Friday, 27 February 2009


Scientists have invented a fabric which you don't need to wash. It repels dirt, and smells. I like doing my laundry, but it's a marvelous idea for camping trips.  I like the scientific diagrams so I drew them.

1. Nano particles are attached to clothing fibres using microwaves.
2. Chemicals which repel water, oil and kill bacteria, but can not be directly applied to the fabric, are bound to the nano particles.


We are delighted to have Kirsty Hall back for the last two days of her show. You are all welcome to come and tell Kirsty about your pin stories over a cup of tea tomorrow. 
Kirsty has enjoyed studying the pins that the East End Bangladeshi ladies wear on their head scarves.  It is quite common for them to wear a simple dress making pin.


Thank you to Zara, Barbara, Celia, Martha, Amaia, and Meiko, for sporing the delightful mushrooms, we found growning on the ceiling this morning. We all enjoyed Meiko's pattern and they look especially trippy in the handspun. 
It was a delightful afternoon with Louise on the Banjo and Celia's story telling.  We look forward to seeing Meiko again with her 99 lizards in June.

Thursday, 26 February 2009


What fun we had for fashion week hanging out in Farnham - the land of afternoon tea and hand knitted cardigans!  The event was 'Unravel' at the Farnham Maltings, a gathering about knitting.
We performed our spinning piece the Analogue Amnesty by spinning the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction, Shampoo - Trouble, and Prince -Diamonds and Purls.  We made and sold a lot of yarn, but the high light of the day, was talking to these fabulous ladies about their knitwear. 
Hopefully next year we can make the Unravel look book.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Meiko arrived from Japan to-day. She came to the shop with her friend Kimi and while we were chatting a knitted lizard jumped on my arm. It was quite heavy and clung in a tight but friendly way. ( I think it was stuffed with wire)
Meiko is displaying all 99 of her lizards here in June, but you can meet her and some of the lizards at her free mushroom making workshop here from 3-6pm, tomorrow, Thursday. 


And as she blew,  Louise produced a stream of Dog Rose Shetland Spindrift, £2.20 a ball - felts as it knits - fluffs up on washing- lovely.
Thank you to Zeel at for the picture. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


I made 'Portrait of a Boyfriend as a Kingfisher' for 'Love is Awesome'. He is made in crochet with single ply water coloured  linen on 0.6mm hook.  He is 13cm tall.  I put him in a frame but I shouldn't have done really. He is squashed in there. I might sew him onto something and give him a bit more freedom. It was really difficult to get a kingfisher blue, as blue as a kingfisher, and as blue as the man I was portraying. Even with series 4, the most expensive paint. 

Monday, 23 February 2009


They say it is all in the preperation. We watch this while carding. For more genius processing go to


Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of talking to the East End WI about how I ended up dedicating my life to knitting. The East End WI meet at the Chisenhale Gallery in E3, and I have to say it was the most enjoyable talk I have ever given. The WI can boast a diverse mixture of unique women. They ask brilliant questions, laugh in all the right places, collect old bras for the third world, raise money for good causes, knit skillfully and of course make fantastic cakes. 

Friday, 20 February 2009


Prick Your Finger is proud to announce a new on-line journal, called
dedicated to makers and wearers of home made sportswear. (  
We hope you enjoy it and look forward to your comments. 
We have created this blog to address the problems and possibilities in fashion surrounding the 2012 Olympics. 
We love sport, fashion, our community and doing things for ourselves. We will share tips on how to get things the way we want without being influenced by big sportswear companies who try to seduce us into spending money on things we don't need, which are made badly in appalling conditions.
By 2012, we will be fit and looking good in looks we are comfortable in and proud to say we made ourselves. 
Customizing sportswear events, for International Women's Week, sponsored by Alternative Arts and Tower Hamlets 2012 committee, to be announced shortly.

I am so pleased to have the footballers for our new site.
My Grandmother loved football, and Sheffield United was her team. She hated Sheffield Wednesday, as did the rest of her family. Her mother made her these charming little footballers, two teams, United in red and white, Wednesday in blue and white, plus a ref and two linesman. They were used as a table decoration on special occasions.  My Great Grandmother would have bought the china bodies and the hair and boots were painted on by hand and the clothes hand stitched. We think they were made in 1932.


