Thursday, 31 July 2008


Atention! Attention!

Next Saturday 9th August we highly recommend the Field Day Festival in Victoria Park. We will be teaching spinning next to Pom Pom International, and there is a whole pot pourri of brilliant bands, good bars and classy loos. 

For a full listing go to

So Roll Up, and don't forget, it's no use planting cooked potatoes.

(We are especially excited to be working with Natalie and Tom from 'Return to the Rural'. 
Seven years ago, Amy and I started a knitting Club. 
It didn't have a name and we were sitting on the steps of the White Cube Gallery in Hoxton Square, when we spotted a poster on a lamp post saying, 'Return to the Rural'. 
We e-mailed them saying we had rural tendencies,  and they invited us to form our first big knitting circle at their first party. It was with the photos from that party that we made a magazine called 'Cast Off' and Cast Off Knitting Club for Boys and Girls was born. )

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


Thank you to everyone who made Monday's Hyperbolic Crochet Jam on the beach such a joy!
With a low tide and glorious sunshine, on the edge of the Thames, we all sat out on the Southbank Centre deck chairs and got busy making yet more coral, and spinning plastic. We saw the most knitters since we started this project, and sadly it was the last workshop at the Southbank. 
Thames 21, an organisation dedicated to cleaning up our great river, came and gave us more plastic bags and explained their operations. Thames 21 hold events where you can help clean up and learn how to fish too! Go and visit them at
If you still wish to crochet for the reef, it will be touring the country and there is plenty of space to add more. Please send your work to Katy Beven at the Craft's Council, 44a Pentonville Rd, London N1 9BY.


Until we presented Prick Your Finger's House of Shadows Silhouette Portrait stall at the V&A village fete this weekend, we had no idea how much the great British Public worried about the length of their noses.  We have proved that however big, bent or flat your nose is, a silhouette portrait looks charming. 
Silhouettes are easy to make at home. We made a dark tent out of old coats, but you could use a darkened room. Inside, was a chair for the artist and a chair for the sitter. There was a light behind the sitter and a screen, covered with white paper in front of the artist. We traced around the shadow on the white paper, which took less that a minute, and then cut the image out in black paper.
Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Higgins silhouetted above, who brought their 13 day old baby daughter along for a portrait.  More silhouette portraits, will be up on our events page soon. 
The House of Shadows will be back! It is for hire for Weddings, fete's etc, just like they used to be in the old days! 

Tuesday, 29 July 2008


Monica and I have fulfilled our dream of exploring the west coast of Scotland and the Orkney Isles in a VW Camper Van. 
It blew our minds. 
I loved it so much I don't know what to tell you.

Monica bought some mittens made out of the North Ronaldsay wool. I wrote a blog about North Ronaldsay sheep a few weeks ago - they are the ones that eat seaweed. What we didn't anticipate was that the wool is really waxy and floppy. I bought skeins of grey, brown and white.
Here is a picture of Monica's mitten waving goodbye to a beautiful holiday. 

Saturday, 26 July 2008


This Sunday 27th July, there is a farewell tea party at the 'Museum of Objects of Virtue' for our show 'Dust Jacket For the Voyage of the Beagle.' You are all welcome. Details are on the Glass Pinacle blog. You can connect to it from the list to your right.

Let me introduce Ruth. My grandmother let me play with this doll as a child. For a while I didn't like her. She was cold, and bald, so I told her she was bad and she had to sit in the corner of the dolls house. My grandmother told me we mustn't be horrible to people just because they are bald, and suggested I cut off one of my curls and give it to her. I agreed and we stuck it on with U-hu.  For some reason I didn't make her any clothes, so she has remained naked for the last 25 years.
When the 'Museum of Objects of Virtue'  gave me the brief for this show, I started looking for interesting dust at my parent's house, which used to be my great grandparent's house.
 Rumaging through the attic, Ruth and I were re-united. She was in a box with three other china dolls who were wearing very crude clothes made by a seven year old. 
I set to work making Ruth a very glamorous coat, deco style, made entirely out of cobwebs.  She has a blue bottle on her head. She holds two gold threads for taking bees and ladybirds for  walks.  She now lives in a hole carved out of Charles Darwin's the Voyage of the Beagle. 
Thank you to Museum curator Fleur Oakes for taking these photos.
We are delighted to announce Fleur Oakes will be showing her work at PYF in September.


