Monday, June 15, 2009

Square 21: Stitch 'n' Bitch

Square 021

So here's the thing about World Wide Knit In Public Day: it actually extends over four days, two weekends. Count on knitters to be extravagant with excuses to get together and do what they like best. So if you missed it this weekend, check the website and see if there are any gatherings in your area on June 20 or 21.

Sunday afternoon Ashley and friends moved from the sidewalk outside her store to Royal City Park. When I arrived the place was crowded with families walking their dogs, and children scrambling in the playground. A group of eight people was sitting with their heads down in the generous shade of a tree. I couldn't see any faces, so it was either the knitting group or a prayer meeting. I went over. Not a prayer meeting, thank God.

In the past 18 months I've connected with the knitting community in Guelph. First I started my own group at Out On The Shelf, the Rainbow Knitters. A few months ago I joined Anne Hunt's Monday night knitting group at Studio 490.

Then Ashley opened All Strung Out and started social groups and classes. Ashley is about 23, has an awesome Mom and Dad who help with the store, and is passionate about fibre.

One thing I liked immediately about Ashley's place is that she calls her Saturday afternoon knitting group "Knit and Chat". As my knitting friends will know, these groups are popularly called "Stitch and Bitch", and someone has written a series of books under the title.

I hate the B word. Okay, I realize it has been reappropriated by feminists and become less offensive, and if women want to do that, power to them. When gay men apply it to themselves and one another it is simply misogynist; it is not okay to perpetuate a stereotype in which all of a man's nastiest qualities are considered part of his feminine side. I get so sick of hearing it that I occasionally catch myself using the word as a verb. As a father of two lovely young women, I detest the B word. End of rant.

One way to win instant respect from me? Call your knitting group "Knit and Chat."

Ashley's boutique also sells some beautiful yarns. It tends to the high end, but a few less expensive brands are also available. She is especially keen on promoting locally crafted materials, so you will find a number of small-scale artisans featured.

For this square I used two yarns from All Strung Out. The red is one of Ashley's house yarns; the blue is Merino et Soie, a New Zealand line which has unfortunately been discontinued. I picked up the last skein of this lovely colour at a discount price.

It was good fun to hang out at the park together and knit, especially when complete strangers came over to say, "Oh yeah, this is National Knit Day, isn't it?" I'm enjoying getting to know the fun and eccentric regulars in this group. Why don't you drop in on a Saturday afternoon and join the knitting frenzy sometime? I know you'll like it.


  1. Hmmm Guelph is just a hop down the hiway from London. I see she has a spin and chat on sat from 3-5 when is the Knit ...or are we all together often I am on my own on Saturday when Carl has to work. It would be great fun to stop by and say hello. I am with you on the whole "bitch" thing. I am so tired of it. Good for her for stepping up and changing the concept of why knitters like to get together. I will drop you a line when I can make it and hopefully we can share a chat.

  2. Knit and Chat is 1 to 3, Spin and Chat 3 to 5, but I haven't noticed them hurrying to pull out spinning wheels at 3, so I don't suppose they discriminate much. Definitely drop me a line. I will be away this weekend, and summer Saturdays tend to get booked, but I won't be traveling a whole lot this summer. It would be fun to meet you!