We’ve discovered some very creative people living in Chiswick, who like nothing better than getting together for a chat while they knit or sew. It’s a good way to meet like-minded people, make something unique and motivate you to finish that project that might have been lanquishing in the sewing drawer for months.
Stitch Knit and Natter, Gunnersbury Park
Clare (pictured above), a Graphic and textile Designer from Kingston runs the sessions on one Friday a month. In February she will bring along a Valentine project or demonstrate rag rugging. “ I love the sessions because it’s open to everyone, so it brings people together. Anyone can come to it. You don’t have to knit or sew, just come along and learn a new skill and meet some friendly people.”
Stephanie and Tina
Stephanie, a Social Housing officer from Brentford, came across the group while helping to make a banner for Processions, last year’s mass participation artwork celebrating 100 years of votes for women. She brought along a bright blue jumper which she had started a month ago. Stephanie’s interest in knitting was inspired by a “nerdy TV programme called Firefly”. This short-lived “space western” TV show, created by Joss Whedon, built a cult following. In it a gun-happy, tough guy named Jayne was sent a knitted yellow and orange hat from his mother. He was so thrilled that he wore it throughout the episode. ”It looked quite absurd,” recalled Stephanie, “So I made the hat for my brother” the devoted sister continued, “and my interest in knitting spiralled from there!”
Jacquie, also from Brentford, sews tapestries and embroidery and this was her third session at Gunnersbury. “Today I’ve brought my Noah’s Ark tapestry as, although I have an interest and intent, I’m just not motivated enough to finish it at home. I started this when my niece and nephew were born.” And when was that? “7 years ago(!) So you can see I need a bit of motivation. Just coming out and meeting other people stimulates me to get on with it. Different people come every time and it’s very welcoming. I work four days a week in town, so this is my day off.” Jacquie combines it with taking her dog for a walk in the park. “It’s really nice to come into the museum, it’s a lovely room. People bring a variety of projects which help give you ideas or Clare helps them with one she has brought.”
Yuni, who had arrived from Tokyo, Japan, just three months earlier, lives in Ealing and came across the club when dropping her son off at a school nearby. “This is my second time and I am working on a decoration. I love knitting, usually scarves and gloves, and saw the poster and thought it was a good way to make friends.
Tina, from Ealing, originally Poland, was making another of Clare’s projects, a flamingo, for her daughter. “She is mad about flamingos!” “In Poland you are more exposed to crafts. My father made things and our neighbours came around and sewed, so this feels like home from home.” Tina, the most experienced knitter in the group, explained “ I was in the fashion business for many years and worked for top designers like Debbie Bliss. Now my daughters are designers and work for the BBC and Sweaty Betty.” This was her first time at Gunnersbury, and she was attracted to the company” I’ve recently retired and was looking for something nice to do, rather than be at home on my own. It’s nice to be with people who have similar interests.”
Stitch, Knit and Natter are getting together this Friday, 8 February, 10:30 – 12:00, Gunnersbury Park Museum, Gunnersbury Park House, Popes Lane, London. W5 4NH Age 18+ No need to book, just turn up on the day Price £2, including refreshments.
You can also get together with creative, crafty types at Chiswick Library’s Needle & Natter every Monday between 3pm and 4.30pm. A small group get together, quite informally, there is no charge, to meet for a chat while they pursue their craft project. Erika, a retired midwife, originally from Sudetanland, was knitting a scarf when I popped in, and she had been joined by Catherine, a microbiologist, who was also knitting, but also enjoys bringing her embroidery to the sessions. They congregate around a table by a window and make their own designs while having a chat. All are welcome.
Erika at Chiswick Library’s Needle & Natter
A bit further afield this Sunday 10 February, is an embroidery workshop run by feminist artist Jess de Wahls in the fabulously named Brixton’s Bureau Of Silly Ideas. Half the proceeds from this three hour workshop will go to Bloody Good Period, to help in their quest to tackle universal period poverty. You don’t need any previous embroidery knowledge, and materials will be provided on the day. More information here.
And there is a Vagestic Embroidery Workshop at Soho Theatre on Saturday 16 March 12-5pm. While exploring the parts of women’s anatomy which are often overlooked because of stigma or ignorance, you will learn all the clit-stitches and muff-fluff embroidery techniques you could possibly need to fully customise your own creation. Plus there will be quizzes and information on anatomy, history and the most random facts and stories about our beloved body-part! Half of the proceeds go towards funding the world’s first Vagina Museum. More details here.