Monday, 31 March 2008


Prick Your Finger is the only Haberdashery Shop that buys the fluff formations from your tumble dryer filter. 
You can't spin it, or felt it, or sew or paint it, and one puff of wind and it falls apart, but it's beautiful. A luna landscape made from static particles of your favourite rags.
Louise said emptying the filter is the best household chore, and I agree. 
We will keep trying to find a use for these luna landscapes, but we need your help in collecting them. 
One pound!

Saturday, 29 March 2008


A man came into the shop last week and asked if the wool was a cover for selling drugs.
We might look stoned, but that is because we are experienced, through our knitting.  
If we wanted to make loads of money, drugs would have been an easy option, but we make ends meet and when our customers show their work, we are reminded that wool when crafted is priceless. 
Here is a pattern for something to hand around at parties...


K=Knit; P=Purl; st.=stitch; tog.=together; dec.=decrease by knitting 2 sts. tog; inc.=increase by knitting same st. twice; beg.=beginning; rep.=repeat; ins.=inches; cms.=centimeters; pso.=pass 2nd st. over 1st st.

To make skin

Using 3.5mm needles, cast on 6sts in white. 

1st row. k.

2nd row. p.

rep. these 2 rows until skin reaches desired length, ending with P row.

next row. for un-lit spliff, cast off. For lit spliff, change to red.

1st red row. k.

2nd red row. p2tog, p2, p2tog.

3rd red row. k2tog, k2tog, pso, cut thread and pull through.

To make roach

Using 3.5mm needles, cast on 6sts. in red, green or blue. Work 6 rows, cast off, cut threads.

To make grass

Cut green / bown yarn into small pieces, and mix.

To make hash

Cast on 4 sts. in brown. k. 2-5 rows, cast off, roll and sew.

To Make up

Press skin using a warm iron and damp cloth. Place roach at one end. Place grass down centre of skin, and sew  sides of skin tog. using white thread. Cut lengths of grey mohair for smoke, and stitch onto fire. Back comb smoke.

To Make Cones

As staight skin but inc. 1st. at each end of every 6th row. For fire, dec. 1st. at end of each row, until 1st. remains, cut thread and  pull through.

Friday, 28 March 2008


Prick Your Finger was proud to present our first, Speed Skill Grab Diploma, to Adam Wright for spinning a ball of Blue Faced Leicester, with not much tuition due to his acute mechanical intuition. Adam went straight to the wheel, passing the drop spindle and at no point spinning out, so we gave him a First. 
Adam has a plan to join the Analogue Amnesty in spinning the cassette tapes of all the bands he has ever been in and knitting a scarf out of them. We look forward to seeing it. 

Thursday, 27 March 2008


Some people describe my parents as eccentric, but I find them terribly useful.
 I recently taught my mother to spin, and she's been burning the candle at both ends spinning our unique upholstery yarn range complete with matching pom-poms.
My father has listened to the squeaks of the spinning wheel and ball winder through many winter evenings, made worse by the fact he's not allowed the sound up on the television.
So with the intention of speeding his ladies up in their tasks, he has set about inventing an electric ball winding machine. 
It doesn't make a round ball yet because it is slightly off balance, but I'm sure you'll agree, it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, turned in finest cherry wood from the garden and mounted on Mother's old food mixer.
Sadly we were interupted whilst making this film, so please watch this space and next time I'm home we'll show the magic cocoons it can make!
Thank you Dad. I know you're not allowed to use the internet either but I'll show you this blog very soon. x

Wednesday, 19 March 2008


Rosemary made me because we would all like to wish you a very happy Easter weekend. 
We are closed on Friday 21st and open again on Tuesday 25th March.
Goodbye for now x


It was very wet weather when our Customer Of The Month February 2008, arrived in the shop in her all in one orange waterproof bicycling suit, in a rush to knit this cardigan.  My Great Grandmother bought this Jeagar tweed yarn to make a cardigan for my Great Grandfather, and packaged it away in a draw so carefully that it was in perfect condition at the point of sale. I'm sure you'll agree that Customer of the Month February 2008 has done a marvelous work with this garment and that she wares it well. Watch this space, we think she's about to hit the title again.

