcher
Back in the autumn, we heard tales about a not so little crafty contribution to the Olympic effort. Shauna Richardson, creator of stunningly realistic crocheted critters, had been commissioned by the Arts Council to create three giant lions from Swaledale wool as part of the Cultural Olympiad. As olympic construction begins to consume East London, and gives us extra transport options (yay to the extended East London Line!), we look back at those who have put a sterling effort into producing outsized knitting projects in the past.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we present our top five "Oh My God! You have to be mad! Are you kidding?" enormous knitting projects.
In at number 5, we have Ann Jordan. Back in March this year, she revealed the result of a year's work and 12 miles of yarn, when she decided to keep a part of the Beacons National Park warm with an outsized knitted blanket. Her project encompasses life, death, a little bit of history (we love a little bit of history here) and, of course, knitting.
At number 4, we have Andy Holden and his big woolly pebble. A mammoth recreation of a tiny rock that he stole from the great pyramid at Cheops as a child, the size of the piece reflects the enormous weight of guilt he felt after stealing the rock. While he may have confessed that it was knitted on a machine, we salute the gargantuan mathematical calculations needed to get the proportions right, the sheer effort needed to handle that much knitting, and the impressive vision behind it.
Another knitting machine user is at number 3. Back in 2005, Dave Cole created the Knitting Machine project. This is no common industrial knitting machine though. This craft monster consists of two giant tractors wielding the needles to make a giant flag for Independence Day. Obviously, the tractors can't hold the yarn very well, so the tension isn't particularly good and I've had a good couple of attempts at working out exactly what cast-on he's using there, but it's a splendid effort. Cole is not a stranger to giant knitted artworks - he's also done a little (OK, really quite big) bit of guerilla knitting, and created a fabulously sinister giant teddy bear from bronze wool.
Getting close to the top, we come closer to home, and a not-so-little project which involved knitting a poem. Anyone who's ever tried to co-ordinate a blanket project to which several people contribute will have some idea of the incredible effort that will have gone into co-ordinating this beauty - the pieces are never exactly the right size, nothing quite fits, you find out you haven't got enough squares and then there's the sewing, and then there's more sewing and needle-based nightmares and sewing and crying and sewing. Now imagine that pain on this scale and give the creators of the poem some respect. I think you'll all agree that the end result looks stunning, though.
But the absolute winner of the giant knits, if only because it's visible FROM SPACE, is the gargantuan knitted rabbit installed by art collective Gelitin in the Italian Alps. It took a dedicated five years to make, was installed in 2005 and is expected to stay in place until 2025, and is 200 ft long. Did I mention that it's visible from space? That is one impressive piece of outdoor knitting. You can see it on our blog in true Google maps style. Try nicking that one, knitty art thieves!
|Stitch and YOU at the Science Museum by Deadly Knitshade
You are cordially invited along to the Science Museum on the 30th of June from 18:45 till 22:00 to witness the woolly wonder that is our Stitch Yourself exhibit.
WEDNESDAY 30th June
Time: From 6:45 pm
Venue: Science Museum
Map More info
The Stitched Selves will be displayed in the main gallery for the world to see and this will be your only chance to see them in the Science Museum itself.
If you miss out then watch this space. We're planning on showing off the Stitched Selves at some big knitting events later this year. The journey of your tiny doppleganger has only just begun!
Watch out for an exclusive Stitch Yourself special edition newsletter next week.
The deadline for getting your tiny Stitched Selves in is almost upon us. You have until the 26th of June to get your Stitched Self to Stitch London either at our meeting on the 21st or in the post to the address on our website.
We're being swamped by a Stitched Self army at Stitch London Towers at the moment. We promise to blog them all before the event.
|Stitch and the City knitty style by Deadly Knitshade
Worldwide Knit in Public Day is a bigun for the Stitch London woolly Godzilla. It wants to get out there and stomp its yarny footprint all over London and this year we let it lose in London's lovely museum district.