Thank you to Perri at the Guardian for alerting us to the fact that MAGDA of KNITTA fame, has arrived in London to-day and is up for a bit of guerilla graffiti knitting action. Not knowing any knitters here, she has invited us all to meet her today outside the Royal Festival Hall (Friday 20th February) at 10am which I'm sorry to say is a few hours ago - I thought she said pm duhh.. 
Magda and her friends from Texas have shot to world wide fame by tagging public places with beautiful pieces of knitting, covering up ugly fittings, cheering up boring places and making art in spacial places. 
If you are having a walk down the South Bank this weekend, have a look, and why not try a bit of knitted graffiti yourself! 


Over in the land of the rising sun, a lady called Yoshieda Seisakujo is just finishing off her 99th crocheted kind of living thing. She has made 99 Lizards and marine creatures and she is inviting you, to come and 'be' the 100th person, by attending a FREE mushroom making workshop on Thursday 26th February from 3-6pm at Prick Your Finger. 
Yoshieda wants to express that lizard and man are the same. 
'Prick Your Finger' is very much looking forward to Yoshieda Seisakujo's arrival. She has sent us many beautiful pictures of her work, and we have a hunch she might be a very interesting lady. 
I look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, 19 February 2009


If you find Love completely Awesome, then you'll love our show 'Love is Awesome' hosted by our very own Felicity Ford, at no.10 Gun Street, Reading this month.
Here is Felix, finishing a jumper, next to her hand made posters.
Our anti - valentine show opened on February 14th with a shower of cake, bubbles, rubber stamps and love. Busy fingers and ears made Valentines cards, wrote songs, chatted and listened to Felix's sound pieces, inside cosy cocoons of knitted headphones - knitted with yarn from the Analogue Amnesty.  Her knitted speakers where playing bird song on what felt like the first day of spring. Here is Felix's photo of her speakers dangling and chirping in the green stairwell.
My knitted relics are in one of the front rooms.
Relics only seem to be kept if the love is awesome.  I was struck by the need to knit relics after seeing a stone carving at St Magnus's Cathedral in Orkney.
 A stone hour glass was keeping time, while a big stone hand came out of the sky holding a stone crown. The skull and cross bones was watching a lady praying. Perhaps if she prayed for long enough she would be crowned before she died. Or the hand was looking after the crown for the skull who used to wear it.  Was she faced with death, talking to ancestors, or waiting for someone to be delivered come home from sea. With many questions about the piece, I decieded to explore it with knitting.
Knitting for me is about time. It takes time, it defines a time, it is used as a meditation to process what is going on at the time. 
When I look at my knitting, I can usually remember, which train I was on, who was driving the car, what film I was watching, why I was ill, or what opportunities were on the horizon at the time the piece was made.
I started knitting relics, in Herdwick, which is my favourite yarn from the Lake district. It is has friendly roughness and looks like the local stone the glaciers pushed around there thousands of years ago.
 Making a giant glove for the hand was re-assuring. It waved big, pointed at things, took my hand, showed me the way and aided my gesticulation . 
Crowning myself in knitting was fantastic. I stormed the streets and got what I wanted! 
The yarn was so strong the hourglass managed to stand up on it's own, with no support. 

I did not know where to start with making the skull, but it soon became an absent friend, who is obviously not forgotten.
The skull and the crown began to have an interesting relationship. I loved holding the skull under my arm and scowling with a crown on my head - that's quite a powerful look. 
Then I arranged the crown and the scull on the mat and wondered whether the skull ate a crowned queen or the crown turned the entire scene into stone. I wondered that the crown might belong to the most feared woman known to the gods, Medusa, daughter of Zeus, with hair made of snakes, who with one look, turned everyone to stone before they had finished eating their sandwiches. 

