Tuesday, 31 March 2009


I've been dying with Kool Aid over the weekend. Every time Sabrina comes from New York, she brings a few tubs of the stuff. Kool Aid is a children's synthetic fruit drink which comes in powdered form and can be used to dye protein fibre without any fixative. If you have a knowledge of textiles you'll know that protein fibre like wool and silk are difficult to dye, because you need to add an acid, which smells bad, and is poisonous to touch. Well it seems that Kool Aid contains something simular. I do not recommend you drink it, but for dying it's great because it doesn't mess up your kitchen and it makes your house smell like you are boiling sweets.


Dear All,
Please be careful with your knitwear this spring. This is the month where all the little moth caterpillars, who have wrapped themselves in silver papery cocoons in your favourite jumpers over the winter, are feeling a bit warmer and when they emerge as moths, they will be hungry and eat right through your knitwear.
 'Moths are wankers' says Mr Zeel, who has made us these lovely badges which you can purchase here for £2 each. They are perfect for placing on or next to a hole, and quite a talking point. 
I would like to point out that Zeel means well and this exclamation does not apply to all moths, only the little silver/gold powdery ones that live in your wardrobe. Some of the other moths might be endangered, so please don't kill them.
Thank you.


Harriet (off Tatty Devine) and I,  kind of share a birthday towards the end of march. This year we realised that we were too busy to celebrate, and the only date we had free was Friday 13th March. What better day could one pick to have the dress code 'Superstition'. I regret there aren't more photos. The winner without a doubt, everyone agreed was Richard, who came as a wishing well, and Rosemary his penny. Harriet was a four leaf clover, louise a Lepricorn, Rob Ryan, Bev and Zara were all black cats and Megan was an upside down broom to ward off unwanted visitors.Felix was a sweater curse- reminding us of the only superstition in knitting, that if you want to knit a jumper for your boyfriend, do not totally finish the second sleeve or your relationship could be doomed.
I was 'Umbrella-Up- In -Doors', an easy thing to be if you purchase two cheap black umbrellas, saw off the handles and attatch them at the shoulders and sides with ribbons. My mum helped me stitch little plastic purls on for rain drops. It wasn't easy getting through the ticket barrier on the tube, and I was scratched to bits at the end of the night, as I'm sure everyone else was. 
My favourite and possibly the most subtle supersticious outfit of the evening was by Jamie Fawkes. Jamie had bird shit on his head, made from a concoction of toothpaste and green body paint. It suited him. It was lucky, but it looked like he didn't know it was there, which was why he wore it so well.


Thank you very much to Miss Hilary Penn for thinking of Prick Your Finger whilst touring Barcelona last week. Hilary saw a haberdashery shop with a wonderful Easter display. The angel has hair of tape measure, pins in her halo and heart, and threads under her skirts. We thought it rather lovely.


Doreen and gang! The amazing Doreen, who is 89 years old,  arrived at the shop complete with her Stephen Jones hat collection. After styling us, she and escorted us to the V&A to see our knitted paper crown in the Easter Bonnet parade.  As we stood in the V&A foyer, the cameras went wild around Doreen!We were on time for the parade, but poor Tatty Devine were running late because baby Bebe was crying. They got to the V&A bang on time, by chasing a taxi with 'PYF' in the number plate. Yeah!

We all loved Rob Ryan's beautiful paper cut veil. It was crying, and we all thought of parties we had been to where we could have worn it.

Here we see two of the models before the easter parade with the Prick Your Finger Crochet paper crown(left) and the Tatty Devine Easter egg (right)  We didn't win Gold, Silver, or Bronze, but we did get a special mention from Stephen Jones, who asked the crown to step forward, and then said it was beautifully made and he couldn't work out how it was done! Woo!
For anyone who is interested, paper yarn is easy to spin, but not so easy to knit. It is actually crochet, and remarkably heavy. Harriet took some better pictures which I will post another day. Our bonnets will be on display in the French Connection flag ship store, and hopefully one day come back to PYF.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


This Friday evening is 'Mad Hatters' at the V&A, to accompany the Stephen Jones exhibition. I was chosen, along with some other designers to make an Easter Bonnet out of I-D Magazine. Louise, Rosemary and Zara, helped me shred and card all the paper a few weeks ago, and then I spun a yarn, and knitted a bonnet which you can come and see, along with lots of other fantastic bonnets including one by Tatty Devine and Rob Ryan, and all the other Mad Hatters.
Why are Hatters Mad? Well we were just discussing it, and it seems that Lewis Carrol made them mad, but really it was the mercury they used in the hat moulds at the millener's Luton, turned all the hat makers mad. What a shame. I hope to see you on Friday.

