The I Knit London knitting group is a social group meeting in pubs and public spaces mostly in London and occasionally in other venues across the UK and overseas. The first meeting took place at The Beehive pub in Vauxhall, London in December 2005. The club meets every week and takes the same format as many other knitting clubs, knitting groups and knitting circles as a place for knitters and crocheters to come together socially to share and enjoy the craft. Although using their own name, the I Knit London knitting club is one of the many similar groups including Stitch 'n Bitch, Knit & Natter and Knit 2gether, and in the long tradition of community and social craft circles.
Attendance is open to crafters, knitters and crocheters of any age and level of expertise and is free. Notifications of meetings are sent each Monday via an e-newsletter and also posted in the club's Facebook and MySpace groups and on their website.
Following the knitting club, I Knit London opened a market stall at Old Spitalfields Market operating on Sundays from February 2006 to September 2006. In September 2006 their shop, also called I Knit London, opened in a residential Victorian square in Vauxhall, south London. In March 2008 the shop was closed and relocated to newer premises in the historic market street, Lower Marsh at Waterloo, London.
The shop stocks a range of materials for knitters and crocheters, including varying types of yarn; knitting needles, crochet hooks and accessories; patterns and books. The shop is regularly used as a venue for the knitting club and other events, including classes, film nights, a book group (The Kniterati), late night opening and is the first knitting shop in the UK with a licenced bar selling alcoholic drinks.
The IKL shop is described as 'a club, shop and sanctuary for knitters'.
Knit A River was a campaign to raise awareness of the 1.1 billion people without access to safe water. Between May 2006 and July 2007 I Knit London joined with WaterAid to mobilise knitters worldwide to create the world's first knitted petition - a huge river of knitted blue squares. The purpose of the project was to create something to show off at WaterAid events as a means to grab public attention and to engage people with their vital work. Over 100,000 squares were created for the project which was used throughout the year at various venues and events.
In May 2007 a large section of the knitted river was carried by demonstrators along London's Albert Embankment and into Parliament Square as a protest to the British government ahead of the G8 summit in Germany. A small section was handing in to the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, at Number 10 Downing Street. In July 2007 the longest piece of the knitted river was used as part of the Watch This Space festival at the Royal National Theatre in London. Pieces of the project were draped across the terraces of the building, from the top of the Lyttelton fly-tower cascading down into Theatre Square, where WaterAid volunteers were on hand to talk to passers-by and hand out literature about the charity's work.
On 11th November, 2007 I Knit London hosted the first UK Stitch 'n Bitch Day, held at the Royal National Hotel in Bloomsbury, London. The show featured a number of workshops, exibiotions, entertainment and a marketplace offering knitting yarns and accessories from a number of independent suppliers. The event was notable for the first UK appearance of Debbie Stoller , author of the Stitch 'n Bitch book series, and the official UK launch of the fourth in that series, Son of Stitch 'n Bitch. Other designers, including Jane Waller, Sally Muir, Joanna Osborne, Jean Moss and Jane Brocket held workshops alongside contributions from Stitch and Bitch London , performance poet Peter Wyton , DJs The Shellac Sisters, Amy Lamé and comedy duo Girl & Dean and a number of charity projects.
I Knit Day 2008 is the follow-up to UK Stitch 'n Bitch Day, to be held at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster, London on 6th September, 2008. The event is similar in style to the previous year with a number of workshops, exhibitions and entertainment. The event played host to best-selling author and blogger Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka The Yarn Harlot) making her first UK appearance, and featured contributions from other notable knitwear designers; Sasha Kagan, Erika Knight, Sandra Polley, Jane Sowerby, Jane Waller and Hélène Magnusson. Like its predecessor, the event was sponsored by the online knitting magazine www.knitonthenet.com.
I Knit London have established the first ever awards for the promotion of knitting in film and television with the light-hearted Knitting in Film and Television Awards (KNIFTAs). The awards are split into four categories; Best Knitting Scene, Worst Knitting Scene, Best Knitwear and the Outstanding Contribution to Knitting in Film and Television. Nominations can be submitted by the general public and the winners will be announced at I Knit Day 2008.
During summer 2008, a new project was launched to promote and celebrate British wool and British sheep. The Great British Sheep is a large wooden sculpture, standing approximately 5foot tall, built and designed by puppet-maker Yvonne Stone. It's wire frame will be covered with knitted and crocheted swatches, squares, ringlets and other shapes which have been made by members of the public at a number of festivals and fetes. All the wool used in the project has been sourced from UK farmers and yarn producers and is entirely made up of 100% British wool. With over 60 breeds native to the UK it is hoped that this unique 'knitted fleece' will contain wool from all of the sheep. The sculpture has been on display at I Knit Day 2008, a knitting show in central London in September 2008 and also as part of The National Theatre's Watch This Space summer festival of outdoor events on London's South Bank on 5th July 2008 On the weekend of 18th July 2008 the project spent three days at the Camp Bestival festival, held at Lulworth Castle in Dorset as part of I Knit London's knitting tent.
I Knit London regularly organise and take part in other craft-related events across the UK. They have contributed, or will do so, to festivals, fetes and exhibitions including the Dutch Stitch 'n Bitch Day (2006), Camp Bestival (2008), The Knitting and Stitching Show (2007), Unravel (2006), World Wide Knit in Public Day (2006 to present), as well as one-off craft events and booksignings held at the IKL shop.