Monday, 17 March 2008


This morning Rosie and I went on a first class train journey together. We started in a studio at Hackney Wick and ended up in our own imaginations. It was a very smooth, comfortable ride, made possible by our friend Piers, who has built this life size replica train carriage, complete with hand made upholstry, windows that open, and good reading lights. 
It will be finished by the end of the week.

Sunday, 16 March 2008


You are all invited to join us in a hyperbolic space -  
The Crochet Coral Reef is the brain child of Margaret and Christine Wertheim, co-directors of the Institute for Figuring in LA.  Crochet and coral are the only ways to explain hyperbolic space, a very new discovery, and possibly the construction of the whole universe.
I am not going to attempt to describe to you how and why, because Margaret and Christine explain it so beautifully on their website  where you can learn about plant life, maths, space, and follow their easy crochet patterns.
This project also raises awareness about how sick our coral reefs are.
The Crochet reef is currently showing at The Chicargo Cultural Centre, but the London Reef will be exhibited in the main foyer of the Royal Festival Hall from Wednesday 11th june - Sunday 17th August 2008. The thing is....WE HAVE TO MAKE IT FIRST!
Everyone can join this project and make some sort of coral. Remember no two plants are the same and there are NO RULES! Any yarn, any size and any colour is fine. The Southbank will be holding crochet circles through the summer and check the Prick Your finger events page for free workshops. The deadline for your named contributions is 2-8pm on Tuesday 6th May 2008 in the White Room, Spirit Level, Royal Festival Hall, or post to Cathy Woolley , Learning and Participation, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX or deliver it to Prick Your Finger. For a contribution form e-mail


This is a simple way of cutting up plastic bags, ready for knitting without having to tie lots of knots. 
1. Take a plastic bag and wash it.
2. Cut off handles and the bottom of the bag.
3. Fold it from one side to the other but not all the way.
4. Make cuts, leaving one side free.
5. Open it all out. Now cut the strips into one continuous strip by cutting diagionally from the end of one strip to the beginning of the next one along on the other side.
You can knit with it, or, spin and ply the plastic, into a fine yarn, or bring it to PYF and we can do it for you. 
Knit useful things in plastic as much as you can. Here is a film about plastic pollution. 
and here is a u tube demo incase you don't understand my instructions.

Friday, 14 March 2008


Nothing like a new purchase to make you feel at home. 
'Hackney Sweet Hackney' was knitted by Clare Murphy, who will be showing again soon at Fabrications, Broadway Market. The busy mother of two, once knitted a frieze of the Hackney siege, and the fire at Momart Art Warehouse, when Tracey Emins tent went up in flames. 
Anyway, this piece is now nailed to the wall and we love it.

Thursday, 13 March 2008


Dear Customers,
I noticed today, I got the price of the ribbons wrong. Louise sells them cheaper than I do. Please accept my apologies. I'll put them down to 50p a meter.
Here is an old song about ribbons. 

"I'll dye my ribbons, love a bonnie true blue,
because the lassie I love she's constant and true;
She's constant and true, and soon shall be my marrow,
And that's the rizzen why I winna dye them yallow."

Wednesday, 12 March 2008


The Colony Rooms of Soho, now have five roller hand towels, stitched together from bits of old towel, as first shown in their raw state, on this blog, February 15th last. 

To celebrate this momentous feat, Prick Your Finger is giving away  Free Green Face Flannels. All you have to do is answer this simple question;

Q. Who is mopping his brow in ecstasy with the said hand towel?
Answers on postcards to, Prick Your Finger, 260 Globe Rd E2 OJD, but for lazy entries, a comment will do.

Thank you to Hilary Penn for whipping her camera out of her handbag to capture these special  moments.  

