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stitch,and bitch london

28th Sept 2009

Stitchin’, Bitchin’ and Knitting for Victory

... Exclusive V&A Knitting Class Discount ... Knitting Problems? Tell Gertrude ... Make Do and Mend  ... Learners Lessons ...  

Powdered eggs and tea-stained legs greetings to you

We hope this newsletter finds you well, and that you’re educating yourself with a bit of 70th Anniversary of WW2 history, taking your stitching down to the tunnels for another long night in the London underground, and making do and mending your woolly wardrobe.

This newsletter sees us taking you back in time for a bit of wartime stitching. We’ve teamed up with the V&A to offer you 20% off their Knit for Victory knitting course.

We also look into how to save more money for lovely yarn, with a bit of making do and mending.

You can stop sitting on the edge of your seat now. We reveal the identity of our newest Stitchette. We hope you make her feel as welcome to S&B London as you always do with new faces. In this case her face may not be quite the face you were expecting. Is that bright pink yarn…?

We’re also winding up our Macmillan Comfort Blanket campaign. You have two meetings left to contribute your knitted squares. Please do join in with a square for a good cause. It’s an easy peasy way to make someone who needs it feel warm and woolly.

And keep knitting those Innocent Smoothie hats too. The deadline is thundering towards us all fruit-flavoured.

Knit the City 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.

The last few meetings have seen us busily stitching away in some of London’s most colourful corners.

At EV we squeezed an immense amount of you into the mezze-flavoured haven behind Southwark station. The mint tea steamed, the stitching was merry, and a newbie even brought along some freshly baked chocolate cookies in return for a knitting lesson. Hurrah!

At the Royal Festival Hall it was blanket-square-arama as you got down to some serious charity knitting. Huge thanks to everyone who contributed squares to the Macmillan Comfort Blanket (modelled in our pic by the lovely Linda). We’re still looking for more too. So get knitting.

Yarnstorming update: If you missed the dastardly Deadly Knitshade at the BFI’s onedotzero festival, spreading the woolly world of graffiti knitting to the world you can catch it on Knit the City’s blog. Where will those yarnstorming shadows pop up next, eh?

Stitch and Artichoke and Humps

Details of the next meeting:

Join us for plenty of stitchin’ on the South side of town this week, at the comfy Camel & Artichoke. With plenty of food, beverages and seats for all.

Time: From 6pm
Venue: The Camel and Artichoke
121 Lower Marsh
London SE1 7AE

Map Nearest Tube: Waterloo

Stitch and Scoffing Spitalfields

Details of the meeting after that:

Over to the East side of town this week to Spitalfields for stitchin’ alongside helpings of pecan pie, chicken wraps, ginger steepers and much much more.

Time: From 6pm
Venue: Leon at Spitalfields Market
3 Crispin Place
E1 6DW

Map Website Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street

Stitch and Bitchin’ on the South Bank Learner

Details of the meeting after that:

Time: From 6pm
Venue: National Theatre in the Long Bar (ground floor main foyer)
South Bank

Map Website Nearest Tube: Waterloo, Embankment


Stitch and Knit for Victory classes at the V&A

The Victoria and Albert Museum is possibly the craftiest museum London has and it’s been an S&B London favourite as long as we can remember. This autumn they’re offering a  series of ‘make do and mend’ practical courses that will help you kick the credit crunch, and get you crafting your way to Christmas.

You can learn some of those old-fashioned skills and translate them into creative designs for today, and you can start with unravelling the mysteries of knitting with guru, Trudy Healey Potter and the V&A Knit for Victory course.

Whether you have never cast on a stitch in your life or have already grasped the basics of knit one, purl one, Trudy will simplify the tricky world of tension, yarns, and patterns.

SPECIAL OFFER: The V&A are offering S&B Londoners 20% off full course price. Our exclusive price is £184 (Full price £230) Quote: Knitting offer when booking

INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS: Stitch and Bitch London members are also being exclusively offered the chance to purchase individual sessions at £35 per session. (Quote: Stitch and Bitch when booking)

The course includes all materials, a tour of Waterloo-based shop I Knit London shop, and 10% discount off shop purchases.

The course is suitable for beginners.

That’s a whole lot of knitting for your money, and how often can any of you say you learned stitching skills amongst a collection spanning 5000 years of art and craft. Certainly beats sitting at home squinting at a book.

