Friday, 31 October 2008


To make a Halloween road kill costume, you need, 3 metres  x 63" of red polyester lining material (cheap is good)  2 metres of elastic, 4 metres of nylon netting, and the feathers of two grouse or pheasants. Feathers are free from your local butcher and the season has just started. This dress can be made for under £10, and can be made in under an hour. For a free diagram, please e-mail


Bring your treats to Prick Your Finger to-day between 12-7 pm or we're tricking you....

Thursday, 30 October 2008


......concentrated so hard on counting her stitches that her eye balls popped right out of her make your eyeballs pop out of your head like Rosemary's this Halloween, crochet a ball, working the rounds in black for the pupil, blue, brown or green for the iris, and white for the rest of the eye ball.  Add red veins in chains and then stick the whole thing to your face with double sided sticky tape, and look suprised.


Congratulations to Tina who has made a lovely red armed shrug in Tate and Style Check Red Slub. 
Tina actually finished this in the Spring, but it has taken me this long to develop the Lomo photo. 

Monday, 27 October 2008


Our Felix knitted a firework. It is so much friendlier than the ones that make the puppies frightened. Are you coming to visit us soon Felix? I do hope so...

You can visit Felix at


There perhaps isn't a lead singer in the world who has the kind of following that Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode enjoys in Russia. Jeremy Deller and Nick Abrahams have made a film about Depeche Mode fans, by travelling from Europe to North America, to Mexico and Russia. 
In Russia 9th May is Victory Day, a national holiday, but the date coincides with Dave Gahan's birthday, so it is also known throughout the country as 'Dave Day'. There is beautiful footage of young Muscovites, joined in a mass sing a long to Depeche Mode songs. To be able to gather and to celebrate their favourite band, provided some kind of emotional release after the hardships of communism. 
In Eastern Berlin and across FUSSR, there is no band merchandise. The posters come from the walls as soon as they go up. Fans work hard to get the Depeche Mode look. They get together to make badges,  T-shirts, cartoons and shrines. Depeche Mode has become a religion and a hobby.
Even if you are not a DP fan we strongly recommend this film. It has had it's first screening at BFI and should be out on Mute soon. 


The School of life, ( ) is holding a series of Sunday Sermons, and Louise has been busy knitting a 'Grey Area Collection Bag' to collect confessions and questions. 
In the old days, most of us looked to religion for direction on how to live.  Now we spend our Sundays reading the papers or surfing the net, finding little in the way of good council.
The School of Life have asked maverick cultural figures to tell us what they see as the virtues to cling to and the vices to be wary of. 
Sermons will be on Punctuality, Seduction, Pessimism, Curiosity, and Loving Your Neighbour.
To book, e-mail or ring 020 7833 1010.
All sermons will take place at 11.30am at the Horse Hospital on Collenade.


It was lovely to have Celia back in the shop last week. On her forth day of darning, leaving fear and indecision behind, she attempted to darn the gaping hole across the back of the jumper. The horizontal lines were a useful guide to fixing a a gap which had been bothering her for some time.... she still has a long way to go.... which delights us. 

Thursday, 23 October 2008


Thank you to Mrs. Ursula Munro of the Enfield and District Embroiderers' Guild for her delightful letter and a charming snippit of advice from a Singer Sewing Manual from 1949, which reads as follows...

"Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do.... never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates. Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing...
When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible.  Put on a clean dress. Keep a little bag of French chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals. Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick on... If you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing as you should."

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


With Halloween just around the corner, Prick Your Finger thought it apt to re print the Crochet Pop Corn Bedspread pattern. The writers of this pattern assumed you could finish it in time to die. That's why it's photographed, empty, on a black backdrop. 
Our reproduction comes as seen, with extra selotape.  Some of the instructions have worn away, but we can help you work those out. 


As the first frost came this morning, I was doing a bit of filing, and found this clipping from The Argos, of when I was asked to present a pair of knitted Ice Skates to British Ice Skating Champion Robin Cousins two years ago.  I've never told anyone this story because having stayed up all night knitting the seaquined size 9 skates, I had a fuzzy head, and I'm not sure if it really happened at all. Dressed in a purple polar neck, Robin cut a length of purple ribbon, to open the Creative Stitches Show, which displayed all the costumes he had ever worn, cutting a dash across the ice.  When he cut the ribbon, all the ladies clapped and a large appliqued Venus Fly Trap despensed some peanuts just next to us.  I gave him the skates, and he said 'thank you' and then put his arm around me and we had a little smile for the camera. 


