Wednesday, 29 April 2009


Can anyone help us answer Marion's question?
Marion's great Scottish grandmother made this fabulous antimacasar.  The colours are from natural dyes like madder and onion skins, and the whole 'thing' is 60cm wide by 140cm long.
Here is a close up picture of the stitches. Marion, a skilled knitter can solve most mysteries, but she can't identify this stitch.  She has spent all her knitting life trying to work it out. Is it knitted or crochet? It is not broomstick crochet.  Here is the wrong side. Any ideas?

Monday, 27 April 2009


Packing a spinning wheel for flight is not easy. We thought my blanky, duck tape and laundry bags were the best form of wrapping. The wheel was fine.When we arrived at the festival, we saw Reverend Billy, a soul /gospel / protest group, who excorsied the devil from credit cards, and sang chorus's about identity, climate change, recession and the world falling apart. Then we drank some beer in a glass which said 'beauty and obsession' and then we went to bed. 
In the morning we mixed jam and ham and cheese on rye bread and headed for the Girl Monster Orchestra rehearsal. It sounded great. We had tea breaks with custard pastries and talked to our heros the Raincoats about knitting. The Chicks on Speed made us feel welcome and Gustav put us at ease on stage. The wheel and tape sounded wonderfully perculiar.  After rehearsals we had a paddle in the Danube on a beautiful sunny day with a light breeze carrying the smell of lilacs. 
We couldn't believe we were in such a lovely place, and that this is our job.
We had a sound check at 16:00. Ian, dressed as the 'Farm Instructor', did some plugging in and twiddling knobs and Louise and I discussed having a conversation. It sounded great.  Anat Ben David noticed that we were English and needed more tea than everyone else and kindly had a kettle put in our dressing room.
 Thank you Anat.
'Men' came on. We didn't stop dancing. We are 'Men' fans. We bought the T-shirts the badges and the CD and then ran around screaming about 'Men'.
17.30 We had an interview on the telly. We talked about wool, tape, spinning, knitting, gold and freedom. Louise's wig kept slipping, but that didn't matter. The camera man tried it on . The wig that is.
19:30 Anat Ben David then blew us away with her energy. 
21:30 Yo Majesty. Boy that was good. Check that out.
22.30 Prick Your Finger.  We were not nervous. We made noises, chatted slowly in low voices and read Analogue Amnesty poem. Louise mic'd up carders and knitting needles, and clicked away. There were some men shouting encore at the end, and we bowed.  I said to the Raincoats that I couldn't remember how our performance went and they asked if it was fun, because that's how you know, and the answer to that is yes definetly. It has helped me see ways to develop the Analogue Amnesty. The spinning wheel is a powerful machine and the mix tape much loved. I shall write more about it when I've watched the films and let it sink in.
23:00 The Raincoats.  We were enlightened and very happy. They had applied 'make- down' and looked great. 
00:30  Girl Monster Orchestra.  1st Ramalangadingdong. It rocked. Anat Ben David played a black high healed knee length boot, there was a harp, Ann Raincoat on violin, Ana de Silva on the toy telephone, Gina Birch on the dictophone with the captain of the aeroplane saying 'welcome to the girl monster orchestra'  Chicks on Speed playing scissors and sticks and things, Koko Von Napoo singing and playing behind us. After the first song I kept the spinning wheel squeaking while Chicks on Speed did a lecture about feminist art. It was very interesting. I wish every gig had an art lecture in the middle of it. Then we shouted a tune Post Moderne Societe', which rocked.  The Raincoats started 'Lola' just like they always did, and we all joined in, just like we'd always wanted. Our mouths were wide open with the singing.
Girl Monster Song "She can dance, and she can sing, and....she sure looks good" was pure pop, we danced as much as there was space for and I think some tops came off and there might have been some boob action. What ever it was, it was wild and free, very happy and full of love, and the audience felt it and so did Yo Majesty, who came on at the end and rapped about love, lots of it, all buzzing around the room.
Big up Chicks on Speed for making history and being whole heartedly brilliant. We love you.
FM4, I hope you don't mind, I stole these pictures off your website...

