September 2011

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Since we announced the big move, people have been asking if we were going far away. We’ve paced it, and the new unit is exactly 32 paces from the door of the smaller old unit. Of course, there’s two ways of approaching, and you saw one of them near the end of yesterday’s post: if you come in the South William Street entrance, you’ll most likely come upon us right at the top of a short flight of steps, through the doors pictured at the end of the post.

If you come the other way, from the direction of the old shop and the car park entrance, you’ll pass the counter of the Pepperpot. When you turn right immediately after the cakes, you’ll be walking through our door.

If you take a moment to look through the window, you’ll see something like this:

Once inside, the shop’s airy and bright, with lots of shelf space. In the far corner, you’ll see the round table, where you can sit while you decide what to make (perhaps something from the magazines we’ve recently begun to stock?).

If you’re looking for even more patterns, head up the stairs, past luxurious skeins of yarn just asking to be fondled and pattern books full of ideas:

You’ll find shelves full of patterns and technique books up in the gallery – take your time and relax on the sofa as you read them (thanks, Aileen, for doing just that!):

The ballwinder and swift are up there as well, so we can wind those skeins into handy yarn cakes for you as fast as possible:

On the far side of the sofa, you’ll find the teaching area. We’ve now got an ideal space for learning new skills, with a generous table for working in comfort, away from distraction.

Do drop in – we can’t wait to see you!

The new unit opened at noon today, and you know, we think it’s lovely.

On Saturday evening at 5.30pm, there was a staggering amount of work to do. Stock to be moved, shelving to be taken down and moved, boxes by the dozen to shift: if you were following us on Twitter (we’re @ThisIsKnit), you’ll have seen some of it in progress. On Sunday, there was furniture to assemble, there was shelving (more than before) to construct, and there was paint to be applied:

There was Bessie to coax out of the wall:

Presses had to be positioned (some of them more than once!) and masking applied:

There were boxes to be put together, in impressive heat:

There was some recompense for the hard work, mind you:

And over the course of the next couple of days, pretty things began to show up:

Yarn began to appear on the shelves…

… and at the windowsills (we’ve got windowsills)!

Finally, it was time for the tissue paper to come down from the windows:

It was then that a few things became very clear. The shop has beautiful natural light, which makes the colours just glow:

We’ve packed a terrific amount of beautiful yarn, patterns and accessories into it:

We can’t tell you how proud we are of our new shop. It’s the culmination of an tremendous amount of work by many many people, and we can’t wait to show you round.

Please drop by – we’ve got lovely new things to show you, as well as familiar friends from before:

It’s official!

We are very happy to announce the details of our forthcoming move.

It’s happening this weekend. This Is Knit will shut at 5.30pm on Sat 24th September and reopen at 12pm on Weds 28th September, in our lovely new premises beside the Pepperpot, just round the corner from our old units.

TIK Mark 2011

The new unit will be bigger than the sum of the two current This Is Knit units. You can see the frontage here – the unit is both of the doors and the two windows between:

Inside, there are two levels. There’s a mezzanine that runs the width of the shop, reached by stairs at the side. You can see this through the open door below:

There’s another view of it below, and it turns out that it’s appeared on the blog before. It was the setting for the finals of the drop-spindling competition back in May.

All this space means that we’ll be able to have much more space for teaching. One advantage of this is that when we have large, special event classes, we’ll be able to host them entirely in the shop, instead of borrowing other units in the Centre for the day.

We’re very happy that the first special classes in the new shop will be Amy Singer’s two events in October. Being surrounded by all the yarn, with knitting tools close to hand, will make the classes even more flexible and enjoyable. As of the time of booking, there’s only waiting list space for her Plug and Play Shawl class, but there’s still places available for her class on getting your pattern published. We’ll be so proud to welcome her to our lovely shiny new shop – and to welcome you too, and hopefully at the same time!

