Half Sick of Stitching: Knit the City take over Tate Britain

Posted by on Oct 9, 2012 in Deadly Knitshade, London, Permission to Yarnstorm, The Fastener, UK, Workshops, Yarnstorms | 2 comments

On London’s lazy river lies

an art museum known worldwide,

That houses art of many kinds

Including Waterhouse’s pride

The Lady of Shalott.


To Tate the sneaky stitchers lope,

Taking a single knitted rope,

To weave it into what they hope,

Shows traces of Shalott.

A box of delights

Inside the quiet gallery,

They tame the cord for all to see,

And turn it into poetry,

Pinched from the fair Shalott.

Tis a yarnstorm!

Tis a yarnstorm!

And up and down the people go,

While there a woolly lily grows,

With soft blue water down below,

Its roots grown from Shalott.

Where for art the frogs?

Four fibrous woolly handmade towers,

Conjured up by knitting powers,

To show the place that once embower’d,

The Lady of Shalott.

Tiny towering towers


And from the painting’s world there came

A candelabra all aflame

To light the yarnstorm in the name

Of the missing Shallot.

Let there be woolly light

And at the head a mighty steed

From the tangled cord was freed

To give then noble knight god speed,

Twas brave Sir Lancelot!

Why for the long woolen face?

The knight’s gloved hand emerged there too

Clutching a bugle which he blew,

Part of the growing woolly view

Of pieces of Shalott.


And last their golden craftwork writes

“But in her web she still delights

To weave the mirror’s magic sights…”

And there it shone beneath Tate’s lights

To tell tales of Shallot.

Purly poetry


And when the yarnstorm all was done

They beckoned passers by to join

In weaving magic of their own

To celebrate Shallot.

A comely crowd of crafters


A woolly web is woven


The wonder is complete

When all was made and ends were tied 

They put their miles of cord aside

And left the web to go outside

“I’m half sick of stitching,” sighed

The Stitchers of Shalott.


And folks that wandered in their wake

Marvelled at the yarnstormed make

And said “I hope they got some cake

Those Stitchers of Shallot.”



*bows deeply*


*waves farewell*


Half Sick of Stitching was yarnstormed by Knit the City’s Deadly Knitshade and The Fastener, with lovely lilypads conjured and countless lengths of cord churned out by Shorna the Dead, and more crafty cord conjured by Lady Loop.

The yarnstorm was part of  Tate Loud, an interactive art event by Punchdrunk at London’s Tate Britain on September 22nd 2012All artworks were inspired by the Lady of Shalott: an 1888 oil-on-canvas painting by the English Pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse. The painting was absent from the museum and our pieces were the traces it left behind.

Every single piece of the Half Sick of Stitching yarnstorm is made from handmade knitted cord. Cool, no?

We’d like to thank every one who dropped in to our free workshop and handmade bits of our woolly spider web, and the lovely Stitch Sages from Stitch London who helped pass on the stitching skills.

Apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson for turning his poem woolly. Read the full Lady of Shalott poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson over here.


  1. you maybe don’t believe this, but this afternoon I saw a French-knitting-machine in a shop. It costs € 17,95 !!!, greetings and yarnlove from Betty

  2. I forgot to tell you all that I like your work very much!!!!!