Last Wednesday, we were delighted to be models for the 'Best Off Tatty Devine' catalogue.
(For the full collection go to
Here we are peering through the glasses necklace collection from behind our dresser. I am wearing the 3-D glasses necklace and Louise is behind orange riding shades.   When the shoot was over, we wished we could be models for Tatty every day, and then we realised that actually, we are.   

Thursday, 24 July 2008


Prick Your Finger would like to invite you all to our "House of Shadows", a silhouette portrait stall, where you can have your profile cut for a mere £5.

at the V&A Village Fete,
evening of Friday 25th July,
and day of Saturday 26th July.

Free admission
Our friends, Tatty Devine, Mark Pawson, and Rob Ryan, will all be there. Come along!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008


Every few years, my knitted hand granade gets thrown around and makes it's point somewhere new. This time I am delighted to see it next to my heroin Vivienne Westwood, at Museums Sheffield. It was also image of the week in the Times Knowledge last Saturday.  To celebrate, I would like to share the pattern. Please Drop Stitches not Bombs. Thank you. 

Materials - Should be knitted in chunky army green and gun metal grey on 4mm needles. Grenade is fastened with a kilt pin and a key ring.


Cast on 40 sts. and work in box stitch for 32 rows. 

1st row. k4, p4, to end.

2nd row. k4, p4 to end.

3rd row. k4, p4 to end.

4th row. k4, p4 to end.

5th row. p4, k4 to end.

6th row. p4, k4 to end.

7th row. p4, k4 to end.

8th row. p4, k4 to end.

rep. rows 1-8, 4 times.

33rd row. k.

34th row. k1, *yrn fwd, k2tog. rep. from * to end.

35th row. k 4 more rows.

Cast Off.


Pick up 30sts. along the 32nd row of the grenade body. Do this by starting and finishing 5 sts. in.

Commence in gun metal grey. 

1st row. k.

2nd row p.

rep. these rows 3 times, dec. 1 st. at each end of p. row.

9th row. k.

10th row. p.

rep. these rows 3 times, inc. 1 st. at each end of p. row.

Cast off.

press, fold along shortest row, and hem into 32nd row of body.


Cast on 4sts.

1st row. k, inc.1st. at each end of row.

2nd row. p.

3rd row. as 1st row.

4th row. p.

cont. in stocking st. for 16 rows.

Then dec. 1 st. at each end of every p. row until 2sts remain.

k2tog.( 1 sts. remains) now make pin loop as follows.

1st row. Cast on 1 st.

2nd row. Cast off 1 st.

3rd row. Cast on 1 st.

4th row. Cast off 1 st. rep. this until loop measures 4cm. 

Cast off, and st. into a loop.

To Finish

St. up side of grenade body. 

Gather the bottom of the grenade by running stitches through row 1 of body and pulling tight. 

Fold trigger in half, lengthwise, press,  and st. onto side seam of body, leaving loop at the top. 

Gather opening of grenade by threading ribbon through holes made by row 34.

Put pin through top, and loop and then top, and now you are ready to throw your grenade!


Congratulations to Fleur Emery, who has made these fabulously pop place mats.  Fleur had the simple and effective idea of knitting in roving and felting to make it thicker, fluffier, with lovely rounded corners. 
Fleur makes delicious porridge which can be found at 
Fleur's porridge is designed for those of us who find the mornings difficult, and I'm sure I'd leap out of bed to rest my breakfast on one of these mats. 
Roving 80p/10g most colours.


I'm sure any spinner will tell you, that once you get going, and start dreaming, you can end up sitting anywhere. If we sit outside the shop and concentrate, it is possible to turn the noise of passing traffic, into the sound of waves at the seaside. Today I spun plastic bags for our "Rubbish  Collection" and pretended we combed them from the beach. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Amy Lame´'s Pom Pom International and Prick Your Finger invite you to a pom pom making party with Dj's. Bring your friends, bring a conflict and we'll get sorted.
Party starts on Friday 1st August 7pm onwards, with following afternoons, 2-6pm on Saturday 2nd August, Tuesday 5th August, and Saturday 18th August.
All parties are free. Please collect odd scraps of wool x
For more information go to 


For those of you that can't attend the 'In the Loop' conference at Winchester School of Art over these next three days, I wanted to share a song with you that I aim to teach the conference to sing on the 'New Wave' day.  It is called 'Knit, Knit, Knit" and it was written by the Kendal WI ( my local town in Cumbria) in 1927, and it won a prize at the Mary Wakefield Festival in that same year. It was a busy summer for the WI because Kendal experienced terrible floods.

