Can a gentle soul ever be an ultra-cool knitter?

May 25, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Posted in Knitting morals, You and your knitting | Leave a comment
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An apprehensive non-knitter questions Gerty about whether she will ever be one of the band of super-cool knitters on the street.

Dear Auntie Gerty

Someone has offered to teach me how to knit. As I’m in my mid-30s and not terribly fit or aggressive, I’m not sure I’m up to ‘yarn storming’ and ‘stitching and bitching’. Should I leave knitting to the bright young things, or do you think it’s worth learning even at this late stage (maybe it would add to my ‘street cred’)?

Hope you can help
Gentle Jen, Junction Road

My dearest gentle one, I don’t know where you get the idea that knitters need to be aggressive or fit.  Why, the best exercise one can get is to lift a piece of lovely battenburg to your lips with one hand, and a nice gin and tonic with the other hand for balance.  And sitting down with a good knit is a great restorative, which can take away any aggression in your soul.  Why, if I had hands to knit with, I would be a fluffy ball of serenity.

Now, I understand that you may wish to be more aggressive.  Here I can help you, as your old Aunty Gerty can invoke good rage with some simple hypnosis. We’ll turn you from nervous non-knitter into something with hideous rage. Just look into the buttons …

Daily Fail

One, two, three and you’re under.

I want you to imagine yourself a generally irate individual who believes knitting should be done in the home and not enjoyed in groups at well-lit public venues.

You take a trip into town to visit the Royal Festival Hall. Look around you. There is a large group. They are having a good time.

You are not having a good time. Your polyester bootcuts are chafing and your packed lunch is sadly warm.

Yet they are smiling and laughing. Feel the rage! Feel it burning!

There is knitting in public. Feel the rage at the injustice! Feel the froth at the corners of your mouth!

Look more closely. Some of them are clearly young and some are older and some are older still. And yet they’re mingling happily. And some are new to knitting! Why is no one telling them off for making a spectacle of themselves? Why should they show their knitting in public when it is a private matter? Feel the rage! Feel it!

And look! Why are they not drinking cocktails like a recent misguided newspaper article says they should be? Why are they drinking tea and cider there rather than sitting in the pub like the paper said? Why aren’t they chic Sex and the City types that the newspaper writes about?! You feel confused. You feel the rage welling up! Can you feel your pulse raging?

There’s a man over there! What on earth does he think he’s doing? A man! Knitting! Among women!

It’s disgusting! Feel the rage! Feel it burn! Smooth down your fleece, approach them haughtily and tell them all to go away and have some shame! Growl! Show your anger!

One two three, and you’re back in the room.

You now know pointless rage. The path to aggressiveness is yours. But of course, unchannelled and pointless rage is a bad thing. So your next step is to find yourself a grrrr-ru.

Pack up a small bag and book yourself an Easyjet flight to darkest Tibet. Travel to the hills and raise your yarny flag.  One of the secret clan of ninja knitters will come and blindfold you to take you to their training camp, where they will teach you many things

You will learn that all knitting kind must live in harmony with each other and with non-knitters alike.

You will also learn how to use your DPNs as mini javelins and your circular needle as a garotte should the need arise for you to fight injustice. You will learn to channel your anger into furious speedy knitting to turn out garments at an impressive rate.

Once you have done this, you can go and learn to knit with pride having faced the pointless rage and won.

Holy knitting Madonna, Batman!

However, this will not add to your street cred or make you cool.  Why do you want to be cold, anyway? When you could knit lovely things to keep you warm.

Take Madonna as an example of how knitting will not add to your street cred.  Ever one to chase the trends, Maddy took up knitting. She knitted obsessively so that she would be taken seriously as a super-cool proper knitter. But look: she gained no street cred, only hag hands.

And my dear old friend Jimmy Hill. Tired of his one-dimensional career as a TV sports pundit, he took up knitting. He also adopted a mock-Jamaican accent, to show he was down with the kids. Did it do him any good? No, those pesky journalists just talk about Russell Crowe knitting backwards. And Jimmy’s bosses wanted a quiet word about his new presenting voice.

In all honesty, Gentle Jen, knitting will not increase or diminish your street cred, or make people look at you as being a different person. You will be the same person as before, only with excellent needle wrangling skills to impress your fellow knitters, who are the only people who really count.

It’s worth learning because it’s a creative, inspirational and fun thing to do. It’s also a lovely, welcoming and thought-provoking community to be a part of. Your age doesn’t change that at all.

And if you follow all my advice you’ll have an excellent armoury of stealth weapons and the power to kill from a great distance with a DPN. So it’s all win really.

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Knitting time travel?

October 11, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Posted in From the Ravelry stash, You and your knitting | 1 Comment
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The Doctor appreciates a fine scarf

The Doctor appreciates a fine scarf

A question from one of our S&B London Ravellers gets Gerty thinking about sonic screwdrivers…

Hello Aunty Gerty.
Would you like some cake ? I have a question for you. How can I make more time for knitting?
Alpacaaddict

Hello AlpacaAddict and thank you for your question. A tricky one.

You have several options to make sure you have ample time to get your knit on:

a. The practical option – Give up housework and live like a slattern. Cockroaches may scuttle across your scummy surfaces, mice may make nests in your stash, and spiders may make cobwebs on your unused crochet hooks but what will you care when you have a fine knitted garment to take out on the town?

b. Lure passersby off the street using a friendly alpaca and cake spiked with obedience potion, then use them to do all the housework. Lots of knitting time and someone to make you cups of tea while you do so.


c. Find yourself a Time Lord and marry him. The tardis will take you wherever you want to go and they’re always rather dashing chaps to boot.