Saturday, 25 April 2009


'In my garden I am Queene', is a misquote from the pre-Raphaelite painter Burne-Jones, and the title of a spectacular new show my Miss Fleur Oakes of The Glass Pingle, scheduled for a private view on Friday 1st May at Prick Your Finger. Fleur has been busy making a 16th C. style corset embroidered in raised embroidery / stumpwork.  Fleur suggests that we all be the Queene of May on that day, so we hope to see you there for pagan joy and celebration. (And Kings of course, we must have kings, can't have spring without king...)

Friday, 24 April 2009


Bless Ian the Tea Thompson who has managed to make some fantastic sounds come out of my spinning wheel ahead of our gig at Girl Monster near Vienna on Saturday night. We have yarn being spun with old tape cassettes, which pass over a pick up and then microphones on the wheel, picking up squeaks and knocks through effects to make it sound like I'm spinning in a dark and dingy cellar, with scary noises going on in my head.  Fortunately we will have Louise there on the stage with us in her fantastic new flax wig, carding beautiful rolags and doing her Bez Happy Monday's dancing.  I think we are going to have a fantastic time.  

Thursday, 23 April 2009


We love it when Zara comes to work with us, because she has lots of dreams which she makes come true. Today she wore these ruby slippers which were hand made for her by a man in Hollywood. They have 'J Garland' written inside them and felt on the bottom so she can dance really quietly. They were so shiny, they made the shop go all red and spotty. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


Thank you Celia. In keeping with this month's theme of letting sleeping dogs lie, Celia sent us this picture of an embroidery that used to lie at the foot of Aunt Lillie's bed (her friend Daniel's aunt) then for years it rested on the arm of Daniel's sofa, so when you lay down you could rest your feet in the foot prints. Daniel gave it to Celia last year and she has it on her wall as it is very fragile and the stitches are worn down. Celia loves that feet can be called dogs and so do we. 


We are loving learning the words to Lola, which we knew anyway, but we thought we'd better practice, so we can do our best, when we sing in the Girl Monster Orchestra with the Raincoats, yes the Raincoats, on Saturday in a little town near Vienna, and we love the song version so much, we thought it would be a nice idea to share it with you.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


What better way to celebrate this gorgeous spring time than to watch Simon Irwin's film of the 'Knitted Wedding', which I arranged and knitted for Freddie and Ben with the powerful aid of 'Cast Off Knitting Club for boys and girls', in the Summer of 2005.

Simon, it is beautifully made and thank you for putting it on U Tube.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


Congratulations Felix on your SEXY fluffy yellow with blue bits ribbed raglan JUMPER! Hooray! I witnessed your anger and frustration at those fluffed over decreases, and it looked dreadful to un ravel, but then you fixed it in no time at all. Well done, it looks georgous. This was the fluffy jumper you wanted before, and the wool is so well spun you won't get fluff in your mouth. What next?


I would like to invite you to be part of an exciting new project for the Jerwood Contemporary Makers 2009 Exhibition at the Jerwood Space in London. 
Across the world, hidden in cupboards are accumulations of half knitted works. On conception the ideas were fueled with love and contemplation. For various reasons, sometimes sad, the projects have stalled. The patterns may be lost, and the yarns run out but with hours of skilled effort, these pieces are rarely thrown away, but hidden in drawers, left to harbor unexplained feelings. Recently abbreviated to 'UFOs,' unfinished objects seem to effect nearly every knitter.
UFO Project Administration Service aims to take these lost, guilt-ridden projects and inject them with a new lease of life. You are invited to send us your UFO's and apply to finish someone else's UFO.  We invite you to do what knitters do best - be practical, imaginative, and inventive. 
Please e-mail for an application form.
This site will be constantly up dated as the UFOs fly in. If you see one you would like to work on, please e-mail us.
When finishing a UFO we advise maximum creativity. A forlorn UFO may arrive on your doorstep, asking you to unlock it's secret history, the yarn within the yarn!
Help these UFOs become couture fashion, fine art or heirlooms!
To show a piece as part of Jerwood Contemporary Makers, please act hastily. I need everything in by 29th May!
(But there is no pressure to exhibit, you can work at any pace!) 
Watch this space for up dates and paranormal activity.


