Tuesday, 29 December 2009

KNITTING IN SEPIA.




Father Christmas has become very keen on knitting anthropology.
Here are two 'Cumbrian' knitters, one from Whitehaven and one from Keswick, both of whom seem sturdy lasses.
Louise pointed out that the Whitehaven lady is dressed like a Welsh lady and there is a Whitehaven in Wales. We shall have to track down Alex Lovell, photographer, to find out where this portrait took place.

CECI N'EST PAS UNE PIPE.

Monday, 28 December 2009

PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED.

Our last day trading for 2009 was 23rd December when we closed early at 5pm and went for fish and chips followed by Public Image Ltd. at the Electric Ballroom.

Prick Your Finger is not a limited company, it is a partnership; but our public image, and the public image of all our customers and artists, is very important, and we would like to thank Johnny Lydon for his inspiration.
On stage, after greeting us he said 'We have a lot of work to do this evening,' and so we all did.
PIL were never a band but a company. Our part seemed as important as theirs and none of us would ever want to be categorized.
This was not the original band, but new PIL, funded by Johnny Lydon's butter advert. All new gigs were recorded and the CD sold at the end of the gig, to fund the making of a new album, with no record company interference. We like that.

We were too young to see PIL the first time round and of course it wasn't like it was, but the songs are so good and his voice and presence extraordinary. He explained his need to sing these songs at this time in his life, and we needed him to sing them for this time in our lives.
Anarchy had never seemed so warm, friendly, and achievable. We felt like guided warriers, with plenty of drive, who will not surrender under any circumstances.
Thank you Johnny, I hope you wouldn't mind me saying your gig was like a big cuddle.


MONEY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE.




Thank you to everyone who donated money, by purchasing a toy at our party for Aketsun Loveable. We have raised a grand total of £63.17 for the Environmental Justice Foundation, who heighten the awareness of the true cost of cotton.
We shall be delivering this giant cheque to the EJF in the new year, and hope, with your help, to raise more money for them in the future.
(We are quite proud of the giant cheques, which have digital swirls in the back ground, lifted off a pamphlet promoting the Crafts Council.)

TURNING SOLID BOBBINS.

Modern chunky bobbins are usually made in pieces. The benefit is less wood wastage, but problems arise when build up of yarn puts pressure on the ends of the bobbin causing them to wobble or pop off. We experience terrible tangles, and wasted time faffing with Superglue and clamps.
Well this Christmas, my Dad is coming to the rescue by turning 'Solid Bobbins' in Elm.
The only super glue needed is to fill up some little wood worm holes.
(Film made on phone)
video

LOUDER THAN BOMBS- ART, ACTION AND ACTIVISM.

We are pleased to announce we have been invited to take part in a show;

"Louder than Bombs- Art, Action and Activism" at the Stanley Picker Gallery in Kingston in the spring.

Our plan is to challenge the fashion and textiles industry with a bike powered wool mill / disco / boutique / protest platform, with which you are invited to participate.

There are seven artists taking part and each project seems to echo a song from The Smiths, 'Louder than Bombs'. Our song for the work in progress is 'Money Changes Everything.'

More info to follow. See you there!

SPEED WEAVE DARNING.

Father Christmas never fails to amaze me.
This year he brought the 'Speedweve,' Lancashire's smallest loom, made especially for darning. Darns come out square, for a modern look. Little hooks, twist to lift alternate threads, easing the weave, which is fast and effective. Genius.

(I'm down to phone camera, hense lo-fi images.)

Saturday, 19 December 2009

ROBIN HOOD BEAR.


Congratulations to Sarah Cobb, who has knitted a Robin Hood bear, who rides through the glen in the most handsome trousers, crocheted from Prick Your Finger's hand spun "Bethnal Green Forest".
There is no doubt that this curious bear is a rebel. Sarah wants to knit him a hat, and is asking for suggestions.
A pukka trilby with crochet feather?

Thursday, 17 December 2009

THE RETURN OF MR. COOPER'S GUERNSEY.



