Category Archives: Blog


Insulin Darn.


Today starts a new project with East London Textile Arts.

Our brief is to learn all there is to know about Type 2 Diabeties, through textiles.  Some of the Adults with learning difficulties are diabetic and some aren’t.  Their first mission is to make all this sugar disappear into these knitted blood vessels, made with pink Wendsleydale ply yarn!  Next week, they will represent Insulin with green yarn, which will travel in little running stitches, along the pink vessels, and when the Insulin Stitchers arrive at the sweets, they have to avoid picking the sweets out of the lace stitches, and instead, darn them ‘in’ until they disappear.  Sophie, Fareen and Sandra have the job of making this happen, and I have armed them with some spare sweets, in case of strong protests.

Once ‘the sugar is dejested’ we will make the body parts connected to this, like Pancreas gland etc.  Watch this space, and watch that sweet tooth.


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?

bundleAnd 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.



Mae has arrived – get your UFO’s ready!



Dear All,


Mae Finlayson has arrived from Tazmania to administrate and remove any Unfinished Craft projects, we can no longer live with.

The service is free and comes with a free beer and a free conversation.

Mae will be answering questions about her practice, and study of the ‘Never Made’.

Our event starts at 6pm today and finishes at 9pm. Un Finished Objects will be emigrating to Tazmania next week. Please make sure you package the works your self and that they contain no dangerous substances.

FOr more information, please visit

Rope Making with Sound UAL Thinkers.

‘Crap-tech ‘ was a name given (usually by non-believers) to some of my early textile engineering projects.  Crap they might look, and low tech they always are, but here is proof that high tech has to start with the low.  On Monday, I jointed the UAL ‘High Tech Low Tech Community’, to help  investigate how sound could travel through rope.

Here is a draft film featuring the Rope Making Machine Mark 1, cobbled together with one end of an old 3 ply rope making mechanism bought in Huddersfield, an industrial trolly,  a wheel made from a revolving cake stand, some ply wood and two cupboard handles, and two ply controlling tools cut out of scraps of pine.

Sound effects on film to be improved upon soon…

Clamps were also essential.

The group consists of Anne Marr Course Leader BA Textile design CSM, Tom Gardner, Senior Lecturer in Communication at LCC, Kevin Walker, Head of Program in Information Experience Design RCA, Colin Priest, Course Leader, BA Interiors and Spatial Design, and Nicholas Marechel physical Computing specialist from LCC.


These UAL tutors really love their investigation work.  Here they are recording everything.  I now refuse to accept Crap – Tech as an applicable adjective.  The most simple tools can enable big thinkers to come up with beautiful ideas.  The discussions after we made rope, gushed. July 2015 063

Rope Making becomes really interesting when you mix the materials.  The thin rope on the right was made with paper and copper wire, which came in thin strips, which we then knotted together.  The Paper yarn, which was twisted before we started, remained strong through out the process. The Copper however became very loose with the first twists, and then as the plying together happened, it became very tight, to the point of us wondering whether it might snap. It didn’t snap. July 2015 073Usually when you free the newly made rope from the machine, it behaves as we all do when let loose from a tight situation – it bounces, dances a bit, likes to untangle itself and feel a bit free. A Rope needs to be giggled about a bit before it finds it’s true nature.  The wire and paper rope didn’t do this – it just stayed the same, happy to do as it was told.  The Group gave this rope the working title of  BT/Infinity/Virgin.bluepompom

Colin bought some pom pom yarn from the pound store, which made some interesting effects when mixed with flatter yarns.  Here it is twisted with jute and cotton.  Working title name ‘Referendum’.

knot2Anne had a fascinating sample of rope  which could withstand the heat of a kiln.  Anne had covered a knot in slip and fired it; no burn effect on the fibres at all.  This could lead to amazing works, but a big hinderence is that it costs £4,000/m, which makes this sample worth at lease £1000, possibly more if you add the value of Anne’s genius and simple idea. July 2015 057Nicholas Marechel’s  edition of a ‘We’ enabled the collecting of data, which could later be used to guide composition.  Here it is bound to one ply of cotton rope, and below the information being gathered as Colin wound the handle,July 2015 068




I really liked Tom’s idea that the Rope Making Machine has 3 ply, and in music the basic Chords,  have 3 notes.  That got me thinking about 3’s and I was led to a Wikipedia page about Philosophical Trichotomies!

