Friday, 23 October 2009

Outcasts Banner Pattern

It's been a busy Autumn so far for us at Outcasts HQ and our knitting-in-public appearances at IKnit Weekender in London, and LMEYD in Reading, presented the perfect opportunity to finally knit an 'Outcasts!' banner - after all, there's nothing like a deadline or two!

Knitted bunting was our favoured style of banner so after drawing up lettering charts we started on the stash. Exposing our inner yarn snobs to the suitcase of banished acrylics in the corner proved extremely painful for some but resulted in remarkably quick knitting! and a very effective banner. The real gain for us though was the sheer fun of creating something together.

A free pattern and blank chart for your own personal use is available to download here. We'd love to see what you create with it so drop us a post here or on our Ravelry pattern page here.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Knit a Poem

The Poetry Society celebrates it's Centinary this year and part of the celebrations include the world's first giant knitted poem.

Over 700 knitters from around the world are getting involved by knitting letters and blank squares in readiness for the grand unveiling of the top secret poem in October.

Outcast have been knitting squares and we're proud to announce that next
Wednesday 9th September will be a special 'Knit Togther' night of sewing some of these squares plus some extras to take up with us to Iknit. The squares will be cerimoniously handed over to the lovely Poetry Society who have a stand at the event.

Join us for some poetry related knitting and sewing up, a cup of tea and slice of cake at Jelly in Reading from 7pm next Wednesday.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Wearable Cupcakes

I'm so excited by Mika's flamboyant knitware in his new music video. I just want to show everyone shouting 'Wow -look at this! Isn't it the coolest thing ever!' I think non-knitters might be a bit confused by my enthusiasm -but hopefully you'll understand!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

1st Wedding Anniversary

I'm still overwhelmed by the amazing Outcast talent that made my wedding day feel so special -Thank you!

Fabulous Flowers, Lively Music, Handknitted Accessories, Beautiful Bunting and Delicious Cake

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Friday, 3 July 2009

Happy Birthday

Amazing knitter, purveyor of scrumptious cakes,
generous entertainer, formidable artist
and above all dearest friend.
From all of us Outcasts

Monday, 22 June 2009

The formidable world of Justine Holt

One Sunday morning just before noon on the first day of summer, Alabamawhirly, Melarno, the formidable twins an I found ourselves eating strawberries and amaretti biscuits in the garden of the artist Justine Holt. Justine lives in a beautiful cottage in Pangbourne where she makes delicate beautiful paintings on blank gesso and exquisite pieces of sewing, stitching and embroidery. She shared a view into her world with warmth and generosity, into her studio which is filled with light, art work, books, fabrics, and pieces of crockery all arranged like a memory trail on a canvas painted in Farrow & Ball. The studio and cottage are surrounded by a magical garden where old tools have found a resting nest and an empty bottle of what used to be a Neal's Yard concoction is now used as a lighthouse for the fairies who gather to drink tea from the lettuce leaves, wearing knitted knee-high socks and ribbons that they've just purchased at Liberty's while they were looking for summer hats. And for those of us who are not fairies and were not amazingly lucky to view her work in person, Justine's art is available on

Saturday, 13 June 2009

WWKIP Weekends

It's World Wide Knit In Public Weekend

Join us for some yarn bombing, knitting in public and eating cake from 12.30 pm on Sunday 14th June in Caversham in the park by the river near the kids playground. Maybe it won't be too wet to sit on the grass and knit some fuzzy wings for the bees, little summer skirts for the butterflies, evening cosies for the railings and fluffy scarves for the trees, and have a knitted knatter until dusk.

Friday, 29 May 2009

SHOW TWO at the Royal College of Art

Date for your diary for the forthcoming MA textile graduate exhibition - Open from 26 June – 5 July (closed 3 July). Open 10am to 6pm daily.

The event will also showcase work from Animation, Architecture, Communication Art & Design, Conservation, Critical and Historical Studies, Design Products, Design Interactions, Fashion Footwear and Accessories, History of Design, Industrial Design Engineering and Vehicle Design.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

We should do this

Words and knitting, we should especially do it as justbefore this someone was telling me poem about knitting by Adrian Mitchell, they were relaying it over the phone so this is meant to be.

