Saturday, 31 October 2009


The UFO Project Administration Service is pleased to present a successful completion by artist Celia Pym.
Three quarters of a 100% white acrylic confirmation bag was administrated in May, having been posted to us by Trisha in Northampton, who thought it un-likely to ever hold her daughter's prayer books.
Pym, typically injected the piece with love and a flow of cosmic clarity. One of the few artists to actually cause earth beats with a needle and thread, Celia settled a full stop on the piece forever, stamping her mark by creating a trustworthy Elephant's Foot.
Beautifully done. x

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Make sure,
you feel lovely,
with what you wear.

Then sign up to the campaign at


Terry has knitted a beautiful Herdwick jumper, and we think it looks wonderful.
Herdwicks are hardy Viking sheep from the Lake District fells.
Their hugs are itchy, but the warmest.
No heating bills for Terry this winter!

Saturday, 24 October 2009


In July, I posted about a crook, which was left behind at Woolfest 2008. It was put aside for me, because they thought I used it to be Bo Peep for the Knitted Sheep auction. One one side, beautifully carved in horn, it said 'W.J.Brown' and 'Langleeford' on the other. It was made so well, I had to return it to it's owner.

Searching on google maps, I discovered Langleeford to be a very remote hamlet in Northumberland. I wrote a letter, (in blue dip pen on blue writing paper, with matching envolope) containing a picture of the crook.
A week later I received a telephone call from Mr. Walter Brown, son of W.J.Brown. He said he had been out shearing sheep all day, came in tired, and was quite shaken when recieving my letter, which looked like it had been lost in the post for 30 years, but had a modern stamp.
Walter's father died in 1978, and he carved the stick back in the 1960's. W.J.Brown was the best in the valley at hand writing, and carving. His family never left the Langleeford farm, so he had no idea how the crook came to Cumbria. He was very moved and wanted to meet me and have the crook back.
The safest way to deliver the crook, was to persuade my parents to drive to Walter's farm. Langleeford is a long way from the Lake District, and a very long way from London. We drove over the moors, which were stunning.
After about 3 hours, we reached the sign post to Langleeford.
The landscape was most unusual. Huge moors with soft red earth, and rivers which had recently become much more rapid, and carved up the valley.
The flow had been so strong, it had knocked down the bridge to Walter's house, a few weeks before.
On the other end of the bridge, 'W.J.B' was carved in the stone.
There were a lot of sheep in the pens, who had just been sheered and were waiting to go back on the moor.
Walter's house had roses growing around the front door. We went to the back door though.
Here was Walter. He was delighted to see the crook. He said he didn't know what to say, but he wanted to thank me. He was really cool. Full of fresh air with a twinkle in his eye.
He took us inside, where his wife Valerie had prepared some tea. The crook leaning up against the wall, is the crook that Walter normally uses, which W.J.Brown carved from the bar in the local village of Wooler. When the publican changed the design of the bar, he gave the old wood to W.J. B because he'd held up the bar for so long. Walter also had modern crooks which had metal heads. He explained about the shape of the crook, how it has to comfortably fit the shepherd's hand, but also the neck of the sheep.
Valerie and Walter showed us the family photos. That is W.J.B on the left, at Walter's brother's wedding. Walter is on the right. Walter's father was called William, but William's brother was called Walter, and our Walter's grandfather was also called Walter. They call themselves the 'Broon's' because they are geordies, and you can see from the title how good William was at writing.
And here is the prize Blackface Shearling Ram, who's horn became W.J.B 's crook. He won first prize at the Lanark Ram Sale on 10th September 1957. When W.J. Brown bought him he was worth £800. (That's about £30,000 in today's money) Walter explained that in those days, and all the days before these days, the income from wool was used to pay the rent on the farm.
We drank Sloe Gin, made with Billberries, picked on the moors above the farm. Delicious. I would like to visit again next summer. Walter said he would show me the moors, and hopefully I will get to meet his beautiful Border Collies.

Sunday, 18 October 2009


Introducing our new yarn, designed by us, produced by my mother.
'Spag Boll', a durable 6ply wool yarn with meaty pom poms. Yum.

Saturday, 17 October 2009


Louise rarely looses a fight,
and this week she fought the flu,
in bed,
with needle and threads.
And won.

Friday, 16 October 2009


I would like to thank the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Keith Axon Centre in Fairlop for such a warm welcome yesterday afternoon. Pam, a keen knitter and librarian from Redbridge, invited me to talk to her community about knitting. She publicised it well and there was a fantastic turn out. There were four different knitting circles there, who were all busy making things.
I talked for I don't know how long and was then inundated with questions, stories and finally a pot plant, which touched me greatly.
Pam then drove me back to the station. On route we were followed by a police car for ages, although we were both sure we hadn't done anything wrong, Pam tried to shake the police off by turning down a side road, which turned out to be a dead end, but fortunately, the police didn't follow us, so we didn't have to volt the tall fence straight ahead.
Thanks Pam, I had a really cool time.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


Diego it's not too bad. We know you struggled and the needles seemed too big even though your hands are quite large. We can see that Casting On was a struggle, but come row 4 when you could see where the holes came from it got quite good. Keep going!
Ellen cast it off for you.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


A rather good one this month. Interesting fluff collected after felting our new and gorgeous, felted hand spun range. £2/10g.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


When Elen won a scholarship to visit Japan, we knew she would knit something special along the way.
Here is Elen finishing the right front of her "To Tokyo, In Tokyo, From Tokyo" cardigan.
The yellow specklety and pink yarn, are from Shin Gin Koo - (Which we know we have probably spelt wrong.)

Elen noticed that in Tokyo the Pharmacy has pink squares rather than green ones. During the day the colours are all greys and pastels, and then at night the real colours appear with all the lights.