Monday, 23 March 2009


The House of Fairy Tales is a very spacial place. Their Candlelit Matinee last Saturday at Shunt proved that creativity is an epidemic running through 16-21 year olds.  While shadow puppets danced on the walls, I sat in the middle of a huge dressing up box, where the clothes flew over my head with busy fingers, making looks by cutting and sewing, and posing for another group of people, who were drawing portraits, around a dinner table, complete with candle sticks.

I was hanging out with the quiet people. Amidst the chaos, we crocheted mushrooms, which sometimes turned into rings, or flowers and even an octopus!

Thank you House of Fairy Tales, it was great to spend a day in the real world.

Sunday, 22 March 2009


As I was arranging the magic rugs at 'The House of Fairy Tales' yesterday, I looked up at the damp cavernous walls of 'Shunt' and noticed some moth like creatures sleeping. 
On closer inspection I noticed that they were hand made, cut out of dead leaves. 
What a brilliant way to decorate crumbly plaster!


The inspiration for knitting these relics, came from a relief on a wall in St Magnus' Cathedral Orkney. Through the process of making them, the piece became a picnic. At Gallery 10, I spread it  out on the floor. 
This week I put it up on the wall by the window in the shop, and I love it much more. It seems to inspire narrative more clearly and look older. The skull has been busy luring all sorts of people to the window. The scale of the pieces simultaneously seems friendly and frightening. 
I think I shall keep it this way.

Saturday, 21 March 2009


Rosemary has been very busy with the chicks.  She has given them the upmost care, dyeing their little pipe cleaner legs the right colour, fluffing their angora coats and trying to get them all standing upright at the same time.
You can take a fluffy chick home for £15. They love sitting on dashboards, shelves and shoulders. 

Friday, 20 March 2009


The great and good 16-21 year olds of London Town are preparing a Candlelit Matinee for you this Saturday 21st March 2009 3-8pm at Shunt Vaults, Joiner Street, London Bridge.
There is live music from;
Patrick Wolf, Ex Lovers, Cassie and the Cassettes and other Special Guests,
and you can visit many attractions including;
Hansel and Gretel's Gingerbread Oven, Red Riding Hood and the Bed Stage, King Midas and the Sacrificial Tree, The Waiting Room of Death, The Fiarground of Fortune, The Theatre of Shadows, Climate Rush Mirror Protest, The Mobile Phone Story Machine, We Are What We Do Badge Factory,  Learn To Love You More Fairy Tale Assignments, Stoke Newington International Airport and Le Gun Magazine, The Alchemist's Laboratory, Matthew Robins Shadow Puppet Opera, The Inn at the End of The Road, BFI Fairy Tale Cinema, Mermaid Nation, Prick Your Finger and Make Mushroom, Live dance and theatre and a fully functioning Boxing Ring.
There is limited capacity so be early.
See you there or be square!


We were so excited when we heard that The Long Lost were coming all the way from Calafornia, that we thought it best to roll out the barrel. Kegging the barrel is a dying craft. One hit with the mallet and the peg is in, miss it and honeyed organic beer goes everywhere. 
(We wore overalls so we didn't ruin our pretty frocks.)
Alfred and Laura arrived and were just as we imagined- charming, stylish, inspired characters. 
We talked about knitting Alfred a suit of armor, (This is the American spelling, we spell it armour) possibly in Herdwick. It's not such a daft idea; Conrad of Montferrat clothed his army in felted wool, which was so well made, that neither point of sword or balls discharged from firearms could penetrate it.

The shop filled, the barrel emptied and The Long Lost and their friends started to play. 
It was quiet, imtimate, and very beautiful. If they paused you'd hear a pin drop, and the odd click of a knitting needle, such was the ambiance at Prick Your Finger. 
Even the sparkly shoes stood still.
And on the street, people gazed through the window in amazement.


For her latest installation '189 Miles', architectural artist and former Liberty dress designer Angela Wright has made a site specific work at 'All Hallows on the Wall' church, which is well worth a visit.
When Angela first visited All Hallows on the Wall, she noted, 
"Visiting the site I was struck by the ceilings creamy softness and flower like patterns. I imagined a work that would connect these characterisitcs with the floor and 'pour' them over it."
"I chose natural wool for its church symbolism and vernacular associations. Woolen garments and blankets are part of our existence from newborn to very old, giving comfort, warmth and protection"
Wool also suggests the journey towards Easter, with associalted themes of spring, redemption, new life and inevitable reference to the paschal (Easter) lamb. The installation offers oppertunity for quiet and contemplation.