I called my piece 'Relics of an Awesome picnic'. You can never repeat the weather, mood, company, taste and ambiance of a picnic.  You know love is awesome when you find yourself at a beautiful picnic, and bound by the universe to remember the time you had- because it seems to end so quickly- which was why I made a half eaten sandwich. These are relics of an awesome picnic, always remembered where only the love lasts for ever; which I think is awesome.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


Just in case you missed seeing this knitted brain in the papers over the last few weeks, here it is. 
Karen Norberg, a psychiatrist at the National Bureau of Ecconomic Research in Cambridge Massachusetts, has knitted an anatomically correct model of the human brain in wool.  The cortex of the larger -than- life brain, which took a year to make, is correct to the nearest stitch.
To see the brain in more detail, follow this link...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


My Mentor Freddie Robins, gave me a snippit of Knitting Knowledge today. 

Johnny Cash had a dream. He was sitting next to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, who was knitting and turned to him and said, 

"Johnny, you are a whirlwind in a thorn tree..."

and when he woke up he wrote 'When the Man Comes Around.'

the next line is "It's hard for thee to kick against the pricks," and hell, we know that's true.

Please enjoy this Johnny Cash tribute made by some Germans.

Thursday, 5 February 2009


Louise was watching late night television, and they started talking about shepherds on stilts in Les Landes, a huge plain in south west France. The region was boggy and flat, and the vegetation was of herbs and brushwood. By wearing stilts, the shepherds kept their feet dry, and could observe their sheep from a distance. An extra stick was carried for resting on so they could sit and do their knitting. In the evenings, still on their stilts, they would party.
Les Landes is now full of forest, which has drained the marshes, but the stilt walking tradition still continues. It's well worth a google.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


My friend, Mrs. Rothy O' Brian, the last terrible knitter o' Dent, kindly lent me this yarn winding machine in hope that I work out how to use it!
Over lunch, my Dad had a brain wave, and thinks it was for winding chord.  
I agree, but you might not. Please get in touch if you have any information.
(This was filmed on a mobile phone whilst snowed in) 

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


Here is another pin story from Kirsty Hall, our pinning artist in residence.

"When the Lockerbie disaster happened, the airplane was carrying a consignment of one million needles in it's hold. When the rescue teams arrived, there were needles scattered all over the crash site. As the sun came up on the carriage, the needles glistened, dangerously beautiful amidst the wreckage."

If you have a pin story, Kirsty would love to hear from you.  Kirsty's Pin Ritual is showing at PYF until the end of February.


Get your toes into a bit of rag rugging. It's a brilliant way to use up old clothes and Jenni is the best person to teach you. See her work at
'Raggy Bags and Eco Rugs' at Hackney City Farm 14th February 10am-5pm £60 (concessions) 01568 750229 to book.


A PYF sewing party was featured on Women's Hour this morning!
Hooray for Anna MacNamee for her lovely piece.
Anna came for tea and recorded us back in the summer. 
It was impossible to fit all us busy bees in the program, but you can hear Eithne Farry, Ian Thompson, Louise Harries, Rosemary Haddon and me.
To listen again go to-
For sewing parties at PYF this spring/ summer, make sure you are on our mailing list!


I have been enjoying Kenneth Baker's 'George IV a Life in Caricature'. 
George was the dandy Prince Regent at the time of George III's madness before becoming George IV. He splurged huge amounts of money, building the Brighton Pavilion, Regents Street and much of our country's fine arts collection.
This cartoon was drawn in 1830 and the caption reads;
"There was general industrial and agricultural distress in 1830, and Wellington was reported as being indifferent to families' suffering - there were prints showing him surrounded by starving men and women. George alluded to these economic problems in a speech.
Birmingham, a growing industrial centre, sent a deputation of journeymen button- makers to visit London and give a gift of gilt buttons to George. He helped them by making buttons fashionable and setting a new trend. Many benefited from the 'dandyism' of George. On his death the trade of button-making was 'plunged into a desperate condition.'"
I can only conclude, that the thing to do in a recession, is make more buttons, wear more buttons, and on the whole, dress up.

Monday, 2 February 2009


Today I will take the train back to London. 
Last night, I was looking through my Granny's patterns, and I found this steam train, which must have been drawn by my Grandpa. He loved drawing trains. He even drew the signal.
I don't think she ever made it.
PS> Never did take train to London due to snow.