Thursday, 9 July 2009


As far as we know, the last major British rag rug revival was founded by Ben and Winifred Nicholson in the 1930's, at Banks Head in Cumberland.
These super cool modern painters, lived in a traditional Cumberland farmhouse with a Mondrian painting above the bookcase, and a rag rug in the hearth.

This century's Rag Rug Revival starts on Saturday 25th July between 12-5pm, when Jenni Stuart Anderson from Middleton- on-the-Hill, hosts a rag rug making workshop at Prick Your Finger. 
Jenni has written a brilliant book showing the many possibilities of this painterly textile medium. 
The workshop costs £50, and tools, materials a
nd rags will be provided, although we recommend you bring your own rags, and your relationships with them because the stories are so good to share!
Jenni is a true expert and this workshop is a good chance to start a winter project which requires clearing out your cupboards, and ends with a rug on which to curl up and be proud. Check out Jenni's Venus below; Anything is possible. Places are limited so to book, please e-mail a.s.a.p!


Here is the letter 'P', knitted by Louise.
And here is the letter 'S', knitted by Zarah. 
P and S stand for "POETRY SOCIETY".
We are delighted to be helping the Poetry Society design a pattern of the alphabet for knitters, who are joining together to knit a giant poem! 
To join in with this project, go to 
and they will send you a pattern.
All letters must be worked in DK pure wool, on 4mm needles, with a dark letter and lighter background. 
The poem is a secret. It's a terrible secret to have to keep, because it is such a beautiful poem, I'm dying to tell you, but I won't, because after knitting lots of letters, when you see them all stitched together, you will, like me,
 have little goose bumps all down your back.


Woolfest was brilliant, as ever this year. I was Bo-Peep for the Knitted Sheep Auction, which raised £1003 for Farm Africa. More about that later, but I want to write about Mr. Brown's crook, which I feel is a pressing issue. When I arrived at Woolfest, one of the organisers said "We've still got your crook from last year!"

Well I knew there was a mistake because my crook last year had a thistle carved on it and this one clearly read 'W.J. Brown on one side and Langleeford on the other.

So I looked up Langleeford on the internet and discovered it to be a tiny hamlet or farm in a remote place in the region of Berwick-Upon-Tweed in Northumbria.  I imagine W.J.Brown is a busy farmer with a loyal sheep dog and no crook. He must be kicking himself that he left it behind at Woolfest last year, and it probably wasn't his fault because the Knitted Sheep Auction is a noisy and exciting event, where it is quite possible that one could forget anything. 

So I've written W.J. Brown a letter.

The crook is so beautifully crafted, I dare not put it in the post until I have confirmation from Mr. Brown and a postcode. I will have to wait and see what happens. In the mean time, I found this video of sheep herding on Langleeford, which could be conducted by a Mr. Brown. 


'Handmade Nation, the Rise of DIY Art, Craft, and Design' (In America) by Faythe Levine and Courtney Heimerl, gives an insight into how the rise of craft happened for our American cousins.
The book features makers from every state, and holds essays about the never ending debate 'What is Craft?'
'Handmade Nation' is also a film, the premiere of which will be held at the V&A on Saturday 25th July. I will be introducing the film, which is free, but I think it might be wise to book a ticket or get there early. In spotting the similarities and the differences between the British and American craft revolutions, it should help give us a clearer idea of where we are and where we should be heading in our missions to create the new world wall of order with our tools! See you there!