Stitch and Bitch London have been meeting and teaching knitting for free every single week since January 2005. They’re used to getting a few odd looks and a bit of pointing, they’re used to the ‘Can you knit me a scarf/hat/jumper?” hilarious requests and the references to people’s grannies or crazy old aunts who smell like cats. They take it all with a woolly smile, however, and get on with doing what they do best - knitting all over London, and loving every minute of it. London Stitchette, Deadly Knitshade, tells us about their astonishing latest meeting.
On Thursday the 8th of January something unusual happened: a wool-flavoured tidal wave washed over the Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall, and it was all our fault.
Our first meeting of 2009 began like any other. People started turning up from 6pm with their sticks, string, and the desperate urge to get down to some post-Christmas bitching. A few more arrived, then a few more, than a fair few more. By 6.30pm extra chairs and tables were being dragged in under the bewildered stares of the RFH staff.
The crowd of stitching lovelies grew and grew like some kind of warm yarn-based bacteria. At the end of the night a humongous 194 knitters had sat down and stitched up a storm. If aliens had lifted the roof off the Festival Hall to peer inside, we reckon you’d have been able to see us from space.
Yarn was flying in a fabulous colourful flurry, needles were clicking away, balls of wool were rolling under tables, all manner of booze, caffeine, and cake was disappearing down throats. Newbie knitters were wobbling bravely through the first stitches of free S&B London knitting lessons on their way to scarves, jumpers, blankets, coats for dogs, cushions, gloves, legwarmers, guitar straps, iPod covers and Oystercard holders; you name it, we knit it.
We’re not sure whether it’s the dreaded credit crunch (“If I can’t afford to buy it, I’ll make it myself.”), New Year’s resolutions come alive (“I’ve always wanted to learn to knit.”) or simply the sudden realisation that knitting is ever so cool (it really is. I know 194 people who can confirm it). Whatever the reason for this sudden surge in London-scented People of the Knit, we think it’s amazing.
This week a knitting London. Next week, a knitting world
Words by Lauren "Deadly Knitshade" O'Farrell, S&B London Stitchette. Picture by Annisa "Dr Stitchlove" Chand.