Stitch 'n Bitch
Stitch 'n Bitch is a phrase that has been used to refer to social knitting groups since at least World War II. Before the slang term “Stitch ‘n Bitch” was used, groups of women in the 1940s would join to knit and talk in organized Stitch and Bitch clubs. The term was further used in the 1980s as part of the book Social History of American knitting by Anne Macdonald. It is in 2003 that Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitters Handbook was published as the first in a series of best-selling instructional books on knitting and crochet all titled with the phrase Stitch 'n Bitch. It is as a result to the success of the books that the modern day knitting groups known as Stitch ‘n Bitch, have emerged in cities around the world. The groups, mainly women, meet to knit, stitch and talk. Nowadays, the groups have been analyzed by scholars as expressions of resistance to major political, social and technological change in Western societies. Furthermore, the term Stitch ‘n Bitch is now used by women from across the globe to connect with others in the virtual space seeing as the term has re-emerged in a world where the public sphere is the cyberspace.
With over 1460 groups registered Stitch ‘n Bitch groups in 289 cities worldwide, the social knitting movement has demarked itself as a popular social gathering for avid knitters.
Stitch 'n Bitch is a name used by knitting groups that meet on a weekly or monthly basis at locations throughout the world. This use of the term originates as early as the Second World War. In 1999, Debbie Stoller started a Stitch 'n Bitch group in NYC's East Village, which was open to anyone who wanted to come to knit along or learn to knit. In 2000, she wrote about her groups in BUST magazine, of which she is the editor-in-chief. Brenda Janish read the article and started the Chicago Stitch 'n Bitch group. That article inspired Vickie Howell to start the Los Angeles Stitch 'n Bitch group and later the Austin Stitch 'n Bitch group. Like Stoller's original group, today's Stitch 'n Bitch clubs are generally casual groups of knitters who meet in public spaces such as bars or cafes for socializing and sharing knitting advice. These groups are free or small fee required memberships and open to the public, and are listed in a directory of worldwide knitting groups that was started by Janish and today is maintained by Stoller: Official Home of Stitch 'n Bitch. As of 2010, the site lists over 700 such groups.
A 2003 book by Debbie Stoller, Stitch 'n Bitch : The Knitter's Handbook, sold almost 200,000 copies in the first six months of publication. The book states that Debbie Stoller founded New York City's first Stitch 'N Bitch knitting group. In January 2004, Newsweek reported that Stoller's New York group had inspired spin-offs in Chicago and Los Angeles. A second book in the series, Stitch 'n Bitch Nation includes many vignettes from groups located across America as well as international locations such as England and Japan. A third book in the series, Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker, is a primer on crochet, and the fourth book in the series, Son of Stitch 'n Bitch is a book of men's patterns A fifth book is scheduled for publication in Fall 2010.
Stitch by Stitch Crochet
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Debbie Stoller's third book, Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker, was published in 2006. Similar to Stoller's first knitting book, Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet covered crochet stitch formation using American crochet terminology, and featured patterns from forty designers. 
From 2005 to 2008, Stitch 'n Bitch was the focus of a trademark dispute.
Sew Fast Sew Easy legal actions
In June 2005, the company Sew Fast Sew Easy filed a trademark application for Stitch & Bitch to designate a line of knitting and sewing supplies. As of 2007 this application was suspended. In fall 2005, due to letters claiming trademark infringement from Sew Fast/Sew Easy's lawyers, knitting groups that had accounts with CafePress were forced to remove all items featuring the phrase "Stitch 'n Bitch". Local groups that communicated with each other through Yahoo! Groups were similarly forced to remove "Stitch 'n Bitch" from the name and description of their group. Some groups were deleted, but most groups were able to change their name on Yahoo! to SNB.
Debbie Stoller's legal actions
In May 2004, Stoller made four trademark applications regarding the term Stitch 'N Bitch:
- Relating to the book series authored by Stoller
- For a line of bags and cases marketed for knitting materials and supplies
- Relating to a knitting show on television
- For a brand of knitting kits
In July 2005, these four trademark applications were denied for being confusingly similar to that of Sew Fast/Sew Easy. In November 2005, Stoller filed a petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel Sew Fast/Sew Easy's trademark Stitch & Bitch Café. In August 2006, Stoller's four trademark applications were reinstated.