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


Best dressed at 'Glow in the Dark Knitting' this Saturday night went to Barley Massey of Fabrications, Broadway Market, who, along with our friend Sue,  sported rather lovely pairs of glowing nipple tassels, in celebration of International Women's Day. 
We were all delighted to join Barley, in being women. And the men thought it was great that we were women too. A good time was had by all.

Monday, 10 March 2008


Louise knitted this cheeky little book worm. We wanted to leave it at the library. However when we got to the library, we discovered there were lots of them already. 

If you get stuck with your knitting, ask your local librarian, they are certain to know what's wrong. 

Sunday, 9 March 2008


This week we hosted a party for our ANNIE OBACCHAN, author of a fabulous new book 'Amigurumi'. We drank green tea cocktails and ate  wasabe peas and everyone marveled at the Amigurumi Cosmos in the window. They are not just cute knitted creatures. They have a weighty cultural significance as laid out in the rather heavy forward which I wrote. Amigurumi is a whole other world, and if you are struggling to live in this one, then buy this book. Annie carefully shows you how to create your own knitted family, movie, work force, army or whatever you like.  It's a fast track to something satisfying that fits in your pocket.
 Thanks to Katy Beven our Ed. 

Friday, 7 March 2008


We've been on the search for dried goose windpipes for 6 months, and today they finally arrived, thanks to Mr Richardson, my mother's local butcher in Windermere who has made them especially for Prick Your Finger. 
Up until about 1910, hand knitting was a major industry in the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, but due to a lack of electricity, it was worked by candle or gas or fire light.  So, you may ask, what did they do when their yarn unraveled into a dark corner and could not be found?
The answer is simple. 
Take the windpipe of a goose and wash it thoroughly. Thread string through the windpipe, and join both ends, forming a circle. Lay the windpipe down gently in curing salts, making sure that the pipe remains 'open' and not squashed. Allow to dry out, checking every few days that pipes are still 'open'. When dried and stiff, remove string, and stuff it with dried peas. Now use the windpipe as a bobbin, winding the yarn around it.
Your ball of yarn will now gently rattle every time it rolls away, so you will know where to start looking. 
When the national grid fails and we start loosing our wool, you will know where to come.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


Bit cold and tired this morning so we put hats on. Our hat's came a long way to keep us warm.
Louise's hat was sent by Polly who lives in Natick,  Massachusetts. It was knitted by her grandmother, Daisy, when she lived in England, and it was origionaly a tea cosy. During WW1, Daisy was a secretary for an officer in London, when she fell in love with a Staff Sergeant. He soon moved to Canada, but Daisy was determined and boarded a steamer, with the tea cosy, in 1920, age only 19, and went and found him. She didn't marry him just yet, she spent a year traveling across Canada on a caboose, and they were finally reunited and married shortly afterwards. Daisy found it colder in Canada and stitched up the spout and handle holes to make a cosy hat. Polly, when having a clear out, knew that the tea cosy belonged in England and sent it to us, and we are so glad she did. 
My hat was given to me by Ella's long lost cousin Martin, who came to visit from Chilie. He is an expert in Volcanos and when he came for tea we had scones with jam and cream.  

Sunday, 2 March 2008


To Jamie Fawkes - a puppy - Spanner - Son of Troy - 9 weeks old today, Sunday.

Posted - raw hide bone covered in ripped sari yarn, crochet with 8mm hook.

Saturday, 1 March 2008


It is a special day for our Louise! March 1st is St. David's day, the patron saint of Wales, who was born on a cliff top in Pembrokeshire during a violent storm, and where he landed a spring came which is now St Nons Well.    St. David led a frugal life, eating mostly watercress, and encouraging leeks to grow. 
Louise is also from Pembrokeshire, and here she is in her Black Welsh Mountain coat, with her leeks decorated in yellow satin ribbon. 
We have a special offer on yellow ribbon , 75p a metre to-day only. Tomorrow it goes back up to £1.50