Stitch London Blog

The Fabulous Story of Stitch London (formerly Stitch and Bitch London)

  • Archive for the ‘Charity Knits’ Category

    Win amazing handmades in the Knit Relief auction

    Posted by Deadly Knitshade on March 19, 2012

    Want to win an ever-so-cute amigurumi octopus? A handknitted pair of TARDIS socks? A one-off exclusive by an infamous graffiti knitters? Well, you’re in luck and it’s all for the Sport Relief Charity too!

    Knit Relief items up for grabs

    Handmade Little My needs a new home

    Since quite a few Stitch Londoner’s are taking part in this project we thought we would post about it here too. Teen Granny Scarlett F Curtis’s Knit Relief project is offering 53 brilliant bits of handmade fabulousness to raise money for charity.

    There’s a crocheted Kermit the Frog by Louise Campbell, goldenblades’s Rain Cloud, onehandknits’s TARDIS Socks, a personalised knitted figure by Scarlet herself, the handknitted TARDIS by Sally Rose for Dr Who fans, and some very squeeee amigurumi octopi by Alyssa Crittenden (which I have already been outbid on twice!) to mention but a few

    Up for grabs is also an exclusive Whodunnknit, handmade Little My in an exclusive Whodunnknit presentation box with an exclusive set of graffiti knitting badges too. That’s three exclusives right there.

    Check out all 53 of the Knit Relief makes here and give to get a heavenly bit of handmade.

    Posted in Charity Knits, Competitions, Events, Exclusive events | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Interview with Andrea Giles – battling cancer with carrot sticks and alternative therapies

    Posted by Deadly Knitshade on November 24, 2011

    This year Stitch London’s Cracking Christmas Raffle will be held at our Stitch London Christmas Shindig on December 13th.

    This year we’re raising money for a charity which is helping pave the way to giving hope to cancer battlers everywhere. All funds raised will go towards treatment for the amazing Andrea Giles and the Yes to Life Charity.

    Here’s a bit more about it:

    Possibly the worst news anyone can get after an initial cancer diagnosis is that the cancer is unlikely to be cured. And even though medical science is working hard to find cures, these cures are hard on the patients and a terrible risk to their health. It’s a scary world of chemotherapy, radiation and endless medical treatments.

    But galloping to the rescue are Yes to Life. Yes to Life are charity who are showing there are other ways to help fight, and that there’s hope even when the medical world aren’t so sure.

    Yes to Life are sneaking up on cancer from a different direction. They help people with cancer in the UK access the benefits of complementary and alternative medicine, they provide support, they help educate the medical profession on other ways to fight, and they work alongside the NHS and the usual treatments to give cancer battlers a fighting chance.

    This year Stitch London have chosen to help raise funds for Andrea Giles. Andrea’s story is an inspiring one. She’s battling breast cancer in the face of a grim diagnosis from doctors; she’s becoming a pioneer for a new way of treating cancer; she’s telling the tale as she goes to inspire others; and, a happy coincidence, she’s also learning to knit.

    Raising money for Andrea’s treatment is doing so much more than helping this inspiring person to keep on fighting. It will help fund a much-needed charity and prove that these treatments can make a huge difference, which means giving new hope to cancer fighters everywhere.

    Andrea’s story is so fascinating we thought it would be best to ask her a few questions and let the lady herself tell her tale.

    Hello Andrea. Welcome to Stitch London. Your blog and your battle have inspired us and we’d like to introduce you and your mission to our members. So here goes:

    Can you describe yourself in one sentence?

    Wow, that’s a difficult one… A woman in search of herself, perhaps! Though I’ve never lost my funny bone ha! ha!

    You are currently battling Metastatic Breast Cancer with a combination of complimentary therapy and carrot sticks. Your website says you have had chemo and radiotherapy before. Why the change? Why the unconventional methods?

    I had chemo and radiotherapy after my first diagnosis in 2007; though I did have a 5-day course of Radiotherapy after the 2nd diagnosis (October 2009) to help with pain relief to my left shoulder (which it did do – ease the pain I mean!). Doctors said no chemo this time as wouldn’t work due to type of cancer – palliative care only in the form of different drugs….

    a) monthly implant to switch off my hormones and keep me switched off – cancer is hormone fed (had new implant every month), b) infusion of Bisphosphonates every month (bone-building drugs) and c) letrazol – a drug that blocks the process of aromatisation, and so reduces the amount of oestrogen in the body.

    I started these treatments in November 2009 but decided to stop them all in August of this year because for a long while I had not been happy about using chemicals to treat my condition. Especially when some of the drugs had side effects that were detrimental to my condition! Also since changing my diet to that of raw food and changing my lifestyle to a more holistic one, the conventional medicine no longer fitted with my changing beliefs. The carrot sticks spoke to me.

    Andrea and her friend Chris, who helped her start her website and fundraising effort

    One of the ways you’ve already helped yourself is by a special diet of raw food. Do you miss hot dinners? And are you still allowed cake? (Stitch Londoners are big cake fans)

    Ahhhhh cake, if only! On a conventional raw food diet you can have your cake and eat it, albeit raw cake, which by the way is amazing. However I am not eating any sweet stuff at the mo, including no fruit, as cancer cells like to eat glucose. They like it very much and take it up quicker than normal cells. So by stopping eating any sweet food that the cancer cells like, you are starving it, ha! ha!

