Tuesday, 15 September 2009


PYF's en vacance, turned out to be a very practical time. We have alterations; please walk this way.

Yes, a new counter. It is constructed with housing joints from one display case top from Cumbria, two kitchen doors found by the river in Oxford, 4 floorboards from Norfolk, an old Ikea bed base from Bethnal Green and a set of fairy lights from Dalston Market. All the shelves light up, it's stained Mohogany on the outside and white gloss on the inside. I made it with lots of help from Louise and Jay.

Then, I thought it looked so good in the shop that it put the wall and door behind it to shame, so on Sunday night, me and Radio 3 knocked it down.
Louise took down the old storage systems and we now have a stage / studio, where we shall make a long thin collapsible table with two benches either side, which we can use for classes, lunches, making, discussions and teas.
Oh, and if you have read this far, you might be nosy, which is fine, and here is the back of the counter, which has a built in bin, bag depositary, and two stationary shelves.


Celia I had the most enjoyable evening at the Whitechapel Gallery recently, with Richard Wentworth and his portholes into the world of string. Wentworth was the inaugural curator of the Study Studio's Cabinet of curiosities, which he filled with his personal string collection, a ball of which is pictured above.
These are the pieces of string he 'confiscated' from us. He has asked us to add more bits of string.
If you have string to add please e-mail confiscationofstring@whitechapelgallery.org

We learned that the root of the word 'string' is the same as 'strong', 'stringent', 'strict', and 'strangle'. String contains no glue, the material is held together with friction between the fibres. If the friction is too tight it could snap, and if it is too loose it goes elastic. String is one dimensional. That gives it a lot of powers, it could go in a direct line, or if it keeps piling up it could fill a whole space!
So when does string become rope?
Mark Miodownik, the materials expert, decided it becomes rope when you tie a horse up with it. Extreme sport ropes are made differently to traditional rope. Traditional rope is spun from individual plant fibres, and sport rope is woven from fibres that are one long continuous fibre. Modern sport ropes will not be made once the oil runs out, so get absailing now. If you bungee jumped with a traditional jute rope, it would have no elastic, so you might do yourself an injury.
I took along our examples of making string, by spinning flax and a tribute to my string dishcloth.

My Mother brought this flax back from Ireland, and spun herself. (wet)

My string dishcloth photographed by Felicity Ford.


Well done letter knitters! The Poetry Society's knitted poem is emerging! We had a super time stitching them altogether last Friday at the I Knot day. Ha ha! We are still not going to tell you what the poem is, but we can reveal that when stitched together it will be the size of half a football pitch.
Each letter is signed by it's knitter, usually with an address and the favourite poem at the time of knitting. This makes the forming of words touching and very addictive. Indeed I could have stitched all night.
The Poetry Soc. still need blank squares of 12" and do drop in on the Stitching-Together-Athons on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th September. There will be refreshments from their friendly cafe, and lots of poems.


The whole thing starts with a single knot
and needles. A word and a pen. Tie a loop
in nothing. Look at it. Cast on, repeat

the procedure till you have a line
that you can work with.
It's a pattern made of relation alone,

my patience, my rythm, till empty bights
create a fabric that can be worn,
if you're lucky and practiced. It's never too

to pick up dropped stitches, each hole a clue
to something that might be bothering you,
though I link mine with ribbons and pretend

I meant them to happen. I make a net
of meaning that I carry round
portable, to work on sound

in trains and terrible waiting rooms.
It's thought in action. It redeems
odd corners of disposable time,

making them fashion. It's the kind of work
that keeps you together. The neck's too tight,
but tell me honestly: How do I look?

©2007, the BBC From How to Knit a Poem
Publisher BBC Radio 4, London 2007

Poetry Society - 22, Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX


I have been renovating over the week end; shop alteration phase 4. (pictures to follow) Shelves were cleared, either for diamanteling, or dust prevention. Moving things in our shop uncovers unusual relationships, which I feel must be documented. No one here remembers who placed what where. We can only conclude that things move around in the night.
1. A crochet carrot moved into the top right hand corner above the back door, inbetween the denim fibre and the cable cover, not far from the phesent feather jar. The carrot was made in orange roving as a nose for the wool snowman last christmas. This shelf has now gone and the carrot is floating around the shop aimlessly.

2. Linda's alien pin cushions and the folk fish seem to be having a harmonious existence. The fish is from a Murri Folk Club poster from the early days of Cast Off Knitting Club. They seem to bypass the public altogether, and we decided not to disturb them.

3. The parrot and the jumper have been perched on four wooden bobbins for we don't know how long. I dare not ask what they thought about the alterations!