Unravelling Ceremony


Prick Your Finger

invites you to an Unravelling Ceremony presented by

Sallyanne Wood

(Please understand we are unravelling the ravelling done by the action of knitting, not the actual work)

Tea, wine, beer, soft drinks, cake and bargins.

Prick Your Finger, in it's present form will not re-open after Christmas.

Ever transforming, it has outgrown its original home and is ready to be fashioned into phase 2.

A new suitably crazy space is emerging, at it’s own pace.

In the meantime, I am writing a book about Mindfulness in textiles, and on-line sales will continue as normal.

So please come and celebrate the great times we have had here, and add your transforming energies.

You have been delightful and fascinating visitors and supporters, giving us an encouraging window on the world.

When I open the next door, I hope you will be there.

Love Rachael x

Poster made by Sally Anne Wood and Rachael Matthews

Open Tues-Saturday until December 20th

at Prick Your Finger, 260 Globe Rd, London E2 0JD

The Tower of Babel.


Barnaby Barford's Tower of Babel at the V&A  is a richly-layered work that tells an array of stories about our capital city, our society and economy, and ourselves as consumers. Standing an imposing six metres tall, it is made up of 3000 individual bone china buildings, each between 10 and 13 cm high and each depicting a real London shop. Barford cycled over 1000 miles during the making of The Tower, visiting every postcode in London and photographing well over 6000 shops in the process. These photographs were used to produce the ceramic transfers that have been fired onto the shops, making each shop a unique work of art in its own right. And Prick Your Finger features about just under half way up!

Barnaby asks us.....“This is London in all its retail glory, our city in the beginning of the 21st century and I’m asking, how does it make you feel?”

When I went to see it last week I found it very difficult to find Prick Your Finger, but when I did I felt proud to see it hanging on in there.

At The Tower’s base, the shops are derelict, closed-down and boarded-up. Then, as we start to ascend, we find chicken shops, pound shops, and bookies. Climb further and we encounter specialist retailers of all descriptions, chic boutiques and artisan food stores that cater for the aspirational consumer’s every need. Nearing the top, the shops become ever-more exclusive, until finally we reach the pinnacle with London’s fine art galleries and auction houses, where goods are sold at eye-watering prices.

This hierarchy of consumption is echoed in the retail prices of The Tower’s shops, every one of which is for sale. Buy a derelict shop and you might pay £95. Choose a fine art gallery and you could be looking at £6000.  Prick Your Finger was  suprisingly valued at a sturdy £250, along side some quite major brands.

Playfully, Barford likens our efforts to find fulfilment through retail to the biblical Tower of Babel’s attempt to reach heaven. His seemingly precarious Tower poses questions about the nature of our society and the fragility of economy, exposing the divide between rich and poor.

Text mainly by Alun Graves and Barnaby Barford, 2015. but heavily edited and slightly added to by me.


It is HUGE. Here is a clever picture from the V&A website which makes it look smaller but at lease it all fits in the picture.


Autumn Sale!


This is the sort of Sale which stretches your imagination...in that we are selling off cheap the things which stretch your imagination.

Like why did knitters feel so confident in the 1980's?


And in millions of years, what will the fossils of acrylic yarn look like?


And for those of you who wonder what our Bundles are for, well they are purely an opportunity, only now they are a bit cheaper.

Not pictured here are some additional sacks full of oddities and rarities, and things that we can't imagine what you will do with.

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


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."


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



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!


2011 could become the year of the audio book, after we all get blown away by Tom of Holland's 'Reading Gloves' showing at Prick Your Finger from 10th February.

Pictured here is Tom's portrait of Tom's knitted gloves, which Tom knitted as a portrait of the 'Portrait of Dorian Grey'.


Please come to a private view of this and all the other glove portraits of classic fictional characters, on Thursday 10th February.


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.


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.


Allow me to introduce our new limited edition yarn. The Swaledale, Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. It's a DK yarn which we had spun at the mill and dyed in our Kitchen.

