Nearly there!

Here in the Powerscourt Centre, it’s a lovely Christmassy day. There’s live music from Lyric Opera, there’s a happy buzz from the Pepper Pot tables outside the door (the mince pies probably have a lot to do with it), and there’s little hand-crafted decorations all over the place.

When it comes to yarny gifts, we’ve got loads we’d like to show you – kits and notions and buttons and books galore. We’re also delighted to see an awful lot of non-crocheters and non-knitters, and helping them pick the perfect gift is so much fun.

If you’re looking for a very special gift for yourself or a very lucky person, there’s still a couple of days left to sign up for Irish Yarn Club 2014 – world-exclusive hand-dyed yarn from independent Irish dyers, paired with exciting new patterns from Carol Feller. You can sign up until Sunday, online, over the phone, or in person.

If you’re passing over the weekend, do drop in and say hello!

New Customer Loyalty Programme

Loyalty Scheme

Santa may not have visited just yet but we’re already looking ahead to the New Year… As it’s the traditional time for new beginnings we are taking the opportunity to introduce a new-and-improved Customer Loyalty Scheme. From January 2014 registered customers will earn points with every purchase, whether that purchase is made online or in store.

We imagine you’ll have a few questions on the ins-and-outs of the scheme, so hopefully we’ve answered them below. Please do post any additional queries in the comments and we’ll get back to you straight away.

Q: How do I register?

A: Registration Forms are available in the shop right now, but you can also download a form here to fill out at your leisure. Completed forms can be dropped back in to the shop on your next visit, posted to us or scanned and sent to us via email.

Q: What about my existing Loyalty Card?

A: There is a space on the Form to attach any existing Loyalty Cards that you have. Within 14 days of registering we will apply 75 points per stamp to your Loyalty Account. Please note that original cards must be presented in person or by post. Scanned copy Loyalty Cards will not be eligible for points.

Q: How many points will I earn per purchase?

A: Under the new system each registered customer will earn 3 points for every Euro.


Q: How do I earn points for online purchases?

A: Once you have registered with us you will simply need to enter a request in the comments section of your online order for points to be applied to your loyalty account.

Q: What do I do with my points?

A: Each point will entitle you to 1 cent off future purchases – it’s up to you whether you redeem this value off the odd ball of wool every now and again, or whether you’d like to save all your points for a splurge around e.g. your birthday or Christmas time!

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We hope that all makes sense but do please post any additional questions you have in the comments. Thanks! :)

Dashing through the snow

Well, it’s not actually snowing, but these little hats have the dashing part all wrapped up – if you need a quick project for a baby before Christmas, there’s plenty of time to knit one (or even two)!

This is the Little Scallops hat by Maria Carlander. You’ll find a link to the free pattern at that Ravelry link. This wee hat has all you could want – a little colourwork, a simple stocking stitch fabric, a practical slouchy shape.

Our examples are made in Debble Bliss Baby Cashmerino, so they’ll wash and wear like a dream. They’re the smaller size of the two sizes, and they took about a third of a ball of the main colour and a fifth of the contrast, so they’re perfect for using up those odds and ends.

And best of all, they’re fast! The two of these took a couple of leisurely evenings to make, so they’re the perfect relaxing knit in front of the TV after a day’s rushing about.

Buttonholed!

We get a lot of questions at the counter about the best way to make buttonholes. The answer, as usual, is “It depends” – on who you’re making the garment for, on the size of the button, on how wide your buttonband is. For a lot of purposes, the yarn-over buttonhole works a treat, so here’s a tutorial.

Every beginner knitter is familiar with the notion that if you put the yarn over the needle on one row and then knit the resultant loop on the next row, you end up with a hole. Like most so-called “mistakes”, this turns out to be very useful. You can make a buttonhole with it.

The first step, when you come to where you want your buttonhole to be, is simply to make a yarn over, by bringing the yarn to the front between the needles, and then backwards over the right hand needle. (And that’s all a yarn over is: just the action of putting the yarn round the right hand needle.)

The next step is to knit the next two stitches together, as shown in the picture: put the tip of your right hand needle through two stitches instead of just one, and knit them together.

And that’s it. You’ve just made a hole in your work with the yarn over, and you’ve compensated for that increase by decreasing a stitch immediately after by knitting two together.

And what’s more, you’ve just made the teeniest bit of lace. That’s all lace is: yarn overs and decreases paired with each other. And if you put a line of these holes in a row, you end up with a line of eyelets for tying ribbon through. Putting holes in your knitting on purpose is a very satisfying activity, and it all begins with a yarn over and a decrease!

An invitation

On Thursday next, all of us at the Powerscourt Centre are having a very special evening in aid of the Simon Community, and we’d love if you could make it.

There’ll be music and mulled wine and a light show against the front of the building on South William Street, all in aid of a very good cause.

As our part of the festivities, This Is Knit are offering a 10% discount from 6.00pm, and we’re giving a further 10% of the evening’s takings to Simon. So please drop in – we’d love to see you all!

A date for the diary

Saturday 15th February is going to be rather exciting at This Is Knit. We’re very happy to announce that Carol Feller will be teaching two workshops with us that day!

In the morning, she’s offering her Sweater Surgery class. Imagine if you were able to fix the parts of a project that didn’t come out exactly as you wanted (and we’ve all got those lurking in plastic bags at the back of the wardrobe) – well, this workshop will give you the skills to change “meh!” into “wow!” Projects can be rescued by changing the pattern as you work, or altering after the fact, and Carol’s workshop covers both. You can read more and make a booking by clicking on the image above – your projects will chorus their thanks.

In the afternoon, we’ll have a repeat of one of the most popular workshops ever: Carol’s Short Rows Demystified. Using one of the most versatile child’s patterns we know, the very dotey Taupini, you’ll experiment with several different short row methods for shaping your fabric. Short rowing is such a versatile skill, and last year’s workshop was an enormous success, reflected in the long list of gorgeous projects that followed. Clicking on the image above will take you to the booking page, and you can read more there too.

And we’re very very proud to be able to offer exclusive Carol Feller patterns as part of the Irish Yarn Club 2014, to complement the stunning hand-dyed yarn from talented Irish dyers. The perfect gift for a knitterly friend or for yourself, with sign-ups open for just another two weeks!

We’re looking forward to Christmas and New Year, but February’s going to be splendid too!

Using your head

We’ve talked about blocking techniques before, and about how magically it transforms your hunched and lumpy work into something smooth and beautifully professional, with practically no effort at all.

That neat and orderly finish is what you want for knitted and crocheted gifts, and since time is getting on and a lot of hats are being made for Christmas, we thought it would be a good idea to talk about how to block them.

The trouble with hats, put simply, is that they’re very rarely flat. You can’t pin just them out like a scarf or a shawl. But help’s at hand, and the picture below shows all you need.

After you’ve soaked your hat well and blotted out most of the moisture in a towel, take a moment to consider: is it flat, like a beret or a tam, or is it round like a beanie? If it’s flat, like this wonderful Neep Heid by Kate Davies, simply pop a plate inside it, one large enough to smooth out the knitting. Since our Neep Heid is adult-sized, we used a dinner plate, but smaller hats would need smaller plates. Let the hat dry, and slip the plate out.

If your hat is curved, like our own Thistle pattern, then you need the balloon. Soak your hat and blot it as before, and then blow up the balloon to the size you need (smaller for a child, larger for an adult. Crown it with the uniformly damp hat.

Wait for it to dry completely and remove the balloon (it can then find a deserving home!).

Ta da! Perfectly blocked hats, with even stitches, smooth fabric and impressed recipients. And another thing crossed off the To Do list!