Friday, 29 February 2008


PYF was delighted to knit a square for the Stitch and Bitch Map of the British Isles. It shows what a creative country we are, with knitting circles everywhere. Creativity and community is alive and well.  Our square is the one down bottom right with a big pink knitted phallis that is pointing upwards.


Hello! I made tea for Mrs G. and Richard for nigh on 40 years, and it was a lovely time. Towards the end of my stay there I was attacked by moth. It was terrible. Here I am (above) when they found me.
I was brought to Prick your Finger, where they gave me a face lift, new arms, new hair and now I am happily back in service, pouring tea for the lovely ladies and gentlemen in the shop.


RED COTTON is scarce in our shop at the moment, because the organic peruvian farmers only spin it in indigo, white, and grey, but when Mallika popped in the shop today, thank God we had one ball of red cotton in the bargin bin. Red cotton is for the Kalyana Mitra ceremony. Kalyana Mitra means 'Beautiful friendship' in the buddhist world and Mallika was on her way to the ceremony without her red cotton! 
Two senior buddhists become lifelong friends with a junior buddhist. The thread comes from the Buddha at the shrine, and then is wrapped around the wrists of the younger buddhist. 
I said one pound please and she gave me two. 

Monday, 25 February 2008


We have just caught wind of this marvelous knitted Rabbit, which has been left lying behind a hill in Italy for the last three years and will be there for another 22. The lovely big Rabbit was knitted by four artists who collectively call themselves "Gelitin". 
This piece is about wandering in the landscape and finding familiar things, or things completely un known, like a flower you have never seen before, or as Columbus discovered, an inexplicable continent.  
To stumble across this giant rabbit, which could have been knitted by giant grandmothers, could make us feel rather small, but it can be climbed on, you can fall in it's mouth, climb it's belly summit, watch it's intestines spew out, fall asleep on it's ear, and wonder at how this giant knitted rabbit country that might have fallen from the sky, can be seen on google earth. 
To find out more about Gelitin go to

Saturday, 23 February 2008


When you are a crustation, and you arrive at Prick Your Finger, you have to wait outside. It's not that they won't look after us, it's just that our knitwear attracts a lot of moth, and they won't let us in the shop. Moths lay their eggs in wool because it is a protein fibre. When the moth larvae hatch they eat the wool, but it's tastier with an extra layer of perspiration, or any other bodily fluids.  Crustation sweat however is a delicacy second to none. 

Friday, 22 February 2008


The day before yesterday, in flowed a handsome man, with a determined stature.  We thought he was admiring our exhibition, but no. Yuhi lives in the flats over the road and his toilet cistern had ceased to flush that morning. 
He knew what he wanted. Our 3.5mm plastic circular knitting needles were the perfect solution. 
This afternoon, Yuhi returned with this exciting video, proving that the knitting pin really is the most useful of tools. 
Thank you for making this beautiful film Yuhi, and we hope to see you again soon.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


Haberdashery was never meant to be intimidating. We now know the procedure for our Koumpounophobic customers. They ring to say they are coming and we ask the Pearly Kings and Queens to leave.


It’s the fear of the small, round, plastic thing with holes in. They are dirty and nasty and wrong and you wouldn’t touch them because it would be like touching a cockroach and you’d definitely have to wash your hands, several times.


The big ‘four holers’ are the worst, especially if they are detached, or dangling on the end of a thread. To be left alone with one could lead to dry mouth, breathlessness, panic attacks and vomiting. It is an irrational fear, surprising from our sensible, practical customers.  We asked one lady how they affected her and she said,


“I could not come near my dad when he put on a shirt to go to work. It was ok, when the buttons were covered by his tie, but mind you if one button was peering out of there. I would cringe and run.  If I was to open a box of them they might be looking at me. I even took the glass eyes off my Teddy Bear, I couldn’t stand them.”


Metal-type b****ns (like on jeans) are no problem; it's the small plastic type, especially clear & shiny ones, that are the worst. It’s possible to imagine that they smell bad and the air around them is dirty, and anything that has had contact with them is gross.



