Omena Vest

Cold and blustery weather doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, for knitters it just means it’s time to get started on winter projects! If you’re all stocked up on hats and mittens, maybe it’s time to try your hand at knitting a garment?

Omena Image from Ravelry…  (c) Plucky Knitter

Knitting a jumper or cardigan can seem a bit intimidating, or maybe it’s just that you want something that will be off your needles and over your shoulders as quick as possible. Omena by Jill Zielinski is an excellent example of just that: a quick, easy, and oh-so-wearable layer that is sure to keep you cozy against the chill. It’s clever shape means no complicated construction, the armholes are even self-finishing – it really doesn’t get easier than that.

Omena truly is a great transition into garment knitting; if you’re ready to adventure beyond scarves and hats, this pattern is the perfect introduction. The pattern calls for worsted or aran weight yarn, which means it knits up quickly. Done in the round, it requires no seaming or special techniques, just some basic decreasing and increasing. The fit won’t be a problem, either; being a loose and flowy vest, it is universally flattering and easy to wear. It’s circular shape makes for the ideal layer to wrap up in!


Here’s our shop sample, knit using three shades of Ella Rae Superwash Classic for a gradient effect. For our version, 2 balls each of colours 117, 119 and 132 were used. As with all our shop samples, feel free to pop in and try it on. This project also looks great in just one solid colour, as you can see from some of the gorgeous versions on Ravelry.

What patterns are in your winter knitting queue? What was the first garment you ever knit?

With the holidays fast approaching, we are often reminded now, more than ever, of the importance of giving. If you’d like to contribute some knitted or crocheted projects for charity, Olann and Warm + Woolly Campaign is collecting winter essentials for the Simon Community, assisting the homeless of Ireland. With cold and harsh weather on it’s way, many homeless individuals and families are in need of warm hats, gloves, and scarves. These projects are quick and easy, and will go to the most grateful of recipients, thanks to the efforts of the Warm + Woolly Campaign and the Simon Community.

Not sure what to make? They’ve put together a few suggested free patterns for both knitters and crocheters, for much needed cold-weather essentials such as hats, gloves, scarves and socks. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious you can even do a jumper or cardigan. Whatever you end up making, they do request all projects be knit in muted or neutral colours, to ensure the recipient is not self conscious about any attention a vibrant colour may attract.

Other donations are also accepted, such as thermal underwear, toiletries, clothing, chocolate and cookies, and sleeping bags. All items for donation at the Simon Community Shop on Camden Street.

Will you be knitting or crocheting for charity this year? What are your favourite patterns or charities to knit/crochet for?

Brioche 1

The word Brioche may get you craving the warm, fluffy, diet-crushing French bread, but today we’re referring to a considerably less guilty indulgence (which is also quite fluffy in it’s own way): the Brioche knit stitch. A textured stitch pattern that creates a voluminous fabric with a ribbed look, with just as much elasticity as a traditional 1×1 rib. Brioche may look intimidating, but it really is just a combination of stitches you likely already know well: a few yarn overs, slipped stitches, knit-two-together and you’re set! The perks of Brioche stitch? It’s reversible, it creates a thick, cushy fabric, and looks gorgeous when done with two colors, which can create beautiful color work that is almost 3D in its plushy texture.

This stitch is ideal for projects where you’ll want lots of stretchiness, such as hats or fitted garments with negative ease, or when you don’t want a “wrong side” to your project, such as in scarves or blankets. With its almost double-knit texture, this stitch also creates a dense fabric with lots of structure, which can be useful for something like the collar of a sweater. Within Brioche stitch there are also a dozen variations, including Waffle Brioche, Twisted Brioche, Moss Brioche, Honeycomb Brioche, Double Brioche and more. Most create a reversible fabric, and many can be worked with one or two colours, with some even incorporating a third colour.