'189 Miles' is open Tuesday-Friday 12-6 saturday 11-4 and special Easter openings: Friday, saturday, Sunday and Monday 11-4
Meet Angela Wright on Thursday 2nd April 2009, open until 9pm as part of Timeout First Thursdays.
Wallspace, All Hallows on the Wall, 83 London Wall EC2M 5ND Entrance FREE


Did you ever knit a big blanket scarf thing that kept getting bigger because you forgot how to cast off?
Our favourite book, the 1970's 'Cheap and Chic', explains what to do. Just add mojo and wear it.

Thursday, 12 March 2009


Here is a lovely tune for you by 'The Long Lost' whom you can meet when they play here, at Prick Your Finger on Wednesday 18th March at 7.30pm. Please arrive at about 7.15
Knitting is a perfectly acceptable thing to do during the performance. Beer is free with the password K2tog.
See you there!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


What we loved about the Barbican's "Do Something Different" event, was that most contributers, really were doing something different. They had never pretended to play a knitting machine in an avant garde orchestra before. The conversation was fascinating, and so was the music. Thank you very much for having us, we did enjoy meeting you all.

Friday, 6 March 2009


....And ahead of schedule, here is a ball of fashion rag yarn, the carding of which is shown below! On Sunday I shall attempt to knit it....watch this space....


Give life to a piece of cloth! Headscarves are everywhere. Radio 4 is talking about the Queen and Nora Batty as I write. 
Here is a diagram on how to tie a headscarf from our current favourite book 'Cheep and Chic'.


On Tuesday, whilst conducting our Home Made Sportswear event, we made a friend!
Doreen, pictured on the right, who is 80 next month arrived in full biker leathers, and contributed greatly to our discussion.  We were talking about the importance of wearing good headwear, and she kindly brought her collection of hats into the shop for us to try on. Doreen explained how one can have a lot more fun with a flattering hat. They were so beautifully made, and we especially loved the Stephen Jones's hat Louise is wearing on the right.
Doreen packed her collection away into the hat box and danced her way down the street. Hopefully she will come with us when we enter Stephen Jones's paper hat competition at the V&A at the end of the month. 

Thursday, 5 March 2009


Prick Your Finger are proud to present
'The Long Lost' LIVE! In our window on 
Wednesday 18th March at 7pm.
This gig is FREE to PYF, friends, blog readers and customers. 
The special password for a free beer, wine, mineral water, is (K2tog) 
Bring your knitting or whatever you are making!

The Long Lost consists of husband-&-wife team Alfred (Voice, Guitar) and Laura Darlington (Voice, Flute) who will be joined on stage for their live dates by Amir Yaghami (Violin) & Jonathan Larroquette (Electronics) aka electronic duo Jogger. In contrast to the avant-electronics and hip-hop aesthetics of Alfred's music as Daedelus, The Long Lost is a sublime union of two songwriters & producers with a penchant for sad sounds and delicate, electro-acoustic melodies - psychedelic lullabies for lovers and lovelorn.

When they take the stage, the quartet exude a gentle strength, the violin entwining with Laura's voice, the strength of their performance lying in understatement and controlled musicianship rather than any showing off. It's a perfectly judged evocation of their music, utterly lacking in guile and full of the queasy, wonderful, sometimes awful emotions which overwhelm us when we're in Love. 


Louise and I had a stroll along the Southbank yesterday, to spy the knitted graffiti made by the Stitch and Bitch girls when Knitta came to London week before last. 
There are some brilliant pieces and some really made us laugh. This was our favourite though because it looked so comfortable.
Well done ladies!


We got very excited and made a fantastic mess last night when we worked out how to spin fashion magazines. It could of course, remain debatable whether our yarn would be 'so now' or 'so last season', as some of the magazines were a bit old, but we don't care. This yarn is beautiful.
Louise is in charge of 'Fashion Rag Yarn' production, and she says we will have a batch finished by 6pm Saturday. Rosemary is on carding, Zara shredding, and I am on the wheel.  

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


Jenny works hard at her knitting!
Last month she visited us in crisis with a difficult cardigan pattern. We all had a go in de-coding the mystery of the neck line.  It wasn't easy but she finished it anyway. 
And wore it for two weeks.
But it wasn't comfortable.
So she un- raveled the whole thing and knitted this instead!
Well done Jenny!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


Photo taken in Shoreditch on a busy Sunday.

Monday, 2 March 2009


Blink and you miss something at PYF. On Thursday evening, Celia Pym burst through the door in a whirlwind of joy and a little pink pansy in a pot. By the time I remembered to water the said plant on Saturday afternoon, our Rosemary had taught herself how to knit on 4 needles and made a very attractive pot in teracotta carpet yarn. 
How brilliant.
For a tough, weather proof, garden knit this spring, try carpet yarns in various shades of terracotta, only 40p/10g.