I've sent of for a pack so we should be on course...

Knit a Poem

Celebrate the Poetry Society's centenary, by helping to create the world's first giant knitted poem.

Knitters everywhere are invited to knit a poem one letter at a time. The final poem, in all its knitted glory will be revealed at the end of the centenary year.

Packs will be available at the beginning of May, featuring knitting templates, and instructions. There will be opportunities for experienced knitters and beginners alike.

To register your interest, send your contact details to:

Rebecka Mustajarvi

Email: officeassistant AT
(please use @ instead of AT when sending your email).

Or (if you don't have email)


Rebecka Mustajarvi
Knit a Poem
The Poetry Society
22 Betterton Street

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Back to back

Seen as part of Stroud textiles festival – an attempt to knit a man’s sweater, from sheep’s back to man’s back, in a day. It was part of the international Back to Back Challenge, an annual competition where teams from all over the world hand-shear a sheep, and attempt to spin and knit the sweater faster than any other team.

There were two sheep to be sheared [each accompanied by young lambs who presumably couldn’t be left behind]. They were from a flock of organic Lleyns, lent from Highgrove. And to fit in with the competition rules they had to have been reared entirely outside. The shearer chose one with a dense fleece and one with looser, so that the spinners could choose. I think they went for the denser one as being easier to spin quickly.

The team was made up of seven ladies, not counting the shearer, and they were all able to spin and to knit, and so could swop jobs during the day. All participating teams had to follow a fixed sweater pattern, and the finished woolly would be inspected for dropped stitches and deviations from the pattern, which would mean being disqualified.

At nine o’clock sharp, the shearer started. And at seven minutes past nine, there was enough wool spun for the first knitter to cast on. The sheep was looking pretty ragged – not a neat job at all, but super-fast. And then all day, in a gazebo on the lawn outside the Museum in the Park, the seven ladies took turns to spin and to knit. The wool was coarse and unwashed, and so scratchy and hard to work with. A friendly masseur spent the afternoon rubbing their aching shoulders and arms.

In 2008, the winning team was from Toronto and finished their sweater in five hours, 55 minutes and 50 seconds. The Stroud team wouldn’t have beaten this as they were still at work at 4.30 when I left, but they were hoping to be done by early evening. The finished sweater is being silent-auctioned to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support charity.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

famous people and knit night

You know that emma is a knit superstar, Kevin McCloud stroking her cosy and all that, well now skein queen is having a trunk show all to herself this weekend at socktopus from 12-5pm. Just drool over that yarn....

If anything is left (LOL!) then the queen will bring some for us outcasts to look at next Wednesday.

In the meantime, knit night is on tonight, without yarn to drool over from Skein Queen, from 7-9.30 at jelly workshops, Old Town Hall - everyone is welcome

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

being inspired

This little village has been in the news this week.

It reminds me of somewhere I used to go to as a child, Bekonscot, which I loved. This may be even better as it is knitted! The village of Mersham in Kent was created by 40 knitters over a 23 year period. The work will be sold off piece by piece to raise money for the village hall.

More info available here

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


Image from

You think Alpacas are cute - have a look at these fellas - if you don't know already these are called Vicunas. Closely related to Alpacas, Vicunas have a fine soft hair which is celebrated for its insulation properties. It is said that Vicuna yarn is the finest and luxurious natural wool in the world.

Vicunas are wild animals and unlike the Alpaca they are too shy to domesticate. A Vicuna can only produce a small amount of yarn each year and capturing the wild animals to obtain the fibre can be a little tricky. Peruvian communities join together to capture the animals by forming a large circle around them, banging the ground to stun them and slowing closing in on them or luring them into traps. Once sheared the animals are released unharmed but due to this time consuming and potentially stressful event for the Vicuna, the animals are only sheared every 3 to 4 years. You may be disappointed to hear that you won't be able to get this yarn at your local John Lewis. As you've probably already guessed this yarn is very expensive. Vicuna fabrics can range from £1000 to £3000 per sq yard.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Join the Slow Art and Craft Revolution

It's time to slow down - so say the people behind the 'taking time: Craft and the Slow Revolution' project at the Southbank Centre (27th April). They say 'the revival of craft is central to current arts practice, and notions of slowness are epitomised by crafts and craftsmanship.' I must say...I agree with them. There is nothing better after a hetic day than sitting quietly with your knitting with a freshly brewed pot of tea and reflecting on your day. Knitting and making a good cup of tea are crafts which cannot be rushed. They take time.