In February 2006 a website was started at the internet address freetostitchfreetobitch.org, calling for a boycott on Sew Fast/Sew Easy. The boycott was covered in the summer 2006 edition of Knit.1 magazine and the fall 2006 edition of Vogue Knitting. In 2008, after an agreement was reached between Stoller and SFSE, the call for a boycott was ended.
In 2008, Sew Fast Sew Easy and Debbie Stoller reached a settlement in which Debbie Stoller retained the use of the mark in knitting while Sew Fast Sew Easy retains the use for sewing. Since then all four of Stoller's trademarks have now been registered.
The Sew Fast Sew Easy store closed in 2012.
In recent years, the Stitch ‘n Bitch movement has been considered as a means of reclaiming women’s domestic work in feminist circles. Not only have groups officially been formed through website use, but groups of women on university campuses have also followed the trends in order to resist the taboo representation of the “traditional” woman.
Dr. Beth Ann Pentney, writing in Thirdspace journal, credited Stoller's publications with the rise of feminist knitting. Stoller introduced this approach to feminism to merge political involvement with a women’s community-building activity set in a Do-It-Yourself culture.
However, any movement doesn’t go without opposition. As a response to Stoller, much scrutiny on the effectiveness of the reclamation of domestic arts as a political feminist act has been done. Some say that the reason of the reintroduction of knitting in modern social gatherings is mainly due to the increase in the search for individualism and the anti-consumerism attitude of our generation.
With this said, it is important to denote the implication of technologies in the emergence of a “fabriculture” based on the reclamation of domestic arts and crafts. With the internet accessibility of online information and tips and tricks for knitters and crocheters, the traditionally personal practice of knitting can now be shared easily among strangers, and is open to public discussion and new ideas. These webs of knitters worldwide find affinities via a very modern technology opposing the traditional DIY nature of knitting.
All this criticism, however, shows a great interest in the role of knitting in the public sphere and as a social catalyst for avid knitters.
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- Brightman, Emilee. "Crafty Ladies: Local knitting group not what you would expect". The Lakewood Observer. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
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- "Sisters of the Stitch", L.A. Times, Nov. 20, 2003
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- United States Patent and Trademark Office (November 28, 2007). "Serial Number: 78641350". Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Inquiry System. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
- Petrovsky, Lesley (Fall 2006). "Tempest in a Tea Cozy". Vogue Knitting. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
- Krementz, Cheryl (Summer 2006). "Stitch & Bitch Slap". Knit.1. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
- "Serial Number: 78417575 Stitch 'N Bitch". USPTO. July 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
"Serial Number: 78417582 Stitch 'N Bitch". USPTO. July 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
"Serial Number: 78417593 Stitch 'N Bitch". USPTO. July 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
"Serial Number: 78417589 Stitch 'N Bitch". USPTO. July 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- Abelman, Frayne, and Schwab Attorneys at Law (November 4, 2005). "Petition to Cancel for Registration No. 2,596,818 Stitch & Bitch Cafe" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- "Boycott Sew Fast Sew Easy!". Internet Archive. February 2, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-02-02. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- Pentney, Beth Ann (Summer 2008). "Feminism, Activism, and Knitting: Are the Fibre Arts a Viable Mode for Feminist Political Action?". Third Space: a journal of feminist theory and culture 8 (1). Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Bratich, Jack; Brush, Heidi M. (27 November 2011). "Fabricating activism: Craft-Work, Popular Culture, Gender". Utopian Studies 22 (2): 233–260. doi:10.5325/utopianstudies.22.2.0233. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Debbie Stoller (2003). Stitch 'n Bitch: the knitter's handbook. New York: Workman Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7611-2818-2.
- Debbie Stoller (2004). Stitch 'n Bitch Nation. New York: Workman Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7611-3590-1.
- Debbie Stoller (2006). Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. New York: Workman Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-7611-3985-0.
- Debbie Stoller (2007). Son of Stitch 'n Bitch: 45 Projects to Knit and Crochet for Men (Paperback). New York: Workman Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-7611-4617-9.
- Knitting groups: Stitch 'n Bitch Groups Worldwide - Contact information for local groups worldwide
- Debbie Stoller: Stitch 'n Bitch promotional web site - Book series
- Interactive Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook - on Inkling