OUR NEW DOOR HANDLE.

Two and a half hours away from closing on our last day of 2010, I finally fixed us all a new door handle, made from a guitar neck which I found in a bin in Victoria Park in the summer.
It just took me six months to work out where to put it.
We can now shut the door behind us, without jamming our fingers in the funny brass thing.
The door will be ready for re-opening on 11th Juanuary 2011.
We hope you all have a lovely Christmas, and that everyone loves the presents you might have worked so hard to create.

R.I.P CAPTAIN BEEFHEART.

Dear Don,

we are sorry that you died last night. You taught us to spin off an axis, set to any angle. It was great the way you ditched fame to make more art. You were a true artist, and when we have eaten lentils for several days in a row, we remember that that's how you made Trout Mask Replica.

The other day a new learned friend asked us weather we went to art school. She had been discussing the matter with another learned friend. They concluded that we couldn't have been to art school, because if we did, we wouldn't have had such 'gusto'. We explained that we did go to art school, we went to punk school, or which you were of course, Dean.

We shall continue to work very hard at being unpredictable.

WINNING CHRISTMAS.




How gorgeous is Susan Crawford's re-working of the traditional Christmas reindeer jumper?
The easy to follow pattern appears in 'Vintage Gifts to Knit' (on sale here £14) and is one of the hottest knits this season; especially cosy in JC Renne Shetland 4ply.
Finishing this detailed garment before Christmas morning, is entirely possible, but for those of you wishing you'd started earlier, we say "KEEP GOING!" You are creating an heirloom to delight your friends and family year after year, and not stooping so low as to buy the H&M version, which is bound to be herding itself to landfill next summer.


Last summer we heard Annemour talk about Norwegian knitting. She told us how her grandmother knitted reindeer on jumpers for all the family, and one day a lady from the over the valley knocked on the door and said 'Could I borrow your reindeer pattern?'
Annemour's grandmother said 'Knit your own bloody raindeer!' and shut the door.

TOM VAN DEIJNEN'S READING GLOVES.


'I wondered what the hammering was,' she said feeling weak and breathless, and a little afraid of him, as he looked straight at her.
"Ah'm gettin' th' coops ready for th' young bods." he said in broad vernacular. She did not know what to say and felt weak.
'I should like to sit down a bit,' she said.

'Come and sit 'ere i' th' 'ut,' he said, going in front of her to the hut, pushing aside some timber and stuff, and drawing out a rustic chair made of hazel sticks.
'Am Ah t'light yer a little fire?' he asked with the curious naivete of the dialect.
'Oh don't bother.' she replied. But he looked at her hands; they were rather blue. So he quickly took some larch twigs to the little brick fireplace in the corner, and in a moment the yellow flame was running up the chimney. He made a place by the brick hearth.
'Sit 'ere then a bit and warm yer.' He said.
We are looking forward to Tom Van Deijnen's Reading Gloves to be shown at Prick Your Finger in February. Tom has knitted gloves for our favourite characters from classic novels.
Pictured above, Mellors and Lady Chatterley from Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H Laurence.
Mellors made from Nettle fibre £5 per skein, and Lady Chatterley 4ply Wensleydale £4/50g.

LOUISE'S FAMILY SPRING A SURPRISE.


Yesterday we were excited to hear that Louise's mum and cousin Fi-Fi were coming for tea, but surprised as more and more family piled in -
From left to right along the back - Stephen, our friend passing by on his way to lunch and it turned out his father was vicar in the church where Louise's Grandma Mo got married down in Cornwall, then Louise's mum Sally, Louise, Grandma Mo, Louise's dad Berny, Aunty Sarah and Uncle Clive, and on the floor cousin Fi Fi and me.

REMEMBERING WHAT YOU FOUND.


On adventures away from home I like to send postcards.
In New York I was surprised to find the museums and galleries had rather poor postcard selections.
I bought 'From head to Hand' by David Levi Strauss and in it found that the Inca's thought writing memories down helped them go away, where as tying knots kept the memories alive, passing information on to future generations.
I thought by tying knots I might be able to describe my adventure in more detail when I got home. Fortunately I was carrying red and yellow Jaimson's DK (£2.80/25g)
I only tied 5 knots before it was tie to catch the plane, but it does work -
The knots represent more than the places visited, but I won't write about that for risk of forgetting.

SUPERHERO'S IN NEW YORK.