    Hot dinners…….. well until very recently I was 100% raw food, but since having a couple of consultations with a natural nutritionist I was advised to introduce some very simple warm food into my diet to be gentle on my liver. The liver is the organ of the body that holds on to lots of toxins as well as tries to clear them out, and so need a lot of care to get it back to full working order after all them damage that will have been done to it through conventional medicines and ‘bad food’ choices over the years. Too much info to explain here really. So for now I am having very simple warm food occasionally (nothing fried – oils become denatured through frying!) Feels odd though to be eating hot food again as I don’t quite feel as if I’m getting optimum nutrients, but I know that what I am doing by eating some warm stuff is being gentle to my system. I still eat a very high raw food diet though.

    And yes I do miss cake – maybe one day I’ll have a slice of raw cheesecake again.

    If you think any of your readers might be interested in trying raw food there are 3 places in London that have good selections. Inspiral Lounge in Camden – they make the most amazing raw ice-cream too (no dairy in sight), Vantra on Soho Square (organic and buffet style), and Saf Restaurant – a gourmet vegan restaurant – fabulous food. And here in Brighton too there is a fantastic restaurant and café called Aloka – their raw food is the best I’ve ever had.

    Has having cancer changed the way you live your life in good ways as well as the expected bad ones?

    Cancer has changed my life in so many ways, but above anything else it forced me to think about where I was going with my life – the jury’s still out on that one, hence my description of myself as a woman in search of herself!

    Having chosen to change my life by going to university and take myself off in a certain direction, cancer came along and knocked me off that planned path. But in doing so it has forced me to face myself more clearly and more openly. Though this has taken time and is still on going. To question the way I think and feel about myself and others and the wider world and our place within it and how we conduct ourselves whilst on this planet; our relationship to each other and all living beings and the impact this has.

    I have found I have questioned myself a lot; who am I, what is my purpose etc. Also I have a new and improved outlook on life, as I enjoy the beauty in small things more; a child whizzing down a street on a scooter, the sound of the wind through the trees, seeing happy faces and hearing laughter. I feel so glad that I am still here and a part of life as I have so much to be thankful for.

    Also I have met and continue to meet so many amazing people; people who genuinely care for others, who delight in others delight, who support without judgement, who want the best for others without pressure; very inspiring people who I look up too and aspire to being like.

    Your story is amazingly upbeat, humorous and inspiringly brave in the face of a terrifying diagnosis and so much
    treatment. How do you stay so positive?

    Andrea and her supporting army

    Sometimes I do have down days or off periods when things pile up on you (like the dishes!!!) but look out of the window; it’s sunny, everyone is smiling, you can go for a walk, the birds are singing, the colours are bright, or it’s misty, how magical does that feel, conjures up fairytale stories, moisture settles on cobwebs and how beautiful do they look, or it’s raining, kids are splashing in puddles, it’s great to get togged up in waterproofs and feel the power of the rain, or it’s windy and what a laugh that is as it blows through you and around you.

    It’s about perception really, and enjoying the things that make you and others feel good. When you feel good it ripples out to others and is reciprocated. I think I do generally have a positive outlook on life as a friend once commented (and I’m not blowing my own trumpet here – I don’t have a trumpet actually, but this is what she said to me) that she always liked talking with me because I would always find a positive when presented with a negative. So I guess that’s what I do, though I think it’s just how I am, but I’m not Pollyanna, just like to try and be upbeat.

    You kept your diagnosis quiet for quite some time but have recently started a blog on your website. What made you choose to share your tale with others?

    I guess in the past I didn’t want to be seen as ‘Andrea…..Cancer woman’ as if the cancer would be the way people saw and related to me. I wasn’t sure about the funding/website thing because it meant having to bear my soul to everyone and I didn’t know how I would react to having to do that. I was fearful of doing it, but strangely enough I have felt it to be very liberating as though I didn’t realise it til I’d done it.

    I had been putting myself under a lot of stress by hiding my diagnosis as it meant struggling with things that I needn’t have had to if others had known, and also not being able to talk freely with others because of my need to feel protective of them; protecting others from news that might be difficult for them to deal with and respond to.

    Now my truth is out there (or rather my cancer truth is out there) and I am free of carrying it all on my own, and if others find it difficult to deal with or talk about that is for them to sort out for themselves. I can understand some may find it difficult but we all have to be responsible for ourselves and our thoughts. By my sharing my story with others I am taking responsibility and ownership of this part of myself and acknowledging it to be valid. By letting people know of the alternative treatments I am having I was hoping it would give those who read it an insight into other treatments that are available should they wish to explore further.

    I didn’t realise I would get such an interested response, such as your enquiries, and I am rather overwhelmed that you think I could be a positive role model in this, however if it allows more people a way into discovering more about these forms of treatment than I am more than happy if my story inspires!

    What do your friends and family think of the new treatment idea?

    Ah, this is an interesting one. Everyone is supportive in their way, however some responses have been tinged with the….. ‘ well, I guess if you think it’s going to work that’s good, but I don’t know if I could do it’ In other words they would have stuck with the orthodox route, whilst others who, from the conversations I have had with them, are more enlightened about alternative treatments have not put any ‘buts’ in the sentence and have been really enthusiastic about my choice.

    Hiking somewhere lovely

    You lost the use of one arm due to metastatic breast cancer moving into your bone, but radiotherapy and your alternative route means you returned to cycling, hiking and doing yoga. Are the doctors amazed at your success so far?

    I did lose the use of my left arm due to my metastatic breast cancer in the bone, and the use slowly returned after having Radiotherapy to the left shoulder blade, the site of the biggest cancer cell location and the cause of the pain. The cycling etc I was able to do before changing recently to my current therapies. That said however, I strongly believe that my diet change helped immensely (and continues to help) in my recovery and energy levels and general well-being.

