Shop Closed for Heritage Craft Association AGM - Sat 9th May

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hca
hca

We are closed because we are lobbying the government in a petition about heritage craft. "The Heritage Crafts Association is the advocacy body for traditional heritage crafts. Working in partnership with Government and key agencies, it provides a focus for craftspeople, groups, societies and guilds, as well as individuals who care about the loss of traditional crafts skills, and works towards a healthy and sustainable framework for the future."

www.heritagecrafts.org.uk

Sorry for any inconvenience caused. We will be open as usual next week.

Looking After Our Teeth.

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toothbad1

Yes my friends, it is not the sort of picture you want to see on this website.  Fascinating though it is, most of us feel slightly guilty when looking at it. I know I am overdue for a visit to the dentist by well over a year. Here's another one..

toothbad2
toothbad2

It's bad enough for the bravest of us, but what happens if you are an adult with learning difficulties and you have a terrible tooth ache?   Understanding the cause of the pain, and the restorative work need to fix it is not easy. The pain is in your head, the tools make funny noises, the lights shine in your eyes as you are made to lie down.  So what has this got to do with textiles?

Well..these diagrams are the patterns we used for participation in the East London  Textile Arts Dentistry project.  Many of you will be familiar with East London Textile Arts as they have worked with Prick Your Finger exhibitions a few times now.

email invite st Martin's 2015
email invite st Martin's 2015

 East London Textile Arts were approached by a dentist who specialized in working with Adults with learning difficulties.  She had seen the work which Celia Ward and her team had made with these groups and wondered if a textile project would prepare patients for treatment.

Celia invented 'The Tooth Witch' and invited us to work with her students on making teeth.  Pictured above is the invite to a show staring the 'Tooth Witch' at St Martins in the Fields, Trafalgar Square.  The Tooth Witch is now on a major tour and is extracting knitted teeth at Prick Your Finger next week.

ELTAgroup2
ELTAgroup2

So here are the ELTA Adults with learning difficulties and their carers, who meet in a church hall out in Newham.  They didn't like working on teeth to begin with but now they have got used to it, they find it funny.

toothwitch2
toothwitch2

The Tooth Witch herself is terrifying.  Her head is made with Papier Mache by Sarah, and her teeth flap about a bit.  She needs to be frightening because then the project has a bit of edge and the pressure is on us to knit her teeth before she steals the ones in our mouths. We placed some of the knitted teeth in her collar,

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toothwitch1
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phone may2015 955

She carries baskets of teeth too.  The visitors to the Trafalgar Square show weren't all that frightened.  One person said they found her  friendlier than a lot of art you see in Central London.

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extra teeth 014

This is a Tooth Witches helper, made by one of the students, and he wears on of Fleur Glass Pingles' needle lace teeth on his head. He is worn around the neck of the Tooth Witch, who wears an amazing gown decorated with repeated printed patterns of embroidered teeth, designed by Celia Ward, and the mouths embroidered by the group.

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phone may2015 958
indianladies
indianladies

Here is a completed tooth, knitted, decayed and completed with plaque and shiney blood, all in one morning.

Everyone knitted teeth in different ways. Some in knit, some crochet, all different stitches and some found it easier to work in 2D and put the pieces together and others worked in 3D.

equipment
equipment

We used a cream chenielle for the tooth ennamel, cream for the plaque, red fluffy yarn and seaquins for the gums and blood and there was some embroidery cotton for placing holes and cracks.

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toothstitcher2

I found I didn't really need to give too much instruction.  

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extra teeth 005
extra teeth 002
extra teeth 002
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extra teeth 007
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teethfinished
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extra teeth 013

The Tooth Witch's tooth extraction window is confusing for the passers by, who didn't know it was possible to knit teeth.

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extra teeth 009

The men who have been digging the pavement for the last few days have also been made aware that they need to visit the dentist quite soon.

extra teeth 008
extra teeth 008

Their drill is far more noisy than the dentist's drill.  All our participants now know that dentists are hugely skilled craftsmen. They used needles just like we do and they have nimble fingers which can stop our pain. Their work is conservation, just like when people fix precious things in museums. We only have one set of teeth, and they are cleverly made. No two teeth are the same, which make it impossible to make a knitting pattern for them. Every tooth the dentist fixes is a new experience, but he or she knows what to do. And when our teeth are well, we can all smile!  Thanks for a lovely time teeth makers!  See you at the next show!

Pastels in Kent.

kool-aid Looking after our teeth, we try not to eat sweets during shop opening times. We can however get our fix by dying the yarn with Koolaid.  Here is the gorgeously creamy Kent 4ply, spun by Roger, with Strawberry, Tropical, Orange, Lime and Cherry streaks. We mixed them up strong and Max spent all day, filling the shop with sugary vibes while she squirted the yarn with a syringe I borrowed from my boyfriend's cat.

koolaid

UFO discussions.

