I Knit London Tweets

Friday, February 29, 2008

The KNIFTAs..(formerly the CREAK Awards!)

Never mind the bloomin' Oscars...there's a new award show in town (sort of). After our recent post about the dirge of bad knitting on the telly we've decided to create a forum where those who can manage to knit and act at the same time are rewarded for their efforts.

So, we give you the first ever KNIFTAs (Knitting in Film and Television Awards). We need your nominations as follows:

Worst knitting/crochet/craft scene
  • the criteria covers everything from a so-called actor- type pretending to knit/crochet when clearly they have no idea what they are doing, to simply, bad knitwear on screen.

Best knitting/crochet/craft scene

  • opposite of the above; this award will go to the turn who shows that knitting and acting are possible at the same time. Extra kudos will be given if the knitting is a symbolic metaphor for a deeply meaningful moment…
Best knitwear
  • I think I know which film might win this one…but the title says it all. Nominate the film that contains a piece (or pieces) of knitwear you just couldn’t take your eyes off!
Oustanding Contribution award
  • you can’t nominate for this, but we’ll be recognising the efforts of someone to keep knitting on our screens too…

It’s all a bit of a laugh and we’ll be announcing the winners later this year…you never know we might even have a ceremony at I Knit Day if we get enough votes!

Rules (sorry there has to be oneor two) - all nominated films must have played in UK/US cinemas, or been shown on UK/US television in the last year or two. We’ll watch all the nominees and our judging panel will rate them…

For movie inspiration you can check out our own ‘knitting in films’ page. Post your nominations here or on the Ravelry I knit group message board, where you also argue/discuss the other nominations. I hope we can make this a funny little awards ceremony!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pearls of wisdom

As you can imagine it's been a bit hectic so far this week. Monday we put our tickets on sale for this year's I Knit Day and they were whipped up at a vast rate of knots - but don't panic knitters, there's plenty left! Sadly our current technology means it's a laborious process this end but we can live with that. Now it's planning the rest of the show that needs our attention. It's great to hear all the great comments about Yarn Harlot's first UK trip, so thanks for that. I'm feeling much as I did last year about the UK SnB Day - can't quite believe we're doing it and amazed it's happening only a couple of years after we started the knitting group. Things constantly surprise me, and this is one of them. I don't know where we've found the time, effort and energy over the past two years to go from knitting one night in the pub to having a knitting shop and running a new annual knitting show. I don't take any of the credit though - this is entirely down to two things. 1. Gerard 2. support from all the knitters. It still feels like we're blagging it, but at times like this I always remember sleeping on the shop floor for four months on an inflatable mattress, living literally out of a suitcase, showering in our local gym (not as often as I'd have liked to!) and spending 3 hours every Sunday in the launderette and realise...there's still loads more to do!

With all the hectic-ness it was a nice respite to get out and spend some time with the Kniterati book group last night. Kniterati was Justine's idea (nowadays always to be followed by the phrase 'CaveFelem on Ravelry'). Last night was an interesting one because we were being recorded for a university project which is looking into the phenomena of the book group and how each differs or what unites them. The research has taken in a number of different types of group so far, and our knitting 'angle' made it quirky enough for inclusion. But it gave us all a chance to not only talk about the book (The Pearl by John Steinbeck) but also discuss the group itself. It was fascinating. I've never been in a book group before and don't do a huge amount of reading (who has the time...!?) and I was conscious of being inadequately intellectual to take part. That's such a ridiculous notion though, having now experienced it, and the chats are informal and educational, and sometimes heated! One of the best bits though is when we veer off the book for a while and move onto the career of Alan Dale (he's from New Zealand NOT Australia) or how scary 28 Weeks later... is. Anyway, the next book was chosen and is The Road by Cormac McCarthy, quite topical after the Oscars for the adaptation of his No Country For Old Men. Amazingly, having read only about 10 books in my lifetime, I have read one of his before, and loved it, so looking forward to this one. In fact I am taking advantage of the morphine induced mobility to go into town and get myself a copy right after this.


Sunday, February 24, 2008


I'm making a clapotis. It's my first and a bit over due. I was making it for myself initially but it's soon to be a special day for a special woman so I think this will just have to be another thing I don't keep. I've used Manos silk blend and I'm about half way through and I've only used 1 hank. This stuff is amazing, it is so and easy to knit and it just keeps on going. You can't really tell but the colours are gorgeous, different shades of emerald green with white.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Curfews and cute pressies...

