All images: Black Girl Knit Club prints by Line and Honey. Available to buy from BGKC Shop.
Black Girl Knit Club (BGKC) is a knitting group based in London, set up in early 2019 by University of the Arts lecturer Sicgmone Kludje and Interior Design Manager Vea Koranteng. The Club hosts regular events to empower Black women to unite through craft. Here, the club’s founders tell us why they set up the group, about appearing on the BBC during lockdown and developing their own wax print yarn.
Image: Front row, BGKC founders Vea (left) and Sicgmone (right).
Why did you set up Black Girl Knit Club?
Our motivation for starting BGKC came from following the social media hashtag #diversknitty where different knitwear designers and makers were calling for more diversity within the craft community. The reason why was due to visibility. We as friends wanted to create a safe and inclusive space for Black women and female creatives like ourselves, to gather, share their story and inspire each other through craft skills. And more importantly develop their creativity whilst equipping the next generation with a new skill. We started in January 2019 and we've built an amazing community of members that attend our monthly workshops and online tutorials. We cater to all levels too; so we have E-book tutorials and beginner-friendly projects for all to get involved in.
What have you worked on during lockdown?
We created a series of knitting idents with a few of our members for the BBC. The BBC researchers and producers got in contact with us after seeing our online presence. This is important for us as it proves that visibility is key and to be in this spotlight is great! At the time we were sharing content on how we were staying creative to induce wellness during the lockdown as well as organise online Zoom sessions for our members. We had to record everything on our phones at home and these were then edited together by a separate creative team at the BBC. According to the BBC’s media scheduling lead, these idents were seen by 34 million viewers a week. So it was an amazing experience for us to have this kind of representation, especially on one of the leading channels in the UK.
You produce your own wax print yarn, can you tell us about it?
Our Wax print yarn is bought as fabric from a supplier who buys them straight from West Africa, Ghana so it’s 100% cotton. The fabric itself is called “Nsubra” in the Twi language and it means waterwell, a proverb meaning what you do affects others, hence the water droplets on the print. We hand-make our yarn balls from three yards of fabric cut into strips and it’s such a rewarding process because it’s unique to us and our heritage; we give our customers a chance to create their own narrative with theirs.