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.
Inside the quiet gallery,
They tame the cord for all to see,
And turn it into poetry,
Pinched from the fair Shalott.
And up and down the people go,
While there a woolly lily grows,
With soft blue water down below,
Its roots grown from Shalott.
Four fibrous woolly handmade towers,
Conjured up by knitting powers,
To show the place that once embower’d,
The Lady of Shalott.
And from the painting’s world there came
A candelabra all aflame
To light the yarnstorm in the name
Of the missing Shallot.
And at the head a mighty steed
From the tangled cord was freed
To give then noble knight god speed,
Twas brave Sir Lancelot!
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.
And when the yarnstorm all was done
They beckoned passers by to join
In weaving magic of their own
To celebrate Shallot.
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.”
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 2012. All 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.