Mrs Cooper said to Mr. Cooper many times,
"Don't leave your valuables in the back of the car, because someone might break in and steal them!"
Most of the time, when parking the car, Mrs Cooper's words resounded in Mr. Cooper's head, but one sunny day in Somerset, a big green hill beckoned Mr.Cooper, and off he went on his walk, forgetting about the back seat.
At the summit, scanning the view, he noticed two men breaking into the back of his car. Pegging it down the hill, on reaching the car, his bags and new camera were no where to be seen.
Several months later, Mr. Cooper received a telephone call from the Somerset Police. They had recovered his bag from a hedgerow, sadly minus the camera, but his favourite guernsey was almost in tact, apart from a few large holes, where some slugs had tucked in.
(Yes, slugs and snails have been known to eat good quality wool)
Mrs. Cooper asked us to darn it, and it is now ready to be worn by Mr. Cooper on more adventures.
Mrs. Cooper doesn't think Mr. Cooper will make the same mistake again.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

TINA TURNER, WE DON'T NEED ANOTHER HERO.

But we do need shoulder pads. Back in fashion and now in stock at Prick Your Finger, £3 a pair.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

IN THE BLEAK MID WINTER, WE SEND YOU LOVE AND A CHALLENGE.

Season's greetings to you all!
Here are the first and last verses of Christina Rossetti's 'In the Bleak Mid Winter,' knitted in a word search, for you to puzzle over through the longest nights. There are clues to the words too, listed below, and the little words like 'in' are all present.
I am fully aware that it is impossible to do this on a computer screen, and it is meant as your Christmas card, so if you require a larger version to print out, please e-mail info@prickyourfinger.com and I shall e-mail you a copy .

1. Charmless, inhospitible and dreary.
2. Half way through the coldest season.
3. Popular snowman in children's song.
4. Experienced after eating too many sprouts.
5. Another way of spelling 'maid'.
6. Noise made with pleasure or pain.
7. The planet we live on.
8. Up right on both feet, past tense.
9. Not soft.
10. Used to flatten creases.
11. We are advised to drink 8 glasses a day.
12. A rolling _ gathers no moss.
13. Atmospheric water vapour, frozen into ice.
14. Not recently. (4,3)
15. To be generous.
16. Lacking in money.
17. Tender of sheep.
18. To take along.
19. Baby lamb.
20. Learned.
21. Male.
22. My share. (2,4)
23. Pumps blood around the body.
24. _ from grace.

In the bleak mid-winter,
frosty wind made moan.
Earth stood hard as iron,
water like a stone.
Snow had fallen,
snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak mid winter,
Long ago.

What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man,
I would do my part.
Yet what can I give him?
Give him my heart.

Monday, 14 December 2009

BUST CRAFTACULAR.

In the minutes leading up to the strike of mid day on Saturday last, queues started to form outside York Hall, Bethnal Green, for the one and only Bust Craftacular.
The first one hundred customers received a PYF, hand printed goody bag, which we made in the shop last Monday.
Some were red and some were pink.
We were teaching people to knit in the bar, and our stall was set up on Louise's laundry rack.
I've not seen so many crafty feminists in one place for a long time. They all bustled around Tatty Devine's Christmas Tree Tombola.
We laid a wool trail between York Hall and the shop, which proved good for our business.
We taught lots of people to knit, and had a lovely day but by twenty past six we had done too much talking and were ready for chips.
Thank you Victoria for organising such a brilliant event and to Mrs. Higgins of Tatty Devine and Zarah for the photos.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

SPARK PLUGS.


We are delighted to announce that we are the proud receivers of a Crafts Council 'Spark Plug Award'. This means that we are becoming curators.
It is all due to Mr. Trevor Pitt, who in coming all the way from Birmingham to deliver his 'Soft Bench in a Hard Landscape', stopped for a cup of tea, looked around and suggested I applied for the award.
Taking everything Trevor says seriously, I wrote all weekend, as the deadline was only 3 days away. Ella Gibbs drove over to have dinner and read what I wrote and the Spark Plugs failed on her car. The AA man said that was pot luck, and that they weren't earthed. He had to come out twice, so I hoped my application would be successful. With about 5 hours to go, Louise gathered images and fixed the printer, Trevor juggled the English and I hand delivered the envolope.
Trevor was right, Louise and I are developing a show, which we are passionate about. I shall write more about it in due course.

