Friday, 30 May 2008


This weeks Psychostitchgeography, shows Louise's calculations for the knitted beards and moustaches, from ZZ Top to Freddie Mercury, and adaptable for The Rubbishmen and other bearded people. 
Coming soon in Amelia's Magazine - a brilliant publication which can be found at   
Issue 9 ready for pre -order!


While Louise rounded up Wiltshire Horn sheep  in Wales last weekend, she took these pictures for us! Louise's brother Oliver keeps these rare breed sheep, mostly to feed his family, but also for the wool. Louise's task was to move the sheep from the top field, where they had been enjoying the long grass, down to the salt marsh, where they are encouraged to eat seaweed, to improve their flavor before slaughter. 
Like all Bo Peeps, Louise had to find the sheep first, so she followed the clues of poo on the path and fleece on the fence. There was a lot of fleece on the fences because Wiltshire Horns, shed their wool once a year, which means Oliver doesn't have to shear them and Louise and the blackbirds can collect it. For the rest of the morning, Louise ran backwards and forwards watching little tails run away from her until they arrived at the salt marsh. 
The sheep really liked their new pasture, as you can see from this video... 

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


Thank you to Gill Bower of Ambleside, Cumbria who sent us, this rather lovely Licorice All Sorts packet with little bits of dark red wool in it. 
She must have been making a rug, because all the pieces are cut to the same size. 
Gill also sent us lots of other yarn which we used in the crochet coral reef,  but we especially like this packet, which is on display out front, and has been much admired.


Congratulations to Abhayasuri, for knitting her way into the Customer of the Month May 2008 position before the month is even over. 
Abhayasuri is un- stoppable. In less than a week, she finished a big orange roving blanket for a baby, and has started a white and blue blanket for the cot. 
This masterpiece however, also knitted this month, in re-cycled sari yarn,  is the back ground for a Stupa.
A Stupa is a mound like structure containing Buddhist relics - typically the remains of the Buddha or a saint. When the Buddha died, he left behind, earth, water, fire, air, and space, as seen in the diagram opposite. Abhayasuri, wants to hang her Stupa on the wall, and she is now working out ways to make shapes to represent the elements. 
Good luck Abhayasuri, we can't wait to see what you do next!

Saturday, 24 May 2008


Moon bears need YOU! Well I'm not exactly sure how true that is, because we don't know how many knitters they have already but it's a great story.
Jill Robinson, an American, is rescuing bears from Hong Kong, who sadly, are farmed for bile for use in medicine. The bears lead a sad life with tubes and pumps stuck in their bellies. 
Rescued Moon Bears need you to knit! They can't go straight from cages to sanctuary, because they need operations to remove the pumps first. The bears need to be totally anaesthetized for this care and their paws get cold, so they need you to knit these enormous mittens, 7" wide, with a 12" foot and 6"cuff. You need to post them to Oakland Zoo, Oregon, USA and all the information you need  is at

Friday, 23 May 2008


Psychostichgeography is a new concept by our Louise Harries.
For every finished masterpiece that comes out of Prick Your Finger there lies hidden, marks that makers make in note books or on odd scraps of paper. We call this Psychostitchgeography. 
They are trains of thought, plans, rememberings, sums, trials, errors and ultimately, a journey to getting what you want.
We want to show them because they are usually private, and to others they are a mysterious abstract pattern of clues. They are not made to be seen. Psychostitchgeography doesn't always lead to a finished product, but is proof that ideas never die. 
We will show Psychostitchgeography every week. If you have any to share, please e-mail

Psychostitchgeography 1 = "Design for front panel of jumper, for man born on the cusp of Virgo and Libre with Cancer rising, never knitted" RM

Thursday, 22 May 2008


Let me introduce you to Shirley.  Shirley is a Dorset Horn sheep, from Dorset, but she lives in Hackney, at the city farm. Last week Shirley donated her winter coat to PYF, and we are going to spin it for her. 
Dorset Horn's are chiefly distinguished by their big curly horns, worn by ewes as well as rams. Dorset Horns are confident sheep and are in fact, horny.  It is not unusual for ewes to breed twice to three times a year, be exceptionally good mothers, and tend to many lambs with abundant milk. 
Well done.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008