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20150416_165914

We were meant to be doing a crochet lesson at the RCA last week, but I couldn't resist bringing in a selection of UFO's for the students to discuss. This dazzling number came from a knitter at the West London Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers and it started Kim, a knitwear student, thinking.  She was itching to put it on, so we made her stand on a stool so that we could see what she looked like.  She wore, what we assume was the body of a sweater turned up side down, very well as a tube skirt.  The ribbing fit snuggly around her waist, and the most recently knitted bit, which was red, and not cast off, naturally rolled up to make a chunky tube- like edge.  The part of the UFO, which we think must have been a sleeve cuff, was knitted in the same colours, but had cables, beautifully knitted in different colours. Kim tried it against her at waist height, and over her knees.  The Cabled piece had loads of threads hanging off it, which looked like it could be incorporated into the design.  Who knows what Kim will do! Kim has lots of work to do at college, but I wouldn't have given her this piece if it hadn't suited her so well. Good luck Kim, and thank you for adopting this extra ordinary evolutionary idea!

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20150416_165903(0)

This UFO is part of Prick Your Finger's UFO Project Administration Service founded in 2009

Knit a Tulip for 'ME'

e4fd0dbd-6449-484d-9218-264eba8af1aa Do you know a child with ME?

TEAM OF MUMS OFFICIALLY LAUNCH NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO RAISE AWARENESS OF CHILDRENS’ M.E. A team of mothers whose children suffer from M.E. are officially launching a national awareness-raising campaign, as they reach an incredible 5,000 knitted tulips for the condition. Named 'Knit a tulip for ME', the campaign has already seen over 200 knitters get on board to knit an amazing 5,000 tulips, each one measuring three inches in length. The ultimate goal is to produce 25,000 of the woolen blooms, one for every young person thought to be affected by M.E. (also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CFS) in the UK. A collection of the tulips will be displayed at the Double Tree by Hilton London - Chelsea, on Thursday 14th May to celebrate the success of the campaign so far, raise much needed awareness of M.E. and act as an official launch to recruit more knitters to the cause.

The children of the mothers behind the 'Knit a tulip for ME' campaign are all members of the Association of Young People with M.E. (AYME), the leading national charity working exclusively to support the needs of children and young people affected by M.E./CFS and those who care for them. Assisted by AYME, it is hoped the event will raise much needed awareness and support of the campaign, which, it is hoped, will also be displayed in other areas of the UK as the number of tulips grows. To make a donation to 'Knit a tulip for ME' visit http://www.justgiving.com/Knitatulip For a knitting pattern and sponsorship form, contact knitatulipforme@yahoo.co.uk To find out more about AYME, visit www.ayme.org.uk, or call its information and help line on weekdays between 10am and 2pm, 0330 2211223.

ADVENTURES WITH VICKI AND ROXY.

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11013578_10152962058648393_2276109801723639227_n

Vicki has been coming for Saturday morning knitting lessons for a few weeks now.  On the second lesson she explained how she used to spend her Saturdays show jumping with her much love horse Roxy.  Vicki loves Roxy because she is slightly naughty, and knows she is beautiful. She has been known to trample on picnics and go off on her own adventures.  Last year Vicki and Roxy were doing very well in a competition when Roxy lost her footing on a bit of bumpy ground and fell over. Vicki was thrown and suffered a major injury to her spine. After months of recovery Vicki happily got back on her horse, but they won't  show jump together again.

unicorn horn
unicorn horn

So I was delighted when Vicki announced she was going to learn to crochet a Unicorn horn for Roxy to wear!  Here it is from a quick pic Vicki sent me last night. Hopefully we will see a picture with Roxy modelling it soon, or better still, perhaps Roxy will fly Vicki to her lesson!  Well done Vicki!

ROPING OURSELVES IN.

Yesterday was a difficult but productive day with  CSM Textile students. Our brief was to work in the Olympic Park, and make an interactive textile situation.

olympic park
olympic park

The Olympic Park, if you haven't been there, is exposed and quite strange.  There is great planting, but it is not matured enough to make us feel that we are in nature, and the atmosphere is not relaxed as there are major Building works still taking place.  These are all great reasons to make something happen! We gathered with bags of old fabric, and my newly made Rope Making Machine, which I had not yet tested. We were rained indoors for the Morning. Our plan was to make thick rope and then take it back to the park to see how we could use it.

yarn rope
yarn rope
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20150429_130738

The students first learned the trick of cutting fabric into one continuous thread from something 'bag like' such as a pillow case, douvet cover or t-shirt.  When the thread was made, we threaded it onto the rope making machine. 

This end of the rope making machine is made from 3 pieces of ply wood and a lazy kate mechanism, you know, the thing that makes a revolving plate of cakes move around. In the middle was a big hook.  The wooden contraption was tied onto the trolly because the ends of the rope making machine have to be free to move as the rope tension gets tighter.

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20150429_124516

The trolly is worked well because you can stand on it, using your own weight to add tension. You can also use it for carting all the equipment around.

