Stitch Featured in The Sunday Business Post
Ladies who lunch are making way for chicks who knit at Dublin’s new creative cafe, Stitch.
Where once the nation’s sitting rooms were filled each evening with the sound of clicking needles, there is now only the blare of television. Because knitting, once considered an art, is a dying craft.
But as the country’s economic woes bring us to a new understanding of the old adage of ‘needs must’, some handy people are discovering knitting as away to embrace recession chic, update their wardrobes and learn a whole new set of interesting skills in the process.
Knitting might be scoffed at as the preserve of grannies, but at the launch of Stitch, Dublin’s new knitting shop and knit cafe, the crowd is anything but dowdy. A DJ plays tunes while enthusiastic groups of all ages gather around the latest pattern books, sipping tea from vintage china cups, swapping tips and eating iced buns.
The shop, in Beaumont on Dublin’s northside, has been launched by sisters Frances Dalton and Teresa McCormack as a social networking spot for knitters, both new and dyed-in-the-wool. ‘‘My mother had five girls and made all our clothes and my father was an art metal worker, so I come from a creative family,” says Dalton. ‘‘We were all taught to knit in school, but children aren’t taught it any more; it’s a dying art.”
For those who wish to continue the craft, the supply of raw materials is limited. Dalton laments the fact that wool departments in stores such as Arnotts and Clerys have closed down due to lack of business, making it more difficult for knitters to develop their craft. ‘‘But I knew that there were still people knitting, so I wanted to create a space where they could come out and knit and swap ideas,” she says.
Dalton is tapping into trends across the US and Britain, where people have again begun to pick up the needles and learn to knit one and purl two. Knitting networks such as Stitch ‘n’ Bitch, Knit Chicks and Knitaholics are a few groups using the internet to fuel its resurgence, and dozens of new knitting groups have sprung up around Ireland.
With phenomena such as the Knitting Olympics and the annual Worldwide Knit in Public (WWKiP) Day, people are becoming more aware of the benefits of ‘slow clothing’ as an antidote to fast, disposable fashion. Handcrafting your own knitted items fits neatly with the movement across many areas of life to slow down, re-use and recycle.
Knitter Rosie O’Reilly, who is also a member of the environmental and economic fashion think-tank Re-dress, says the craft is 50 per cent economy and 50 per cent creativity. ‘‘Frugality is important right now,” she says. ‘‘People want to feel that they can make and mend their own clothing.”