Friday, June 10, 2011

Interviews with Kirsty and Anna and a bit of Germaine Greer and Prick Your Finger

 Vicky with mikes from Kirsty on the left and Anna on the right

For anyone wondering who those ladies with mikes are from the last few meetings, the first was Kirsty, whose piece can be listened to above. As well as speaking to our lovely Birdy and mentioning our craftivism (see this post and she has interviewed Germaine Greer about the WI, who seems to approve. Germaine would like to see us think in terms of being an effective lobby group, and she "likes the WI best when they are angry."  It is good to know that unlike some disapproving feminists she, like us, looks beyond the stereotypes of the WI and sees the value of women coming together to campaign.  

Though campaigning and feminism isn't all we do. At our Yoga and Relaxation meeting, while Kirsty recording, she missed some insightful discussion of "Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism" by Natasha Walter (blog with a collective review coming soon) and arrived over at our group learning hand massage just as the topic had changed to The Only Way is Essex. Thankfully the whole incredulous "what is vajazzling?" part of the conversation and our collective laughter didn't make it to the final piece.

As well as Kirsty, we've had two visits from Anna McNamee , reporter for Women's Hour. Her piece is most likely to air at the end of June. She was at our last meeting in May, chatting to the members after the inspiring talk by super eco crafts women Annie Sherburne, and joined us again this week at our knitting session at Prick Your Finger in Bethnal Green, where we had some serious discussions of cake, baking, feminism and of course knitting. Our treasurer Jen made a fabulous Lemon Drizzle cake and new member Samantha brought amazing Peanut Brittle. The cakes we knitted will be gracing our marquee at the Big Feastival (July 1st-3rd), so get your tickets now. If you want to knit your own cakes, the patterns are in "Knitorama" by Rachael Matthews, available from Prick Your Finger's wonderful wool emporium. 

Big thank yous to Kirsty and Anna for showing an interest in our group, to Annie Sherburne for being a wonderful speaker and to Louise and Rachael at PYF for the tea and yarn and inspiration.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Knit & Natter group met up at Prick Your Finger

Wednesday 8th June at 7pm

Some of you may already have seen the event via Facebook (RSVP to the event on Facebook) or heard Caroline talking about it at the last meeting. To make our tent at Big Feastival really unique we'd like to decorate it with an array of woolie wonders, a full knitted high tea with cakes and sandwiches.

So we are having a group knitting project to whip up some woolie cakes and sandwiches from patterns by Rachael Matthews book Knitorama. Rachael is very kindly going to host an evening for us at Prick Your Finger in Bethnal Green.

There are parts of the patterns suitable for complete beginners, and parts that are crochet, so all levels of knit ability are catered to. If you want to make some of your own creations, anything suitable for an afternoon tea would be great too.

View Knitting venue in a larger map

lease bring real cakes if you can to thank Rachael and Louise for the hospitality and the not knitted cups of real tea  and size 3.5mm or 4mm knitting needles (size 9 or 8 in old UK non-mm sizes) if you have them.

Also bread or swiss roll coloured wool or small balls of red for cherries would be useful.
 I have some supplies of pink, yellow, white and cream for battenburg cakes, cheese and ham slices and the icing on the bakewell tarts.

As well as woolie cake making, you can drool over the lovely yarns at the shop and giggle at the rude knitting patterns, have a natter and talk to Rachael and Louise who run the knit-emporium. Here is their website: and see more about Rachael below, from the Craft Council website:

Rachael MatthewsWalking down Globe Street in London’s East End, you will come across a unique yarn shop and gallery called ‘Prick Your Finger’, the creation of designers Rachael Matthews and Louise Harries.  Prick Your Finger grew from their desire to make textiles with UK based and ethical yarns. Half the stock is spun in house, and the rest is from farmer producers who are spinning yarn themselves too.Rachael Matthews, the knitter from the Lake District, has achieved quite a lot in her time! From early beginnings at Central St. Martins College of Art & Design, she is now the writer of various books on knitting such as ‘Knitorama’, full of outlandish illustrations and original patterns designed to be shared between friends and portable enough to be taken to your knitting venue of choice.  You won’t find your average pattern for gloves amongst her repertoire! Rachael is definitely the champion for doing things in a new and different way.Rachael started out by running a knitting club for boys and girls called ‘Cast Off’ with Amy Plant, and she encouraged events that would promote knitting and other crafts as a more constructive way of spending our time. Cast Off met in nightclubs, pubs, and other non-typical places.  As part of an exhibition called ‘Ceremony’, Rachael organized an entire knitted wedding at the Pump House Gallery in London’s Battersea Park in 2009.  It was a huge success that opened the public’s eyes to see how much can be achieved with yarn and a pair of needles!  Knitting groups were invited to attend and make things for the wedding. Everything was knit from the wedding dress to the cucumber sandwiches, and even the cake.  Cast Off’s ventures promoted the revival of KIP (Knitting in Public) in London, demonstrating how knitting is the ideal craft to take with you wherever you go- Rachael has knit on the London Underground’s circle line, folk clubs in the East End, in Paris, and even at a specially organized evening called ‘Craft Rocks’ at the V&A Museum