The 'Slow revolution' project questions whether our 'fast paced', 'mass produced', 'wasteful' lifestyles are good for the human condition. If we just slowed down could we create a better world for ourselves? I'm willing to give it a go!

At the Southbank Centre in London they hosting a series of events entitled 'Slow Down London - living in real time festival' from the 24th April to the 4th May. The events include a Slow Food Market and tips on Slow Travel.

With thanks to IanT for sharing this event with me.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

The birth of Grumpo

Grumpo arrived on Easter Eve. First there was his foot then his hat sat on his head and the boy was made. He looked at his mum then moved his black eyes around and went on a merry-go-round in his new home. I think he liked what he saw but he could not show it because his mum made him look cross permanently, which made him very grumpy from the start. But in his heart of hearts he knew he was happy because he was wearing a bubble cardi to make him handsome and a yellow scarf to make him warm and a half-waistcoat to make him fancy and maybe, one day, his mum might stitch a smile on him just for special occasions. At that point Grumpo knew he was ready to take the world.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

three good things

There are many good things but here are three things that may delight you

1.Knitwit aka Emma Bradbury is in the Grand Designs magazine - she is becoming more and more famous, will she no longer be an outcast?

2. This article here about the tenacity of Italians and doing something whilst you are waiting to be rescued. Within the terrible news of loss of life, there is this wonderful story. There was much scurrying of emails between the Outcasts and one of them said I was telling the girls a few weeks ago that I'd head for jelly with my knitting bag in a time of crisis

3. Look here at something amazing

Monday, 30 March 2009

The Mystery of the Giant Pink Rabbit

A giant pink rabbit lies on a mountain at the foot of the Italian Alps. It lies there like a toy left behind by a child, with its eyes and mouth wide open in disbelief at how quickly it was replaced and forgotten. But the bunny was not discarded nor forgotten, it was made to be cherished and remembered. Its makers, the Gelitin Viennese art collective, placed it on the 5,000ft hill in 2005 after five years of intensive knitting to look as 'if knitted by giant grandmothers'. The creature is 200ft-long and was made with a soft waterproof material and stuffed with straw. It will stay on its back on the Colletto Fava mountain near the village of Artesina until 2025 hoping to be discovered, touched, climbed over, cuddled, visited by the sheep, fed by the villagers, worshipped by new acolytes, cuddled by the grass, kissed by the bees, washed by the rain, blanketed by the snow or just looked at from a plane or from Google Earth.

The full story of the pink Rabbit can be found on

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Cake at the bottom of the Rainbow?

This is fabulous, I love it and saw it whilst perusing the internet for St Patrick's Day goodness.... Full details on how to make one can be found here - go on, you know we want one : )

And if you are looking for other St Patrick's Day goodness (the Rainbow is a tenuous link), see what mastery has been created here by quietraine

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Is March the month of knitting genius?

Do you think the odds are against us if we are not March babies or is it just a peculiarity that so many knitters have their birthdays in March? On Ravelry last week three of my online friends were celebrating their birthdays.

This week real knitty friends and family from the real world are celebrating their birthdays.

Firstly Ma Knitwit (photo above, front right), a knitty genius like her daughter (photo below)... knitwit also likes beer!

Then there is Bombella,(photo below) who designs and makes her own stuff and celebrates her birthday today with my mum (bottom photo, she's the one on the left!)

Happy Birthday to you all

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

something to listen to whilst you're knititng

Here you will be able to listen again and again for up to 7 days

Knit One Purl One by Pippa Gladhill, read by Pippa Haywood
Funny and tender account of a marriage, a series of summer holidays and the importance of knitting

Radio 4, 3.30pm

See you at knit night from 7pm this Wednesday

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

It was such a perfect day, I'm glad I spent it with you.

Wednesdays had become my favourite day of the week and then last Saturday happened and now I am caught between which is the perfect day.