Suitable for beginners

Knit for Victory – Knitting for Beginners


Tuesday 29 September
Tuesday 6 October
Tuesday 13 October

Tuesday 20 October
Tuesday 27 October
Tuesday 3 November 2009

Victoria and Albert Museum
Seminar Room 2
Sackler Centre
Cromwell Road

Time: 14.00-16.30


FULL COURSE of 6 sessions £184 with 20% S&B London discount (Quote ‘Knitting’ when booking)

SESSIONS £35 each (quote ‘Stitch and Bitch’ when booking)

To book call +44 (0)20 7942 2211

For full details visit


Stitch and she’s more than a big ball of yarn!

You’ve all seen her hanging around in the shadows of meetings (or other people’s ravatars), and today we are pleased as purled punch to announce our newest Stitchette: Ms Gertrude Woolsworthy. She’s more that a big ball of yarn!

We first met her back in May, when she came to us as part of a huge donation of yarn. We were awe-struck by her...her...well, just her! She was huge! She was pink! She was a ball of yarn!

Since then, we’ve discovered she’s more than that. She’s a problem solver extraordinaire. She’s honest and to the point. She tells it like it is. And that’s why we couldn’t miss this opportunity to make her the new Stitchette.

Every fortnight, Gertrude will be untangling your yarn-related questions in a way that only she knows how in Ask Gertrude. If you have a problem and no one else can help, drop her a line at and Gertrude will do her best to answer.

An S&B Londoner (thanks Emma T) has been kind enough to track down The Girl’s Own Paper and Woman’s Magazine from March 1927. Where Flora Kilckmann answers the needling question below. We passed the same question along to our Gerty to see what she had to say on the matter.

My husband and I have had an argument about knitting on a Sunday.  Will you decide for us?  Is it right or wrong?
Confused, Clapham

Dear Confused

Oh dear! Sounds like you need to hang up your circular needles on a Sunday to maintain domestic bliss in the ‘Confused of Clapham’ household! Nothing’s better than an easy life, right?!

Alternatively, you could just tell him to stuff it. Maybe you should ask him whether sitting around watching (insert sport here) all day is allowed on a Sunday. See what justification he has for his leisure pursuits on the day of rest! We’re all entitled to a bit of down time!!

Love and snuggly stuff,

Auntie Gerty

Gertude will be waiting by her inbox for your tangled problems. Find out more about her, and see Mrs Kilckmann’s 1929 answer to the problem on Gertrude’s blog.


Stitch and save your socks

We're sure you're all as amused as us when you read about how knitting and handmade clothing is the next new thing in these recession hit times. You've rolled your eyes along with us at the suggestions in the media that knitting your own clothes is a great way to save money when you're watching every penny. Do these people never see how much the lovely, lovely yarn costs? Do they not know how many hours, stabbed fingers and curses you put into the fine hand-made garment? Are they mocking us with their claims?

However, there is a way that your crafty skills can save you money, save the planet and save the poor bleeding fingers of tiny children in sweatshops. Yes, the way forward is to renew, recycle and renovate.

This is not something that is particularly new – independent designers have been modifying old clothes for some time, some high street stores have concessions full of customised second-hand clothing and even Heather Mills has hopped onto the recycled fashion bandwagon with her fascinating (and slightly scary) be@one range.

But why would you buy recycled clothes with the skills you already possess, a frenzied dash around a haberdashery department and your own imagination, you can do it yourself.

An old coat looks a bit shabby around the edges? Add grosgrain ribbon trims, take out the lining, buy some fabulous buttons. If your favourite jumper is falling apart, don't bin it, darn and repair it. Lovingly handmade socks developing a hole? Don't dump them, fix the hole.

Knitting pattern books of the 1940s contained incredible intricate details of how to make your own buttons and how to perform invisible repairs on knitwear. These days, Knitty can start to fill that void with a quick and easy guide on how to rescue a holey mess.

And, best of all, there are some opportunities to have a go at this in London this autumn for (almost) free. The Imperial War Museum is offering completely free all day Mrs Sew and Sew workshops in its family events (get the kids hooked early!) over a couple of weekends in October where the objective is to sew a giant quilt while learning some handy make do and mend tips.

John Lewis are also offering some fashion fix classes (including darning tips) which are charged on the basis of materials used – bargain (unless you start playing with the cashmere).

So get out there and make do and mend, you thrify S&B Londoners. That way you’ll have more to spend on shiny new yarn.

We can’t possible untangle anymore yarn-based news for you when it’s still so sunny outside so we’ll leave you to enjoy autumn-edged London. If you feel you need some S&BL magic out of hour then feel free to drop in on the Ravelry message board, or casually stalk us on Twitter. Shy newbies, we enoucrage you to come out and stitch in the city. Go on.

Crunch some leaves, city stitchers.


The S&B London Stitchettes x


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