If any of you are offended by the not really said subject, please do not be afraid to come in our shop, just book an appointment and we can show you our selection of poppers. For the rest of you, they come in every colour and they are 15p each 

Friday, 15 February 2008


My friend Dick, bar tender at the Colony Room, asked me to make 5 new hand ROLLER towels, and I am delighted with the idea.  The Colony only has one towel at the moment. It is green, of course, and made by Mumsie who died in 1994 and had her coffin covered in jelly babies and they poured a bottle of vodka over it as it was lowered into the ground, apparently. It is so manky that Dick washed his hands after touching it. 
Last year, my mother gave me about 30 manky hand towels (pictured above) because I am creative and she thought I could do something with them.
So far I've cut them into bits, bleached them, then I'll dye them green and  then I'll stitch them together somehow. 
Adam suggested slipping a towel glove puppet in there somewhere. 
Any ideas?
Watch this space...


Its my friends looking out for me that makes me feel safe, not the CCTV.

I've felt safe for years now, because I have a lovely friend. His name is Leafcutter John.

If you haven't seen or heard John's work, I suggest you go to asap.

John made this CCTV camera for Prick Your Finger. 

Everyone is safe here.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008


Wordsworth and Coleridge liked hand knitters and spinners. They thought the terrible knitters e Dent looked like a good scene. (Dent is a village in Dentdale with a great tradition of hand knitting.)

In 'Michael', Wordsworth wrote,
"While far into the night
The housewife lied her own peculiar work,
Making the cottage through silent hours
Murmur as with the sound of summer flies."

To knit for your living on a 2mm bent pin, sharpened on a stone, with poor lighting and a dried goose windpipe rattle, stuffed with dried peas on the inside of your ball of wool, for finding your ball in the dark, with RSI, tarry lungs and clogs.  I could do that. 
We know that the village would sit around a peat fire knitting and sing their rows away, and that's why we researched all the old songs.  Carolyn took them from scraps of paper to music on her banjo, and we all sat around in the hall at Dove Cottage with our needles and wheels and had a lovely sing song. 
The Wordsworth trust at Dove Cottage, Grasmere,  has a collection of knitting sheathes knitted gloves and socks, and a dialect story about two girls running away from knitting school in the snow, from Dentdale, all the way to Langdale, some 40 miles as the crow flies with only 2 cakes in their pockets.
These are my sheathes, all from Westmoreland, they were made as love tokens from man to woman, worn in her belt, curving around her hip, sometimes carrying her initials and decoration.

Tarry Woo, Tarry Woo
Tarry Woo 'tis ill to spin,
Card it well, card it well,
Card it well 'ere you begin,
When 'tis carded wove and spun,
then your work is almost done,
But when 'tis woven, dressed and cleaned,
It will be clothing for a queen.

Sunday, 10 February 2008


We love our street. Globe road is our home, and we like our neighbours the dry cleaners, they do mending and alterations, so they can take up your trousers, while we can darn your socks. 

Anyway, since we moved here, we've had a problem with the telephone cables, and the electric cables that light up their sign, and power their shutters. The cables keep falling out onto the pavement, and when we leave the side door, we trip over them. They kindly tape the cables onto the wall, but it doesn't last, and peels off in the rain. 
So this week we did something about it.  Rosemary knitted this marvelous strip of robots to cover the cables. We thought it best not to discuss the plan with the neighbours, but do it, and hope that they like it. 
Sunday morning, up it went and hopefully now we will all be safe and have much warmer telephone conversations. 


If you might happen to come upon this book,
Dandy in the Underworld, an Unauthorised Autobiography, by Sebastian Horsley, artist, writer and failed suicide,
I tell you it's most entertaining, quite dreadful and worth reading for his adventures at the tailors and to find these comforting words on page 315;
"Producing art is essentially conservative. Unconventionality can be convention within a certain set. It would have been more radical if I had taken up knitting."
Thank you Sebastian Horsley. 