Sunday stitching: right or wrong?

September 26, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Knitting morals | 1 Comment
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A lovely S&B Londoner has been kind enough to track down The Girl’s Own Paper and Woman’s Magazine from March 1927. Where Flora Kilckmann answers the needling question below. We passed the question along to our Gerty to see what she had to say on the matter.

My husband and I have had an argument about knitting on a Sunday.  Will you decide for us?  Is it right or wrong?
Confused, Clapham

Dear Confused

Oh dear! Sounds like you need to hang up your circular needles on a Sunday to maintain domestic bliss in the ‘Confused of Clapham’ household! Nothing’s better than an easy life, right?!

Alternatively, you could just tell him to stuff it. Maybe you should ask him whether sitting around watching (insert sport here) all day is allowed on a Sunday. See what justification he has for his leisure pursuits on the day of rest! We’re all entitled to a bit of down time!!

Love and snuggly stuff,

Auntie Gerty
xxx

The original from The Girls own paper and Woman’s Magazine.

Edited by Flora Kilckmann March 1927

We have had an Argument about Knitting on Sunday.  Will you Decide for us?  Is it Right or Wrong?

No one can decide foe another on this point.  It is a matter for the individual conscience to settle, and must entirely depend on circumstances.

There is no decree in the Bible against knitting on Sunday.  The Commandment to do no work on that day does not necessarily affect knitting, because knitting is not always work – it may be recreation (though I do not mean to imply that all recreations are desirable for the Sabbath; some most certainly are not !).

You need to go much further back than the question of actual knitting to solve this problem.  The day has gone past when good women considered it allowable to pin a piece of frilling in the neck of their best frock on Sunday, but sinful to tack it in with a needle !  We need to look to the spirit rather than the letter of God’s ordinance which requires us to give special observance to His day.

Sunday was instituted that we might have a period each week free from the constant demands of work, and thus have the opportunity to think about the Creator.  Also, it was given us as a day of rest and recuperation.

Now, one point for you to decide is this: Granted that knitting is not your daily work but merely a recreation, does it hinder your thoughts from turning towards heavenly things?  If so, it is undesirable.

Or does it help you to quiet mental concentration?  I know several spiritually-minded women who find that knitting is an aid to deep thinking.  It can be a purely mechanical process that promotes thinking, just as walking enables many people to work out an article or sermon, or a problem more easily than if they were sitting still.

In this way knitting differs from most other recreations; you cant play golf or tennis for instance, and be thinking about the deeper concerns of the soul.  Whereas with knitting you can.

We all need some special time when we can drop, for the moment, the things that appertain exclusively to this world, and send our thoughts in the direction of the world to come.  Nowadays it is difficult to find time to be quiet, and also very difficult to sit still and do nothings with one’s hands in one’s lap.  The nervous tension of the age makes it almost impossible for some women to sit still for ten consecutive minutes without movement of some kind.

When knitting helps to compose and calm a nervous temperament (as it often does), and promote quiet thought, then it is desirable.

Nevertheless, one must remember that actions which are not sinful in themselves may yet have a hurtful effect on others.  Should your knitting prove a stumbling blovk to someone else, or even a cause of irritation to those who hold other views, then it should be regarded as one of those things which are inexpedient.

This brings me back to my starting point: Each person must think out and decide this question herself on its individual merits.  Our Heavenly Father evidently wishes us to give as much time as we can, on Sundays, to worship and prayer, and quiet thought about spiritual things.  It is for us to try to carry out His wishes in whatever way we find most helpful to this end—provided it does not hinder another soul who is striving to live aright.

Images from www.retroknittingcompany.co.uk

Introducing Ms Gertrude Woolsworthy

September 25, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Posted in Gertrude goings on | Leave a comment
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She’s more than a big ball of yarn!

Gertude and Lauren

Gertude and Lauren

You may have seen her hanging about in the shadows of Stitch and Bitch London meetings, calmly meting out advice on the dos and don’ts of knitting etiquette, patiently talking you through that pesky slip slip knit, or stealing bits of your battenburg when you’re not looking.  Well, now you can be officially introduced.

Knitting world meet S&B London’s newest Stitchette: Gertrude Woolsworthy. She’s more than a big ball of yarn!

We first met her back in May 2009, when she came to us as part of a huge donation of yarn. We were awe-struck by her…her…well, just her! She was huge! She was pink! She was a ball of yarn!

Gertrude and Emmy

Gertrude and Emmy

Since then, we’ve discovered she’s more than that. She’s a problem solver extraordinaire. She’s honest and to the point. She tells it like it is and doesn’t pull her punches. She can fix the most hideous tangle, slap you silly if you’re feeling stitching unsureness, and drink most of us under the table without a thread out of place. We couldn’t miss this opportunity to make her the newest Stitchette.

Gertrude and Marion

Gertrude and Marion

Every fortnight, in the Stitch and Bitch London newsletter, Gertrude will be answering your yarn-related questions as only she knows how in Ask Gertrude.

If you have any problems you need a solution to, drop her a line and Gertrude will do her best to answer them.

Ask Gertude. Go on.

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