As the evening drew in on the 30th of June at around 6.30pm a pattering of tiny stitched feet could be heard echoing through the innards of London’s Science Museum.
They had come from the farthest corners of the globe, from Israel, Australia and Abu Dhabi. They had come from the nearest parts of our lovely London, from Islington, Twickenham and Archway. By post, by hand, by public transport.
I followed them from a safe distance with my camera as the 259 Stitched Selves went from Stitch London Towers in deepest Deptford to the Main Energy Hall of the Science Museum.
The Stitched Selves check out the new East London line
Last-minute preparations in the days before had been hurried along. Late arrivals were carefully opened and unpacked.
Keep still in there! We're cutting!
Every Stitched Self was catalogued in our Stitch Yourself Big Book of Little People.
How do you spell 'Austria'?
And every one of them was properly tagged to make sure we knew who they were and where they were from.
One, two, three, SQUEEEEEEEEEEEZE!
Groups, friends, family and Stitched Selves who were in lurrrrrrve were carefully tied together to make sure they didn’t lose each other in the fray.
Hello! I'm glad I didn't eat garlic.
They all climbed into the Stitch Yourself tour bus and made themselves comfy.
Your elbow is in my eye! Get your knitting needles out of hip!
The Stitch Yourself Tour Bus (air conditioned)
There were some struggles with stairs, many tiny whines of “Are we there yet?” and a couple of toilet breaks (even though we warned you all to go before we left) but at last we were there. The Stitch Yourself hoards had arrived at the Science Museum!
The showcase all ready for its Stitched Self guests
The Stitched Self Stitchettes checked it out first for safety.
Mini Deadly Knitshade takes to the shelf
Tiny Stitched Self Fibre Flinger, Bluestocking Stitcher, Fastener, Purple Purler and Gertrude Woolsworthy make sure it's safe
With the safety concerns all checked out the Stitched Selves rushed to grab a place in the limelight. It was woolly madess I tell you!
There they began showing off for unsuspecting passers by, as the Science Museum opened for an evening of Late Night wonders.
What were they doing there? We explained it all:
Stitch Yourself explained
There was a whole lot of knitting chatter coming from behind the glass as the Stitched Selves got comfy in their home for the evening. It was all very amiable. Lots of “Is anyone sitting here?” and “My but I do admire your handstitched frilly undergarments” from the tiny folks as they sorted themselves into display formation.
Do you see yourself somewhere?
Or in this little lot?
Shamefully there was a small incident involving the Stitched Self Gertrude ‘Aunty Gerty’ Woolsworthy, resulting in several of the Stitched Selves being sent to stand in the corner and think about what they’d done but the rest were very well behaved.
Mini Gerty gets a telling off
The public arrived in their droves to sigh (“I want to steal them!”), squeeeee (“I found ME!”), express shock (“AGH! That one’s naked!” and “Is she knitting her own head?!”), look confused (“A tree in a bikini?!”) and generally stand in awe-struck wonder at the handstitched, handknit and handhooked little people who peered back at them with just as much curiosity.
Admiring a crowd of tiny handmade people
The crowd of admirers grew
And every one of them was fascinated
Over 100 photos were taken. So here are a choice few.
A whole class of Stitched school kids hanging in the air
A rather dignified be-shoed Stitched Self up front
A gold-toothed smile
Bear with me
So many of you stitched lot
Stars and stripes
A little sleepy
A tree, a giant, a babycarrier and someone knitting their own head
A few familiar faces
Stitched smiley people
Happiness or shock...?
Stitched ink slingers
Pearls on purls
Specs and stitches
Flying the flag
Shhhh! She's sleeping
That's a tiny albino hedgehog on her toes
A little room on the meditation sofa as a Spanish Stitched Self shares space
Spot the scandalous naked Stitched Self
For one night only the Stitched Selves were one of the most interesting, creative and inspiring exhibits at one of London’s most famous museums. It was Stitched Self spendidness.
Up in the Who Am I? exhibit sat two knitted chromosomes by Marion ‘Bluestocking Stitcher’ Crick and me. They’re part of the permanent exhibit so do go along and say hello if you’re there.
Stitch London go sciencey
Some of you came along to visit your Stitched Selves too.
A doppelganger with a doppelganger of her doppelganger
Four lovely ladies visit their group of Stitched Selves
Hair slightly less wild than her Stitched Self behind her
That's her in the black and white stripes
And so the night came to an end. The tired Stitched Selves were packed back onto the Stitch Yourself tour bus and taken home (via the pub) to be tucked up safely in their beds.
A reminder of the fabulous venue of our first Stitched Self exhibit
If you didn’t see yourself keep an eye out for all 259 of them as we’ll showcase them here one by one over the next few months. It’s going to be a hell of a job but, with the effort you all put in, I think it will be worth it.
There were so many photos and so many of you we didn’t have room to feature all our photos. You can see the rest on Stitch London’s Flickr.
If you have stories behind your Stitched Selves please email lauren@stitchLDN.com and we’ll try to add them in with the photos of your tiny doppleganger. Also Flickr knitters can upload their Stitched Self pics to our Stitch London group.
A HUGE thanks to everyone who took part by sending in a Stitched Self. You’re an inspiring and wildly creative bunch and we couldn’t have done it without you. You utterly amazed us with every Stitched Self we met.
Special thanks to all those who helped out with making it happen: Marion Crick and Emma Toft for the fabulous blank body patterns, Yusuf for helping with all that unpacking, Clare, Gary and Emma for helping with the display, and Emmy and Gerty for newslettering stuff so I could get on with Stitched Self sorting. All the proofreaders on Twitter too, and everyone who passed along the word and got the crowds to come and see. 🙂
For those who missed the big event keep an eye on Stitch London in the future. The Stitched Selves will be back and you’ll all be invited. Promise.