Saturday, 9 February 2008


I try to be a good host, but I find it difficult to make small talk, offer drinks and hand out the canapes to everyone,  all at the same time. 
This cocktail dress seems to solve the problem.  I could carry the tray, and the guests picked the food straight from my breast and felt welcomed without words.
To make a cocktail dress in 15 minutes you need;

1 dress
1 packet of 1 1/2 " nails with big heads on.
Cocktail sausages, gherkins, cheese, pineapple, stoned olives, cherry tomatoes.
1. Stick nails through the dress from front to back, in some sort of design that will suit you. 
2. Cut up sausages, gherkins, cheese, pineapple, stoned olives and dry them on a paper towel or t-towel. ( don't cut up the cherry tomatoes )
3. Put dress on, and place the food on the nails. Get a friend to help you, it's easier.


Harriet's birthday is always a joy to celebrate, and her 30th was no exception. 
FOOD Theme! 
When I think of Harriet I think of colours and smiles and dinner with pudding. 
In fact I think of dinner with pudding when I think of all of the people I love. 
Louise and I ended up going as the food we really are.
I don't know why my life is so connected with sheep. Rachael means 'Little Lamb' in Hebrew, and I am born under aries, the ram. I have curly thick hair, knocked knees and a hard stare when I want to use it. I grew up in the lake district where sheep live, and somehow I managed to devote most of my life to working with wool. I found some horns when I was out walking the fells and they fit perfectly. I want to be a Swaldale / Herdwick cross. Swaldale because I'm blonde and Herdwick because I get homesick.  Sue came over and painted my legs and arms and bottom and face, brown, and I made this hot pant jump suit in fleece. It was very comfortable, and then when I was at the party I realised that when I'm in a noisy room, my voice annoyingly sounds like a bleating sheep. 
Our dear welsh Louise however, is a leek. She stands tall, for green things, and has roots. 
Harriet is a bag of chips and when it comes to fancy dress, we are all chips off her block. Rx

Our Baby Rabbit RIP>

Rfid Albertavich RIP.

I would like to announce the very sad news that baby Rabbit, Rfid Albertavich, died suddenly but peacefully, whilst under anesthetic for a castration at the vets at the age of 7 months. 

Rfid, named after (Radio frequency identification system) son of Alberta, was born on Anglesey, Wales, moved to London at 10 weeks old, after his baby coat had been shawn off.  In his short life, he made one ball of the finest white angora yarn, and bundles of  fluffy, hot, panting, love. 

Rfid knew he was handsome. He would sit down and wait for me during the days, and in the evenings hop along the bar at the Florists ( pub) eating  celery from the bloody Mary's. Late nights, he guarded the shop,  eating the vintage knitting patterns and licking the walls.

He also ate in his short life, one book of Turner's water colours, the cover of Tears for Fears 'Head over Heals', and one pair of Ukranian straw slippers.

He had a successful career, modeling for the Tatty Devine, Dark Stages collection, and opening Prick Your Finger by welcoming our first customers with ribbons around his neck, and at one point talking to the Telegraph Magazine about sustainable fibres in fashion. 

His favourite food was fresh mint which kept his breath fresh for kissing, which he did every time he was picked up, followed by a cuddle, and then a bite about 10 minutes later. 

He is burried at my parents house, on the edge of Windermere, next to a stream, with a hazel tree planted on top. 

He is much missed.

Rfid Baby Rabbit RIP.

Retirement of a dishcloth

I'd like to explain why I've sometimes been working in the shop in my pyjamas. It's quite simple, I've been up all night knitting with friends and tea and U tube, a scene, I could never tire of....except, 
my dishcloth has done just that. Felix noticed and took this lovely picture.
This dishcloth was knitted by our friend Sue in hand spun jute, just over 2 years ago, and has been in use, Monday to friday, with only two summer breaks, and two Christmas holidays ever since.  It has lifted a hot kettle off the stove, up to five times a day, cleaned trays and surfaces, with light washing up, mostly cups and saucers, then a wash and tumble dry on the weekend. It's deteriation has now become rapid and it must retire to a sunday dishcloth. 
There is a horrible temptation to go out there and find a new, more absorbent, perhaps even anti bacterial dishcloth, but at the end of every knitting class, when I meet the dishcloth again, one can't help feel that if one is going to do any chore at all, it might as well be done with love.
So here we are, a new dishcloth with a crochet edge, knitted in our new Shilasdair, organic hand spun cotton. It's so spongey, I've started knitting a second one to buff up the glasses for our gin and tonics at 6pm.