Yes! Everything fits into 3’s for philosophers through the ages.

Including my favourite philosophers, the low tech Punks.  Here are the 3 chords you need to start a band, as seen in ‘Sniffin’ Glue ‘ magazine 1976.


The High Tech Low Tech community have asked me back to work on a sound piece with them in September.  Watch this space for the next installment.


Yan Tan Tethera -Mandala Construction #2.



In May 2014, Prick Your Finger presented the first opportunity for a  Knitted Mandala at the ‘Yan Tan Tethera’ Show at Cecil Sharp House in London. The Show was curated by David Littler, who gave us a wonderful chance to go through the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at Sharps and pull out songs about making textiles, which we could then sing with Aimee Leonard’s Folk choir.


Last weekend we went on tour to Winbourne’s Walford Mill,  to show our works and take part in the Winbourne Folk Festival. Here we all are,  at the mill, gathered like we are in a band photo, in between Freddie Robins’s artworks.  We were all camping in a field down the road, and as you can see from the photo, we had kept ‘it’ all together.  Top left is David Littler our curator, and the one who makes everything funny and possible. In the middle is Aimee Leonard, who sings like a lark, with a soft Orkney accent, and can get any tune out of her drum, which she made herself.  Shane Waltner is crouching down at the back, and he is our master of lace dancing in the street, and on the dance floor.  He can calmly mastermind many dancers to weave fabric whilst dancing to a fiddle.   Faye McNulty with her practical boots, is a wizard in the print room, and runs the events at the English Folk Song and Dance Society. This means she can  make anything run smoothly, and give you that feeling that you are  on holiday, which is the emotion that I am expressing on the  floor on the right hand side.   Those flipflops were hopeless for barn dancing later.


walford_ytt_mcgrath1We missed our absent friends, Freddie Robins, Stewart Easton, Celia Ward and the McGrath Makers, and all our friends from Spin Cycle.  Here is a morris dancing outfit made by the McGrath Makers, the adults with learning difficulties, who would have loved to see all the other Morris Dancers at the festival.


The idea of a Mandala came about when thinking about  the communial knitting projects we had experienced before, and the singing of traditional songs to help us get through the work. Curating site specific knitting events is always strange because time has to play such a huge part in your plans.   Here is a booklet I produced for Yan Tan Tethera’s knitters, showing patterns for little charms which could be added to the mandala.

Knitting is slow, so music and dance can be the key to getting a project finished.  There is a temptation for group knitting projects to produce something ‘big’.  The knitted mandala was designed as an event piece having no beginning or end, and small pieces could be made and added to it at any time.


YTT MAN 2014 mandala_6

Here we are one year ago, at Cecil Sharp’s with the Mandala Mark#1.  This mandala had a solid, knitted background, which we realized made the application of charms, less fluid.  Each charm had to be stitched on, which prevented it from being moved easily.  We learned that charms need to be moved so they can relate to other charms as they arrive.


The fluidity of the Mandala came with a re-build from ‘string art’! Using the ‘Knit by Numbers’ range of Merino DK, the new background was woven in multi – shades of the same colours, giving a new depth and plenty of space to hide, gather and accentuate the charms which had been added.

As new groups bring new charms to the piece, we can now arrange new patterns.


It took a long time to bang in all the nails around the edges, but the work was a joy to make and it cast beautiful shadows on the floor.  It was fun hiding the sheep in between the grass, and letting the mini socks fall out of the sky.  string-manadala4Sometimes the mandala looks good with lots of yellow ducks gathered together to form the sun, (as seen above)  and sometimes it is nice to have the space in the middle just left black. string-manadala5


Here are the Winbourne knitters having a go at the Yan Tan Tethera Patterns.  Aimee taught us folk songs while we worked, and pretty soon we were all joining in.









walford_ytt_knitters2David Littler our curator, learned to knit again! He’s really good when he gets going, but his little tie is still too small to wear. It really doesn’t matter though – he got us all there in the first place, so we reckon he is a great knitter whatever he does.

walford_ytt_knitters7The Winbourne knitters made their contributions in acrylics, despite the free matching merino on offer. It was their choice of yarn, and as a result their work really stands out, so we will always remember them!  walford_ytt_matthews5The amount of knitted orange chickens continues to overwhelm us. They are so popular.


