April 23, 2003

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Superlist no. 780

Bedazzled!
Group crafting – for peace, with beer, over brunch, and more.

By Alexandra Kerl

DO YOU BE -Dazzle better with a pint in your system, punk music blaring, and plenty of company? Or do you do your best knitting in a quiet, book-filled environment with a few other folks around to give you purling tips? Somewhere out there a craft group that fits your needs is about to meet.

When the knitting craze hit a few years back, a slew of stitch 'n' bitch groups started popping up. Now these crafting-and-socializing sessions take place all over the Bay Area – in apartments, cafés, bars, and the public library. For some participants, craft is a religion (literally), for others, it's a way to pick up chicks, but for most, it's a productive and creative outlet.

The following list of craft groups meet publicly in San Francisco and the East Bay. Don't worry if you've never picked up a knitting needle or glue stick before. Plenty of folks would be happy to help you out – just bring your own supplies. And if you simply want company while you execute your collage/lamp-making/guitar-crafting/Shrinky Dink project, you're sure to find a group that suits you. Whatever your crafting style, it's time to get off the couch and find your people.

San Francisco

The Church of Craft is a "haven from judgment and anti-craft attitudes." Presided over by Rev. Trismegista Taylor, the monthly services attract gray-haired ladies and punky kids. Any craft is welcomed, from Be-Dazzling and Shrinky Dinking to more involved wood- and metalwork projects. While the United States wages war on Iraq, the group has been meeting on Saturdays in front of the Gap to craft for peace (1-4 p.m., Gap, Fifth Street and Powell, S.F.). During peace time third Sundays, e-mail for times, CELLspace, Parachute Loft, 2050 Bryant, S.F. For more information or to subscribe to the monthly e-mail list, e-mail trismegista@churchofcraft.org. www.churchofcraft.org.

Craft Brunch is a monthly stitch 'n' bitch brunch with rotating hosts. The food-and-craft fest was started by a group of friends who wanted to meet other crafty folks and find support and inspiration for their own projects. To get the next brunch location, go to the Web site and subscribe to the announcement list. And remember to RSVP. One Sunday a month, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., various locations. www.klodhopper.com/crafty.

Crafty Bitches are lesbian knitters who meet weekly to knit and drink. "Beer, pussy, and yarn! The Crafty Bitches are passionate about all three," knitting mistress Melanie says. They welcome all crafts and have had quilters, jewelry makers, cross-stitchers, and crocheters in attendance. Wed., 6:30 p.m., Lexington Club, 3464 19th St., S.F. E-mail craftybitches@yahoo.com.

When the weather gets depressing enough for a critical mass of participants to choose indoor knitting over other pursuits, Knit 'n' Hurl starts up at Sadie's Flying Elephant, a small neighborhood bar that serves good beer and strong drinks. Every other Tuesday, 7-9 p.m., Sadie's Flying Elephant, 491 Potrero, S.F. For more schedule information call (415) 551-7988.

The Knitting Group is the in-person spin-off of a Yahoo! knitting group. The list has about 150 people, and generally a half dozen or so show up. Wed., 7 p.m., Muddy's Coffee House, 1304 Valencia, S.F. E-mail pssst@parody.com.

For the past three years the S.F. Knitting Guild has been meeting on the first Sunday of the month at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library. There is no agenda and no dues, and the intimate group is open to all knitters. People bring their own projects, and beginners are encouraged to ask for help. The guild meets behind the information booth on the first floor. First Sundays, 1:30-4:30 p.m., San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, 100 Larkin, S.F. E-mail ematsui@sfchronicle.com.

Second Sunday Knitters meet just when you might guess. These experienced knitters are friendly, so don't be scared. Second Sundays, 2-5 p.m., Tully's Coffee, 2 Embarcadero Center, S.F. E-mail ffisch8330@aol.com.

Stitch 'n' Bitch at Annie's Cocktail Lounge was on hiatus for a while, but the group is back to knitting, drinking, and listening to good music. "Annie's is perfect because the jukebox is great and the drinks are strong," Stitch 'n' Bitch mastermind Kari Girarde says. They don't always get a lot of knitting done, she adds, but they have a good time. And sometimes a bartender will turn up the lights so they don't strain their eyes. Wed., Annie's Cocktail Lounge, 6:30 p.m., 15 Boardman Place, S.F. E-mail kgirarde@yahoo.com.

Throwup: queer and genderfuck handjobs is a monthly (or so) educational and skillshare event for the queer community. People share arts and crafts skills ranging from crochet to leather work. Previous events have attracted up to 40 people. Throwup's purpose is to "develop a sense of community while providing an opportunity to socialize outside the bar/club environment." For more information go to www.kithology.com/throwup.htm.

East Bay

With a book selection that includes Hip to Knit and a window display filled with hipster hand-warmers, Article Pract is not your grandma's yarn shop. The store offers a weekly open knitting session where knitters young and old are invited to gather for chatting and collaboration. The store also has a wonderful selection of fuzzy, stretchy, bright, and puffy yarn. Knitting session Wed., 5-7 p.m.; store hours Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m., 5010 Telegraph, Oakl. (510) 652-7435.

Though the Knitting Meanies can't figure out the difference between the five kinds of green tea Gaylord's serves, they enjoy meeting there. The small group welcomes other crafty folks and newcomers. Wed., 7 p.m., Gaylord's Caffe Espresso, 4150 Piedmont, Oakl. E-mail Captain Meanie at bunnyrivera@yahoo.com.

The East Bay Stitch 'n' Bitch congregates at the White Horse in Oakland. The bar is bumpin' at night, but on Sunday afternoons it becomes a good place to knit your hangover away. Though the group consists mostly of knitters, anyone with a needle or a hook is welcome. First Sundays, 2 p.m., 6651 Telegraph, Oakl. E-mail joyrach406@yahoo.com.