    The doctors have always been pleased with my progress, but they are a reticent bunch when it comes to showing overt enthusiasm for anything other than the orthodox.

    Your treatment started on November 7th and will continue for the next three months. Treatment for most cancer fighters consists of chilly disinfectant-smelling rooms and bad hospital food. What’s the centre in Brighton like?

    The clinic in Brighton (Vision of Hope) is very homely and cosy. What was once a large Edwardian semi-detached residence is now a space of healing, and there is definitely no smell of nasty disinfectant! The Doctor and his assistant are 100% attentive and personable. I feel more like I am away at relatives, in as much that almost everything is done for you, though of course none of my relatives ever stuck a needle in my arm!

    The fabulous Andrea beating the stuffing out of cancer in 'the pod' at the Brighton clinic

    The room that you have the hyperthermia and ozone treatment in would be classed as the conservatory if being used in a domestic setting, which is lovely as it overlooks the garden, and each patient has that space to themselves for their length of treatment. The Vitamin C room can take up to five patients, and is more like a reception room. We lounge in padded directors chairs with hot-water bottles, blankets and music of our choice and rest or chat as we infuse the Vitamin C. Everything has an air of calm, even the décor. I am staying in one of the two flats available above the clinic and this is a blessing as it makes everything so much more manageable and less stressful. For me the small and personal is the perfect choice as it is so unlike a hospital environment.

    Plus I have buzzy Brighton just down the hill which has one of the best health food shops I’ve ever been to and believe me I’ve been to loads (in fact in case you didn’t know, I used to be the co-owner of one! – we were pretty amazing too, but we didn’t have the space to sell organic veg! which this one does).

    What kind of treatments are you having? Are they very different from chemo and radiotherapy?
    The ‘Back to Wellness’ page on my website explains all my treatment or you can look at Vision of Hope for even more detail of the treatments.

    Andrea's first knit. Much better than mine ever was...

    Rumour has it you’ve got yourself some knitting needles. Do you have ideas of the kind of things you’d like to make or will you just see where the yarn takes you?

    I am doing the typical Aunty thing and experimenting with my nieces and nephew in mind. For the girls I am knitting a little cowl type scarf with a pom-pom on one end, and for my nephew he gets a multi-coloured, possibly two stitch type scarf!

    John Snow at Yes to Life event

    Ultimately I would like to knit myself some funky jumpers and stripy socks, but I think that’s a long- way off yet! By the way one scarf is almost ready – I just have the pom-pom to make and attach. I may send you a photo if you’re lucky!

    (Andrea did send us a photo shortly after this interview. So here’s her lovely pom pom scarf)

    Do you have any advice you’d like to pass on to other cancer fighters or their families and friends who may not know where to start when looking into complementary and alternative therapies?

    A very good place to start and one I wish i’d known about long ago, is the charity YES TO LIFE.

    As their tag-line states, their centre offers ‘support and information on all aspects of complementary and alternative cancer therapies’.

    (Below is a little Yes to Life video of a London event they did to raise awareness of the charity)

    Another really helpful and knowledgeable person is Patricia Peat of Cancer Options

    Both offer invaluable advice and are excellent sources of information. They take the struggle of doing multiple google searches and having too much to deal with. They listen and offer advice based upon what you are looking for and can offer more besides to give you wider informed choices.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you all the best and will be keeping up with your blog to see how it goes. Stitch London sends you woolly hugs and hopes the donation we make from our Cracking Christmas Raffle will help you and everyone else battling cancer to triumph.

    Follow Andrea’s story over on her website at http://www.andreagilescancercharity.co.uk/

    Posted in Charity Knits, Christmas, Christmas Party 2011, Interviews | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

    Stitch London the book is here!

    Posted by Deadly Knitshade on October 17, 2011

    STOMP! RUSTLE! STOMP! RUSTLE! What on earth is that noise? AAAIIIIIIIEEEEEE!!! The woolly Godzilla that is Stitch London has been transformed… into a book! And best of all each book contains a kit to knit the world’s most beautiful ladylike pigeon inside. Woo hoo!

    Finally London has its very own knitting book! Stitch London, written by Chief Woolly Godzilla Wranger Lauren O’Farrell and published by the good folks at David & Charles, is a collection of 20+ of Lauren’s kookiest London-themed patterns in one shiny book. It’s her first ever pattern book and it tangles together her two great loves kooky knitting and the lovely pigeon-filled city of London.

    Stitch London? Why would I want to knit London?
    You can whip up your own HRH to add a bit of majesty to your mantelpiece. You could woolly up your unexciting umbrella with handful of Umbrella Fellas. You can build a knitty city with some little London landmarks, and stop your tea getting tepid with a cockney-rhyming slang Mug Hugger. Whether you’re just visiting or striving to survive as a city knitter, Stitch London is the place for you.

    Not a knitter or a bit scared of new knitting challenges?
    Fear not! We’ll even show you how to get clicking with your sticks and string. We’re nice like that.

    Instant Pigeon Stitching
    “Cooo coooo…” Oh yes, and it’s not just full of little knits. The book also contains everything you need to knit the pattern for the quite frankly gorgeous Cooey the Pigeon. Wheeeeeeeee!

    Beating the stuffing out of cancer
    And lastly a MWA HA HA HAAA in the face of Cancer. At the same time as the book is published Lauren is celebrating 5 years in remission from cancer. With this in mind all sales of this book support Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research to help other people beat the pants off cancer too.