It’s a nice vibe at Walford Mill.  If you don’t want to knit you can sit and watch the YTT film in one of the arm chairs, which is asking for embroidered graffiti.  There are Shane Waltner’s Bobbins from his lace dancing hanging in the window.


Shane’s lace dancing was great out in the street. Ben played the fiddle and Amiee her drum and her you can see all the threads from all the dancers, taking over the street.

walford_ytt_waltener_performance_13It’s a bit like maypole dancing I guess, or friendship bracelets on a rather large scale. Shane calls the finished piece a ‘score’.

These were my favourite Morris Dancers, the Exmoor Borders.  I bet they wear John Arbon’s teal and purple 4ply alpacca socks in winter.



Knit-a thon at Grant Museum of Zoology.




Ruth Marshall is an Australia artist knitter, who’s craftivist practice is concerned with the extinction of animals. She has knitted many skins, mounted as if they were hunting trophies. zoo2 Our Knit-a Thon was scheduled for 12 hours, and aimed to help knitters make Possom skins, and knit items from the amazing collection at the Grant museum of Zoology.  zoo4Max was really excited and the museum staff loved to see her knitted moths, which were amazingly similar to the real specemins, although much smaller! zoo5There were lots of bones to study. Marrianne crocheted a spider monkey skull, which she was then allowed to photograph in the display case. zoo14zoo6

I studied a Gorilla Fumer, which I found really hard to knit.zoo19

I was pleased later when a bone expert said it was ok. It’s the top of the thigh were the socket goes into the hip, but I only got half way. zoo7

Many of the knitters, knitted possoms, starting with the tail. zoo11 Many posomms were finished and were taken home for pressing.

Some of the possoms turned into other things! Like this squid! zoo8Everything was so interesting. Here we are having a lecture by Sarah a Phd Student, who talked about artists showing wonderment in wildlife. zoo12 Claire’d mother had adopted a dissected cat in the museum, so loved coming to knit along side it. Claire was amazed that she could knit the dissected cat. Here are the start of it’s intestines. zoo16Mother and daughter will be coming back to visit the cat more often, especially now Claire’s mother has a lifetime adoption of her half a pet.  Half way through the day people were really understanding that you can knit ‘anything’. The museum is such a wonderful resource and opportunity to turn your stitch vocab into something unusual. zoo15

Max knitted this flying fish in the fastest time imaginable.  The curators and staff were so very kind and generous with their knowledge. zoo18

They are very pro- creativity, and  open to suggestions.  They create a lovely atmosphere for knitting.zoo17

They might be finding odd knitted creatures coming their way for quite a while! Thanks for a lovely day everyone.


There are 5 UFO’s from yesterday. Please await a future post to see and/or adopt them. 




Tamari at the Trinity Centre.



Adults with learning difficulties enlighten  teachers.  balls9

They require us look deeper into how things can be made.balls7

The Tamari making workshop gave each student a polystyrene ball, which they could wrap up in yarn. Pins could help them place yarns or control them if their hands were a bit shaky. The carers of our students also learned a lot.   Many of them learned to collaborate on design, helping to find the right colours and use pins to make shapes.balls8

Sheila has neatly placed direction in her winding and likes to see the colours coming through in shapes from the layer below.


Josie loves the pastel pinks and oranges, to match her hair which is strawberry blonde.  She was wearing a shirt with a purple pattern, so we added a purple stripe to the ball. Not too much though, as the pinks were important.

Our workshop was on the day of the general election. There were a lot of red flags flying at the Trinity Community Centre in East Ham where we were working. Red yarn was the most popular .  balls5

The Candidate kept popping in to the centre to pick up her papers. Every time she did, the students nabbed her for a photo and gave her another red Tamari ball. balls15

The pins allowed us to make shapes in the ball, which meant we could add letters! Here is ‘L’ for Labour.  balls2

Eddie really loved the work. He changed colour a lot and enjoyed making the ball change shape.  balls11

One of the carers helped make a Tamari face.balls4

Some of the tamari balls are unfinished and will keep getting bigger and bigger forever.  balls3

Together the balls make a lovely collection. We have all learned such a lot.