Friday night, Debbie (skeinqueen)and knitchard hammond met me at The Maltings to do the initial set-up for Unravel (see post below). We hung the brand new large swanky SQ banner and I made random little areas for our Museum of the Mundane. It was quite quiet, hardly anyone was setting up but the reality was setting in.

Early Saturday morning (7.30!!!) I picked up wildfennel and melarno at the train station for our drive to Farnham with our few extra bits and pieces including some knitted cotton wool balls that Mel had whipped up. We got to Farnham, met the Royal Highness SQ and helped her unload her car which was full of yarn, there were no room for passengers in there.

Were we in a panic? Nope, calm as you like we just put a few labels up and then were sat down by 8.30am to start knitting Debbie's Ten O'Clock scarf (pattern available here). The only thing we were waiting for was the urn to get warm enough for a cuppa.

SQ's stall looked fantastic and it was hard to pick favourites, so unwisely no purchases were made before the doors opened. Then the doors opened and here was not much left. kiknits arrived and we all just chatted to people, answered random knitting dilemmas and just had a giggle. Before we knew it, it was 5pm, both wildfennel and melarno had ploughed a long way through their scarves and Debbie did not have much left to sell.

It was an inspiring day, bumping in to old friends, making new ones and just hanging out knitting - a perfect day.

Friday, 20 February 2009

We will be Unravelling

We are going to be at Unravel this Saturday, you'll find us there with some of the mundane stuff we've made, we'll be chatting, knitting and just generally having the best day ever

see you there (and the gnome will be there too)

Monday, 26 January 2009

Wool and the Gang - too wool for school!!!

Super groovy knitting kits and yarns - go check it out:

Wool and the Gang

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Is Yarbombing the new graffiti art?

One idle afternoon, while I was entertaining my eyes on the computer, I glanced at the various cables popping out from under the screen and from the top of the mouse. I convinced myself that they looked quite uninspiring and that maybe I should use some of my light blue yarn and knit a cable cover with my Knitting Nancy. Little did I know that I was on the verge of trespassing into the world of Yarnbombing.
According to the legend, Yarnbombing started in the US when Texas-based clothes shop owner Magda Sayeg created a website called Knitta Please.
The story goes that one day Sayeg looked at the door handle in her shop and decided to knit a cosy for it. After that the projects got bigger and started appearing in the streets of the UK just like true graffiti art. Sayeg's latest project was a double-decker bus covered in knitted patches, which took her one week to finish with the help of a small team.
So next time you look at your TV and start thinking about bespoke knitwear to cover it, remember that you are not alone and that there is a group of knitters out there who are ready to wrap the world into yarn and they are unstoppable.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The Knitted Brain

Reading about Karen Norberg's knitted brains for the Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art made me think. Can we really reproduce anything in the knitted and/or crocheted form? Why would we want to do this when photography and computers can render a more accurate image of what surrounds us, which can also be manipulated invariably. Maybe it is because by knitting and crocheting we go through the experience of making and assimilating the progress of the object through our hands. True the copy is not as accurate as it could be when it is replicated by digital means, but the sensation of the yarn and the needles through our hands does make up for any imperfection. After all who wants to see another perfect image of the real world when the knitted one can be so exciting.

Images are from:

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Knit resolutions

New Year, new projects to come and a new optimism for those UFO's (Unfinished Objects languishing somewhere quietly)

Some things stay the same, we knit, we meet. It has felt such a long time since our last knit and natter (in fact it was the night at Picnic on the 17th December)

We are meeting this week at jelly from 7pm and next week there is no knit night so get the knit whilst you can

Please don't let it snow so we can all get there....

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Christmas Knitting

My main Christmas knit was a Lace Ribbon scarf for my mum (Billy Brown on Ravelry). It was a surprise so I couldn't show you until now.From my mummy I recieved a beautiful pair of Mosey legwarmers. Absolutely gorgeous! 

My daughter who is two now calls the legwarmers 'nana's knitting'. When my brother-in-law was trying on his plain garter stich scarf (another Christmas knit but too boring to include a photo) she kept trying to take it off him saying 'mummy's knitting'. She must have thought he was trying to play with my knitting -as she often does!