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20150429_123639

The main part of the rope making machine has 3 hooks on cogs, which twist the tread when you crank the handle. You do this clockwise.  The mechanism was clamped to the Bench 'n' Vice.  This wasn't ideal but until I have built it a base it works very well!  The Bench 'n' Vice  is also good for adding tension as you can climb on the bench to give the machine more staying power.  When the machine gets going the two ends are under so much tension from the rope, that they get pulled towards each other. The students walked the walk with their thread, 6 times for each hook,  making 18 ply in total. I wound the main handle clockwise to give each of the 3 plys it's twist. The handle was quite stiff and made an industrial crunchy revolving sound. Everyone stopped talking.

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20150429_115738

When the plys where spun, the student at the trolly end, started to wind anti clockwise.  The student in the middle controlled the twist, as it worked it's way back up the rope walk. The twist was controlled with another tool I made, cut out of wood.

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20150429_124535

Once all our ropes were made, the sun came out and it was time to go back into the park to apply our rope to park type behavior, or design.  First we tried Cats Cradle on a large scale, and then we found a lovely space to try skipping.  Two of us held the ends of the rope , while skippers started jumping and trying to remember old skipping songs.

security
security

The skipping was thoroughly enjoyed for about 1 minute 30 seconds when suddenly security turned up to tell us that we did not have permission to skip.   You can not skip in the Olympic Park without permission.  The Olympic Park invites artists to come and make things in the park, but that does not mean you can assume that you can skip without asking. Neither can you fly kites.  We had wanted to ask security if they fancied a Tug of War, but thought it best to wait until another day.

So we set about finding other uses for our rope.

One was to protect the plants, which will look lovely later in the summer. There seem to be a lot of variety there.

flowerbed
flowerbed

The next idea was to offer our rope as a more decorative version of the rope that the cranes were using.

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20150429_145851

We were sure the builders would find our rope a lot more beautiful, and we were sure it could hold a lot of weight,  but we felt we had caused enough trouble for one day.

Angharad Thomas Displays her Sanqujar Gloves.

angharad on Friday 13th March 2015, 6-9pm

The Gloves are a museological study and not for sale, but the original patterns and yarns are.
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Angharad's works are displayed to inspire the knitting of such wonders, which we still need in this chilly spring weather.
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Gloves like this, are known in the trade as Sanqujar Gloves, originating in the small town of Sanqujar in Dumfriesshire.
Steve glove
Angharad is now the world's leading experts on these gloves, which are possible for us to knit, but are likely to take us all summer to produce!
Come and get started but more importantly, come for a drink and a chat, we'd love to see you.

Talented people and pants.

20141016_123107 Here are my brave knit students at Central St Martins College of Art and Design. Well actually that is only a quarter of them, I had four groups of these lovely kooks over last term.  They crammed the whole concept of hand knitting into one term with no windows or coffee breaks. We had a really good time.

pants

Carol, who also teaches on the knit course, held an auction to raise money for a hospice.  I donated these pants from my book Knitorama, and they raised over £100.  Suprisingly they were bought by the staff to use as a teaching aid.

When I was younger I used to moan about education.  We used to say it was all pants.  Well it is, only that now pants are really great.  If you got the right pants on you can do anything.  Pants take skill to make. Pants should be more expensive. Make pants.

'Mollie Makes' Feature!

MMS48.cover_web Come and have tea at Prick Your Finger!

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in the December issue of Mollie Makes Magazine!

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Come and discuss the problems we face when making things, and how we can solve them..

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See the yarns being made, and then make your self a felt penguin with the free patterns and all the other lovely articles!  Pictures taking by the very patient Polly Eltes and words written by the most understanding Jeanette Marshall and the whole thing held together by the most inspiring Carol McNichol.

Spreading Sunrise / Sunset.

I read that when Winifred Nicholson used to visit Mondrian,  he took ages to answer the door  because his black trousers were so tight and he had to do up his black shiny winkle pickers and make sure not a hair was out of place. piet_mondrian_foto2

I've exaggerated her description slightly , but anyway it inspired me to paint some yarns using only primary colours, and it knits up like a sunset or sunrise, that might have been in Mondrian's garden.  It feels good with tight black trousers.

mondrian

 

It's in aran weight Blue Faced Leicester.  My jumper is in sunset colourway.  There's been hats and scarves, and now the neighbours are knitting in it.  Here is Jo in her sunrise version.

 

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We love to say good morning and good night.

Analogue Amnesty. 2008-14

AAsmall Analogue Amnesty is a collaborative sound and spinning project by Rachael Matthews, initiated in 2008.   First performed at Tatty Devine on Brick Lane, through a month of long winter nights, the project offered a service where proud owners of defunct TDK or VHS tapes could come and choose a selection of wool fibres, the colours of which reminded them of the contents of the tape.  The tape was then played for the last time, whilst being fed through a sound 'pick up' held by a hand feeding tape and carded fibres through the spinning wheel.  The project asks us to talk about our favourite films and music in terms of colour and texture, producing yarn, spoken word performance, and soundscape.

tape

The project went of to play with Chicks on Speed and the Raincoats in the Girl Monster Orchestra at the Donu Festival in Austria.

workshopAnalogue Amnesty workshop at Tatty Devine 2008.

centrefoldsmall

Yarn Menu 2008.

 

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