A year ago this week, I sat on a sofa with it's own voice. 
I was invited by Ella Gibbs, to work with the residents of Look Ahead Housing in Bow, East London. I held weekly workshops called "Freestyle Haberdashery," in the Common Room of the hostel at 64, Campbell Rd. 
We opened to suggestions from the residents, and the pressing issue seemed to be the 'toxic' sofa. How anyone managed to design such a thing is an interesting question.  It was possible to sit on the sofa, but it didn't particularly invite you. The itchy fabric covering, a dull blue with some token red swirls, was designed to be hoovered, rather like the office floor tiles at our feet. Placed to the side of the television, it was impossible to collapse, relax, put your feet up, or think.
What should we do? Dismantle it and see what it's made of? Freecycle it? Write to the designer and ask for an explanation? We decided to make use of it and cover it. 
While Ella fitted a J-cloth over the CCTV camera,  and Cameron and Ayo tried to watch television, I set to work making a paper pattern of the sofa, covered it in calico, (cotton canvas) and invited the residents to make their mark on it and take full ownership. 
Rabena looked on and said " It can't be clinical." She explained how none of the furniture in the building fitted the people living there. As I finished making the cover, we thought that even if we didn't feel comfortable sitting down, the sofa could be used as a canvas, to draw and write day dreams, moments, beliefs, observations, patterns, doodles and tags. The sofa had a possibility of taking on a personality at last. Lids came off pens!
The first pen marks were a combination of beautiful paisley designs, phallic cartoons, bloodshot eyes, spliffs and smoke. It was a good start, but the staff at Look Ahead Housing didn't think so. We decided to keep going, fill the sofa with everything the residents wanted to say when they wanted to relax. We knew it would be honest. If the staff found phallic images disturbing, then some transfer prints from 'Grey's Anatomy' would make it serious. With an iron, on they went. Some residents found the scientific drawings disturbing, but at that point the flood gates opened and the drawing really started. Ella had given everyone disposable cameras, and I started transfer printing some of the photos on the sofa. Each resident had something very special to give and in one month, every inch oozed with stories, fables, humour and love.
We loved our sofa. 
And then the cover got confiscated.
They said it was "Pornographic."
Apparently they locked it in a cupboard. 
Ella spent about a year trying to get it back.
The toxic sofa just stood there, waiting.
Last week, one year on, Ella delivered the good news. The sofa cover is back! Many of the residents I knew have moved on, but their work is there to welcome new residents and the sofa holds all the evidence that 'they were there'.
I feel very priviledged to have worked on this piece. 
For videos of the sofa action, and more stories from Ella Gibb's 'Common Room productions' at 64 Campbell Rd, I urge you to visit
The website is offered as a resource for creative living, and Ella hopes it will be of use to others beyond the scope of the origional project. 


When Rosemary felt the need to crochet a pencil, she did it. 
Here is her HB in carpet yarn.
Scribble what you like with PYF Carpet Yarn,
It's a bargin at 50p /10g,  100% pure British wool.
Reds, pinks, blues, greens, greys, and woody colours, avaliable while stocks last..

Friday, 16 May 2008


Coming soon, to a knitting shop near you, a new and improved pattern for the legendery 'Penis in Cable' pattern by Rachael Matthews. Not for the faint hearted, this pattern is for experienced knitters. It takes time, gives you serious pleasure and satisfaction. 
Avaliable for £19.99  on the top shelf at Prick Your Finger from Tuesday. 

Thursday, 15 May 2008


....and here, finally is the picture we have been waiting for. Jayne Mansfield with Rosemary's crocheted budgies. We did not get a prize because our birds didn't fly, but this budgie above did.  And Jayne Mansfield smelt nice.


Just incase you missed yesterday's Dr Who intellectual property rights debate, here is a link below.
 A knitter knitted an Ood,  tried to sell the pattern on her website, and the BBC have asked her to remove it. It is a useful informative debate about brand protection and how we don't wait for permission to knit what we want but...... Don't try and sell somebody else's concept with out asking, or some big monster will come and get you!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008


There are only 25 weeks until Christmas and E17 are getting on with it and inviting you to the Designer's Market, 

on Friday 16th May, 7-10pm
The Asian Centre
18s Orford Rd, 
Walthamstow Village, 
London E17 9LN

They have made bags, cards, children's clothes, small furniture, Jewelry, Scarves, artworks, cakes, clothes and music from our friends 'The Shellac Sisters". 

Have a look at for more information.


You thought Wensleydale was a cheese - well it is, and it is also a name of a Dale in Yorkshire where these sheep come from. 
The Wensleydale Longwool is the rastafarian of all sheep breeds, and they also come in black. Their long curls give a soft, silky yarn which is great for socks, security blankets and other special things. 
Not many people know that the Wensleydale can be traced back to one stud of a ram called "Blue Cap."
 In 1838, a dishy Leicester ram mated with a pretty Teeswater ewe, and Blue Cap was born. He grew up to be very handsome with blue pigmentation on his head and ears, which his breed still has today. Under his curls, he was big and tough, with little fat, and he started to climb fells to mate with Swaledale, Blackface, Rough Fell, Cheviot and Dalesbreed ewes, providing them with ewe lambs that would grow into heavy milkers, with little blue ears..... 
Wensleydale yarn is £8 for 100g, and we have it in pink, blue and red.