If you feel your knitting circle needs a copy, we can copy you the the sheet music.
It goes like this....

Allegretto (With Humour)

We're a busy and joyous band, Terrible knitters of Westmoreland,
And many's the stocking we've sent away, to Kendal town on market day.
Week in, week out, you may see us sittin' In t'ingle nook a-do-in' our knit tin',
In t'ingle nook a do- in' our knit tin', a do- in our knit-in'.
Knit, Knit, Knit, By morn-in', by noon and by night.
Knit, Knit, Knit, So lang as there's owt of a light,
When ever you're sorry, when ever your sick, 
There's nowt that cheers like t'needles' click, so Knit, Knit, Knit.

T'men may snuff or drink or smoke, But that's not t'way with women folk.
To pass the time or to soothe her grief, 
She takes up her own lile knit-tin sheaf,
And hours on end, you may see her sit-tin, Just do-in' nowt but knit-tin an' knit-tin, 
Just do-in nowt but knit-tin, just nowt but knit-tin.

Rep. Chorus.

Sunday, 13 July 2008


Make sure your knitting circle is heard.
Here is a piece by Laure Drogoul.

Saturday, 12 July 2008


Its happened to all of us.....collections of unwanted or unwearable knitwear start lurking in our wardrobes.
It might be a much loved old cardi with holes, a beautiful Sonia Rykiel number that your boyfriend shrunk (yes that has happened!)  or that old cliche - the Christmas jumper.  Well here at PYF, we are a thrifty bunch and we are turning the unwearable, unwanted, into the wanted and wearable. Here is a picture of me knitting with our jumper yarn, styling a re-worked jumper and Rosemary sporting an old sweatshirt she's remade by changing the shape, crocheting a new neckline and using fabric pens to draw a lobster! Lx

Friday, 11 July 2008


And at last! The evidence that the knitted sheep auction really happened and raised a staggering £1170 for Farm Aid.
I was Bo-peep, with a bone crook made by the local bank manager, and a dress and corset I made from a mosquito net and some old face towels.  I hold aloft 'The Champion" who was bought by Ray, who has spent his entire career moving Rough Fell Sheep from farms to auction houses, but had never actually owned any livestock of his own, until Adam slammed the hammer and I ran across the pen, to unite sheep with shepherd.  Ray had seen the champion sheep earlier in the day when he came to view the lots and knew he wanted it. Leaving his wife in the cafe, he came to the auction and waited for his sheep to come up.....which it didn't, until right at the very end, when he learned it was the champion, and just had to go for it and keep bidding. Ray was delighted with his purchase. He then introduced the sheep to his wife, who was not so sure, and affectionately said " What the hell did you buy that for Ray?"
Well done all knitters and bidders. I really hope it happens again next year.


Last Saturday, our friend Maggie invited us to spin at the Mudchute City Farm. 
Mudcute is the biggest of all the city farms and can be found on the Isle of Dogs.  The animals were happy and so were the farmers, epitomised by bags of healthy fleece to spin and a delicious lunch, with summer pudding, and cream!
Our favourite photo is this Oxford Down lamb on the right, kissing a Wiltshire Horn lamb on the left. We had never met Oxford Down before.  Oxford Down is the biggest of all the Down breads, with big sturdy shoulders and a wide head. The fleece is short, but very fine quality and grows close to the body, and up their legs with an impressive 'top-knot' on their head.  
The children at the farm helped us card and spin while the horses neighed in the sunshine, and we couldn't believe we were in London! 
Thank you Maggie, and thank you Mudchute.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


Lovers of adventure, I recommend you visit Miss Fleur Oakes's "Museum of Objects of Virtue" this weekend, for the show "Dust Jacket for Darwin's the Voyage of the Beagle."  Please aim to visit between the hours of 12-6pm. 
I'll ruin the adventure if I describe it to you, so all I'll say is that the museum is quite small, in a big place, and once you are there, you'll wish you had brought all your friends.
To find it, take the A to Z, to Cockfosters at the end of the Piccadilly Line, and follow the map to 89, Park Rd, New Barnet, EN4 9QX. The map has "Museum" written where the museum is.....Dress code is probably beautiful, but with sensible shoes....