    Any more cool stuff?

    You get two bonus patterns if you register at www.knitthepigeon.com. You can also follow @cooeythepigeon on Twitter and like her on Facebook for updates and exclusive Stitch London book stuff. Coo-coo-cool.

    CLICK HERE TO BUY THE STITCH LONDON BOOK

    KNIT THE PIGEON: THE MOVIE

    For those of you who might fear that pigeon knitting is a little too challenging for their needles we’ve made a little movie to show you how easy it is. Knit the Pigeon: the Movie contains scenes of daring rooftop knitting, the innards of the Fleece Station where this little pigeon was first hatched and a rather catchy tune.

    You can attend the world premiere by watching it on Youtube here:


    Posted in Charity Knits, Charity Knitting Pattern, Christmas, Help Us Knit, Knitting News, London Knitting, Patterns, Stitch London book | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Help Us Knit Hats for St Mungos

    Posted by Deadly Knitshade on August 30, 2011

    Hobbit star Martin Freeman in his Orange Woolly Hat

    Woo hoo! We’ve found enough knitters for the 30 hats we needed. But you can still help!

    Check out www.woollyhatday.org or contact events@mungos.org

    You Stitch Londoners are amazing. :)

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Stitch Londoners are a helpful bunch and we’re hoping you can help us help St Mungos.

    The St Mungo’s homeless charity want us to knit 30 orange bobble hats to help launch their new campaign. We’re looking for knitters to help out with their needles. We’ll provide the yarn.

    What we need you to do: Contact us and sort out picking up the yarn from a Stitch London meeting or from the Fleece Station

    What we’re doing: We’re donating all the orange yarn for the hats and helping St Mungo’s find enough knitters to knit them

    The free yarn can be picked up from The Fleece Station (address here) or from a Stitch London meeting (unfortunately Stitch London can’t afford to cover the costs of sending it out to people so it’ll have to be London knitters only). The pattern will be sent to you via email.

    If you fancy helping out please contact us at info@stitchLDN.com with the subject header: ‘I want to make woolly hats’ and tell us:

    1. How many hats you will knit

    2. Where you will pick up the yarn from

    Hats left to find knitters for: 0

    What happens if I missed out on knitting one of the hats?!?! Never fear. Though we only need to help make 30 hats  (as we’re busy with lots of events so can’t manage all St Mungo’s knits ourselves) there is still the chance to help!

    Happily you can still knit for St Mungo’s once we’re done. You can contact them at events@mungos.org and find out more about Woolly Hat Day at www.woollyhatday.org. Hurrah!


    Posted in Charity Knits, Charity Knitting Pattern, Help Us Knit | 3 Comments »

    Keep Calm, Carry Yarn and Help Clean Up London

    Posted by Deadly Knitshade on August 9, 2011

    There really is nothing anyone can say that can make the madness of the last few nights make sense. We woke up in a disillusioned and beaten-up London today.

    But rather than lock our doors Londoners are grabbing their brooms, pulling on their gardening gloves and getting out there to help the Riot Wombles clean up the capital. Hooray for Londoners!

    Here are a few ways you can help:

    Riot Clean Up has a list of locations where clean ups are happening

    @riotcleanup on Twitter is out there with the clean up teams and is tweeting away

    Post riot clean-up: let’s help London are doing a bang up job of keeping helping opportunities up to date on Facebook

    Over in Tottenham they’re asking for clothing, bedding, toys and other suitable items for families made homeless. Drop off at the Homes for Haringey office: Apex House, 820 Seven Sisters Road N15.

    In reply to all the footage being blasted at us from the news of burning buildings and a city gone mad, there’s this:

    And lastly Norwegian knitter Kaja Marie Lereng Kvernbakken, who recently made the OsLove knitted heart pattern to show love and support after the sad events in Norway, has updated the pattern with two new hearts for London, the Lovedon Hearts Knitting Pattern.

    Kaja Marie says “My hope is that you will use this pattern, tweak it as you wish, and make hearts, loads of them: To remember what happened in Oslo and on Utøya or anywhere else where a little bit of love is needed. Pin it close to your heart, give to a friend or a stranger, let it out in the wild, as my graffiti knitting friend Deadly Knitshade would do, so that the heart can find whoever needs it. Knit it in any colour, with or without words, knit them and share them.”

    Once the clean up is over and the knitting starts again I hope to see these little Lovedon hearts spreading the love.

    If you have any tips on how to help London then please post them in the comments for others to see.

    Keep calm, carry yarn and let’s get on with sorting out our city.

    xxx

    Posted in Charity Knits, Free Knitting Pattern, Guerrilla Knitting, Knitting News, Patterns, Pay it Forward, Stitch London | 7 Comments »

    MSF raise the Knit Signal. To the Knit Mobile, people!

    Posted by Deadly Knitshade on July 21, 2011

    None of us can have failed to notice the sad happenings in Somalia (even with the distraction of evil newspaper doings). This weekend the good folks at P/Hop raised the Knit Signal in the hopes that you crafty folks will dash to the rescue. We’re pretty confident you will, as you always have before and we know you have hearts bigger than your yarn stashes (and some of you have stashes you can see from space).

    MSF don’t need you to knit for the people of Somalia, they badly need funds to help people out.

    There are tons of ways you can probably think of to raise funds: from giving your yarn money to the cause and destashing instead, to knitting something fabulous and raffling it off, to giving some of your Etsy/Folksy/paper round profits, to wrapping rich people you know in eyelash yarn and not letting them out until they hand over their cash. MWA HA HAAAAAAA!

