Prick Your Finger

10 years of Keep & Share!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Well, it's taken me a couple of weeks to get round to blogging - but I'm pleased to confirm that on 21 August we celebrated the tenth anniversary of Keep & Share with a fab party at London knitting hub Prick Your Finger.

The party incorporated a number of celebratory activities:

  • An exhibition of Keep & Share knitwear from the archive (click here to see the pieces on show, in the store section) and my PhD re-knitting 'tester' jumper
  • Plus two new pieces: The Backbone of Britain and Knitting Circle tags 2011-13 (follow the links to find out more)
  • I gave a talk about my work over the past decade (which I recorded - click here to watch)
  • And launched a 16-page pamphlet telling the story of the first ten years of Keep & Share (click here to download the pdf or request a hard copy)

It was a lovely do - thanks to everyone who came! And a massive thank you to Rachael Matthews of Prick Your Finger for hosting the party and exhibition!

You can read Rachael's blog post about the party here, and a post by Sarah Klymkiw on the TRAID blog here.

The exhibition will be up until Saturday 20 September, so you've still got a couple of weeks to check it out...

Category:

Celebrating ten years: the Backbone of Britain

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Yesterday I popped into knit mecca Prick Your Finger in Bethnal Green to firm up my exhibition-and-celebration plans with the lovely Rachael Matthews. We're celebrating ten years (to the day) of Keep & Share, with a party next Thursday. The exhibition will stay up for a month or so, including a range of pieces from the Keep & Share archive, plus a new work called The Backbone of Britain.

This work comes with a story.

It is made from a collection of twenty cardigans which my dad found stashed in a chest of drawers when he was clearing out my great aunt's house - hand knitted, seemingly unworn, all acrylic. Within the collection, there is a range of styles - although there are multiple versions of several patterns, knitted in different colours and sizes. We think my nana, Gladys (Auntie Alice's sister), knitted them - but can't be sure, as she died a few years before they were found. My nana was a prolific knitter, and taught me to knit when I was little, so this pile of cardigans felt emotionally significant, as well as representing a staggering amount of effort.

For obvious reasons, I ended up with this collection of cardigans. I didn't feel a desire to wear any of them - despite my cardigan fetish, I don't 'do' acrylic - but didn't feel I could get rid of them either. So, for years they were stashed away in a cupboard, and each time I saw them, I felt guilty.

Last autumn I reorganised the studio, and the cardigans re-emerged from the cupboard. Still, I didn't know what to do with them. The huge pile of knitting continued to lurk, as I shifted it from surface to surface in the studio. The cardigans needed to be resolved!

A little later in the autumn, I met my wonderful friend Celia Pym, told her about the cardigans and asked for her help. Celia - accompanied by Rachael - came to visit me in Hereford on a gloriously sunny day. We drank tea and ate cake and looked at the cardigans together... talked about them... played with them. As you will see in the photos, the weight of all this skill and time and effort weighed heavily on our shoulders for a while! (That's Celia with her head in her hands.) But as we talked and played, a plan began to emerge. The cardigans organised themselves into a new form which will be unveiled at Prick Your Finger in a week's time.

Nana, or whoever knitted these cardigans originally, made most of this work. I have just arranged it a little. Many, many thanks to Celia and Rachael for their help!

During the playing process, we were thinking about the amount of effort that women like my nana have put into catering (and over-catering) for their families' knitwear needs over the years. Rachael suggested that we might think of such effort as the Backbone of Britain - and the name stuck.

Please come and see! All are welcome at the tenth anniversary celebration on Thursday 21st August, 2014 at Prick Your Finger, 260 Globe Road, E2 0JD - join us to celebrate between 6pm and 9pm. I’ll be giving a slideshow talk – sharing my experiences of a decade in experimental slow fashion knitting – at 7pm. 

Category:

Save the date: 10 years of Keep & Share

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In August, I’ll be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Keep & Share. Yes, that’s right – I’ve been exploring the possibilities of sustainable fashion, through the magical medium of knitting, for a whole decade! Doesn’t time fly…

I have a couple of exciting activities planned to mark the occasion: an exhibition and talk at London yarn mecca Prick Your Finger, and a print-and-online pamphlet telling the ever-evolving story of Keep & Share, in my own words.

It’ll be a busy summer, as we’ll also be popping up with the Keep & Share Knitting Tent at Latitude festival in July.

The talk and exhibition launch will take place on 21st August: ten years to the day since the first ever appearance of Keep & Share, at an independent fashion market in Manchester. 