We have just got our photos developed from New York. We went there to do some research for our 'Spark Plugs' project a few weeks back. Spark Plugs is a curator's research grant, awarded by the Crafts Council. You never know what you are going to find when you start doing research.
Our subject is Clothes as Spiritual Support Structure. We looked at the odd gallery and museum, but the really interesting discovery came, when we were standing outside a pub, and in one of the flats opposite, there appeared to be some bare chested men in tight pants. We laughed at them for a while and then we noticed the door was open so we gate crashed, what seemed to be a party.
What we discovered was a men's only superhero gathering, fueled by baby oil, lycra, hairspray and a drug which we chose to ignore. The superheros were most welcoming, giving us beer and full filling our request for 'Prince'. The most serious superheros we had ever met, didn't talk or dance, but beet their chests and growled like Tarzan. Lycra and baby oil represented something powerful for this group of men. Collective dressing formed a secure structure for these men to enjoy flexing their muscles and forget all their worries, including the two giggling girls dancing to their stereo.

GINA BIRCH'S 57 WAYS TO SPREAD THE LOVE.

Raincoats, protect us from uncomfortable weather, and Gina Birch, singer songwriter from the Raincoats, has taught us how to protect ourselves from adverse conditions of any kind, through her wonderful work now showing at Prick Your Finger.

Gina, whilst touring with the Raincoats, making films, teaching and being a mum, has knitted and felted Raincoats merchandise, with a series of bags about '57 ways to end it all'. The bags hang in our window, surrounded by stitched banners.
Each bag is different, with a pallette of black, white, grey, pink and red. Bags snap shut with sturdy poppers and are very cosy. Decorated with poison bottles, guns, and tower block jumping suicides, they also remind us that 'cups of tea are a clock', and you are 'no ones little girl'.
There is a wide selection and a lot of detail in each one.
Gina explained that the bags were so warm inside that last summer a lady in the supermarket said 'Isn't your bag rather hot for this time of year?'Band merchandise, doesn't get deeper than this. The bags are £250, and made for you by the lady singing the songs. Band merchandise, rarely brings you close to the artist, and is usually a system for raising extra cash on a tour. Expensive though they are, the price barely matches the love that Gina has put into making them, or the value she puts on making sure her fans look and feel good sporting her wears.


Gina has been making banners since the late seventies. These thoughts, explained to us by Gina and her friends as we were growing up, gave us the gusto to start this shop in the first place.
Heading towards mid winter, and feeling a bit nesty, living with the banners and bags is as comfortable as wearing a pair of jeans which have fitted you perfectly for years.




On Thursday we had a private view and party to celebrate Gina's work and Christmas. We cheekily asked if she would sing us some songs, and she did! She had a fuzzy guitar and microphone which sounded wonderful with the fuzz of the wool. She sang 'Sorry doesn't mean a thing' and 'Don't be mean' and 'Baby dog' and we were listening so intently, I can't remember what else, but the message was 'Why the hell wouldn't I be happy?" and lets be as loving as is infinatly possible.It was very special and there were listening ears inside and outside, with kids dancing and everything.


Outside on the pavement, Energy Cafe, the brain child of our friends Ella and Amy, was stoking it's wood burning stove to make us hot drinks and mince pies. Energy Cafe is an off grid catering experience built in and around an old horse box.

Our party was it's first outing, and we had so much fun bagging it a parking space, and buying it organic booze from Pittfield Brewery!
The inside is mostly built from scrap wood, just like Prick Your Finger is.
Tables and benches fold out of the back, and there was quite a toasty gathering inside on a chilly night.
Back inside the shop a disco was brewing, instigated by our favourite velvet elf Rocky. At this point the battery ran out on the camera, so we have no evidence of the hot sweaty bodies that flew their arms in the air to a rare seven inch of Led Zeppelin Rock and Roll or the krumping to Girls on Top.The party went on until 4am, and Zarah had the right idea, putting her pyjamas on right at the beginning.
Check out energy cafe at http://energycafe.wordpress.com/
And Gina Birch at http://www.ginabirch.net/theginabirchexperience/front_page.html

GINA BIRCH'S 57 WAYS!


We are very excited to announce that Gina Birch from the Raincoats and the Hangovers will be displaying her beautiful hand made bags and banners in the window from Thursday. Gina has knitted and felted a bag for every song on the Raincoats first album, and her stitched banners say things that she thinks.Here are Gina's beautiful daughters Lei Lei and Honey, modeling two of the bags. Please come to a private view on Thursday 9th from 6pm and bring a stick, small log or piece of untreated wood no larger than 10x4" for Energy Cafe's wood burning stove which will be serving mulled wine and mince pies. And if you haven't heard the Raincoats have a listen, (they are amazing) otherwise you won't know which bag to buy.
See you there!

REINVENTION AT THE BARBICAN.