    Whatever you give even the tiniest amount will help MSF make things better, and you get that warm fuzzy feeling inside while you sit and stitch.

    And if you have nothing to give please pass this on to those who might.

    Hop over to p/hop for more info (and some lovely patterns to tempt more funds from you)

    Thanks, lovely Stitch Londoners. Woolly hugs for you all.

    xxx

    Posted in Charity Knits, Help Us Knit, Knitting News, Pay it Forward | Leave a Comment »

    Join us on the STITCH CRAWL 2011

    Posted by Deadly Knitshade on June 8, 2011

    STOMP! STOMP! STOMP! The Stitch London Stitch Crawl is stomping across London this summer for Worldwide Knit in Public Day (and International Yarnbombing Day) and you’re all invited.

    11 June 2011 – 12pm to 6.30pm

    GLOBAL: Knit a Floating Flutterguy and release him in your city
    • LOCAL: Join the Stitch London Stitch Crawl 2011 in four of London’s lovely spaces and stitch in the great outdoors. We’ll be graffiti knitting all the way too!
    LOCAL: Enter the Stitch Crawl Really Rather Marvellous Raffle to win fabulous prizes and raise money for Evelina Children’s Hospital London at the Stitch Crawl

    Worldwide Knit in Public Day comes but once a year and this year it’s the 11th of June. The Stitch London Stitch Crawl rises from the depths of the Thames to stomp across the city once more.

    What on earth is a Stitch Crawl? The Stitch Crawl (previously the Knit Crawl) is a day when you and your crafting proudly go out into the city and show yourself off. There’s sunshine, there’s cake, there’s hayfever-based sneezing, there are curious passers by and there are some of London’s loveliest sites. You can see last year’s Knit Crawl here. It rocked the London’s outdoor areas.

    Is it just for knitting? This year it’s officially a Stitch Crawl. Any type of craft is welcome. Crochet, cross stitch, embroidery, sewing, juggling, squid wrestling. You name it. Any one and everyone is welcome from grown ups, to kids, to pets, to people who have never come to an event like this before.

    When is it? This year it’s the 11th of June from 12pm till 6pm, with drinks after for the hardcore.

    Where will it be? This year’s Knit Crawl is going green. We’re taking you on a journey through London’s wild green spaces. Four venues, four places to sit and stitch, four lots of places to win something woolly and wonderful in our Stitch Crawl raffle. See the website for venues.

    What will it cost? The Stitch Crawl is free for anyone to join. Bring yourself, bring your knitting and bring your outdoorsy pioneer spirits. We’ll take you and your stitching tour you and your handmade won’t easily forget.

    What can I win in your marvellous raffle? We’ll have prizes at each stop of the Stitch Crawl. So much fabulous fibre-based stuff! Wanna see? The list below will be added to as more prizes come in:


    Fabrications
    – crafty goodies

    Prick Your Finger
    – A word of your choosing knitted in their fabulous handmade letter

    Craftside
    – 5 copies of the ‘Astounding Knits’ book

    Loop
    – a Lexie Barnes project bag

    Hoopla Yarn
    – some of their amazing yarn

    Mrs Moon
    – A Jade cashmere scarf kit (worth £69)

    All the Fun of the Fai
    r – knitting goodies

    Designer Yarns
    – lovely skiens of multi-coloured yarns

    Debonnaire
    – splendid stitching goodies

    Green and Blacks
    – set of 24 miniature chocolates

    Tricolette Yarns
    – £100 voucher for their online shop

    Little Knitting Company
    – skeins of cashmere and kits

    Susan Crawford
    – Vintage Gifts to Knit book

    The Bothered Owl - London-themed bag


    Sarah Kerry
    – giant knitted biscuit cushion
    Nintendo – plushie knitted Kirbys
    Cheeky Handmades – Crochet set and case

    •••••••••••••••

    What’s it for? The Stitch Crawl promotes the lovely art of stitching. We also raise money for charity. This year we’re raising money for the Evelina Children’s Hospital London (a cause very close to Stitch London’s heart).

    What if I can’t make it? You can knit in public where ever you are. Check out the Worldwide Knit in Public Day website for info on a public stitch near you or organise your own. Release one of our floating flutterguys where you are and send us pics!

    For more info see the Stitch London website

    Posted in Charity Knits, Guerrilla Knitting, Knitting News, Meetings | Leave a Comment »

    Join us on the annual STITCH CRAWL 2011

    Posted by Deadly Knitshade on May 23, 2011

    STOMP! STOMP! STOMP! The Stitch London Stitch Crawl is stomping across London this summer for Worldwide Knit in Public Day (and International Yarnbombing Day) and you’re all invited.

    11 June 2011 – 12pm to 6.30pm

    GLOBAL: Knit a Floating Flutterguy with our FREE PATTERN and release him in your city
    • LOCAL: Join the Stitch London Stitch Crawl 2011 in four of London’s lovely spaces and stitch in the great outdoors
    LOCAL: Enter the Stitch Crawl Really Rather Marvellous Raffle to win fabulous prizes and raise money for Evelina Children’s Hospital London

    Worldwide Knit in Public Day comes but once a year and this year it’s the 11th of June. The Stitch London Stitch Crawl rises from the depths of the Thames to stomp across the city once more.

    What on earth is a Stitch Crawl? The Stitch Crawl (previously the Knit Crawl but we’re going multi-craft – crochet, sewing, crossstitch. All are welcome) is a day when you and your crafting proudly go out into the city and show yourself off. There’s sunshine, there’s cake, there’s hayfever-based sneezing, there are curious passers by, there’s graffiti knitting, and there are some of London’s loveliest sites. You can see last year’s Knit Crawl here. It rocked the London’s outdoor areas.