Friday, 11 December 2009

BUST CRAFTACULAR.


Please come and visit us and lots of other crafty people at the BUST CRAFTACULAR st York Hall this Saturday. We will be near the bar, ready to help you with any knitting or crochet enquiries, and there is a free Prick Your Finger goody bag for the early birds. See you there!
For more info go to http://www.bust.com/craftacular/About-London.html

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

POSTCODE SOCKS.


Serious second sock syndrome with this pair! I started them during the Men's Wimbledon Semi - Final and finished last weekend.
The postcode socks are incredably warm, in Wensleydale 4 ply, and contain postcodes of my loved ones, so should I ever be washed up or lost on an adventure, I shall be returned to somewhere familiar.
The second sock was harder, because after my family, there are so many postcodes and places and loved ones to choose from.

Monday, 7 December 2009

KIKI BEDDING.


Thank you to Bev, who brought us this wonderful package in Spain.
'Kiki, Pelo Especial Para Nidos' is luxury bedding for baby chicks.
It is just rough goat hair sold in a beautiful packet.
Genius.
Why can't all packets of things be this cool.
Bev has a shop on Columbia road, and she makes fabulous clothes, and witty bits and bobs. Do pop in if you are passing.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

FORTUNE TELLING.


Today we told fortunes in our house made of old coats, at the Art Worker's Guild Christmas fair. We have never been fortune tellers before, but it seemed to work. We wrote of good things that could happen, and household tips. The Brothers were then asked to sit on a tin bath in our tent, which was lit with a torch, and then we spun a Chinese wicker hat, containing all the folded papers. The customer picked a paper and we discussed its relevance. There were some freaky co-incidences. It's suprising the belief that people put into this ancient ritual.
Many were warned of moth attack, blocked drains, and hidden abilities to sing, which will hopefully now be worked on over the holiday period.
If you are an art worker and want to apply to be a brother, let me know. Next year's lecture program is very good and I can take up to two guests and propose new members. Lectures are every second Thursday.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

SUPPORT THE CHILDREN BEHIND OUR COTTON. PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY.

Aketsun Loveable, our artist in residence, is collecting money for our favourite charity,
The Environmental Justice Foundation.
EJF highten the awareness of the true cost of cotton.

"More than 3/4 of cotton output is accounted for by developing countries" - John Baffes, Senior economist at the World Bank.

Those countries are forced to live with deadly chemicals on the fields, which cause serious illnesses and birth defects. Child labor is common. Water is short.

Cotton fields drink loads of water and in Uzbekistan the Aral Sea has been drained to 15% of its former volume. The draining has uncovered 40,000Km square of the sea floor. An area the equivalent to 6 million soccer pitches. The area now takes the form of dry mud flats, contaminated with salt and pesticide residues. The winds carry huge dust clouds to poison the neighbouring regions, and the local climate has changed.

The true cost of cotton is too high to explain here, but it might be worth noting that North America and Europe account for 45% of global cotton product consumption, despite being home to just 13% of the world population.

Our Christmas tree is decorated in pictures from the EJF literature, and Katherine E Hamnett postcards saying 'SAVE THE FUTURE'. Aketsun Loveable is offering little wind up and whistling plastic toys, (great for bath time) for which we suggest a donation of £2.
We have collected over £50 already, but there are enough plastic toys to hit our target of £100.
Please donate generously next time you visit!
Thanks!

Thanks to EJF for the photos.

THE ULD PIXIE STRIKES BACK.


Our Zara, The Uld Pixie, who works here on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, has been busy knitting Christmas gifts.
You could buy an Angelic Sheep to put on your Christmas tree year after year, or why not purchase a Mince Pie Tape measure to check the difference of waist circumference before and after the Christmas meal?
Beautifully made, and reasonably priced.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

AKETSUN LOVEABLE!


