A “stitch and bitch” brings knitters together to produce their craft while talking about life
A Stitch and Bitch session was held at Loyola’s Art Hive on Nov. 21, organized by CJLO station manager Francella Fiallos The event aimed to build a community among CJLO volunteers and Concordia University students.
The term Stitch and Bitch was initially coined in the 1950s. Participants teach newcomers, share tips and tricks on how to improve each others’ skills, and of course, bitch about anything and everything. Even though the event is knitting-oriented, anyone with a craft project, from crocheting to scrap-booking, is welcome to join.
Fiallos said she was inspired to create the event because most volunteers at the station rarely get to meet each other. After their shows, DJs usually leave right away. She wanted to create a sense of community between CJLO members and encourage all university students to come hang out and learn about the station.
“We’ve expanded it to anybody that wants to come because we’re a community radio,” said Fiallos. “We’re open to new volunteers and people learning about the station and just people who want to have a nice time.”
Fiallos came up with the idea following her passion for the art of knitting. “Knitting is one of my pastimes, it’s one of my favourite things to do, so I thought I would start [these events] with something I love doing,” she said.
Fiallos started knitting after her therapist recommended it as an activity that could help cope with the idleness of winter and the negative effects of seasonal blues. Knitting has been Fiallos’s main hobby for two years now. Her knitting achievements include mittens, scarves, and her current project, a long grey blanket requiring advanced knitting techniques.
“I just found it such a very meditative, cathartic, enjoyable activity that makes you feel really productive and really balanced,” said Fiallos. She described how the idea is to keep your hands moving but your mind concentrated and still; the activity has a calming and satisfying effect because you can produce something as you sit down, relax and listen to music, a podcast or, if you’re a pro, watch TV.
Knitters were offered how-to instructions, knitting needles and plenty of different colours of yarn, donated by Concordia University’s Centre for Creative Reuse.
Even though everyone’s eyes were on their knitting needles and yarn, conversation came effortlessly. Frustrations some were having trying to get their stitches to work turned into rants about school, work, bad choices, their personal lives, childhood memories, and funny habits. Members flowed in and out of topics, as they changed from quiet pauses to focus on their projects to laughter.
Stitch and Bitch seems to work for any personality. For introverts, the knitting project provides a shield and allows you to engage only when you want to. Others fill in when you don’t have much to say. For extroverts, your audience is open for conversation and won’t be moving any time soon. The CJLO volunteers are easy going and helpful, and the event proved to be a good way to engage with and meet other students.
While this event was centred around knitting, Fiallos said the purpose of events like these is about building the community and introducing Concordia students to the CJLO radio. Any future events will feature new activities to promote that end.
“Right now it’s a Stitch and Bitch, maybe next time it will just be like a very good old-fashioned pizza night or movie night,” Fiallos said.
Photos by Laurence B.D.