    Want to know more? Hop over the Stitch London’s shiny website to see venues, prizes and to find answers to all your questions.

    Posted in Charity Knits, Exclusive events, Free Knitting Pattern, Guerrilla Knitting, Help Us Knit, Knitting News, London Knitting, Meetings, Patterns, Stitch Crawl 2011 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Stitched Science: send your Stitched Science Specimens

    Posted by Deadly Knitshade on April 14, 2011

    Fancy knitting a neuron? Crocheting a comet? Sewing Stephenson’s Rocket? Cross-stitching a chromosome?

    Last year you showed us that stitching was so much more than scarves and socks when you sent in your crafty clones to Stitch Yourself for the Science Museum.

    This year you’ve been invited back for a global stitching event. Stitch London have teamed up with the Science Museum once more and we want you to bring a whole spectrum of Stitched Science Specimens with you.

    What can I make? What do you want to make? If you’re passionate about something sciencey and think you can stitch it then we want to help you show it off. There are million billion things you could stitch from medical instruments and body bits (syringes? skulls?), to stars and planets (comets? black holes?), to famous inventions (telephones? bicycles?), to new technology (iPhones? cameras?), to diseases and bacteria, to pills and potions, to mathematical equations, to famous scientists (Einstein? Marie Curie?)

    Crochet_rocketFor ideas:

    DNA_illusion_scarfStill not sure? Be inspired by the science stitchers that have gone before you:
    Nerve roots from Cedarstuff
    Seriously sciencey stitching from Genetiknits
    Knitted Higgs Bosun, Cosmic Radiation Scarf, and DNA Illusion Scarf (pictured left) from Slipped Stitch.
    Periodic Table Quilt by Alyse Anderson
    The mad-scientist stitching of Voraciousbrain showcased at Mr X Stitch
    Crochet Space Shuttle from Ms Premise-Conclusion
    Stitch Yourself’s 255 ‘stitched selves’ by you

    When is the deadline? Your Stitched Specimen must arrive before or on June 17 2011

    What else do I need to include? Your Stitched Specimen should include:

    1. Information about what you have made
    2. Any web links
    3. Your name, where you are from and your email address
    4. A return address and return postage if you want it sent back. It’s up to you to provide packaging and postage for anything you want returned.

     

    Where do I send it? Send your Stitched Specimens to Stitch London’s home at The Fleece Station:Stitched_selves

    Stitch London at The Fleece Station
    Courtyard Studio (First floor)
    The Old Police Station
    114-116 Amersham Vale
    London

    SE14 6LG

    Return of the Stitched Selves! And if that wasn’t enough for you we’re also going to bring back your Stitched Selves for the whole weekend. Come and meet your mini me once more!

    It’s one small Stitched Specimen for science, one giant Science Museum spectacular

    1.  Your item and copyright of the pattern you use will remain with you and you’ll get full credit for it. We’re just borrowing it to display.
    2.  Stitch London and the Science Museum will not charge an entry or admin fee to be a part of this event. It’s free!
    3.  Items will be available to collect after the event. If you’re posting the item from afar and want it returned you’ll have to include postage to return it to you. We’re happy to keep stuff too. It’ll have a good home.
    4.  Responsibility for getting your submission to us is all yours. We can’t be held responsible if post gremlins eat it. Sorry. Please make sure you get the item tracked if it’s precious.
    5.  By sending in your item you agree to allow Stitch London and the Science Museum to use images of your item for press and marketing linked with the event. It won’t be used for anything other than that without asking your permission. Please make sure we have your contact details.

    Other ways you can help

    Badges for Bags
    Stitched Science Stars

    Plarn

    We need your plastic bags. Part of our Stitched Solar System will be an enormous Plarn-knit Earth made entirely from plastic bag yarn.
    We need blue and green carrier bags to make a plarn planet. Bring them along to Stitch London or post them to the address above (anchor).

    For every 12 plastic bags you send us, we’ll send you a shiny Stitch London badge of your choice.
    teach_knitting
    Help us teach in the hallowed halls of one of London’s most famous museums. Volunteer to teach at one of our one-hour workshops and become a Stitched Science Star.
    If you’re already a Stitch Sage you’re first in line for volunteering and will get an email soon.
    If you’re not and you want to give your time to pass on stitching skills somewhere amazing then join the Stitch Sage team.
    Teaching is easy peasy, makes you feel warm and fuzzy and is tons of fun. Join us!

    Posted in Charity Knits, Competitions, Designing, Events, Exclusive events, Help Us Knit, Help us teach, Knitting News, Museums, Stitched Science | 9 Comments »

    Passing on the knit: Stitch Sage Stories

    Posted by Deadly Knitshade on March 20, 2011

    Why on earth would you teach people to knit for free?

    At Stitch London we’ve been teaching people to knit for free since 2006. Our volunteer Stitch Sages (and earlier Stitchettes) have taught hundred of knitters during this time, and all for the love of the knit and the occassional bit of cake. We’re often asked why people offer their free time to keep Stitch London alive. So we thought we’d let our Stitch Sages explain why they love knitting and why they love passing the love of the knit on.

    We hope to encourage you to teach others, either with Stitch London or wherever you are.

    Giving makes life lovely

    Learning to knit is more than just looping a bit of string onto a couple of sticks. In the cases of our Stitch Sage volunteers passing on the love of the knit has built bridges, grown confidence and in sometimes literally changed lives.