We are proud to announce that we think we have fulfilled our life ambitions by being on the bill for the Chick on Speeds Girl Monster event in Austria next weekend!  Prick Your Finger, your local haberdashery shop will be playing before the Raincoats. Yes! The Raincoats! The original healthy girl punk band. We are playing with Ian Tea Thompson of the Hackney Secular Singers who has made a marvelous contraption for me to hold whilst spinning the tape cassettes. He will pick up the sounds one last time, as they become plied yarn and Louise will be carding a fantastic array of fibres. Then at 00.30 we will be playing in the GMO the Girl Monster Orchestra under the artistic direction of Gustav. This evening promises to make history, even by it's very existence. Chicks on Speed know how to keep it real and stay free. For more information on Girl Monster go to
I'll blog about it next week, and then Louise and I shall retire in glee.

Friday, 17 April 2009


Congratulations Jennifer Corker on your beautiful show 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie' which we celebrated at PYF with you and your lovely friends last night. We love the simplicity and fine skills you used to make charming portraits of your favourite dogs and sea creatures.
"I've bean to hell and back and let me tell you there are 57 varieties" apron, really made us laugh, and it could spread your humourous calm through any household. The dogs rocked in the collars you made them, and we thought we hadn't had such a sophisticated evening in ages.
Thank you for delighting us.
Jennifer Corker's show is on until the end of April.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Like the Anders Solvesten Thomsen image heres a photoshoot Rachael and i did awhile ago showing the marvolous things you can do with a fleece thats not suitable for spinning! Rachael has turned it into a tippet,with the use of black ribbon and strings of fake pearls! Here shes working a super glamourous look for answering the phone and doing office work....oh yeah.


Check out this amazing image by Danish Stylist Anders Solvsten Thomsen! we love it....

Friday, 10 April 2009


London Fields in Hackney is a great park for many reasons...On my morning run i saw this strung from the trees...street weaving!

On my way home from ukulele lesson i spot this lovely bit of street darning! someone has made sure that rips on the 149 to Dalston bus seat are mended and won't spread any further.....that really is a stitch in time......
L x

Monday, 6 April 2009


We were delighted when Ted Houghton asked us to set a project for the Middlesex Knitwear students.  Our brief was to produce one or more photos, showing 'moments' with knitting. The moment could be modeling knits at a wild party, knitting in a more private mood, or taking their knits into complete fantasy. What ever the circumstances, we wanted the students to make whatever they craved, and show us how they enjoyed the results. And that is exactly what most of them did!
 Hoi likes to party! Whilst putting her make up on, she thinks about what to wear. Her friends are getting ready at the same time, and later in the evening, they will all meet up in the ladies and re-apply their make up. Hoi made a make-up bag from re-cycled plastic bags, a lipstick, a muscara, a perfume bottle and a powder brush and powder compact. Brilliant idea because those powder brushes cost a fortune in the shops. 

Nilay was feeling the winter blues and tackled it with a cosy scarf and ear muffs resembling summer flowers.  She was the only blossom in the park on that bleak day!

Laura's Pixelated Poncho is an absolute bargin in these desperate times. If the credit crunch is getting you down, the weather is rubbish, and you find yourself on the run, then why not PIXELATE YOURSELF and disappear completely?  How genius and useful. We all want one.
Ashleigh makes textiles sumptuous. Her floral ear muffs and bracelet are dosed with essential oils of lavender and vanilla, which after 1 min 30 seconds in the microwave will sooth away the spring and winter head colds.

Holly's Shrooms are 'Funky Fresh and Fungal!' They can grow anywhere, and be worn or displayed in many ways. Holly has experimented with lots of different stitches and enjoyed mixing a whole new world of colour.
The brief we set was to show yourself having a good time, out with your knitting, but there was also a clause for the Ornamental Hermit, which Salma became, looking gloriously comfortable draped in knitted forms in the comfort of her home.
Sue understands that through the meduim of knitting, we can meditate, dream and eventually go any where we want to. So off she went and found an Owl and a Piggy with a ring in it's nose (not pictured here, I'm sorry, it was a brilliant touch Sue,) made some masks, knitted a substantial anchor on a chunky chain, and they set sail on a boat with some green bits on it. She created a brilliant scene and we wish them every success on their journey with knitting. 