Miss Smithies is knitting a shawl. Today she showed us her psycostitchgeography.  As you can see, it works in numerals of five with gaps and crosses. We haven't seen the garment yet, but we suspect it might be a fancy lace number. 
Miss Smithies, we hope to see you soon, x

Friday, 17 October 2008


Louise cleaned the windows today.  She used purple Windolene and a yellow duster - a gorgeous combination.  

Thursday, 16 October 2008


Lorna Ryan's mischievous bears are causing havoc in the shop.  This morning we caught them planning something with the elastic.

Adopt a mischievous bear for between £16-£40. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Good bye Michael Swaine. Thank you for coming to visit us and the people of Bethnal Green. Your San Fransiscan mojo and chocolate made our weekend.  You knocked on the door and when I opened it,  you strolled on in, like you belonged here. Out came your door knob darning stool, and we watched your lovely hands (because we all noticed you have lovely hands) get to work on our holes. 
We loved your poetry about bits of meat, and we are sorry you got so de- hydrated at the Knitting and Stitching Show. A kind lady taught us how to swiss darn and someone else gave you a Baker Light mushroom just like mine. You inspired me to mend, everything I can, and I hope you are mended now you are home. x


Are your bills bugging you? 
Do butterflies come with the postman? 
Bring those final demands to Ciaran Bagley's show at Prick Your Finger this evening and we will try and make them fly away. Ciaran can also explain how to make a staircase to climb up and many other big and small paper suprises. See you there from 7!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


Congratulations to our dear Louise for passing through another year of glamour and good times. 
Questioned about her birthday she said "It's all been marvelous."
Rosemary and I made her this hat. Louise has a soft spot for turbans and shells, but a loathing of polyester chenielle, and having rather a lot of polyester chenielle in the back room, we thought we would put it to good use. Rosemary made the turban shape on the knitting machine and I crocheted the shells, which go all the way round the hat. By adding a slight sparkle yarn to the chinielle, it took on a lovely crispy quality, which Louise wears so well.

Friday, 10 October 2008


I was quite excited when he asked me to do his laundry.
He suggested I listen to the Carpenters while I ironed his shirts, and having bought all of their albums on the recommendation of Sonic Youth during the Washing Machine era, this seemed like a good idea.
All the shirts were blue, I enjoyed ironing those, then came the pants, which had seen better days.
By this time, I was bored and wanted to tag the pants with an iron burn.
I put the iron face down, went to make a cup of tea, came burn!
The pants wouldn't burn! So I took them to Prick Your Finger where we conducted an experiment, placed bets and the results are as follows. 
The Aim - To burn a mark in the pants, recognisable as being the mark of an iron. The iron to be on the hottest setting and timed.  The mark must be dark enough to be seen from over the road.
The Bets- 50p each- Celia 35 minutes; Rosemary 30 minutes; Louise 20 minutes; Rachael 45 minutes. This is what happened.....
19 minutes - the pants started to stick to the iron, but the fibres changed from blue to green, not brown.
32 minutes -there was a smell of burning, with slight browning under the iron, but still no even coverage for iron shape burn.
40 minutes the burn had not reached the tip of the iron.
1 hr, an iron burn was present but with no sign of steam holes, and no brittle fibres.
Conclusion - there is still life in this mans pants.

Thursday, 9 October 2008


Celia made good progress today, darning most of the front, and discovering new holes.
Celia says it was a delightful day, and we talked a lot about animals.
Tomorrow is the last darning day of Celia's darning holiday.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


Congratulations to Fleur Emery for knitting a brilliant orange culinary solution. Anyone that has dined with our friend Jamie, will know that his very comforting dinners are made in a rather special way. Many a time, trying to help, I've checked the roast using an old sock as an oven glove. Fleur came to PYF to learn knitting and here we can see her first piece, in pure wool roving, felted into this multi purpose pan mat oven glove thing. What a brilliant idea!


"I don't know" said Penguin 1 " I feel like I can focus better with two pins in my head."
"Well it's alright for you, I can only hold one pin in my head, and I can't focus on anything." said Penguin 2.
"Eh! My friends," said Monkey, "no problem, we're on a shelf, we don't need to focus on anything...."
But the Polar Bear was clearly focusing on something already and just smiled.