Finished UFO


This little minty thing was hanging around in the UFO Project administration for years. It is  small, knitted on approx 2mm needles with  intricate decreasing in the middle and at the edges.


Ellen made this detailed drawing.

light greeen piece

The Piece was adopted by Jackie, after a talk about UFO’s which I gave to the Guild of Spinners Weaver and Dyers in West London.

A few weeks later Jackie sent us this picture of her finished piece, which she now has framed in her home.  The little decreases have directed Jackie into a delicate heart shape. What a gem. 

12 Hour Knit-a-thon, while specemins look on! Come!



Great Grant Knit-a-Thon

Date: 19th May | Time: 10am to 10pm | Location: Grant Museum of Zoology, Rockefeller Building, University College London, University Street, WC1E 6DE | Price: Free | Age group: Any

Strange Creatures After Hours
The night owls amongst you can join the bats, aardvarks, hedgehogs and other nocturnal specimens to enjoy Strange Creatures After Hours. Animals have been presented in bizarre and the incredible ways, come take another look at the natural world with our film night, late opening, open mic night, talks and drawing sessions.

Inspired by artist Ruth Marshall’s knitted skin of a Tasmanian Tiger on display, The Grant Museum of Zoology has teamed up with East London yarning Collective Prick Your Finger to bring you The Great Grant Knit-a-Thon. Bring your knitting needles along to stich one, purl one or your crochet hooks and create an animal skin of your own. From 10am till 10pm visitors are invited to pop in, at lunch or after work with a glass of wine, and craft a menagerie of weird and wonderful creatures. We have skilled tutors to provide a helping hand and for the experts there are prizes to be won for the best knitted beast inspired by the Museum’s amazing collection. Explore the museum’s current exhibition Strange Creatures and hear from co-curator Sarah Wade how natural history museums can use contemporary art and craft to engage with visitors.

This event is free and there is no need to book, drop in at any point over the day.

For more details contact Dean Veall 020 3108 2052 |


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

hcaWe 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.

Looking After Our Teeth.


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..


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 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.

ELTAgroup2So 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.



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,


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.
phone may2015 955

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. extra teeth 014He 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.

phone may2015 958
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.


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.

toothstitcher2I found I didn’t really need to give too much instruction.  

extra teeth 005

I made a few examples, and then people asked how you did it I replied, ‘You just make it up as you go along’.  This was quickly accepted, and then I helped individuals form the shapes.  

extra teeth 002

I was quite suprized, as usually  my students are frightened if they don’t have a pattern to follow.

extra teeth 007

I can only assume that these people have spent their whole lives, making it up as they go along, which makes them very relaxed collaborators.

Here are the teeth which we laid out at the end of the class.

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.

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

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.


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.


UFO discussions.



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!

20150416_165903(0)This UFO is part of Prick Your Finger’s UFO Project Administration Service founded in 2009


Knit a Tulip for ‘ME’


Do you know a child with ME?

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
For a knitting pattern and sponsorship form, contact
To find out more about AYME, visit, or call its information and help line
on weekdays between 10am and 2pm, 0330 2211223.




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

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!

olympic park


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 parkThe 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 ropeThe 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. 20150429_130738

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.

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.

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.20150429_123639 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.

20150429_115738When 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.

20150429_124535Once 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.

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.


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


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.


on Friday 13th March 2015, 6-9pm

The Gloves are a museological study and not for sale, but the original patterns and yarns are.
Angharad’s works are displayed to inspire the knitting of such wonders, which we still need in this chilly spring weather.
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.

Smoking in the Desert.






Lucy Bradley lives in the deserts of Dubai and comes for a knitting lesson at Prick Your Finger once a year.  I never know what she’s going to do next, and she no longer needs a pattern.  AR is set up for some serious thinking looking over them dunes.  We can only speculate as to why AR needs this pipe.