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have to organise the migration of a couple of thousand balls of yarn, some curmudgeonly sheep and a terribly willing toy alpaca. We’re sure you understand.

….we’ve been aching to tell you this and now it’s official:

This Is Knit is moving!

We’re staying in the Powercourt Centre, but moving to a single larger unit beside the Pepperpot, the one currently occupied by Article, who are themselves moving to a new unit in the main house. We’ll have even more room for yarn, and for classes, and for all manner of good things.

As you can imagine, we’re terrifically excited about this. There’ll be more details here soon, including the date itself, but we simply couldn’t wait to tell you all.

Squee! Ahem!

Tasting notes!

If you encounter any of us on the street, you’ll know us by the wide grins we’ve been wearing since last Thursday.

We had not one but two exciting events, you see: the launch of Carol Feller’s new book, Contemporary Irish Knits, followed immediately (and overlapped for a hour) by Yarn Tasting 2011. So here’s a brief recap!

Working in the Powerscourt Centre, we’re really blessed to have access to the loft. It’s a lovely space, full of light and air:

There it is, waiting for the fun to start. But before that happened, there was a considerable amount of loveliness to put in place:

Kate Davies’ table was simply covered in the most wonderful colourwork (of this, more later), and we had lovely cabled things by Carol Feller to show off too:

It was such a honour for us to host Carol’s book launch, and we’re glad to say that she seemed to enjoy it (you’ll find her account of the night on her blog.

Even the cake provided by the Pepperpot had cables on it!

And then the Yarn Tasting started. Sixty knitters all avidly trying out samples of new yarn, exchanging opinions, taking notes, and generally being boisterous in the best way:

We had an impromptu catwalk show, featuring several of Carol’s garments modelled by various This Is Knit workers and friends:

Kate’s talk about her work on handmade textile culture and her views on design was wonderful. She has blogged about her visit here and here, and she too would appear to have had an absolute ball.

We knew her to be an impressive scholar and an excellent designer, but when presented with her colourwork, we felt like Jared Flood did on encountering Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Green Sweater: “At that point I muttered to myself something colossally obvious yet seemingly so epiphanous: “[Kate can] really knit!”

That picture is the wrong side of Hare and Tortoise. What perfect stranding.

And in return, Kate was terribly taken with AoibheNí’s Dublin Bay Shawl. Doesn’t it suit her very well?

Far too soon, it was all over, and we had to pack everything up and leave the loft till next year…

… and some of us had slept through the entire thing!

But thanks really go to all of you that came along. If you hadn’t been there, it would have been just a few of us rattling peculiarly around a big white room, surrounded by yarn and with jumpers hung on the wall. It wasn’t, and that was all because of you. Thank you.

Turn back time

Cher wanted to do it. Hermione needed a Time-Turner for it. Today, we show you how to do it with nothing more than needles and yarn.

We all know what it’s like to look down at your knitting and realise that you’re doing the wrong thing. This bit was supposed to be in the other colour, or it was meant to be purled, or this row was actually intended to be the cast off row. If there’s a lifeline in place, it’s probably several rows down. But the problem’s on this row, not far below. Ripping back to the lifeline and then knitting back up would take a long time.

If you know how to reverse just the row you’re on, then you save time. The process is known as tinking (because t-i-n-k is the opposite of k-n-i-t), and here’s how to do it. We’re demonstrating with our little swatch again, so if you’d like to follow along with this, get some stitches on the needles and work a few rows.

Half way across a row, take a moment to look what’s in front of you. The stitch that you’ve just worked has grown out of a stitch on the row below – that’s the lower stitch, the loop just below the leftmost stitch on the right hand needle:

Put the tip of your left hand needle into that lower loop, from left to right, front to back.

Because your left hand needle is holding that stitch, the lower stitch can’t drop. So nothing bad is going to happen if you slip the tip of the right hand needle out of the upper stitch:

After you’ve slipped it off the right hand needle, a wee bit of magic has happened: you’ve undone the last stitch you knit and it’s now back on the left hand needle:

And that’s it – that’s how to undo a knit stitch. If you’ve got more to undo, just repeat the stages until you’re back at the point you wanted to reach.