Friday, 9 May 2008


I continually bang on about knitting and craft being good, and now there is living proof.
Miss Felix, pictured here, has recently undergone an operation to straighten her arthritic toes. 
Pain, which could have been a nightmare, has otherwise fueled a raw creativity, the likes of which I don't think I've seen before. 
Felix has been in pain for many years, and having her toes broken at the age of 27, will ensure she can run and dance in the future.
I went to visit her in hospital in Oxford, and I found her in a blaze of colour in the corner, wrapped up in a blanket knitted by her friends, and surrounded by trays, baskets, tables and bags of projects on the go.  Broken toes provided an excuse for Felix to buy expensive  yarn, and somehow, through a haze of morphine, she managed to knock up the leg warmers she'd always wanted.  I also had the pleasure of seeing Lara, Felix's friend, who was collecting Felix's fymo stitch markers in the shape of pills, to bake them in the oven in between visiting hours.
Felix described how, as the drugs wore off and the full extent of the pain sunk in, she found herself floating around the squares of her blanket, loving the colours and working out which stitches belonged to whom, and knowing that every square was knitted because we wanted her to feel no pain.
Felix discharged herself early. I was worried when didn't hear from her, but I should have known better - She was busy,  zooming around on a mobility scooter and recording the atmosphere of shopping centers.
Felix's attitudes towards disability are unique. I urge you to keep an eye on her work, because something good was brewing in the hospital, and it's only a matter of time before she gets back on her feet and we see how she runs! 

Thursday, 8 May 2008


I plan to present this 'Portrait of a Budgie as a Young Man' to 'Jayne Mansfield'  in the Budgerigar Competition this Saturday at Haggerston Hall. 
He is crocheted out of hand dyed linen. 
While working on him, I thought how lovely it would be to have a husband who loved colour as much as male birds do


Sadly, as Louise was making this Budgie, it died. These things do happen. She laid it out in a way that she does best. This Budgie's gone to heaven.
She will still present it to Jayne Mansfield.
(Sorry, please read the blog two down, if you haven't a clue what the budgie stuff is about)


I'd nearly finished my budgie portrait and not in the whole of Prick Your Finger could I find the one black sequin I needed for his eye. 
So, instead of wasting a bus fare into town, I called Barley at Fabrications, your other local Haberdashery over on Broadway Market, and she gave me three black sequins, just in case I lost one on the way home, which I did, and I still have one spare.
Haberdashery in East London is united. If PYF doesn't have what you need, then Barley probably has.  
I teach at Fabrications, and we have lots of mutual friends.  If all businesses worked together like we do, everything would be so much easier.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


Thumbs up to our Rosemary for making Budgie Thumb Puppets in time for the most fantastic budgie day there has been, since the actress Jayne Mansfield, presented the prizes for a Budgerigar competition at All Saints Church Hall in Hackney, in 1959!
The event made the front page of the Hackney Gazette back then, and we hope that when our friend Susanna Edwards  ( ) recreates the competition this Saturday 10th May at the same venue, she will hit the headlines too. 
Our Sue, who really is fantastic, will be re- enacting the fashion and mannerisms of Jayne Mansfield, and inviting Hackney residents with budgerigars to come along and enter. 
The competition will be judged by 'Jayne Mansfield', Ian Sinclair and the Rev Rose Hudson - Wilkinson. 
The competition is part of a multi - stranded artisitic exploration of social, historical, and political issues in Hackney, on which Sue is working with film maker Emily Richardson....but the Budgies haven't been told that. The event will be photographed for an up coming show at Tatty Devine. And it's free and if you don't have a budgie, then why not knit one!

Sunday, 4 May 2008


Congratulations to Matt and his Nan, for designing and making this classic Black Welsh Mountain jumper. Matt first came to PYF a few months ago now and instantly took to our PYF BWM DK . He's been buying is Nan one skein at a time, and we've loved his visits, with his lovely smile and progress reports. 
As the stitches settle down and the fabric becomes Matt's second skin, we know it will become a firm favourite. His Nan should be proud and Murphy the dog agrees. 
Come back soon Matt!

Friday, 2 May 2008


Do you do Zentangles?
Our friend Jo has just directed us to
A website in America, where they give a doodle a better name, and you can 'study' it with a lesson plan and a 'kit' and everything! Patterns like verdigogh, opus, paradox, jonqal, and cadent,  you probably drew when you were young, but never knew it had a name clever name!
It's repetitive and beautiful and satisfying and a healthy way to leave the world behind, which makes it important.


This morning was sunny, so I spun on the street, where words always are.
I met a lady called Mary, who runs "School of Everything"
It's a school where you can learn anything anywhere. She's put PYF on the map, and gave us a lovely sticker that says
You can learn whatever you like, where ever you like, whenever you like, by following the link above. 
So what do you want to learn?
If I can teach you anything, just let me know.....

Thursday, 1 May 2008


There's nothing worse than having a design in you head and not being able to create it. The other Rachel came for tea last night, and we were discussing our new summer dress wish list and she mentioned this brilliant website....

Bon Bon Kakku invites you to submit designs for your fantasy fabric, and then they go up on the site and you and other designers will vote on each other's designs. If you win the most votes, your cloth will be printed and not only can you buy it by the meter and make the dress or curtains you always wanted, or never knew you wanted, but so can everyone else!

what a good idea....