I’ll post further details nearer the time, but wanted to spread the word so you can get the date in your diaries. All are welcome – especially friends and customers of Keep & Share, past, present and future!

So, that’s Thursday 21st August, 2014 at Prick Your Finger, 260 Globe Road, E2 0JD - join us to celebrate between 6pm and 9pm. I’ll be giving a slideshow talk – sharing my experiences of a decade in experimental slow fashion knitting – at 7pm.

Many thanks to the wonderful Rachael Matthews of Prick Your Finger for inviting me – long live the knitting community!

Category:

Workshops: crocheting, stitch-hacking, granny squares

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I thought I would share the fun from a few recent workshops. First up was a crochet lesson in a tent, which formed part of the hen party celebrations for Lisa, organised by her sister Claire. None of the group had crocheted before, but in the two hour lesson they managed to produce enough pieces to create a stunning – and certainly unique – cushion cover panel!

I had a fun afternoon puzzling the rectangular and not-so-rectangular pieces together. Each person tagged their piece with their name, so Lisa could remember everyone who contributed.

Next up was my Stitch-Hacking workshop at Prick Your Finger, held to coincide with the start of my exhibition in the shop (more on the exhibition, and what stitch-hacking is, here). It was a lovely cosy afternoon and everyone got the hang of the technique pretty quickly. In the pictures you'll find one of Rachael Matthews stitch-hacking a plain pink jumper she picked up when we were in Shetland last year. There's also a birds-eye view of some more of the action (including Tomofholland wearing his amazing red knit-frock which he’d just completed – read about it here). Good work everybody! I would love to see pictures of any ‘hacks’ you do in future!

And finally, I wanted to share an email I received after running a Hand Knitting and Crochet Workshop here in the Keep & Share studio a couple of weeks ago. I had a little group who worked really hard all day, going from absolute beginners to competent crocheters! The email is from Amanda, who particularly wanted to learn so she could make a granny square blanket:

“I just wanted to drop you a quick line to say a really big thank you for a most excellent Crochet workshop on Saturday. I have attached my first granny square attempt that I completed on Sunday evening. Although not perfect I am so pleased that it actually looks like what I set out to accomplish and two others actually can tell what it is. I am now planning on putting the quilt to one side and trying to do a single square blanket – hopefully in time for Christmas Eve (will let you know how I get on!)”

The final image above shows Amanda’s granny square – good luck with the blanket! 

You find out more about my workshops here. My next Hand Knitting and Crochet Workshop runs alongside a Stitch Hacking Workshop on 17 March 2012.

Category:

Stitch-hacking and pattern-blagging at Prick Your Finger

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tomorrow I’m off to set up a exhibition of my work at London knitting mecca Prick Your Finger. I’m focusing on stitch-hacking and pattern-blagging, two techniques that I’ve developed over the last couple of years:

Stitch-Hacking the laddering and reconfiguration of stitches in an existing knitted garment

Pattern-Blagging the modification of an existing knitting or crochet pattern to create a personalised item

The techniques are used to adapt existing garments and patterns to include personalised content. On a conceptual level, these pieces explore authorship and ownership; on a personal level, they allow me to put something of myself into my wardrobe.

Update: the original post included images and descriptions of the pieces in the exhibition. That information can now be found on each item's project page:

Who Made This? stitch-hacked cardigan

20.11.09 - 1976 pattern-blagged crochet smock

Amy 2010 stitch-hacked cardigan

St Michael - 12 - 40 stitch-hacked cardigan

1.12.2010 - 1.10.2011 pattern-blagged Shetland lace shawl

Want to have a go? I’m running a stitch-hacking workshop at Prick Your Finger on Saturday – enquiries/bookings to the shop on 020 8981 2560.

The exhibition will be on for 6 weeks or so – private view tomorrow from 6pm, all welcome so hope to see you there! (260 Globe Road, E2 0JD, nearest tube: Bethnal Green)

COMMENTS FROM ORIGINAL BLOG POSTING:

tomofholland 

  1. Amy, thank you so much for the workshop, I really enjoyed learning new skills. I hope to be able to post a hacked garment soon!

    Amy 

  2. Lovely post from the Prick Your Finger blog about the exhibition, private view and workshop: click here

    Tom – thanks for coming, it was great to meet you and I can’t wait to see what you hack!!

  3. And another post about the stitch-hacking work, from the Folksy blog: click here

    fitterknitter.com 

  4. This is so cool. Can’t wait to try it.

 

Category: