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3rd Jan 2010

Stitchin’, Bitchin’ and Making Knit Year's Resolutions
  Knit for Cash ... Charity knits for the new year ... Learn to knit on the net  ... Gerty solves your stitching woes ... New Stitchette ... WIN The London 2010 Almanac

Shiny new woolly 2010 greetings to you

We hope this newsletter finds you well, revving up your needles to take on your New Year stitching with a 2010 bounce in your stitch, grinning with glee for all the sweet additions to your stash the festive season brought, and raking in the compliment for all that finger-aching Christmas knitting that you got done just in time.
 
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.
 
Please note: Knitting lessons are free but your teachers are volunteers and do deserve a lovely thank you at the end of the night for giving up their time. Thank-you cake and booze offers are also appreciated.

 


Stitch and Bitch London is proudly turning 4 years old this January and there's 6000 of you Stitch and Bitch Londoners out there to celebrate with us. Woo hoo!
 
We're ringing in the new year with some knitting gems for you this newsletter. Start your year with a public stitch at our 4th birthday meeting sponsored by the lovely folks at The Knitter magazine, we help you learn new ways of the knit via the medium of the net, after all that Christmas receiving you could try some charity knits for the wee ones to make your stash smaller, win ways to love London in our 2010 London Almanac Competition (where we're mentioned as one of London's little-known lovely things to do) and the wonderful woolly Gertrude Woolsworthy gives tackles to tangled problem of how to keep your Knit Year's Resolutions.
 
Because it's our 4th birthday we're offering prizes at our 4th Birthday meeting just for turning up. Every S&B London coming along for some New Year knitting will be in with the chance to win one of two one-year subscriptions to The Knitter magazine or copy of How to Knit.
 
We're calling for commission knitters to sign up to Stitch and Bitch London's knitters pool to help you make a little money from your stitching. Feel your knitting is up to the challenge? See details here.

We'd also like to introduce our brand-new Stitchette, Emma 'The Fastener' Toft. A shiny new Stitchette for 2010. A year which is stitching up to shove so much knitting fabulousness in your face you may well explode in a cloud of merino and stitch markers by next winter. Yay!
 
To help you be a bit more organized you can keep up with us on our google calendar and on Twitter and Facebook too.




Calling all Savvy Stitchers
 
Think your stitching is up to smart standards? Want to get a few greenbacks for your garter stitch? Fancy a bit of cash for your crochet? Become one of S&B London's Stitch Squadron and we'll try to help turn your handmade into hard cash.
 
We get 100s of requests all year from folks looking for fibre-flingers to help them achieve their knitting desires. This year we're creating a service to bring you, the stitch savvy knitter and crafty crocheter, and those searching for knitting goodies together. We'll sort out the details.
 
All you need to do is get knitting, meet your deadlines and start raking in the readies to spend on more lovely yarn. In your face, Captain Credit Crunch!
 
All you need to do is email commissions@stitchandbitchlondon.co.uk with the subject "Will stitch for moolah" and we'll send you along our registration form.
 
Join the Stitch Squadron today, for more profitable purling tomorrow




Stitch and you can see us from space

Newbies and oldbies (ok so you're not really that old and we do like your lovely familiar faces) join us for our first stitch of 2010. We take over the Royal Festival Hall for our biggest meeting of the year.
 
It’s also our 4th birthday so we’ll be giving away a few presents too. We have two one-year subscriptions to The Knitter magazine and a very lovely How to Knit book from Usbourne.

Learn to knit: We’ll be teaching knitting for free at this meeting. So bring along your sticks and string and we’ll make a knitter of you before the night is over.

If you’ve never come to an S&B London meeting before this is the one to attend.


 
Go on. Fight the shyness, join us for some prime public stitching and start your New Year with a woolly bang.


Monday 4th January 2010
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 it’s going to get mezze

Details of the meeting after that:

EV is one of S&B London's tastiest caves of wonder. Arrive, marvel at the iron frog band, give the straw chickens a cheeky wink and get your knit on over a plate of tasty treats.

WEDNESDAY 13TH January
Time: From 6pm
Venue: EV Delicatessen
The Arches
97-99 Isabella Street
SE1 8DD
London
 
Map Website Nearest Tube: Southwark, Waterloo
 



Stitch and Eek! I got spicy sauce on my stitching!

Details of the meeting after that:

TUESDAY 19TH January
Time: From 6pm
Venue: Leon at Spitalfields Market
3 Crispin Place
London
E1 6DW

Map Website Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street



COMPETITION: Stitch and London secrets
 
London is one giant tangled ball of a city and it can be a bit overwhelming to try to untangle it all on your todd. Lucky for you there are lots of lovely London books you can turn to for advice and the London Almanac 2010 is one of the good ones.
 
A bit like a London Yoda in ink and paper form, Sarah Riches little book of London will help you uncover hidden historic gems, find the most fabulous freebies and fill your face with all kinds of good grub. The book includes a calendar of must-see London events for the year ahead, last-chance to book dates for tickets, and non-time specific events such as visiting Kew Gardens in different seasons. All kinds of London-brilliant for those of us who've lived here for donkey's year or London learners.
 
