Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Our M25 Fleece Orbit, has made it to the shop floor. Our mission was to collect all the unwanted sheep fleeces from with in the London Orbital, process them, removing the access oils, bits of poo and grass, and spin them into designer yarns, good enough for the Queen.
London fleece tends to be very good quality, as the sheep are treated like pets, fed well, so their hair shines. We have Oxford Down from Mudchute and grey and black Romney from Essex. The staples are long, so it's great for spinning or felting.
We made some sacks to keep the fleece in, and you can buy smaller 100g bags for £3.


When Louise doesn't answer her phone, it's not because the music in the club is too loud.
The wool from which she made her mobile phone case, is so thick, that she can't hear it ringing.
But the phone is safe.
Swaledale Ropey £10 a skein...

Saturday, 24 April 2010


I don't want you to imagine any great mystery to what we do here.
If we show you how to do it then you can DIY.
Do as I say don't do as I do.The production of our new upholstery yarn range 'Pebbley Ropey', was going well until I thought I could get away with felting the latest batch in a hot wash with my underwear. It took us the best part of the morning to free the mess, and my bras and pants have been unbearably itchy this week, with the fine coating of kelp fluff.


Congratulations to Anna Maltz, who has finished making a Time Line for the school where she is artist in resident. Anna asked the sixth form art class to knit pieces, which she then stitched together with quilting to show the history of the school. Pupils and past pupils can then attach labels with thoughts, historical facts etc.
Anna quilted with Liberty fabrics, which colour match the knitting. I'm sure wherever they hang it in the school it will look fantastic.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


We couldn't live without the yarn umbrella. We use it for winding skeins.
If the yarn is heavy, it groans as it turns, making a squeaky wood sound, like you might hear on a tall ship. It is also painted with glow in the dark paint, although this isn't apparent from the photo.
At the bottom, there's a wooden screw, which moves up and down to adjust the width, and tightens to secure. Alarmingly, one day, the screw snapped off, and the entire contraption was deemed useless. Dad said he'd fix it. My Dad, like some other Dad's has a large pile of things that need fixing. He kindly made a new screw, and then alarmingly, it snapped off again. It seems that some of our yarns are too heavy for a light wood screw. Dad had another go, and made this indestructable red wood screw with metal re- inforcement. We can not work out how he's done it and we are much relieved. And because he likes to go the extra mile, there's a matching knob for the top, which makes the umbrella tall.


Please come and join us tomorrow at 12 noon, for one minute of meyhem as a tribute to Malcolm, and perhaps consider donating to Humanade by buying this memorial t-shirt, which for our shop, says it all.

Friday, 16 April 2010


With the spring came Ingrid Murnane, who has done a fantastic display in our window. If you've shopped at Prick Your Finger you'll know that we cherish the traditional, but love the unexpected. Ingrid has a new approach to writing patterns, which we find most inspiring.
I first got to know Ingrid when she made a piece through the UFO Project Administration Service. In case you'd forgotten...

Ingrid applied for 'The Petulant Sock", half knitted for a man, it had a cuff, heal, a few dropped stitches and a sigh for a failed relationship.
Inny thought about how two people can become very interdependent on each other, and what we bring to a relationship whether it is a romantic, business relationship or a friendship.She read about a geometry problem called Mrs. Miniver's Problem, about overlapping circles....
"Mrs. Miniver saw every relationship as a pair of intersecting circles. It would seem at first glance that the more they overlapped, the better the relationship; but this is not so. beyond a certain point the law of diminishing returns sets in., and there are not enough private resources left on either side to enrich the life that is shared. Probably perfection is reached when the area of the two outer crescents, added together, is exactly equal to that of the leaf shaped piece in the middle. On paper there must be some neat mathematical formula for arriving at this; in life none."
She found the basic sock pattern lent itself to the concept rather well, and using a contrasting colour, interpreted the idea of circles into knitting by making the circles 3D, turning them on their sides and making staggered transitions rather than Mrs. Miniver's venn diagrams.On the continuing theme of relationships, Inny was reading P.G.Wodehouse and spotted the line... "He started to put out my things, and there was an awkward sort of silence. 'Not those socks Jeeves,' i said, gulping a bit but having a dash at the careless, off-hand tone. 'Give me the purple ones.'
'I beg your pardon , sir?'
'Those jolly purple ones.'
'Very good sir.'
He lugged them out of the drawer as if he were a vegetarian fishing a caterpillar out of the salad. You could see he was feeling it deeply."
Ingrid celebrated this passage with the 'No Darning' Wondersock, with replaceable heal and toe.
Ingrid loves a twitter and a knit. Combining her two favourite pass times, with her international art group, she founded 'Plateaknit', the world's first twitter knitting pattern, which produced this lovely scarf type thing, a matching bonnet and wrist warmers. The pattern is a joy to read. It's a knitter nattering of friends, munching hoola hoops, bothered by Tony Blair's poor performance at the Chilcott enquiry, and being irritated by celebrity culture on Twitter.
There's also a Sherlock Holmes sock, knitted with clues, and the final and most touching part of the show, is a series of socks made by Ingrid and her friend Katy.Katy and Ingrid have been friends for just over a year. Having both moved to a new area, they met on Ravelry and immediately became very good friends. Katy has to move back to the USA next year and they won't be able to hang out any more, trading craft skills and making cookies. They are going to miss each other, so they hatched a plan - to concurrently knit socks, swapping them over at their knitting group, taking over where the other one left off. They didn't follow the same design or use the same yarn, but knitted in a way that was typically 'them' and independently showed they way they like to knit. They helped each other when they needed and didn't worry if they didn't knit for a couple of weeks either. That's the nature of their friendship, thus reflected in the socks.
Thanks to Ingrid for a beautifully made show, knitted from the depths of a good heart, and spanding a cosmos of free thought and endless possibilities.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