All this happens in one garment. Sadly, Elen had such a tight schedule that she didn't pick up any related buttons. Does anyone have any ideas? They are to go along a beautiful cabled edge.

Sunday, 11 October 2009


This beautiful story has been hidden in the depths of my hard drive for some time. Celia Pym sent me this picture, shortly after she mended the head of a bear, with a gentle cream darn. I expect he's fully active these days.

Saturday, 10 October 2009


For a quick, but very useful knitting project, the MacMillan Comfort Blanket Campaign at
now has some beautiful designs from leading knitwear designers. A good project for a journey to somewhere and back, they would love your help.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


Since Lux Interior died, earlier this year, I've rekindled my love for The Cramps.
'Bend Over I'll Drive' has, at times, kept this business rocking.
Recently, I've been concerned that should the remaining members of The Cramps visit our shop, we might not have anything they wanted.
So now we have three new, faux fur, animal print ribbons to jolly up the rest of our brightly coloured trims, currently on sale at 60p a meter.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


We were sorry to report the sad news that our friend Doreen passed away last week.
If you have been to our private views, you will have conversed with this extraordinary lady.

We first met Doreen, aged 90 something, dressed in leathers in the Bethnal Green Library. She became a great encouragement to us. With every visit, we learned something new, usually about the finishing of good quality underwear, which she always wore.

When Stephen Jones and I-D Magazine asked us to make an Easter Bonnet for the parade at the V&A, Doreen came with us. She brought a couture hat for each of our girls to model.
We all cut a dash, but on arrival in the V&A foyer, Doreen was shocked that none of us posed for the cameras properly. Flinging her cape, fluttering her eyelashes, and strutting across the hall, she showed us how to do it and a mob of men shouted 'to me! to me!'

For the short time we knew Doreen, we have learned what a wonderful time we could possibly have when we grow old. Her world was huge and she will be missed by many. Lets hope Doreen has found a really good party to go to.
Doreen's obituary is written much better in the Times but this is how we knew her.
Thank you to her daughters for the lovely knitting books which we shall cherish.


It's huge! We finished it last night and had a lot of fun jumping on the letters. The poem was shown at the British Library this morning, and it will be at the Royal Festival Hall tomorrow. (Thursday) You can also hear about it on BBC 's Poetry Please.

Left to right measurement: 13 metres (43 ft) at its widest point
Top to bottom measurement: 8.7 metres (28 ft) at its widest point
Number of squares: 1200+

Dylan Thomas

In My Craft or Sullen Art

In my craft or sullen art

Exercised in the still night

When only the moon rages

And the lovers lie abed

With all their griefs in their arms,

I labour by singing light

Not for ambition or bread

Or the strut and trade of charms

On the ivory stages

But for the common wages

Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart

From the raging moon I write

On these spindrift pages

Nor for the towering dead

With their nightingales and psalms

But for the lovers, their arms

Round the griefs of the ages,

Who pay no praise or wages

Nor heed my craft or art.

Copyright Dylan Thomas.

Used by

Permission of David Higham


Tuesday, 6 October 2009


By last Friday tea time, Louise and I had almost stitched the first 6 lines together. Our morale had improved after managing to Invade an Invasion in the Poetry Soc. Cafe basement.
Our friend, Judith Dean, who took this picture, is invading the Poetry Society with a strategy and manner similar to that of the Romans. The invasion seems to be formulating a brilliant show, but for the time being we were proud to have taken up all her space for the afternoon, and let our battle commence with the huge task ahead. Keep an ear out for movement of Judith. She might 'build Rome in a day' again.
The moving thing about the knitted poem is that stories are told with every square, all injected with love, of immense importance, and each story will merge with all the other extraordinary squares and oblongs. It would be impossible to show each one.


High five to Rosemary who has just completed a wonderful pair of alpaca mittens, with braid stitch edge, two colour rib cuff and her own patterning on the hands. They are so cosy, she's praying for bad weather, and managing to make it come true. Well done Rosemary!


Anna has made this beautiful ladies' boater hat, from our hand dyed wool/ silk. The wool/silk is a solid yarn and keeps it's shape come wind or rain. Anna fixed it to her head with a hat pin, but a sock needle or crochet hook could work just as well.
Downloadable pattern coming soon!

Monday, 5 October 2009


Thank you to everyone who came and stitched the poem with us! This is Rebecka, she got the whole thing rolling by administrating the knitting of the letters. That was a HUGE job....
It took between 2.5 and 4 hours to stitch two lines together, so with 23 lines, you can calculate the numbers of fingers we needed to help. Fingers came from every where, including some which were on holiday from Australia.

Deportment was important. We stopped for stretches as much as we stopped for tea.
There was nothing boring about this job. Every square came with a message and we felt that we were surrounded by hundred's of friends and comrades. Even the man on the radio gave us a shout out.

The poem was bigger than the Poetry Soc building, so we couldn't roll it out to read it. There was only one mistake, no gap between 'the' and 'moon', but Brigit managed to un pick that area and insert a blank. Phew!

I didn't speak to Louise for hours. She was fully absorbed and occasionally lifted her head to encourage everyone.

We got a lot of stitching out of Ellen, because she was meant to be writing an essay, and wasn't ready to start. I reckon her essay came together through the stitching of this poem.
Next instalment of the poem to follow shortly.

Thursday, 1 October 2009


If any of you are free tomorrow (Friday) Louise and I will be at the Poetry Society from 10.30am - 9pm, stitching lines of the Knitted Poem together and would love your company. We are really enjoying it, not only because of it's scale and beauty, but because everyone has written their names and favourite poems on the back of each piece.