The lovely folks at New Holland publishers are giving us 10 copies of the London Almanac 2010 to give away to you lucky S&B Londoners to kick off your New Year with a little London love. All you need to do is answer the question and we'll kick your correct entries down the apples and pears into the cellar of competition correctness where our London good-karma answer-picking llama will choose 10 winners.
 
All you need to do is answer this question:
 
How old is Stitch and Bitch London this year?
 
a. Sixteen going on seventeen, innocent as a rose
b. Old enough to know better
c. Four fabulous fibre-filled years old
 
Drop us an email at stitchettes@stitchandbitchlondon.co.uk with:
 
  • The subject line "Cor blimey I love a bit of London, guvnor"
  • Answer A, B or C
  • Your full name, email address and contact phone number (if you have one)
The deadline for the competition is Monday 11th January 2010 at 10am. The ten winners winner will be picked from all correct entries. All winners will be notified by email within 48 hours of the competition end.
 
Please note: bribes of pearly queen outfits, pie and mash or knitted busby hats will not be accepted. Just choose the right answer, email us and we'll let the London good-karma answer-picking llama do his job. Otherwise we'll have to have him put down.
 
T&Cs: 1. One entry per person. 2. Competition ends Monday the 11th January 2010 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. Books will be posted to winners.

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Stitch and letting the net help you knit
 
New year, new craft! But taking those first steps into the world of craft can be mighty scary. Do not fear newbies! Help is only a click away. We give you the five best places on the web to learn to knit...and crochet!
1. You Tube
Nope, it’s not all kids trying to be Johnny Knoxville and undertaking absurdly dangerous stunts on their skateboards. Nor is it only a place to watch top politicians cock up in an unimaginable way over and over again. You Tube is a knitting tutorial goldmine. Just do a Google search for videos and you’ll see what we mean. Or you can just search the word knit in You Tube’s own search engine... It truly is a godsend!!

You Tube is also great for crocheting video tutorials. Check out our Google search and You Tube search.
Fantastic diagrams and clear instructions, learn2knit provide tutorials on not only the basics, such as casting on, knit and purl, but also cables, lace knitting and colourwork.

And for you happy hookers: they have crochet pages too!!
Too many categories to mention on this one, but it gives you step-by-step instructions on how to make many basic patterns, linking to other articles where necessary. And because it’s a wiki, you can help by contributing and editing articles.
Techniques with Theresa is the feature you need to look out for. Here, you can learn the basics, plus how to fix mistakes, how to pick up stitches and how to graft stitches. Clear instructions and photographs to illustrate the techniques.
5. About.com
For detailed, well illustrated step-by-step guides, try About.com. It is a bit advertisement-heavy, but well worth looking at. They too have crochet pages.

Now go! Take the craft by the handmade horns, young apprentices.
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Stitch and doin' it for the kids, charity style

Now that the Christmas excesses are over (what do you mean, they're not?) and the New Year hangover is subsiding, our thoughts are turning to New Year resolutions, particularly those of a knitty kind.

Perhaps you've thought about a bit of destashing or finishing off those WIPs lurking quietly in your knitting bag. Maybe you've thought about trying something completely new for the first time. Or maybe you've thought about turning over an unselfish new leaf and doing a bit of charity knitting but are rocking quietly at the thought of knitting yet another boring blanket square or terrified of being hunted down by a manic-eyed Stitchette wielding sewing needles for help with sewing the blanket up.

Well, that's where we can help. Read on for a small selection of child-friendly charity knits with a difference.

Teddies for Tragedies – If you can't bear the thought of children in orphanages across the world being toyless, then how about getting involved with this project. It’s been running for 25 years, started by the Women’s Royal Voluntary Services and taken worldwide by Gwen Smith and Gisele Toth, who co-ordinate sending the teddies around the world to where they are needed. The project provides some great teddy patterns for both knit and crochet. All you have to do is make your cuddly teddy and send it to them, so they can pass it on.

The Children's Society's Big Stitch Campaign – Don't have the heart for making a teddy? The Children’s Society want people to make 10,000 hearts (no, you don't have to make all of those on your own) to sell to raise money for the appeal. There's a heartbreakingly cute pattern from the marvellous Mochimochiland on offer and labels to attach to the hearts, with lots of ideas for what to make with the final product. We like the idea of badges so you can really wear your heart on your sleeve. They've got two target dates for collecting numbers of hearts made – Valentine's Day and 13th June.

The Seed Sowing Network – For something a little closer to home, one of our lovely S&B Londoners has started her very own campaign. The Seed Sowing Network is a school just outside Nairobi, which aims to provide the children who come to the Red Cross feeding station in Dagoretti village with a free education and a way out of the slum. The charity's organisers have asked if we could knit some brightly coloured bobble hats (particularly in football team colours as they are already football-mad) for the children.

