Channelling Granny: Why Knitting is taking London by storm.

Image: Jenia M
Image: Jenia M.

Just because we are in 2014, it does not mean that art and creativity is all about making apps or that anonymous graffiti on the side of buildings. No: creativity has gone old school- and I’m not talking about spirograph or glitter glue. I am referring to the tangled web which is the world of knitting. Hand in hand with the now ‘mainstream’ trend of vintage fashion, it seems that no longer is it enough to merely dress like granny, but an increasing number of youngsters are taking to acting like a granny too.

Programmes such as The Great British Sewing Bee and Kirsty Allsop’s series have brought crafting and creativity to the forefront, with knitting and sewing capturing the nation’s imagination. Perhaps it is the satisfaction of actually making something we would buy and wear, or maybe it is another thrifty solution to being fashionable in the recession. I personally find it extremely rewarding to be able to turn a ball of wool into a Thing. (Because let’s face it – at the start it is rarely a scarf or a hat, or whatever it was meant to be).

Yes. I have too been converted to a granny before my time. Instead of hitting Dalston on a Saturday night, I could potentially be found on a sofa with a cup of Earl Grey (in a vintage cup and saucer, naturally) with the Bake Off on iplayer and a ball of wool and set of needles in my hands. Since being shown the basics, YouTube and a few elderly family friends have taught me the joys of knitting, and I was chuffed to have even knitted Christmas presents.

Admittedly, hats, scarves and bags are my limits so far, but I am building myself up to creating something from my new book ’20knitted aliens’ (blatantly a best seller). The repetitive actions, the time away from television and work, and the fact that you can be sociable with it, renders knitting a highly therapeutic pastime, in my opinion. And it seems that it has taken London by storm.

From pubs and cafes holding craft evenings to knit and bitch groups across the city, it is obvious that an increasing number of people are getting into knitting, and no longer is it an embarrassing grannyfied skill, but an enviable, social and fun thing to do. Places such as ‘I Knit London’ in Waterloo, offers classes and a regular knitting group for like-minded people to craft together. Their ‘Sunday KnitRoast’ combines knitting with a pub dinner on the last Sunday of every month,
which, sounds like a match made in heaven, provided the wool stays away from the gravy.

Stitch London offers free weekly knitting events in Central London and considers themselves a ‘feisty but friendly stitching group’ – what more could you want? Drink Shop Do in Kings Cross can keep even the novice crafter entertained, with evenings which combine socialising, alcohol, and no doubt not taking yourself too seriously. Whether you fancy papier mache monster mash, tea towel screen printing or even making Lego robots, then head on over to this café/bar cum craft haven.

Knitting SOS in Stepney offers classes for beginners to experts, and if you want to stay close to home (or campus) the QM Knit-a-Soc welcomes new members. So there is no excuse: you’ve got the vintage fashion nailed, so it’s time to go vintage in your activities. Trust me, knitting and nattering is the new dancing and drinking. Needles at the ready, people.

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