If you can come up with a better story then please leave your comment below. 
Naori's pin cushions can be saved for £19.99


Thank you to Miss Celia Pym, for bringing peace to Prick Your Finger this week. 
Celia is a darning artist, tending to a Norweigen jumper which has seen better days.  Some of the holes are so big, that Celia does not yet know how she will fix them. 
Yesterday, she made good progress across the back of the neck and one shoulder, darning in Lion Brand cream Arran. The woven patches looked liked snowballs splattered against the intricate snowflakes of the fairisle, knitted we suspect, in the 1950's. 
We all love this jumper.
It has been knitted with love, loved as it's worn, saved, and now it is being mended with yet more wooly love.
Watch this space for the next installment. 

Saturday, 4 October 2008


Spanner is not a puppy any more. His teeth are strong and sharp and here he his, tucking into a treat after Sunday Lunch. 
Re-cycled Sari - Yarn is spun from ripped up saris, by women in Nepal. The yarn is incredably tough, being made mostly of silk. The strength of this multi coloured yarn, makes it perfect for teasing Spanner, by crocheting around his bone. 
Spanner gets confused when he meets one of my crocheted bones. He can smell scores of ladies going about their daily lives in India, cured bone and me. 
After struggling to pick the first holes, Spanner then gets very excited and takes the bone off on his own to spend the entire afternoon sharpening his teeth and licking his lips. 
Sari Yarn is 50p/10g and cured bones aprox £3 from your local pet shop.


Congratulations to Miss Rosemary Haddon for crocheting this delicious burger. Making a burger can teach you nearly every aspect of crochet. The burger, worked in the round, is dressed with a slice of cheese, worked in rows, and topped with hyperbolic cos lettuce, and slices of tomato with chain structure. Free form sesame stitches complete this whopper, which is made with Lion Brand organic cotton, and we hope to make into a kit soon. Yum! X


For those of you who don't live in Reading, this is your chance to make some friends in Reading. We recommend Felix Bad Animal's vegetable knitting workshop. You may remember Felix from Missability Radio and the Knitted walking stick competition, which PYF showed last Christmas. 
Make your way to The Jelly Leg'd Chicken, The Town Hall, Blagrave St, Reading RG1 1QH  on 31st October 6.30 - 9.30 pm £18/£15 concessions. You will never see vedgetables or knitting in the same way again. 

Friday, 3 October 2008



Sophie Horton makes site specific textiles and drawings. The top picture is 'Live Wire' and below is 'Tender /Affectionate. " We love her work and recommend her website  and she will be at the Schwartz Gallery, this Saturday 12-5pm as part of a show called "Trace" which runs from 3-26th October 2008, Fridays-Sundays 12-5pm.

Thursday, 2 October 2008


The Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park is about to launch a show, simply entitled 'Smoke'. 
It runs from Sunday 5th October- 14th December, with a Smoke Fayre on Saturday 8th november from 12-4pm, where Prick Your Finger invite you to help us spin smokey fluff from smokey angora rabbits and knit smokey forms. Whilst knitting, you could have smokey eye make up done, talk to the men who service the fire engines, and marvel at magicians making things disappear in a puff of smoke. 
It's free, and the gentlemen can smoke outside.
For more information go to


Darning artists Celia Pym and Michael Swaine are coming to the rescue next week at Prick Your Finger. Autumn is here and our knitwear needs fixing.
Celia, is arriving on Tuesday 7th to fix the jumper pictured above, and we shall be darning with her all week. 
Michael Swaine is coming to stay on Saturday 11th. Michael is coming from San Fransisco, especially to fix our holes. You can meet him at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, starting next Thursday.  PYF has a darning service all year round, but we do recommend popping in sometime next week if you want a lesson.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


We were sad to take down Miss Fleur Oakes's show to-day. This corset was about Christina Rossetti's 'Goblin's Market'. 
Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
"Come buy our orchard fruits, 
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump un pecked cherries-
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheeked peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries--
All ripe together
In summer weather--
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy;
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegramates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the south,
Sweet tongue and sound to eye,
Come buy, come buy."

Evening by evening
Among brookside rushes,
Laura bowed her head to hear, 
Lizzie veiled her blushes:
Crouching close together, 
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger-tips,
"Lie-close," Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
We must not look at Goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?"
"Come buy," call the goblins
hobbling down the glen.
"O! cried Lizzie, Laura, Laura,
You should not peep at goblin men."
Lizzie covered up her eyes
Covered close lest they should look;
Laura reared her glossy head,
And whispered like the restless brook:
"Look Lizzie, look, Lizzie,
Down the glen tramp little men.
One hauls a basket,
One bears a plate,
One lugs a golden dish
Of many pounds of weight.
How fair the vine must grow
Who's grapes are so luscious;
How warm the wiond must blow
Through those fruit bushes."
"No," said Lizzie "no, no, no;
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us."
She thrust a dimples finger
In each ear, shut her eyes and ran:
Curious Laura chose to linger
Wondering at each merchant man.
One had a cat's face,
One a whisked tail,
One tramped at a rat's pace,
One crawled like a snail,
One like a wombat prowled obtuse and furry,
One like a ratel tumbled hurry-scurry.
Lizzie heard a voice like a voice of doves
Cooing all together:
They sounded kind and full of loves
In the pleasent weather.

Laura stretched her gleaming neck
Like a rush-imbedded swan,
Like a lilly from the beck,
Like a moonlit poplar branch,
Like a vessel at the launch
When its last restraint is gone.

Backwards up the mossy glen,
Turned and trooped the goblin men,
With their shrill repeated cry, 
"Come buy, come buy."
When they reached where Laura was
They stood stock still upon the moss, 
Learing at each other
Brother with queer brother;
Signalling at each other,
Brother with sly brother.
One set his basket down,
One reared his plate;
One began to weave a crown
Of trendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown
(men sell not such in any town);
One heaved the golden weight
Of dish and fruit to offer her:
"Come buy, come buy," was still their cry.
Laura stared but did not stir,
Longed but had no money:
The whisk-tailed merchant bade her taste
In tones as smooth as honey,
the cat-faced purr'd
The rat-paced spoke a word
Of welcome, and the snail-paced even was heard;
One parrot-voiced and jolly
Cried "Pretty Goblin" still for "Pretty Polly";
One whistled like a bird.

But sweet tooth Laura spoke in haste:
"Good folk, I have no coin;
To take were to purloin:
I have no copper in my purse,
I have no silver either,
And all my gold is on the furze
That shakes in windy weather
above the rusty heather."
"You have much gold upon your head,"
They answered altogether:
"Buy from us with a golden curl."
She clipped a precious golden lock,
She dropped a tear more rare than a pearl,
Then sucked their fruit globes fair or red:
Sweeter than honey from the rock,
Stronger than men-rejoicing wine,
Clearer than water flowed that juice;
she never tasted such before,
how should it cloy with length of use?
The sucked and sucked and sucked the more,
Fruits which that unknown orchard bore,
She sucked until her lips were sore;
Then flung the emptied rinds away,
But gathered up one kernal stone,
And knew not it was night or day
As she turned home alone.

Lizzie met her at the gate
Full of wise upbraidings:
"Dear, you should not stay so late,
Twilight is not good for maidens;
Should not loiter in the glen
In the haunts of goblin men.
Do you not remember Jeanie,
How she met them in the moonlight,
took their gifts both choice and many,
Ate their fruits and wore their flowers
Plucked from bowers
Where summer ripens at all hours?
But ever in the moonlight
She pined and pined away;
Sought them by night and day,
Found them no more, but dwindled and grew gray;
Then fell with the first snow,
While to this day no grass will grow
Where she lies low:
I planted daisies there a year ago
That never blow.
You should not loiter so."
"Nay hush," said Laura.
"Nay hush, my sister:
I ate and ate my fill,
Yet my mouth waters still;
To-morrow night I will,
Buy more,"and kissed her.
"Have done with sorrow:
I'll bring you plums tomorrow
fresh on their mother twigs
Cherries worth getting;
you cannot think what figs
My teeth have met in,
What melons, icy-cold
Plied on a dish of gold
Too huge for me to hold,
What peaches with a velvet nap,
Pellucid grapes without one seed:
Odorous indeed must be the mead
Whereon they grow, and pure wave they drink,
With lillies at the brink,
And sugar sweet their sap."

Golden head by golden head, 
Like two pigeons in one nest
Folded in each others wings, 
They lay down, in curtained bed:
Like two blossoms on one stem,
Like two flakes of new-fallen snow,
Like two wands of ivory
Tipped with gold for awful kings.
Moon and stars beamed in at them,
Wind sang to them lullaby,
Lumbering owls forbore to fly,
Not a bat flapped to and fro
Round their rest:
Cheek to cheek and breast to breast
Locked together in one nest.

Early in the morning.......
and I suggest you follow this link, because I'm having to type this out, and I have to open the shop now.....