Amanda Tennant is organising sending the hats out to the charity and will answer any questions you send by email to amanda@catfishgin.co.uk. (Do try to make your questions about the campaign rather than the answer to life, the universe and everything – send those ones to our Gerty).
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Stitch and unveiling The Fastener

Eagle-eyed newsletter readers may have spotted in our Christmas special that we have a brand-new Stitchette currently locked up and undergoing training at Stitchette Towers. Well, we can't keep our lips buttoned any longer as we're excited to announce that our brand new Stitchette is Emma ‘The Fastener’ Toft, who's coming at us straight from the costume department of some rather fabulous flicks.

You may recognise her as provider of fantastic knitty themed cakes on our knit crawl last year, patient teacher of newbies and telling everyone about the Treasure Trove charity at our Christmas party. She may also be familiar as the good twin of one of those dastardly Knit the City types although reports are unconfirmed. She’s even stitched and bitched internationally with S&B Tokyo.

Emma takes the number of volunteer Stitchettes up to six giving up her spare time to bring the knit to London. She’s also bringing a huge range of crafty skills into the Stitchette team, as well as a love of cake and a passion for all things buttony.

We're all very excited to be working with her and we're sure you'll all be excited to have her around as well.
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Ask Gertrude: Knit Year’s Resolution Shame

Gertrude Woolsworthy tells you how to turn Knit Year Resolution failure into stitching success next year in her own, slightly insulting, way.
 
Dear Gertrude

I'm writing to you in shame. I had four Knit Year's Resolutions last January and I haven't managed to achieve any of them. My single sock is so saggy I daren't begin the second. My jumper is really only one sleeve and half of the back or the front (I have forgotten which). I have yet to make a tension square before starting a project and am now cursed with a baby cardigan that the baby it was intended for will have to wait till it is well into its teens to wear (when I fear ducklings and teddy bears will not be very in vogue). I can't even talk about the fingerless gloves. It's still too painful.

How can I make sure I really conquer my Knit Year's Resolutions this year? Should I cast aside my needles and take up a simpler challenge? Maybe some nice scrap booking or a bit of jazz flute?

Help me, Gertrude Woolsworthy, you're my only hope.
Ashamed of Acton

Ashamed, you certainly should be. There is no excuse for slacking when it comes to your Knit Year’s Resolutions. Of course there are other pursuits in life that are worthy of your time but if you don’t make time to stitch then what kind of a knitter are you?

However that doesn’t mean that your Auntie Gerty doesn’t have a few tricks up her woolly sleeve to help you tick a few stash-crammed boxes this year.

Your first option is obvious: set yourself easier tasks. If you can’t bear the thought of suffering second sock syndrome or crocheting cashmerino undercrackers makes you quake then try something a little less ambitious.

Might I suggest resolutions such as “Buy myself lots of lovely yarn” or “Eat more cake between rows”?

Your second option is to add the element of competition: get yourself a knitting nemesis. You know that girl with the bob hair-do who sat opposite you at the Knit Crawl and looked at you funny when you said you actually thought eyelash wool had its uses? Or the fellow who dropped one of his stitchmarkers in your glass of Merlot at a meeting last October? Mentally wrap them in evil knitting nemesis yarn and make it your mission to outdo them with every project.

They’re making a pair of baby booties that look like bears? You make an entire outfit that makes the baby look like an actual bear complete with ears, growly teeth and a set of razor sharp claws. They’re making fingerless gloves? You make the same glove with fingers, and an extra finger in case nuclear war breaks out and you start growing extra digits due to the fall out. They organise their stash according to colour? You organise your stash according to texture ensuring that should your knitting nemesis accidentally poke you in the eye with a DPN you can still feel your entire stash and know exactly where your purple handspun alpaca is. HA!

Lastly there’s the old go to option: lie. So you didn’t manage to do a single one of the tasks you set yourself? Who would know if you hadn’t told everyone? Buy a less saggy pair of socks from Etsy. Pay Quick Needles Chloe from down the road to finish your jumper for you. Knit a tension square with your leftover yarn after finishing a project just for show. Talk loudly and proudly about your fingerless gloves and tell the terrible tale of how they were tragically snatched from you by a nefarious glove troll the very moment you finished them late on night on the Northern Line.

Put away your sorry ideas of scrap booking and jazz flute for lesser mortals. You, Ashamed, have some serious knitting to do. I’ll expect less whining and more stitching from you in 2010. I’m watching you.
 
See this question and others that didn’t make the newsletter on Gerty’s blog.

Do you have knitting worries that are keeping you up at night? Share! Email her at askgertrude@stitchandbitchlondon.co.uk.

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Blimey. We’re not sure we could have crammed much more knittingness into a newsletter if we tried. We hope it’s inspired you to get out there and get your knit on in the New Year. We’ll see you all tomorrow for our 4th birthday celebrations.

Knitty New Year, London (and those not in London but Londony at heart)

  

The S&B London Stitchettes x

 

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