With over tones of Kool Aid's lime, cherry, grape, orange, and pink lemonade, the creamy hill top fibres of the Viking Herdwick's first cousin Swaledale, will give you luminating warmth on any trip to enlightenment.

The full story about the Merry Pranksters and America's cult fruit drink with added vitamin C, can be read in my column next month, in Simply Knitting Magazine.

( I write it every month, and keep forgetting to remind anyone. It's a brilliant publication because Alan Dart writes regular patterns)


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!


This week Prick Your Finger is two years old.
We are delighted to have 99 crochet lizards to help us celebrate. They were made in Japan by our artist in resident Meiko Yoshieda. She has knitted the 100th Lizard here.
Please come to our party on Friday June 5th from 6-9pm and in the meen time enjoy this wonderful tune by the Flying Lizards.


Miss Fleur Oakes of The Glass Pingle popped in for tea yesterday. Fleur is making an exciting new  show which will be displayed at Prick Your Finger from the 1st of May.  Fleur said she found a quote by Burne-Jones which said something like, (I've forgotten exactly)

'A man is King in his own garden with a pencil and a sketch book'. 

Fleur is Queen in her garden with her pencil, and we will all see why when her new show goes up at PYF on May 1st. (Put it in your diary) To-day is the best day of the year for planting flowers, according to my friend Lucy's moon chart, and this quote has been going round and round in my head. I want to be the Queen of the Garden too. So with that in mind, here is a snap I took last summer in the garden at William Morris's Red House. We hope your gardens grow well this year.  Fleur's private view is bound to be extra -ordinary. 


Jenifer Corker loves sewing and her dogs, and has managed to mix the two into a fine body of work. Soon she will be coming to PYF to show 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie,' where she has stitched delicate drawings of delicate dogs on delicate fabrics. Jen is also a jeweler and we love the way she see her dogs as gems and stitches them with a steady hand.


Louise has been making ears for a while now. This month, Louise explains her trial connection to the messages of the March Hare. 

"Spring has sprung and I am thinking of jumping around in a field like a March Hare. Many cultures believe that you could channel animal spirits to guide you through life and that each of us has an animal guide.  I am making lots of different animal ears to see if I can hear the guides, giving me messages. Nothing has happened yet, but it is early days.

Please come to Prick Your Finger, and try on the ears. They might help you make that important decision on whether to buy UK Alpacca, or Shetland!"

Louise's ears are made out of a felted wool jumper with wool and silk embroidery.


Dear All,

Please be careful with your knitwear this spring. This is the month where all the little moth caterpillars, who have wrapped themselves in silver papery cocoons in your favourite jumpers over the winter, are feeling a bit warmer and when they emerge as moths, they will be hungry and eat right through your knitwear.

 'Moths are wankers' says

Mr Zeel

, who has made us these lovely badges which you can purchase here for £2 each. They are perfect for placing on or next to a hole, and quite a talking point. 

I would like to point out that Zeel means well and this exclamation does not apply to all moths, only the little silver/gold powdery ones that live in your wardrobe. Some of the other moths might be endangered, so please don't kill them.

Thank you.


We were so excited when we heard that The Long Lost were coming all the way from Calafornia, that we thought it best to roll out the barrel. Kegging the barrel is a dying craft. One hit with the mallet and the peg is in, miss it and honeyed organic beer goes everywhere. 

(We wore overalls so we didn't ruin our pretty frocks.)

Alfred and Laura arrived and were just as we imagined- charming, stylish, inspired characters. 

We talked about knitting Alfred a suit of armor, (This is the American spelling, we spell it armour) possibly in Herdwick. It's not such a daft idea; Conrad of Montferrat clothed his army in felted wool, which was so well made, that neither point of sword or balls discharged from firearms could penetrate it.

The shop filled, the barrel emptied and The Long Lost and their friends started to play. 

It was quiet, imtimate, and very beautiful. If they paused you'd hear a pin drop, and the odd click of a knitting needle, such was the ambiance at Prick Your Finger. 

Even the sparkly shoes stood still.

And on the street, people gazed through the window in amazement.