If you want to tink a purl, the process is the same, and here’s the pictures to show you. Each purl grows out of the stitch below in exactly the same way – the only difference is that it’s got a little bump on the front of the work:

The left hand needle goes into the lower stitch from left to right, front to back, in exactly the same way…

…and the tip of the right hand needle slips out of the upper stitch, leaving the lower stitch safely undone on the left hand needle.

That’s time travel, and we don’t even have a Tardis. Sorry about that.

A glimpse

We’re quite excited over here. We’ve just under forty eight hours to go before the launch of Carol Feller’s Contemporary Irish Knits and the Yarn Tasting. (As of the time of writing, there’s a couple of places available for both, if you’re free and want to attend.)

Just like last year, the Yarn Tasting will feature delicious new yarns, special guests and huge fun. There’ll also be spot prizes, and offers on yarn and patterns. For example, if you buy a ten-ball quantity of:

Debbie Bliss Paloma
Debbie Bliss Riva
Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky
Sublime Lustrous
Louisa Harding Simonetta
Louisa Harding Nerissa
any of the three varieties of Louisa Harding Grace (did we mention there’s a beaded one now?)
Mirasol Hacho
Araucania Tepa
Noro Kama…

…we will give you the pattern book for the yarn absolutely free. The picture above shows a selection of the yarns (and nestled amongst them the newest member of our expanding menagerie).

But even if you can’t attend on Thursday, we’ve got an offer which is open to everyone. To celebrate the launch of Carol Feller’s book, we’re offering a 10% discount on Studio Donegal yarn to anyone who purchases it on Thursday – at the launch, in the shop, over the phone or online. So you can get beautiful colours and guaranteed warmth from an Irish yarn company to make one of Carol’s stunning patterns.

Now, you must excuse us. Less than forty eight hours to go, you see – there’s a bit to do.

On Thursday, we’re going to have a huge amount of fun introducing you to the new things we’ve got for Autumn/Winter. Sadly, you can’t all be there, so it’s only fair to share some of the new things here. (In any case, we were the sort of children who found it very hard to wait till Christmas Day to open the presents.)

This time it’s not yarn, though. We’ve found the most beautiful brooches! Some of them are straightforward shawl pins, with a long shaft that securely fastens your shawl to itself:

Others show an innovation we’ve seen nowhere else: magnets. They come in two pieces, both metal, one containing a surprisingly strong magnet. So the brooch doesn’t make holes in your fabric – the plain part goes on the inside of your scarf or your coat and holds the decorative part in place through the power of magnetism!

The first time we saw these brooches, one was adorning a hat. So they’re versatile as well as beautiful. There are stars and flowers and leaves.

The other exciting news this week is that we’ve got blocking wires in stock. We’ll do a proper long post on them soon, showing them in use. All that lovely perfectly blocked lace, pinned out in a trice….

What with the Yarn Tasting coming up, you can expect a fair amount of talk here about new delights. The shop is currently stuffed with yarn (with each new delivery, we wonder how it’s going to fit, but thanks to that peculiar yarn shop magic, it always does). With school now started, it’s a good time to start thinking about winter knitting.

We got a preview of Debbie Bliss Paloma at our birthday party, but now it’s arrived! It’s a 60/40 alpaca/merino chainette yarn, and it’s astoundingly soft. Jacqui’s already knitted a jacket from it – here it is, hot off the needles:

This is the jacket that suited so many people at the birthday party. It’s easy to knit, it’s easy to wear, and it’s as warm as toast. Because the yarn’s so thick and squooshy, it works up in no time at all. And the pattern book’s got eight other patterns for garments and accessories.

We’ve been hearing awful prognostications about the coming winter – if they’re even close to true, Paloma will go a very long way to keeping you snug, warm and elegant.