There was a treat in store for me Friday last. My friend Lucy Gunning asked if I could come and mark time with some knitting/ knitters at her and Michael's residency,'Rella the Test Bed Project' at the Beaconsfield Gallery.Test Bed Project is the continuation of a conversation that Lucy and Michael had about time and space. The project is to have no concrete outcome whatsoever, instead embarking on a series of experiments, working together and alongside each other. The gallery is their studio and they are in and out of process.They explain their conversation about time....
"In conversing, both Lucy and Michael find in common, unease with the speed of life, feeling a strong desire to still it's aggressive velocity. They speak haltingly, cautiously, even embarrassedly of a backwards forwards movement - like a nostalgia for the past oscillating with constant anticipation for the future. It seems there is not enough time just to be there. Together they want to elasticize things into the long now. They just need to stretch out, to let something happen - to feel a sense of all times. Past Present Future. Let stuff in. It's always ready if you let it. Isn't there a giant snake that eats inself; an Ourobous or is it Urobous; the time devouring snake, the cyclical serpent bringing itself into being anew?"
I was lying in the bath on the morning of going to visit Lucy and thought,"Dam...I haven't sorted anything for this.... She asked me to bring knitters to mark time......I didn't e-mail anyone....I didn't have time....It's fine....being around Lucy, it will all just happen..."

Going to Lucy's place would be a lovely day off. I packed my current knitting and got dressed.
Just as I was leaving Anna Maltz rocked up. She was bored of sewing her knitting up at home and wanted to hang out. Off we went together and little did I know, she was knitting a 'time line' with the school she is working with. The Beaconsfield Gallery used to be a school, so the piece really fitted. We had good chats and she had amazingly baked chocolate muffins which we devoured with many cups of tea.

I got out my explosion. To my suprise, they were projecting film of explosions on the back wall, and Lucy had made a time bomb thing.
My explosion is - or course - taking ages. It's in DK and spindrift on 3.75mm, and I'm making it up as I go along, which means a lot of stopping and starting. People, as always, ask me how long it has taken, and I don't really know. I think that's quite funny for an explosion. I've also taken to wearing this fabric clock with leather hands, which also doesn't know what time it is. I didn't want to leave the Test Bed project, because time had stood still, and I was getting lots of knitting done. Nothing was rushed, and I was having a lovely time...
I'm knitting an explosion, because being a creative person, my life seems to be a series of explosions, so I thought I should wear one. You have to have a lot of energy to do this job, to make things happen, and make an impact. Up until now I'd been rushing the explosion, because I want to wear it. At Test Bed project, I found it funny, that the explosion can became a space where time could go at what ever pace I wanted. I was simultaneously relaxed and excited, and the knitting was the pace that it always is, which is my pace.There is much more to discover about Rella the Test Bed Project, there's loads on Jane Fonda and Barbarella. I suggest you check it out, there's some wonderful ideas. I've only told you what happened to me, and now it is time for lunch.

Friday, 9 April 2010


We are saddened to hear that Malcolm McLarren is dead.
Prick Your Finger's strength of heart is partly due to the guidance of this funny man.

When we were planning our shop and in the early days of Cast Off Knitting Club, Malcolm taught us there is no time to wait for permission. Culture needs shaking, and we can 'be reasonable and demand the impossible -'

I think he grew up in a haberdashery shop, but I'm not sure, I might have dreamed that.... In the haberdashery shop, you constantly see people attempting things, and that's why we love it. McLarren's vision of re packaging, regurgitating, initiating creative freedom, and challenging existing cultural structures, was a far bigger lesson than anything we learned at art school.

We have a lot to thank him for.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

HERE COMES THE SUN, doodle doo doo......

Today was the first warm day, so we flung open the door, and dyed a shed load of Swaledale DK in Electric Kool Aid colours, and hung it out to dry in the sun.
Louise's sunglasses are by 'Vershage' and she bought them from a car boot sale in Norfolk.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


Knitters, we are all invited to come and mark time as part of
'Rella the Testbed Project'
which Michael Curran and Lucy Gunning and doing at the Beaconsfield Gallery
and if you're game
there might be time to do the Jane Fonda work out too!
Check out the website
See you there on Friday 9th April 2 - 5 pm.


Well we think we are. Tomoko put us in a big broadsheet last week. We are English craftsmen, and proud.