Nearly 100 of you knit your handmade socks off amongst the bones, birds and beasts at the Natural History Museum, in the cool poolside peace of the V&A, to the sundrenched symphony of the Albert Memorial and in the Neverneverland Neighbourhood of Kensington Garden's Peter Pan statue.
We met with naked cyclists (MY EYES!), knitted dinosaurs, a chunky crochet frog who found a good home, a fibre-finding hound who was exhausted by all the adoration, far too much cake (no shock there) and all manner of gawping passers by.
The Knit Crawl raised a whopping £300 for the Brains Trust and left a huge woolly footprint on London for 2010. Thanks to all of those who donated prizes and everyone who took part in the public purling.
|Stitch and I've Started so I'll finish by Deadly Knitshade
A warm yarny-scented hug to Team Stitch London for purling and pacing an impressive 5km at the Race for Life last Sunday. Congrats too to Tina B for finishing her Race in red tutu style.
And cake kudos to the Fibre Flinger for providing a pineappple and cherry-based reason for us to get the finish line for sore-footed celebration cake.
A huge £1042 goes towards kicking the crap out of cancer. Thanks to everyone who put their pennies towards our Race. Take that, Big C! *blows raspberry*
| Ask Gertrude: Football or Yarnball?
This week Gerty has had a rather anxious email from a lady who I’m sure is experiencing what many of us are also going through. Once again Gerty comes to the rescue.
I am at my wit's end. Once again the world cup is upon us and I truly do not know what to do. I am a yarn queen, while my beloved boyfriend is a hardcore football enthusiast. Normarily this is just fine, opposites attract and all that. However recently things have taken a turn for the worse. While my yarn stash is, I admit slightly bulging out of its corner of the room, his football paraphenalia is contaminating every inch of the room. It started with the odd football, and now that the world cup is in full swing I’m saddened to say that these have been joined by vuvuzelas and fixtures posters. Whats a girl to do? My yarn is no longer talking to me and one ball even threatened to pack its pattern and leave for good. Do you have any advice on how to get rid of this menace?
Desperately waiting your reply,
Fed-up Fiona, Arsenal
Are you crazy? There is no question, yarn is the winner in this war. There are a few simple ways to reap your justice in this matter, and quite frankly I’m a little ashamed of you that you hadn’t thought of these yourself... But, just to lay it out in plain English, here you go.
1. Gather all of the football tat into the bath. Turn the shower onto high pressure and super hot/scorching temperature. Hit the power button and watch those footballs and posters wince and cry as they melt into the form they once were.
2. Make a life size version of David Beckham with as much detail as possible, and use his body to stuff all of the offending items into. This will not only be pleasing to the eye but will be loved by your boyfriend for the super football talents that this guy (apparently) owns. If your boy has any sense he will even comment on your perfect use of cableing to show off David’s tattoos.
3. Take all of your boys footie related belongings, put them at the end of the garden, light a fire and watch them burn! Burn I tell you!
Be warned your boyfriend will find this last one the least funny and may even see it as a dumpable offence.. but then who needs boyfriends when you have yarn? That's what I always say.
Would you like any help with any of these tasks? Yes? Are you still crazy?! I have no arms stupid! I couldn’t do any of them! That's why I give out the orders, not take them!
With warm wooly love, Aunty Gerty.
See this question and others that didn’t make the newsletter on Gerty’s blog.
Do you feel like spilling your crocheted confusions to a giant ball of pink yarn with sass? Email her at askgertrude@stitchLDN.com
|It's time for us to get back to the Stitch London nest now but fear not. We're still on the internet tweeting on Twitter, bleating on our message board and ignoring your Farmville updates on Facebook. We also hope to see you all at Loop's Grand Opening tomorrow in Islington. Remember, a tiny perching pigeon in the hand is worth two balls of yarn in the stash.
Tweet you later, Stitch Londoners
The Stitchettes x
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Edited and sewn together with words in a painkiller-based haze by now-tonsiless Deadly Knitshade
Articles by Deadly Knitshade, The Bluestocking Stitcher, The Fastener and Gertrude Woolsworthy
Technical wizardry by The Bluestocking Stitcher
Meeting stuff by The Fibreflinger
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