I've no idea what was going on last night, but every Thursday we hold the knitting group meeting in the shop. It's usually a great way to relax after work, much more chilled out than our Wednesday pub meetings and a chance to wind down. I couldn't make it due to back issues, but Gerard was holding the fort...til 1am! Blimey, I know there's always some gossip but thats got to be the latest knitting get-together we've ever had. I might have to set up a curfew, or at least limit the amount of cider we sell, especially to Gerard, or from what I hear, to some of our regulars too. Anyway, I'm a bit sad I missed it, it sounds like it was a memorable evening...

Recently I posted here on the blog about some of the negativity we've had in the past, even from fellow knitters, who for some reason can't just be happy to have another lovely yarn shop in London. It grates, especially when you put so much work and so many sleepless nights into something, not for yourself but for others too. But you can't please everyone I guess. Anyway, I wanted to post about the nice things we get too. Whenever we see a post on Ravelry from someone we don't know, but who has been to the knitting club or the shop and enjoyed themselves it obviously makes us know it's worthwhile. I've worked in a theatre for many years and have never understood the role of critics, or more distinctly, I've never understood why people would base a decision to see a play on someone else's opinion, unless you read them all to get the bigger picture. So, it's great to get good comments, but when we're slagged off it's always sensible just to take a moment and be introspective - sometimes you can get too big for your boots! Most of the negativity we've encountered so far at IKL has been petty nonsense and jealousy so, for now, we're happy, but bad feedback is probably more important than good feedback!

One of the nice things that's happened over the past two years is that we've met some great new people, some who have become friends, and we've received some lovely pressies too! being ill always brings the charity out in people! This little fella, "Lamby" is from regular Lynsey. I've always been conscious of the knitting group becoming a clique where newbies won't feel welcome - but, although we do have a close group of friends, they are actually only our friends because of the knitting get-togethers in the first place. I think we do manage to keep our group open and friendly. Lynsey came to us early last year, and joined our beginner's knitting class. She has become an IKL mainstay, a regular at the meetings and has even graduated to shop girl on occasion. Lynsey is brilliant - the way she's taken the yarny challenge with so much enthusiasm is a bit inspirational actually. She's obsessed with it and has done about a billion more projects than I have. The fact that Lamby Lamb Lamb here is wearing his own bespoke IKL jumper, knitted especially for him by Lyns is, frankly, gorgeous! And those letters are knitted into the work not just sewn on top y'know. She also made me the little cat in the picture below to cheer me up while I've been off. Bless you Lynsey, you are marvellous. Another marvellous knitter is the much-missed Esther. She's away on the other side of the world right now but there's always a presence, especially in the shop as she has showered us with pressies and postcards since she first started coming along the meetings. There are some people you just like as soon as you meet them, and you always remember when and where that was. With Esther it was at the pub knit night, at The Wellington on the Strand. Not a great pub but it was summer of 2006 and we sat outside till it got dark. A great group that night, among them Esther. If you're lucky
enough to come to a shop meeting and Esther's there you can guarantee she'll bring some cakes and chocolate. Everytime. Recently she gave us this tea-towel (kitsch? how very dare you?). If you can't read it it's The Knitter's Song by Marjorie Carrier (I've copied it out below) I love it's retro cheesiness (and I mean that in a nice way, I do really love it). Weirdly it reminds me of a competition I entered at primary school - someone collected tea-towels and brought in about 50 of them. They were hung up on the wall of the assembly hall. We had to look at them for a minute then turn around and write down as many as we could remember. What a bizarre memory that has literally just come back after never bothering my little head for 28 years!

Talking of being cheesy - the best present has been kept til last though. When we got confirmation from Stephanie that she was coming to do our show in September. That made me nearly wet meself with excitement. When things like this happen, when you spend months trying to sort things out, when you have sleepless nights thinking it's all going to go arse up it's a big relief! Not that I've stopped worrying - no, this is just the start. I will be stressed out every day until 7th September now! Luckily, Gerard is much more philosophical and a little calmer than I.


The Knitter's Song by Marjorie Carrier

Clickety clack, clackerty clack,
The knitters at work - knit and purl back.
In two-ply or three-, mohair or double,
the knitting keeps growing, without any trouble.

Sometimes machine, often on pins,
the knitter is busy and has no sins!
The garments are splendid admired by all,
"Knit one for me" is everyone's call.

The colours are gorgeous, in all sorts of hues,
they cheer all those who suffer the blues.
"So keep on knitting", is everyone's cry,
"For we love knitting!" is our reply.

Marjorie Carrier, 1990, for The Button Lady

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Knit, in 2008, with...

..Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.
In our ongoing endeavours to bring the UK the best of everything knitty we are delighted to be able to announce that the Yarn Harlot will be with us at the I Knit Show on 6 September.

Stephanie will be with us for a talk and a booksigning. We're thrilled that Stephanie will join us at the show in what will be her first UK appearance. Her new book looks to be as great as, if not better than, her previous books!!!