    If you’ve always been tempted to try out teaching the knit but aren’t too sure, then here’s hoping the stories of these Stitch London Stitch Sages will inspire you.

    Taking Stitch Saging overseas

    Jenny Willett has taught over 20 people Stitch London meetings since she began Stitch Sage volunteering. Those first little learner loops have helped her go on to some amazing things…

    “I volunteered as a Stitch Sage because I enjoy teaching and encouraging others that they can master knitting. It’s really rewarding to enable others to have a sense of achievement and watch their confidence grow.

    Stitch LDN has inspired me to volunteer elsewhere, like in Thailand, where I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to organise and run a two-day intensive workshop for almost 30 Burmese refugees. I taught them to knit from scratch, read knitting patterns, signed them up to Ravelry and helped them to access the skills and online resources to teach themselves and make money from their work, as well as make hats to stay warm in the cold mountains and make gifts for friends and family.

    I also organised a workshop for 11 girls aged 9-17 at COSA, a refuge for girls who had been victims of sex trafficking. The girls built their confidence and started to teach each other, forming closer bonds through learning to knit. I’m happy to say they’ve kept knitting since.

    The best moments of being a Stitch Sage are when I feel I am part of a community that gives back, appreciates each other’s skills and enjoy being creative together. I really believe that crafts and the confidence they foster in people can play a valuable role in repairing damaged self-esteem, building bridges through the alienation caused by sitting in front of a computer all day, to begining to repair some of the damage from the serious trauma some of my students have been through.

    Without Stitch LDN and the teaching experience I gained here I never would have had the confidence and experience to pass my skills on to so many who will benefit from them.”

    That ‘lightbulb moment’

    Penny Stephens is a Stitch Sage and a freelance journalist/editor in the voluntary sector.

    “I’ve taught about five people to knit at Stitch London, I think, and I hope they’ve carried on knitting after our meetings. I always wonder.

    My granny taught me to knit when I was about seven or eight and I knitted pretty much constantly for about 25 years. Then other things got in the way and I didn’t take it up again until my father was diagnosed with cancer eight years ago. I couldn’t concentrate on reading or anything else, so I went out and bought some wool and needles and started knitting again. I found it a really soothing activity and it really helped me through the next 15 months and stay relatively sane. I’ve never gone back to knitting the complicated lace and aran patterns I used to do, but I’ve probably become a bit more creative in what and how I knit.

    I’m happy to pass knitting skills on because it is such a joy to see something grow from nothing and turn into something snuggly to wear or beautiful to look at. I know it’s a struggle for some people at first – waving two sticks around with tangly yarn wound around them isn’t the most natural activity in the world – but when you see that light bulb moment when knitting finally clicks it’s really worthwhile.”

    Keeping calm and carrying yarn

    Heather Brown has taught a few people to knit when she’s found the time but is keen to teach more and puts why she teaches very simply.

    “I have only taught a few people so far, so I don’t have a great tale to tell, but it’s a fantastic thing to be able to share. When things are rubbish at work, knitting is one of the things that calms me down and keeps me going.”

    Joining an inspiring creative community and unexpected hugs

    Bronagh Miskelly (aka Lapurplepenguin on twitter and Ravelry) began teaching at Stitch London almost as soon as she joined. In her day job she edits a magazine and website for social workers but some days she says she would rather just knit.

    “I’ve been a regular at Stitch London for a few months but started volunteering to teach quite quickly so have taught a lot recently, even groups of four who have come along together. I’ve also taught other people over my many years of knitting.

    Being a volunteer teacher is about passing on a skill that I really value. I love knitting for many reasons:

    • the range of beautiful materials I can work with
    • the delight at a project growing; in my case this is often lace where there is something really special as a cloud of delicate fabric sprouts from my needles
    • the beautiful and individual items I can create that are personal to me or others
    • the relaxing and therapeutic effects
    • the fact that it brings me into a community of creative and interesting people who want to share their passions and knowledge

    I teach because I want other people to have access to those great experiences and to show that by learning a few techniques a beginner can start to create something that is real – scarf, an iPod cover, a mini sheep. And because I love the joy on a beginner’s face when they achieve an inch or two of “actual knitting”.

    It’s hard to pick out a best moment because so often people are excited and wave their knitting like a flag in excitement, but I have been hugged by a returning learner because they’d knitted a gift for a family member since I’d first helped them.”

    Making the world a warmer place and commuter space-making

    Amy Shannon has taught almost every teaching session she’s been at, including our workshop at Prince Charle’s Garden Party last summer, and helps out with newsletter duties to pass on the Stitch London love too.

    “I’d been taught to knit by several kind and well-intentioned people throughout my childhood, but I didn’t start knitting in earnest until the over-fed slump that falls between Christmas and New Year when there was nothing decent on the telly about 2 years ago. I asked my sister to show me how to purl (that had always been my sticking point previously), and I still didn’t get it…until she explained that it was just a knit stitch done back-to-front. Something in my head clicked and I could suddenly see the difference in the way the stitches lay, patterns made sense, the textures of the fibres came alive and my head buzzed with possibilities … only problem was I was still a terrible knitter.

    Salvation came in the form of a request from my husband – he wanted a Dr Who scarf – not an authentic Tom Baker one, but something he could wrap around his neck at least 3 times and still have a generous tail. This coincided with a new person who started taking my usual bus to work, a chap with incredible expanding knees that would start off neatly pressed together on his own seat, but would gradually encroach on his neighbours seat until he was sat in a ten-past-ten pose. There was only one solution – I got myself some 14” steel needles, a big bag of assorted yarns and I got knitting. Mr Knees soon ceased to be a problem, my husband got a scarf, I got a new hobby, had a chance to practice until I became not-too-bad, and developed a new form of self-defence.

