Stitch London was founded and is run by Lauren 'Deadly Knitshade' O'Farrell, with a little help from woolly Agony Aunt Gertrude Woolsworthy.
She created the group on a chilly December night in a South London pub with Laura Davis (learned to knit as a wee bairn but forgot) and Georgia Reid (getting back on the knitting horse after a few years).
They were bored of wasting away as non-knitters contributing no woolly goodness to the world, and decided to enter the feisty fibrefull world of public knitting.
One sunny sunday in afternoon in late December 2005 the first unofficial Stitch and Bitch London meeting happened (in the 'swanky' environs of Canary Wharf).
They knit, they bitched, they drank a little, they laughed till it hurt, and they saw it was good. In fact knitting in public was so fabulous they craved more, more I tell you! Not just for themselves, but for everyone!
In early January 2006 the first official Stitch and Bitch London meeting was held in a small cafe near Piccadilly Circus.
Through that eerie world they call the internet, through the wonders of mySpace and Facebook, through hundreds of knit-packed newsletters, through the clicking needles and swirling yarn of some enthusiastic and unendingly generous knitting London ladies, and through the plans for world knitting domination of Deadly Knitshade, a group was born that has continued to knit up a storm all over our fair city.
In May 2007 the S&B London team expanded to five with Lauren running the stitched ship. The Stitchettes were officially inaugurated.
Stitch and Bitch London grew and grew. It went from three to literally thousands of members. We continued to meet every single week in central London.
In March 2007, much to our surprise, we won the British Handknitting Association's Biggest Knitting Group in the UK
In April 2010 Stitch and Bitch London became Stitch London. A radioactive woolly Godzilla with its own name and its own plans for world stitching domination. We became officially multi-craft with crochet, cross stitch, sewing, embroidery and other stitching crafters joining our ranks.
In September 2010 as the number of Stitch Londoners passed the 7500 mark, the role of Stitch Sage was created to replace the Stitchette role (which became too much work for most volunteers). Stitch Sages give their time to help teach new knitters, and each existing member of the group was encouragd to welcome new members and make them feel at home. The woolly Godzilla that Stitch London has become grew even more. In return for teaching the Stitch Sages get to take part in some of the knitting world's most fabulous projects.
In October 2010 Lauren left her job in order to run Stitch London full-time as there was too much work to do both. Throughout the time Stitch has been running she has become events organiser, volunteer co-ordinator, badge maker, web designer, project manager, Tweeter, blogger, official photographer and teacher. She also writes, edits and designs Stitch London's newsletter, with a little help for Gerty's column from Gerty's mysterious rage counsellor.
She continues to run Stitch London for free for anyone who wishes to join, funding it through other work she does to keep Stitch running. She hopes to keep Stitch events, learner sessions and newsletters free to all members for as long as the group keeps stomping. She's constantly amused by the fact most people think Stitch London is run by a whole team. It is rumoured she never sleeps.
Since the beginning we've organised a ton of yarn-flavoured knitting events, produced a huge stash of stitching newsletters, raised thousands of shiny pounds for charity, turned out hands to knitting and crochet graffiti, unleashed handmade Halloween horror, consumed huge amounts of cake, won interplanetary battles with yarn-stealing aliens, made knitting history a fair few times and gone places no stitching group has gone before. There's even a Stitch London book.
There's more to come too. Watch this space.
We'd like to take our woolly hats off to Stitch London's hard working Stitchettes from the past:
Georgia who left us to knit in the loveliness of Glasgow in summer 2006 (she runs her own little sibling group). We miss her wise words and constant stream of unfinished knits.
The lovely, Lady Knitsalot, Laura Delaat also took up the Stitchette badge for a while, we miss her technical wizardry and endless baby knits.
The sweet Go Go Garter Girl, Candice Lamb, who is making a splash in the world of publishing now.
The feisty Annisa 'Dr Stitchlove Chand' whose sock-knitting powers and sass were unsurpassed.
The straight-talking knitting wonder Jenny 'Startitis' Steere who went on the start other wonderful things.
Co-founder Laura 'Purl Princess' Davis who left S&B London, after three years of Stitchette duties, in the summer of 2009 to start a family and get more knitting time in. She now writes the Purl About Town column for Knitting Magazine.
The multi-talented Joelle 'Knitting Ninja' Finck, who left S&B London after two years of Stitchette-ness, to teach the world English.
Marion 'Bluestocking Stitcher' Crick and Emma-Lee 'Purple Purler' Yarwood who hung up their Stitchette hats in August 2010, after just over a year
Yusuf 'The Fibre Flinger' Osman who also hung up his Stitchette hat in August 2010 after a short but sweet six-month stint.
Emma 'The Fastener' Toft and Gertrude Woolsworthy who continue in the role of Stitch Sages. Yay!
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