Thursday last we had the most inspiring evening at the Barbican for 'Reinvention'; an evening accompanying the exhibition 'Future Beauty : 30 years of Japanese Fashion.'
We were asked to do a talk and run a workshop about darning, along side the wonderful Dr. Noki, founder of 'NHS'- (Noki's House of Sustainability) Dr. Noki, who never fully shows his face in public..(We saw his face and I can assure you it is beautiful)...showed a film about his couture customizing, and spoke eloquently about how we are going to have to police our situations and stop being seduced into buying cheap crap. He talked about cutting - we all have an unloved t-shirt which is going to have to be cut from our lives at some point, so cut it now and reinvent it!
We had a rack of darned and un-darned clothes, and our lecture lasted long enough to enthuse most of the audience into darning through the workshop after wards. We were grateful to Dr. Noki on the back row, for chipping in questions about environmental issues in our Q&A time.
The whole event was curated by the amazing Rosie Cooper, who fortunately had a hole in the collar of her cardigan, which I enjoyed mending, while she fixed a draft in my brothers sleeve.
Louise is fixing an old tea towel of mine, which is full of holes but remains a beautiful blue, and reminds Louise of the time when she flew over some tropical islands off the coast of Mexico.
We darned with mushrooms and speedweves, but also demonstrated our new obsession with needle felting, where you stab at fleece over and under the hole, repeatedly, over a sponge. Needle felters were letting off so much steam, we wondered if the would could go home.

Thank you to Kaz for taking such lovely pictures, And you can see Dr. Noki's work at 123 Brick Lane, and needle felting tools are on sale at PYF for £9.

LISA ANNE'S NEW CARDIGAN.

We are delighted to see Lisa Anne Auerbach's new cabled red cardigan knitted in Wensleydale DK shade no.131 Lot no. 375 509 She has taken these self portraits.


Lisa Anne lives in LA and started the cardigan in the summer when she came to stay with us. We love the way she has left a bit of yarn hanging from the collar.
We especially liked seeing her lovely smile on a grey day. Lisa you look SO COOL!
You can see L_A A's work at http://www.lisaanneauerbach.com/

THE WIND WHISPERS MARY.


Somewhere up in the Shetlands, on an island which is likely to be Windy, is a little croft cottage, and inside, Mary is busy working. She makes pin badges and decorations from traditional hand framed Fairisle knitting. She also makes hand bound sketchbooks, with chrisp white paper and a woolly covers. All now avaliable at Prick Your Finger. Books are £15.99 and badges and decorations £4.50.
And here is Jimi Hendrix singing 'Wind Cries Mary' in Stockholm in 1967. (Stockholm was the nearest we could find to Shetland)

NEW BAGS AND COAT OF ARMS.




We have a new bag (free with purchases over £10!) with a coat of arms. The bags were goody bags for Craftacular, but we shall keep making them for the shop. On the back it says, 'Be the change you want to see at Prick Your Finger' - wise words lifted from Gandhi.
The 'J' s on the main shield, are not actually 'J's they are tenterhooks, which we hang on a lot, being the sorts of people that continually take risks, but we also use tenterhooks for hanging washed fleece and skeins out to dry. We are smothered in nature and moths, with rulers, and cotton, hooks, needles, and buttons.
The coat of arms came about because I was in the middle of re-drawing Sebastian Horsley's coat of arms when he died. There were bits of tracing paper floating out of my sketchbook, waiting to become arms. Above is his original one. He wanted to swap the cotton for a top hat, change the leaves and fluff up the feathers. I guess he wouldn't have minded me borrowing his helmet.
And here is me with 250 bags on my bike. We printed them in one evening , along to the Sonic Youth Goo album which has kept us working at midnight for over 20 years.

DO IT YOURSELF!

We went to a party the other night and bumped into our lovely friend John Paul Flintoff, author of 'Sew Your Own.' (on sale here, and a marvelous Christmas present) He said he couldn't stay out late because he had to go and interview Vivienne Westwood about environmental issues in the morning.

Gasping, I said 'Oh gosh, could you give her our manefesto, because she's quoted in it as saying 'It could be so brilliant'.

J-P said that while he was speaking with Dame Westwood, some people handed her a manefesto which she stuffed in her handbag without reading. Down hearted, J-P tried anyway and gave her our manefesto, printed on re-cycled paper, she kept it in her hand, even after shaking hands with the other hand to say goodbye! We were delighted.

Anyway, Dame Viv, promoting DIY in this week's Standard says "Stop buying clothes for 6 months - Wear a towel instead of a coat - it's very chic!"

We couldn't agree more.

FIXING HOLES IN HAGGERSTON.

Ahead of our darning event at the Barbican tonight, we were so chuffed to discover this beautiful piece of graffiti on a condemned council estate on the Haggerston Rd in Hackney.
A lady with a purl necklace is darning, with moths flying all around her.
Notice the moths darting off into the dark corner behind the drain pipe!
And amongst all the patched up windows on the estate, the darning lady is fixing all the holes that will soon appear, as peoples homes, with all their memories, will become a big pile of rubble. If anyone knows who painted this could they tell us, or notify the artist we would like to offer him/ her a free darn.