    So what inspired me to become a Stitch Sage? Well, 7 people attempted to teach me to knit, and only one succeeded – it would be bad karma to let their collective efforts go to waste. We all learn in different ways, and what seems logical to one learner may sound utterly insane to another, and I’m more than happy to share my “pretzels and chain mail” interpretation of knitting/martial arts with other off-centre thinkers to learn, and for the amusement of everyone else.

    I’d like to make the world a warmer, more patient place, and by knitting I hope I can.”

    Retired but stitching up a storm

    It’s probably safe to say that Linda Laidlaw has taught more people to knit at Stitch London than any other member. She’s even been known to start teaching early because she just can’t wait.

    “I knit every day and what would life be without knitting? Not as good as it is now. I always have some knitting with me, because if you have to spend time waiting for things the time is not wasted.

    At Stitch London I have met many people and made good friends. I feel rewarded and wanted, and not just a retired person.

    There are people out there who really enjoy learning, though some take longer than others to learn. The joy when they get it is great.

    Since starting to teach at Stitch London, I have also recently been teaching for free with a Bangladeshi community in my local area who are grasping it well. None of them have ever knitted before. We have shared cakes and savoury snacks and they appreciated us for giving our time and knowledge. I have taught schoolchildren and many adults, men and women. Even my grandson, age 7, is coming along a treat with his wonky scarf.”

    Good memories, a connection to the past and seeing past knitting differences

    Clare Tovey has been part of our Stitch Sage team over the last year but has been knitting for quite some time.

    “Firstly, I still remember my own excitement the Christmas I opened a parcel to find a lovely cardboard basket containing tiny balls of wool, and pair of gold coloured, 4 year-old Clare-sized knitting needles! I was very keen to learn how to knit, and my Mum taught me the basics – cast on, knit, purl, and cast off, as she had been taught them – not by her own mother, but by a kind American lady on a ferry from the UK to Denmark. More of this later.

    Secondly, passing on needlecraft skills and tools is very important to me: the photograph shows my Stitch Sage badges; one of my original gold knitting needles; a pair of green plastic knitting needles that belonged to my Mother (which my Dad had commissioned me to buy on her behalf together with some pink yarn for a baby jacket, when my sister arrived prematurely, and my Mother wanted something to do in hospital); the scissors, silver thimble and very worn red leather case given to me by my Granny (who was a trained tailor) when I was about 8 years old; and a pair of Victorian tatting shuttles which I think belonged to my Great-grandmother. Unfortunately, the knowledge of how to use them was not passed on, so I am planning to learn to use them this year.

    Finally, in teaching people to knit, I have learnt that the style of knitting does not really matter, just the the joy of developing skills in making a fabric out of a system of loops! The kind American lady taught my Mother to knit continental style, which she then in turn taught me, which was great, except that my class teacher at junior school thoroughly disapproved of my not knitting English style, and made my life miserable in knitting classes over this.

    In fact, I held back from teaching people to knit at Stitch London for sometime because of this teacher’s attitude, and making me feel I was doing something wrong in knitting the way I do. Lauren O’Farrell encouraged me though, and the folks I have taught have been very appreciative, as well, which is very rewarding to see.”

    Curing cancer, changing lives and taking over the world

    I (Lauren O’Farrell) have been teaching for free and running Stitch London mostly for free (except for occassional advertising funds) for five years. I now run Stitch London as a full-time business on my own, with the teaching help of over 70 signed up Stitch Sage volunteers. This is why I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for five years, and why I’ll continue to do it and encourage everyone to pass the love of the knit on too:

    “To me being a Stitch Sage (and running Stitch London) is about offering people who may not be able to afford it or are not sure and don’t want to commit, a taster of a skill I love and have seen change lives. I’m not sure I would have learned if I’d had to pay for official lessons to begin with but I am so glad I was taught by my friends.

    Knitting is like holding a magic paintbrush to me. With my needles I can make anything from Godzillas to graffiti. If I can start someone off on that woolly road without asking for anything back, other than that they give it their best, then that’s something to be proud of.

    Knitting pulled me through three hard years of cancer treatment (pic above is of me and S&B London co-founder Laura Parkinson, back in the days when we started the group and my hair was growing back at last), and the knitting community that has sprung up around Stitch is one of the most supportive, generous and downright hilarious groups of people I have ever been a part of.

    What knitting has given me is a whole new life. Passing that possibility on to a newbie knitter for the love of it, just because I want to and not for any other reason, is a humbling and freeing thing to be able to do. I feel like I’m giving back a bit of the huge amount that has been given to me and offering them a way into one of the best communities I know.

    And if it doesn’t change their life like it has mine then at least it’ll keep them in socks. Warm feet are very important too.”

    Awwwww. Now I want to teach!

    Teaching someone to knit is really easy. Don’t worry about teaching them bad habits or doing something formal. Just get in there and show them how. Everyone ends up knitting a little differently anyway.

    Whether you teach a couple of friends, volunteer at Stitch London (we’re always looking for teachers so please volunteer) or go out into the world and teach people in need, do teach. It’s fun, free and gives you a warm fuzzy feeling that could be passed on and on.

    Posted in Charity Knits, Help Us Knit, Help us teach, Knitting News, Learn to Knit | 2 Comments »

     
    Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 82 other followers