The tickets will be on sale first to our mailing list members, early next week. Visit our website, http://www.iknit.org.uk/newsletter.html , to put yourself on the list!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I Love Lucy

I've neglected this blog for ages now. I'm afraid I'm not that interested in the time it takes to get the pictures taken and put them up. This time it didn't take so long. I promise to put all my knitted things up here in future and not neglect the blog just because of ravelry!

Below are pictures of some of the things I've done recently. I'm acquiring a small menagerie.

The sheep is done in cornish organic, the cat is Artesano wool/alpaca/ The veil? is habu silk/stainless steel. The wine warmer is Sublime dk.

And this is the first in a pair of Cherry Tree Hill socks. I've put some words on the heal which is fab but definately not my finest moment. The yarn is gorgeous, it's much darker in real life and CTH is my favorite!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pills, thrills and backaches...

Those who've seen me in the last 8 months will know that I'm suffering with a back problem, namely bulging discs, trapped nerves, lots of pain etc. It was at it's worst 8 months ago and the fabulous NHS that I've been paying for for years is doing a great job of making me wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. (Sorry to all those nurses and doctors who I know work so very hard), but the frustration has been building up as much as the pain recently and 8 months on I've finally got an appointment for an epidural injection into the base of my spine to do something to my nerves and my muscles - whatever, it's about time, but also too late.

I've already taken 2 months off from work, I've put on weight, I've closed down socially, and although I have managed to get out and about to the knitting group nights it's always been tainted by being in some sort of pain, or just uncomfortable. The levels of pain have varied from agony to ache....last weekend the agony returned and when I found myself lying on the bathroom floor unable to move it's led to a whole new set of experiences - I had my first ever ride in an ambulance on Sunday (second ride in an ambulance on Monday). A&E at St Thomas', which is nothing like on the telly, intravenous morphine, lots of screaming, and discovering that laughing gas should be available like water from a tap. My second new experience is diclofenac suppositories...

I've never taken so many pills before in my life - I used to try to avoid them whenever possible and now I'm mixing them together like Jellybeans. The experience hasn't been an uplifting one. I've missed tonight's Chandos get-together, I've missed having a drink, I've missed work too and I guess in a few years time my liver will pack up too.

But it's not the drugs that have really got me through all of this - it's Gerard. We have so much on our plate at the moment - there's big news afoot at the shop, there's the small matter of organising the I Knit event in September, there's a brilliant little knitting shop to run, knitting group to organise, and there's lots of bills to pay. He's put up with me for 8 months, most of which time I could get about, I could grit my teeth and bear it and he's hardly ever lost his temper ;) He's also better at telling people what he really thinks than I am so he gets things done where I might just fold. I wouldn't have got through this whole depressing experience without him.

If you've ever met him you'll already know it, but it needs to be said: he is amazing. If you have someone amazing in your life don't take them for granted.


Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Campaign for Real Knitting

There's a famous story about Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier. Whilst making the film Marathon Man little Dusty had to film a scene where he'd been incarcerated, run-down and looking a bit shabby. The story goes that he went a few days without sleep and ran for some time so he was physically drained and looking a bit of a state. When Sir Larry saw him and enquired as to why he looked so bad he said to him, "Why not try acting, dear boy?". It's probably apocryphal, but it's a good line anyway.

The Method has been used for years by many actors keen to impress with their realistic performances, from Brando to Daniel Day-Lewis. I'm quite keen on it - ham-dram. What's this got to do with knitting then? Well, two nights in a row this week we've been watching telly and been confronted with some so-called knitting that leaves much to be desired. If Ed Norton can learn to perform magic tricks for The Illusionist, or Hilary Swank go through training sessions for Million Dollar Baby, then why can't actors at least have the good sense to learn to knit instead of pretending? It might look good to them, but, seriously, it looks crap and we can tell when it ain't real!

This week's situations were on Friday, in the TV comedy 30 Rock Jack McBrayer was supposedly kniting a bikini - as if! Although distracted by trying to work out what's happened to Alec Baldwin's face we still spotted it was a crocheted bikini top with a needle stuck in the end. Lame. You can't fool us! There's also a situation here of gender stereotypes which is far too big a subject to go into here, but just cos he's camp doesn't mean he has to knit, you know? Exhibit 2 - Saturday night film Demolition Man. Sly Stallone knits a lovely red jumper for Sandra Bullock, overnight!? Not as bad as the McBrayer episode, at least we don't see Sly pretending to knit, but we do have to believe he's done it, which it quite difficult. Actually, this is another contender for a gender-stereotyping theses, but, again, no time right now to get into that. The film is redeemed a little by the brilliant line, "I'm a seamstress? - That's great. I come out of cryo-prison and I'm Betsy-fucking-Ross..."

