Gina Birch

gina3 Artist, film maker and singer from the seminal bands The Raincoats and The Hangovers, Gina Birch, came to Prick Your Finger in December 2010 to display her collection of handmade bags and banners and to sing us some songs.

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She was amazing and it was a not surprisingly a rocking night. Gina's bags are made by her as part of the band merchandise and each one is a total one off.

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The bags are knitted then felted with appliqued slogans and images relating to her songs.

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The banners are a mixture of sayings and feminist quotes made throughout Gina's life and career.

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It was extremely moving to have show personal and hand-made pieces by Gina. She is a woman whose creativity and energy has been a great catalyst and influence for many, including us at Prick Your Finger.

HOLES AS A STRUCTUAL INVITATION TO MODIFICATION.



Please bring your holes to the Barbican on Thursday evening (2nd Dec) where we will be giving a talk about the many possibilities in darning and hosting a darning workshop. The event is called 'Reinvention', is part of the future Beauty show. There will be free darning threads and you can also hear a talk by Noki. We will be somewhere in the foyer bit, from 7!
See you there!

LOST SCARF ON COLNEY ISLAND.

Louise and Stephen and me, had a sleepy walk around Coney Island in New York. The sunny day, colours and big wheel made me feel like using a brighter palliate when I'm spinning for the shop.
We were laughing over the worst cup of tea we had ever had, when we noticed a scarf on the sidewalk. It wasn't any old scarf. It was hand knitted in garter stitch with a handspun yarn by David Gentzsch from Missouri. Picking it up we formulated a plan. We'd been to a lot of yarn shops and thought the owner might have bought the yarn from Downtown Yarns. We would take it back there, and then put a shout out on Ravelry to locate the owner.
But we didn't need to, because as we approached the station, a woman came running towards us screaming 'my scarf!'.
We told Sarah our plan of return, and what we knew about the spinner, and I think she was rather surprised. She'd been directing a photo shoot in Coney Island that morning, and had come all the way back from Manhattan because it was indeed a valuable scarf.

SLEEPS IN OYSTERS- LIVE!


We had a very cosy time last night when 'Sleeps in Oysters' performed their new album 'Brambles in Starlight' in the shop. Lisa also has an instillation in the window, with textile stories and instruments, a perfect backdrop for the gig.

Lisa has photographed textiles close up to make scenes where wonderous things happen. Focusing on them put us in the mood for making and listening.A colourful array of instruments, a record deck and a computer to made multi-layered folktronic soundscapes and pop, which sounded charming in a wool clad room. Their new album wards off the winter blues and leaves plenty of room for imagination to run wild while you are knitting.

Sleeps in Oysters describe themselves as sounding like 'the things we do on purpose and the things that just happened.' Seeing as that's what usually happens with everything around here, they seemed to make themselves at home.
Mark of 'Mark Knight and the Witches' played songs on his accoustic guitar, in between Sleeps in Oysters songs.
while Lisa made paper aeroplanes, and Taeko helped her throw them at our friends.
Sleeps in Oysters carried us all into individual worlds through the evening, creating a comfortable atmosphere where we pottered, chatted, listened, and thought. Their interaction with the audience made us all feel like we had taken part in a cleansing moonlit walk.

'Brambles in Starlight' is on sale now in the shop. As first glance it looks like a ball of handspun yarn, which of course it is. Lisa has wrapped a good 25g around each CD hanging in the window, ensuring we all get on and knit something before we listen.
Check out their sounds at http://www.myspace.com/sleepsinoysters

INVESTING IN HATS.

There was a strange atmosphere at lunch today. Louise knitted a purple hat in a cashmere lambswool mix and didn't feel comfortable in it. Not long enough, it kept slipping forward and made her feel gormless. Zarah was feeling equally strange in a black berret, bought on the internet, which made her feel like she was wearing a tea cosy.
Danish pickled herrings, pumpernickel and mayonnaise shone light on the situation; Louise and Zarah swapped hats for an instant uplift.
We concluded that there is no point suffering in unfashionable silence, for an investment which could reward you in ways most unexpected.

ZARAH SAVAGE - HORROR AT THE HABERDASHERY -KNITWEAR, PORTRAITS AND A MURDER ON THE DANCEFLOOR- 2010.

Miss Zarah Savage has shocked and delighted us all in our gallery window this month. In the window hang five intriguing portraits.
The first is a portrait of
'DAN BROWN, THE AUTHOR OF THE DA VINCI CODE, THE WORST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ.'
Enough said in this powerful portrait made in Shetland wool with a gold lurex border and cotton caption.
And never trust a dancing Polecat, even if he says he's the president of France.Sheep are all very cute and everything but be warned! It might be a wolf in sheep's clothing, complete with axe and blood and a book shelf with lots of mutton recipies. Hang this tricky blindfolded wolf in your hall, and monsters won't dare to enter.

And psychiatrists - you'd better watch out too, because this shark could eat you and there would be no way of gripping your text books, which would float to the sea bed and get caught up in fishing nets amongst the knitted sea currents.