Brioche 4

Fancy giving Brioche a try? After all, this kind is calorie free, what do you have to lose? Join us at the shop for a Beginner’s Brioche class on December 6th, from 3pm – 4:30pm where you’ll learn how to knit a pair of reversible fingerless mitts with two colours, just like the one’s worn by the lovely Jenny seen here! The sample was knit with the multicolour Noro Kureyon and Lamb’s Pride Worsted in a solid shade.

Brioche knitting is seeing a comeback these days, thanks in part to Stephen West, who released several patterns recently all of which feature Brioche. The stitch beautifully highlights both colour and texture in his gorgeous designs, as seen in the “Bundled in Brioche” scarf where colour blocking and vertical stripes create a vibrant, plush scarf showcasing a spectrum of colours. Great for eating up leftover yarn from other projects!

Brioche 3

An important tip to remember when knitting Brioche is to use a cast-on and bind-off method that will allow for the large range of elasticity you’ll get with this stitch. In this case it is often suggested to use the Italian cast-on, or Tubular cast-on, which create a very elastic, ribbed “invisible” edge where stitches seem to wrap around the hem.

So, have you worked up an appetite for Brioche yet? What is your favourite Brioche pattern or one you’ve been hungry to try?

Garter Flap Hat

We meet a lot of customers in the shop who confess to having “too many” projects on the go at home. This fact is whispered conspiratorially, often guiltily, and quite often during a purchase of yarn for a new project to be started.

Of course, we understand, I’m sure not I’d like to know the actually number of items that I have languishing half-finished on needles, scattered around my house.

That said I think there’s a great benefit to be had from not feeling too tied-down to a project. Sometimes our enthusiasm can wane mid-way through a second sleeve (as is currently happening with my Nanook) and all we need is a little pick-me-up: a quick project to boost the knitting mojo again, to remind us that FOs can and *will* happen, and we’ll be delighted that we plugged on through another few inches of stockinette.

Garter Flap Hat

And, for me, the Garter Ear Flap Hat from the wonderful Purl Soho website has been that project. A two-night diversion, with just enough detail in the techniques to keep things interesting. The clever short row shaping used for the ear flaps creates a flowing, seamless finish, and the visible line of double decreases lead in to a pleasingly whimsical tassel.

The pattern is free and this baby size version was knit using less than one ball of Katia’s Cotton-Merino. All in all, a pretty much guilt-free diversion, one which has magically restored my mojo.

Now… where’s that second sleeve?


“Using smaller needles and yarn held double…”

Does the idea of knitting with two (or more) strands of yarn at the same time give you the spooks? We’re hear to tell you that, despite the day that’s in it, there’s no need to fear!

Pictured above are Nadia’s two Barley hats, a lovely Daddy and Daughter set, knit using two strands of 4ply held together. In this case Nadia had the perfect yarns in mind from her stash (Camden Tweed and Hedgehog Sock Yarn) but needed to make them work for a pattern knit at a much thicker tension. Thankfully using two strands created the perfect fabric for this design (which calls for a worsted or aran weight yarn).

But wasn’t it awkward? Did she find it hard to identify each stitch? Were there lots of snagged and dropped stitches? Actually, not at all!


As you can see above the two strands of yarn actually end up quite snug together, and sit quite neatly at the top of their respective columns of stitches. Each stitch is readily identifiable and, should you ever accidentally knit in to only one strand, it’s a quick thing to catch and fix.

And what about the look of the fabric? Do we get uneven stitches, a muddle of texture, gaps and lumps? Again, nope!


You’d have to look very close indeed to see that two strands were used, and we’re actually quite in love with the effect of Camden Tweed held double. The resulting fabrics are plush and soft, and just perfect for keeping everyone warm this Halloween!

Events like last Saturday’s really bring home how lucky we are to work within a community of such talented and creative individuals. It’s incredible to think back to Carol’s first free pattern in Knitty and to see how far her clever designs have taken her (with a lot of hard work along the way I’m sure).

So we thought it would be a good time to showcase some other local designers – Yvonne McSwiney and Eimear Earley – as they have each recently released new patterns, and they both happen to be adorable knits for little ones!

Camden Twist

First up is Camden Twist by Eimear: a 4ply cardigan of top-down construction, with just enough cabling to keep things interesting, and to tie in with the look and feel of Townhouse Yarns Camden Tweed. This cardigan is available in sizes ranging from 0-3 months to 2 years and is absolutely free. Go check it out!


Yvonne has covered sizes all the way up to 14 years with this refined saddle-shoulder vest: Castleknock. The design is clever, using interesting techniques to achieve a tailored finish. This vest is also knit in Yvonne’s very own yarn, Swing Sock, demonstrating that she is a woman of many talents! :)

Thanks for the wonderful designs ladies – we look forward to seeing what you come up with next…


The Short Row Knits Book Launch last Saturday was an event full of good will – and how could it not have been when it was so made up of so many great people and an impressive array of simply gorgeous knits?

It was a busy day at the shop, but we did manage to squeeze in some extra decor that morning, such as the impromptu bunting above that was on proud display before Carol’s arrival for the kick off at 4.30pm.


It didn’t take long for the shop to fill up then, with visitors from all corners of Ireland, including one extra special little guy who was definitely in contention with Carol for the title of star guest!


Carol was on hand for the entire evening, signing books, offering technical advice and taking us on a tour through Short Row Knits and Dovestone Hills with a quick talk and a mini fashion show.



Of course one of the best things about any event like this is the chance to fondle and try on the actual garments from the book, and there were many “oohs” and “aaahs” coming from the Mezzanine level, as projects lept up the ranks in people’s queues (and in a lot of cases were going to be cast on on the journey home!)

Brilliant Night

We’re really delighted you could all come, and that Carol chose to have the launch with us. It was such a fun evening and it was brilliant to see you all!

PS: If you couldn’t make it in on the day then we do still have limited stock of some signed copies of Short Row Knits available. They can be ordered online or set aside for collection in the shop – just comment below if you’d like one held for you.


It’s Yarn Club time again!

We’re delighted to be launching the Irish Yarn Club 2016 this coming Thursday the 15th October. This will be the third year of the Club and both Carol and myself are particularly excited about some of the collaborations and innovations that will be happening this coming year. We’re immensely proud to be bringing together the very best of the hand-dyed Irish yarn scene with installments from Hedgehog Fibres, from Townhouse Yarns and from the Dublin Dye Company in partnership with Donegal Yarns.

If you’re curious about previous years, you can view some images of past yarns and find out a little more about the patterns that have accompanied them here.

By signing up to be a member of the Club you will receive three installments of gorgeous hand-dyed yarn, in an exclusive colourway, in February, April and June 2016. Timed to co-ordinate with each yarn release you will also receive a digital copy of a brand new Carol Feller accessory pattern. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills under Carol’s expert guidance, provided through detailed explanations of techniques in the patterns themselves and through the Club’s discussion group on Ravelry.

So put the 15th of October in your diary and be sure to join in the fun!

Advent Calendar

This box of pure fun and delight has taken pride of place on the shop floor recently… It’s a preview of a very special product that we are currently accepting pre-orders for: the Opal Advent Calendar 2015!

As you would expect, this box has 24 tantalising little windows and each side is adorned with a fun Christmas cartoon. Behind each window lies a special mini 15g ball of Opal Sock yarn and each one has its own festive ball band too!

24 fun days of knitting and the ideal early Christmas gift (to yourself, or a special knitter in your life)!

The Calendar retails for €74.95 and if you would like to pre-order please contact us before the 16th of October .

Carol Feller

Where did the idea come from for an entire book using Short Row techniques?

I’ve always loved knitting with short rows; when I begin knitting again it was one of the first advanced techniques I learned in order to create bust darts. However I wasn’t really happy with my short rows so I started to investigate and experiment. From there I discovered how many different types of short row techniques there are out there and the variety of things you can do with them. For the next several years I began perfecting my technique and using them in almost all my patterns. This naturally led to teaching short rows in person which in turn became my very popular free short row class on Craftsy.

When I began discussing a new book with Potter Craft I knew I wanted to do a book that was a technique workshop as well as a pattern book. That way knitters will want to reference it for years to come even after they’ve finished the patterns. Short rows seemed like the perfect subject as they are probably one of the most useful knitting techniques out there! At the same time I did a second class on Craftsy (Essential Short Row Techniques) that dovetails with the book.

Short Row Knits

Your knitwear design career has taken you to some far-flung places! I know the Craftsy classes are filmed in Denver and that you really enjoy visiting there. Did you ever imagine that knitting would open up so many opportunities for you?

If you had told me several years ago that knitting was going to be a passport to travel the world I’d have either laughed at you or thought you were crazy! I’m not a very careful planner at a macro level (micro planning I do thought!) so each new development and opportunity for me happened quite organically with one flowing into the next. At the beginning of my career I wrote an article on Kerry Woollen Mills for Yarnforward magazine. This got me thinking about Irish yarn which prompted me to write my first book; ‘Contemporary Irish Knits’. After this book was launched I began attending the TNNA tradeshow in the US and this book got me my first offer of teaching from Craftsy to do the Celtic Cables class.

I want to continue to create new designs, explore new construction methods and challenge myself as a designer and teacher. In order to do this I’ve got to be fluid in my approach and be open to new possibilities.

Dovestone Hills

Speaking of new possibilities – you always seem to embrace new ways of connecting with the knitters that choose your patterns, for example via the KALs you run on Ravelry. How do you find the time to run these knit-a-longs, with all your other commitments? And what has been your most successful KAL to date?

To manage all of my commitments I do lots of juggling and very little housework, I wish I was joking but I’m not :-) The reality is that there is no way to extend the hours in the day so something will always give. I do the bare minimum of housework so that it still functions, but that’s it. I try to finish every evening with a list of important tasks for the next day and do my best to get at least a few done in the morning.

Work goes in waves, when I’m feeling rested and family demands are low I can power thorough blog posts, patterns and edits without a bother. Other weeks they could take the whole week instead of a day. I try hard to accept that we’re not machines and you can’t work consistently all the time.

Every morning my priority is always knitters; I start by answering all email queries, Ravelry questions (forums and messages) and then visit Craftsy. If I get to them again later that’s great but on a busy day it won’t always happen!

Interaction with knitters is what keeps me energised and focused. Without knitters my patterns would just stay on paper. This is why KALs (knitalongs) have become such a big part of my work. I get to spend a lot of time focusing on one pattern; writing tips, tutorials and clues. Then the fun starts, knitters are swatching, picking sizes, figuring out mods and having a great time together.

I love how much knitters get out of KALs; along the way we’ve had a lot of first time sweater knitters who finished them off and loved them :-) The first KAL I did was for my 100th pattern, Ravi, that’s probably still the most popular of my KALs. This year I wanted to experiment a little and I’m trying something new, a KAL that is run in conjunction with LYSs and the yarn company Fyberspates; Mithral Every year knitters were trying to meet up in person, arranging it on Ravelry. It made sense to me to try and bring in a LYS partnership so that knitters could meet in person as well as online. Mitheral’s first clue is out 1st of October and so far knitters seem to love having LYSs involved, it just feels like extending the knitting family!

Short Row Knits

So now that Short Row Knits is published, what’s next for Carol Feller?

In the next few months my initial priority is promoting my 2 new books; Dovestone Hills and Short Row Knits. This involves a lot of writing work for blog posts as well as travel to shows and of course the wonderful book launch with you on the 17th of October! At the same time in the background plans are afoot for the Irish Yarn Club 2016. For the last 2 year I’ve done an Irish Yarn Club with TIK and this year we’re planning and scheming for some very exciting new developments. I think knitters are going to just love some of the yarn/colour choices that we’re putting together for the 2016 club and hopefully they’ll like the patterns that go with the amazing yarn :-)

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