Welcome Aketsun, who has flown in from the land of the rising sun, to bring us a pot pourri of fantastical dolls attire, little bird necklaces, handbag bears who carry a change of clothes,and new directions in Christmas decorations! Aketsun collects tiny gems from micro plastic high heals, miniature spoons, to pretty beads. With delicate stitches in sewing, knitting and crochet, she creates a utopia.
It takes several moments to appreciate how much work has gone into each piece. In Aketsun's world, everything is loveable, hense I presume, her name 'Aketsun Loveable'.
Doll collecting is massive in Japan. Aketsun showed us several copies of a Japanese Magazine 'Dolly Dolly', a bizare publication featuring over sexualized dolls that might have died on their wedding day, complete with roses around the coffin etc. Then, as you turn the pages (backwards) Aketsun's joyus world leaps out from the rest, and is, I imagine, very collectable.

It's the best example of contemporary Japanese doll craft I have seen. Paper dress making patterns, and crochet diagrams are also on show. Recognising, that the English might not get the doll world, she's made beautiful fantasies which you can wear, and decorations for Christmas. We are very proud to be showing something so bright, happy and completely alien.

OUR NEW BOOKCASE!


Built in rather a hurry, due to lots of new books arriving, (including the much awaited 'Dinosaur Iron- On Transfer Patterns') our new bookcase, of which we are most proud, cost a grand total of £8.99, due to the price of mat black paint, covering up the tatty wood, which was mostly found on the roadside between here and Soho.
The irregularity of materials, made it impossible to design on paper, and I love it's No-Wave feel.

Friday, 27 November 2009

FELIX'S SEA SOCKS.

Felix has had her ear to the ground and knitted a pair of upbeat socks based on the sound of the sea. They are incredebly warm, made with PYF's own DK Swaledale and Cornish Organic's Indigo. The two yarns sit comfortably together, like they have been there for years. Felix is perfecting the pattern, and it will be downloadable from our new website, when we've got it built!
For now, check out her process at http://thedomesticsoundscape.com/wordpress/?p=811

99 HEARTS FOR CHRISTMAS.





99 Hearts are back to spread the love! Lizards, frogs, fish, and jellyfish have swum all the way from Japan to spread Christmas cheer. For the next week, two red lizards will be making love in our window. Meiko has made the jelly fish flash when you hit them. Meiko will be addending our party for Aketsun Loveable next week, and no doubt planting more crochet mushrooms on our ceiling. Do come down to meet these extra ordinary creatures, which according to the Natural History Museum reptile department, are very well observed, with all the markings in the right place!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

PANTS.


Pants will now enter their 11th year after being patched with Liberty Art Print. This one has little houses and boats on. Liberty has a new range of 'Art' fabrics including designs by Greyson Perry.£19.99 per meter. Pants BHS 1999.

MOONDOG.


Louise bought a half -washed Norwegian fleece on the Internet. I didn't card it and spun it lumpy. Washed and felted it looked very Viking, so I dyed some with Kool Aid for blood and fire.

When the Vikings moved to Iceland, it was risky to take precious metals as currency, so they traded in hand spun yarn. They spun stock and sailed down to Scotland to trade it. I racked my brain for a viking name for the yarn, and remembered my favourite Viking of all time is Moondog, who lived on the streets of New York City and made music. He sold extraordinary rhythms and poems on bits of paper, and busked timeless tunes, which are all now avaliable at good record shops.

Very Warm Hand Spun Viking yarn £2/10g.

SYCAMORE TABLE AND BENCHES.

Our new sycamore table with two benches has vastly improved seated activities at Prick Your Finger. Me and my Dad made them from a tree which blew down about 10 years ago. Dad had it planked up, and it has been seasoning in his shed ever since.
It's my first woodwork project where the wood didn't come from a skip or street corner. Dad has an electric planing machine and a circular saw, which made things easier, faster and yes, straighter!
The table is two dinner plates wide and fixed with pegs, so we can dismantle it for parties. I carved the little finger marks in homage to Stanley Davis.
I had a hunch that we would work more productively if we ate soup, altogether, in rows on benches. We have found chicken stock most beneficial to our health, and the conversations are much more enlightened.

Our classes are also held around this beautiful piece of wood, and they are £30/ 2hrs for beginners and £40/2hrs for a private lesson. Much as we'd like to offer you a bowl of soup, it's probably best if we don't.