'Get Knitted' at the Sheffield Galleries is now open, and there are lots of goodies to see....
We're off up there tomorrow for the private view.
You can coo over the knitted wedding, laugh at the old Cast Off footage, marvel at Shane Waltner's amazing interactive party knitting, as seen here, and hot your self up over the knitted formula 1 car tyres! And don't forget you get my free pattern for knitted Sheffield Steal knife, fork and spoon.  
For more information go to


We know that our Rosemary has a lot going on in her head. You can see it in her eyes. 
Here are the workings of her citrus bracelet, avaliable in orange and lime.


On Halloween last, we had a fancy dress competition. The prize was one of Louise's knitted flies. Quite late in the evening a zombie walked in with a chinese takeaway and we instantly made him the winner. 
Nine months later, David Laurence sent us this picture of his winning fly in a bell jar. Now we know who the zombie was, and to be honest, it wasn't really that much of a suprise. The life of the fly however, was a suprise and we are delighted to think of it buzzing on his busy desk. 

Saturday, 5 July 2008


Our knitting friend from across the pond, Sabrina Gschwandtner just recommended this film for me to study. Sabrina is coming to stay next week and we are going to the country to make a knitted movie.  I hope it gives you inspiration for any picnics or camping holidays you might be planning this summer.

Friday, 4 July 2008


Congratulations to Captain Patch, or Ian Tea the Choir Master as we formally know him, who made history today by fixing a rip in the shoulder of his jacket. Ian used pins and a needle for the first time since school, and fluently described the experience to Anna McNamee of Radio 4's woman's hour at the same time.  For more about Ian's patch, and all the other going's on at Prick Your finger today, please listen out for a piece about the rise of sewing machine culture, due to be broadcast sometime on R4 in the not too distant future. 

Wednesday, 2 July 2008


Prick Your Finger is proud to present a new range of beige wool, hand dyed in the English Lake District by Diana. 
For those of you who haven't met Diana, she is actually my mother. 
Diana has dedicated her long summer evenings to picking leaves and flowers, to create this full beige range.
Working clockwise from top left we have, the yarn in it's original state, yarn dyed with huckleberries grown by a Russian,  foxgloves with a copper mordent, mediaeval blue comfrey with copper mordant,  mediaeval yellow comfrey with a copper mordant, rose petals from a mediaeval courtyard, and finally in the middle, ivy from an 18th century kitchen garden wall.
Once looking at the rainy landscape, Diana said there are many shades of grey and now she has proved there are many shades of beige to be found in plants, and plants to be found in many places.
 We know it is only a matter of time before she hits on the bright colours! 
Hand Dyed Beige Range is very reasonable at 50p/10g.


Congratulations to Woolclip, organisers of Woolfest, and especially Cecilia Hewitt, for hosting the most spectacular knitted sheep auction that has ever been held anywhere, ever. I am still waiting for pictures of the auction, but here are the 120 sheep in 47 lots, waiting for the auction to start.
Knitters from far and wide knitted flocks of lost sheep, who all found homes and gathered £1,176 for  'Farm Aid.'  
As he slammed his hammer, Adam the auctionier said many of the knitted sheep ended up dearer than real sheep.
More pictures to follow. 
Well done everyone!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008


Any day now, the Guardian are to publish a knitting supplement. What a sensible newspaper!
We have made an I Pod cover out of spun 2ply cassette tape and a Polystyrene Cup Cover out of spun  aran 'weight' plastic bags, the patterns for which you can find in the supplement.
The cassette tape yarn sparkles and has coloured stickers spun in with it. It has an amazing shock absorbing quality to it, so hopefully your i-pod will last longer.
The plastic yarn for the cup cover is durable, crunchy, soft and of course, washable.
We took these photos in our local park in Bethnal Green, which we find more beautiful now we have used the plastic bags and cassette tapes which were growing in the trees and bushes.  The patterns are very easy, and we hope you like them.