Zarah has also presented us with three knitwear solutions for freaking out our friends and family this winter.
The first of these is a sleeveless upside down top with no bottom in gorgeous pink Shetland wool, with the inscription 'yikes!' on the back. In the middle ages, to say you had bottom, meant you were a grounded person. We love Zarah's creepy thought that if we flipped our world upside down, losing our bottom, the following words might come to mind, which form the label on the upside down neck line on the lower back which reads,
"I wonder if this is what it is like in New Zealand?"
The next piece in the collection is the 'EEK' jumper which spookily foresaw the terror which would come upon it.
And last but not least the shocking 'BOO!' jumper, with googleing 3D crochet eyes, checking out what you are up to.As all these jumpers were dancing their way through Halloween, they never noticed the horror that lay below them on the dance floor- yes Zarah has crocheted a 'Murder on the Dance Floor' mat, with bleeding tassels made from red chenielle.
We are so proud of Zarah's shamazing collection which was all made specially for the display at Prick Your Finger for this Halloween season. The places she had allowed her knitting to take her have amazed and amused us all.
These pieces are selling fast but for more info and prices on Sarah Savage knitwear, portraits and murder mysteries, please contact the shop.

LUCY KNITS A JUMPER.


This is our friend Lucy.
Lucy lives in Dubai, but visits Prick Your Finger for knitting lessons. There aren't any knitters in Dubai, and people stare at her when she's making stitches on the beach.
Since we last saw Lucy, she'd been to a business networking meeting and met the love of her life, David. They will be married next year.
When Lucy told David she was off to her knitting lesson, he asked her to knit her a jumper and lovingly, she did.
Congratulations David, you found yourself the coolest wife!

100% ACRYLIC FUSION.



Until now, acrylics have only ever appeared in our bargin bin.
Over time, our back room has gathered enough 2nd hand acrylic cones to start nuclear fusion.
Last weekend I got out the hand cream and started spinning 8ply acrylic peachy pinky lemony stuff, which is flying out of the shop.
These up-cycled acrylics are washable at 90 degrees, glow in the dark, look pretty, and if you want to create an heirloom, they will never biodegrade...
And while you are at it, candy floss making has huge ecconomic returns if you invest in one of these machines,
http://www.popcornandcandyfloss.com/floss-demo.htm

TRIPPING TO THE RE-CYCLING BINS IN BAD WEATHER.

When I was a child, my Granny had a blue cloak which hung on the back of the back door. It interested me because she only used it for 'Going to the dustbins in bad weather'. I would have loved to wear it, but it served a specific purpose.

Recently, clearing out my drawers, I found this jumper which I inherited and is too big for me, getting thin, with lots of holes. It asked for new life.

I started to darn it, and thought of a friend of mine who is having a hard time drinking too much. His re-cycling pile takes up too much of his kitchen, and the jumper was his size. So I darned a bit more and gave it to him with some spare darning threads and a label saying, "For tripping to the re-cycling in bad weather"
(Last time I saw the jumper more holes had appeared at the elbows, but he had fixed the holes)

SLEEPS IN OYSTERS- COMING SOON!

Prick Your Finger will be proud to present
'Sleeps in Oysters'
a gig and knitted instillation to launch their new album
"The Brambles in Starlight',
in the shop on November 25th. Keep the date free, it will be a cosy prickly time, and the newly pressed single with hand spun cover, individually made by the band will be on sale.
More information to come....

AGE 10 IN 1820.

We are so grateful to Mary Burkett for showing us these beautiful watercolour paintings, made by a 10 year old girl in 1820. We don't know what became of her, but she clearly had a love of textiles. Here she illustrates a trip to the haberdashers; perhaps she was choosing fabric for a new dress.
Then she went for tea somewhere, and people wore more beautiful garments.
And we aren't too sure where she went at 11 o'clock...
and she must have loved this windy walk....
meeting her friends along the way....
and digging on the beach.

STEVE MESSAM'S 'SENTINAL'.

We love Steve Messam's 'Sentinal', made during Wool week, up in the remote Eden Valley in Cumbria. Steve covered a barn in 200 Swaledale fleeces, on no budget with the help of four volenteers. Steve explained to the Westmoreland Gazette that barns, known as 'hogg houses' were built to shelter the year old sheep - or hoggs- overnight or during bad weather. The Swaledale sheep became so hardy that they no longer needed the shelter, hence bringing about the demise of the barns. Steve wanted to shw the relationship between the breed and the barn as points of history of agriculture and the shaping of the landscape.
Steve explained on his blog that he was delighted to make a piece of art that the farmers 'got'.

Swaledale, if you haven't knitted with it, is tough, oily, and very warm. We spin it here in DK, and it is 90p/10g. If you want a garment for walking in this kind of landscape, Swaledale, (or it's cousin Herdwick) is the yarn for you.
These lovely pictures are from Steve Messam's blog which you can find at http://www.stevemessam.co.uk