And what better way to finish this story than with Avril and her Candy Floss Crochet and Candy Cover Up.  Avril and her friends have proved the point we wanted to make. Knitting can be an odd profession. When Louise and I  were at college we had to mount our textile samples on pieces of white card, which was fine, but it gave little chance to show how the piece was worn.  We love Avril's picture, because even though we can't see the knitting very well with all the merry goings on, we know how it made her feel, how she envisioned herself being when the yarn turned her on.  It's a photo that leaves us wanting more....  

Well done Middlesex Students, keep putting the love into the yarn, have a good time, follow your dreams and continue to sell good ideas. Hope to see you soon. x

Saturday, 4 April 2009


Our Friend Piers has built a first class Victorian railway carriage in his studio in Hackney Wick. Now it is completed, he is offering other people the chance to use it for photo shoots. If you are interested please e-mail him
I've sat in it, and it really is an amazing space. I love knitting on journeys and this would be the ideal ticket to get, because the train will never pull into a station, so all my garments would  be finished. 
He will dismantle it fairly soon, so do get in touch with him asap if you are interested.


Calling all friends and parents of new borns! Renowned knitting designer Erika Knight is coming to PYF to launch her new book, 'Natural Nursery Knits' on Saturday 2nd May 2-6pm. As well as producing practical and irresistible patterns for items to be treasured in the nursery and handed down as heirlooms, Erika will be talking to us about the sate of the world's yarn production. We all want to surround children with soft textures and adorn them with warm and comfortable clothing, but we also care about our environment. Erika will lead discussions on where our yarn comes from and how they effect our planet. 
PYF will be providing free knitting lessons to get you started on Erika's designs, and a selection of refreshments. I shall remind everyone nearer the time, but please put it in your diary and RSVP as soon as possible so I can calculate how many sandwiches to make. 

Friday, 3 April 2009


Miss Fleur Oakes of The Glass Pingle popped in for tea yesterday. Fleur is making an exciting new  show which will be displayed at Prick Your Finger from the 1st of May.  Fleur said she found a quote by Burne-Jones which said something like, (I've forgotten exactly)
'A man is King in his own garden with a pencil and a sketch book'. 
Fleur is Queen in her garden with her pencil, and we will all see why when her new show goes up at PYF on May 1st. (Put it in your diary) To-day is the best day of the year for planting flowers, according to my friend Lucy's moon chart, and this quote has been going round and round in my head. I want to be the Queen of the Garden too. So with that in mind, here is a snap I took last summer in the garden at William Morris's Red House. We hope your gardens grow well this year.  Fleur's private view is bound to be extra -ordinary. 


Jenifer Corker loves sewing and her dogs, and has managed to mix the two into a fine body of work. Soon she will be coming to PYF to show 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie,' where she has stitched delicate drawings of delicate dogs on delicate fabrics. Jen is also a jeweler and we love the way she see her dogs as gems and stitches them with a steady hand.

Thursday, 2 April 2009


Woolfest in Cumbria will be holding another knitted Sheep Auction this year. Last year the knitted sheep raised over £1100 for Farm Africa. Top prices were paid for a pair of Ronaldsays, an Icelandic wearing an aran jumper and felted Herdwicks all the way from the USA. Pictured here is a handspun / hand knitted Jacob, which my mother bid for while I was running around being Bo-Peep and holding the lots up to the audience to see. 
You can be as inventive as you like, knitting the sheep but if you would like to follow a pattern, please download it at
Woolfest is on the weekend of 26th and 27th June 2009, but please send your sheep in a bit earlier so the Woolclip Ladies can arrange them into lots.



Louise has been making ears for a while now. This month, Louise explains her trial connection to the messages of the March Hare. 
"Spring has sprung and I am thinking of jumping around in a field like a March Hare. Many cultures believe that you could channel animal spirits to guide you through life and that each of us has an animal guide.  I am making lots of different animal ears to see if I can hear the guides, giving me messages. Nothing has happened yet, but it is early days.
Please come to Prick Your Finger, and try on the ears. They might help you make that important decision on whether to buy UK Alpacca, or Shetland!"
Louise's ears are made out of a felted wool jumper with wool and silk embroidery.