So, here starts the Campaign for Real Knitting (CREAK). We already have our knitting in films page (which needs another update) telling you where you can see the great art on screen, but if you see a situation of pretend knitting or crochet we all have a duty to write to the actor in question. Would they take speaking the lines of the Bard with such idle contempt? Learn to knit, you just look silly otherwise.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Knitty negativity and the community spirit...

Living in London can sometimes be a joy, sometimes not, but I'm lucky in that my journey to work in the morning is just a short 20 minutes bus ride. Since we moved to south London four years ago we rarely take the Tube anywhere and it's very possible it's saved my sanity. I used to travel in from Leyton on the central line and may have exploded if I'd still been doing that. One of the things that makes commuting so much more bearable though is knitting for the journey. There's been a few posts on the Ravelry forums recently about public reaction to commuter knitting, and also reaction from other knitters.

I think it's fair to say that there's a small element of pride or even exhibitionism in most of us, and I know sometimes when I get my pins out on the bus I enjoy the staring. Other times, though, especially now I'm struggling with my first DPN project, I'm so in the zone that I barely notice anyone. Sometimes it's harder to concentrate than others - this morning I was sitting in front of two blonde girls, and I hate to perpetuate the stereotype but, blimey, could they talk - about everything, especially their boyfriends, one of whom, appropriately, was called Ken. I ain't kidding.

Anyways, there was a post on the Ravelry forum recently about a fellow knitter who spotted another knitter on their train and found a seat opposite. When they got their knitting out they expected some kind of reaction - but nothing, not even a little smile, or a Freemason-like secret sign that they were both crafting together on the packed train. It raised the question - just because we knit, does it mean we're going to like other knitters. At first I'd have said it does - since we started the knitting group hundreds of people have turned up in a central London pub, on their own, settled down and joined in. One of the things that makes the group so accessible is that (apart form being a friendly bunch in the first place!) you know that you'll have at least one thing in common with the others there. Going into a pub on your own is hard enough but knowing there'll be a common thread (no pun intended) is always a good start. But should we really expect everyone to get on?
I remember saying many times, I've never met a knitter who wasn't nice, but it's not true, sadly. People drawn to the same activities are very likely to have other things in common and get on with one another but I guess it shouldn't be taking for granted - we've had such great times and can now count the majority of our close friends as people we've met through I Knit London, but still, every now and then, we smack into a wall of negativity from someone who knits. Why? I suppose you can't get on with everyone, and despite what we do there's always the pessimists who don't believe in altruism or good-naturedness. On the whole the knitters we meet are all lovely, and long may it continue, but if you do find yourself in a situation where a fellow stitcher doesn't seem as excited don't be too disheartened - it's a big wide world and our differences are just as important as the things that bind us together. Gerard and I are in a number of interesting minority groups but it doesn't mean we like everyone else in those groups too (except the knitters, of course....we love you all!)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

This year's I Knit Day....

So, the deliberating is finally over. Thank Gawd for that! For those in our Ravelry group you've probably seen the thread about this year's follow-up to our UK Stitch 'n Bitch Day last November. Should it be August or September? Should it be a Bank Holiday? Should we get someone really special to come and take part, or wing it with just Gerard? Should we get a big grand Victorian hall in central London or hold in a concrete 1970s hotel again? So many questions.....finally we have (some) of the answers!

You know, we've lost sleep over this for the past few weeks, but we've settled for Saturday 6th September. It's the week of our second anniversary as a little knitting shop and it's just after payday (hurray). We can't say anything about who'll be there yet, because we're still asking, grovelling and begging and we're still making contact with the great and the good of the knitting world, but we can guarantee a surprise or two. The 70s hotel thing?....nah, let's go grande and get the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster! Why the heck not? Well, it's a bit pricey, but after last year's party it'll be worth it and every knitter in the land will want to be there! (If you don't know the halls, you know that BBC One trailer with the acrobats hanging from the ceiling wrapped in orange bits of cloth?, well, that's it. It's big and beautiful). And on 6th September it'll be full of yarn...and knitters...and no doubt some lounging around and some workshops and some other stuff, like DJs and maybe even dancing.

Anyway, I'm kinda rambling on now. But, basically, I'm excited and the best knitting show of the year is coming. Run by yarnoholics for yarnoholics. We've listened to the feedback from last year - so, yes, there will be a café, and there will be cake and there'll be even more stuff to spend your money on and even more exciting guest speakers....

We'll announce updates as we have them in our weekly newsletter, and here on the blog, and on Ravelry and everywhere else. You won't be able to miss it!

Now we just need to decide on a name...UK SnB Day never really suited us!