Friday, November 05, 2004

A Stitch in Time on the Line

I'm sewing up the blanket I've been knitting since Spring. It may not be as big as I expected so a few more emergency squares are being made up to make sure its big enough for winter snuggling on sofa with coca. The uncertainty of the world at the moment makes repetitative meditative knitting a particularly attractive option.

A friend sent me this terrific article from London's Metro about a knitting circle which meets - on the Circle line!

Couldn't find it online so I copy for your delectation.

"Today's meeting was organised by Pauline Wall who's fully prepared with flasks of tea and homemade brownies. 'There is no definitive guide and no real organisation to our knitting circles. Youa re simply a knitter and you want to knit with other people who share you passion,' says Pauline. 'So you find a group on a knitting forum that suits you. I quite like the sporadic nature of our Underground meetings. People from regular meetings - such as those in bars or cafes - can drop in, say hi and then scurry back to their own lives.

The combination of women, needlework and gossip is nothing new. Stich 'n'Bitch was the phrase coined for knit-mad housewives back int he 1950's. The term as lives on and Stitch'n' Bitch is now the name of today's biggest international knitting forum. Knitchicks can be found in various forums around the world, from New York to Australia.

But why the underground? 'People come and go,' says Pauline, whose full-time job is in finance. 'You see all different types of people. We get to do as much people-watching as those watching us. But, more importantly, we have a wider audience on the Underground and can touch more people. If you are sitting in a corner of a smoky bar somewhere, you don't actually talk to anybody else. We want people to see us and ask questions.

A few stops later, as if on cue, a young Australian girl asks Pauline about her wool. After she jumps off, Pauline tells me: 'Kiwis and Australians are far friendlier than the English, who are not as forthcoming.'

After completing just one lap of the Circle line, I'm having rouble with my stitching. One of the knittes, Aneeta, swaps seats to help me.

But technique aside, I'm not sure this if for me. I'm ready to shrivel up in embarrassment. As we arrive at Victoria, the carriage is suddenly filled with commuters fascinated by our small group. In a hushed tone, I ask Aneeta if the stares bother her. 'I don't care who stares. I'm perfectly happy,' she replies, very loudly.

'When we need the loo or a fresh drink, or when we have other plans, we call it a day.' says Rachel, a fellow knitter. 'The good thing about knitting on the Tube is that, even at the start of your journey, you are already on your way home. You just have to wait for the right stop.'

Or knitting party comes to an end and I get off with Pauline at King's Cross, while the others continue on to their own destinations. Pauline explaisn why she enjoys this type of knitting circle so much. 'It's a nice, transitory feeling, You do your lap, your time is up and you move on. During that time, you are not anywhere in particular but you are still doing something you love.'

International Stitch 'n' Bitch
Get Crafty
Cast Off - a knitting forum started by Artists
Knitting for charity

I used to knit blankets for Oxfam but they appear not to be accepting them anymore - if any one knows of a UK based charity which wants blankets please let me know.

1 comment:

acechick said...

ooh, how exciting! I can't believe anyone (other than my mum) read that article!

Here's an electronic copy if you want: knitting.pdf (896.1K):D