Living in the future

Here’s some truly space-age needles! They’re Knitpro Karbonz, and they’re made of carbon fibre, just like powerboats and space ships and racing cars.

We’ve just got them in as interchangeable tips (sizes 3.00mm to 4.00mm), fixed circulars (from 2.00mm to 2.75mm) and individual sets of DPNs (from 2.25mm to 3.00mm). They’re ever so fast to knit with, and the surface of the carbon fibre is just a smidge more grippy than the nickel-plated Knitpros. This, with those lovely pointy tips, makes them ideal kit for lace knitting.

And if you’re looking for a fantastic present for yourself or someone else, then the Sock Set would be just the thing – it’s got five sizes (2.00mm, 2.50mm, 3.00mm, 3.5mm and 4.00mm) all in a very handy and attractive wallet. (If you’re still looking for a Mother’s Day gift for a knitter, then what could be better?)

Using carbon fibre material means that these needles can go very small indeed – all the way down to 1.00mm! We won’t be carrying the really teeny sizes routinely, but we’d be delighted to order them in for you specially, so get in touch if you want to try tiny knitting!

At wits’ end

Weaving in ends is one of the final stages of a project, and despite our best efforts (splicing when adding a new ball, working seamlessly and so on), there’s always some to do.

The Garter Yoke Baby Cardi (a hugely popular and dotey free pattern on Ravelry) is a case in point. It’s a delight to work in sportweight yarn (this one’s in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino), made from the top down with the option of a neat i-cord edging. It’s quick and it’s easily customisable.

But there’s no denying it: that’s a lot of ends.

It’s a good idea to leave your ends long while you wash and block and snip them off only at the end. But then it’s easy to get confused about forget which ones you’ve woven in and which you haven’t, and you can easily end up peering crossly at your work trying to decide. So here’s a handy trick to speed things along: as you finish weaving in a strand, just tie a knot in it.

Then it’s easy to run your fingers down the length of any end and spot if you still need to deal with it. It’ll keep you a little further away from your wits’ end!

A new tradition

Today we’re delighted to feature a guest post by Fiona Parker and Daniel Rye, who supply us with amazing Navia yarn from the Faroe Islands. As part of the Slow Fashion movement, they’re committed to bringing traditional skills and twenty-first century styling to a wider market, and we’re very pleased to be part of that.

The Faroe Islands – a tiny archipelago in the North Atlantic – mean a lot to us. We met there, lived there, and now we import Faroese yarns. As UK and Ireland agents for Navia we are helping to spread the word about these wonderful wools and an amazing knitting tradition.

Navia (from the word Scandi-navia) was started 10 years ago by Óli Kristian á Torkilsheyggi, a young entrepreneur whose family has been in the wool business for generations, and who also finds time to tend his own flock of sheep. When we visited last summer, he helped our four-year-old daughter feed milk to a young lamb.

Navia yarn is a blend of Faroese wool with Shetland wool, and Australian lambswool. Òli Kristian is a perfectionist who is always seeking to improve the quality of his yarns, and to find new colours and blends.

The Faroe Islands have a rich heritage of knitting patterns, which Navia have taken into the 21st century by commissioning some wonderfully stylish patterns from a talented team of Faroese designers. Every 6 months or so a new pattern book is published, which we then translate into English. The photos for these patterns are taken by Òli Kristian’s sister, Beinta – it is a real family business!

We are so thrilled that This is Knit is the first shop in Ireland to stock Navia yarn and patterns, and we hope that readers of this blog will get a chance to visit the shop to see and touch these gorgeous yarns for themselves!

We’ve just got some stunningly gorgeous sample garments from Navia to display in the shop, so drop in and feel the finished product for yourself if you can. We’ll be sure to feature them in a blog post here very soon too, so there’s a treat in store for colourwork fans!

All images in this post © Navia Yarn

It’s nearly time!

We’re heading into St Patrick’s Festival this weekend, and it’s Cast On Time for our Spring Knit Along tomorrow. There’s been great excitement in the shop, choosing yarn and colour combinations, so we’re delighted to announce that we’re offering a 10% discount for the KAL across a whole range of lovely sportweight and fingering options.

This discount is available for the following yarns:

Malabrigo Arroyo
MillaMia
Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
Noro Silk Garden 4-ply
Jamieson and Smith Jumper Weight
Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply
Navia Duo

To get your discount, just mention that you’re getting yarn for the KAL when you purchase your yarn, if you’re in the shop or on the phone. If you’re ordering online, simply enter “”KAL2014” as a coupon code in your shopping basket.

There’s all sorts of discussion about the pattern and yarn choices in this stickied thread in the Ravelry This Is Knit group, so drop by and enjoy the fun and camaraderie there. Over the next couple of months we’ll have regular blog updates, and we can’t wait to see your progress!

And most of all, have a very happy Bank Holiday weekend!

Looking forward to the weekend

It’s St Patrick’s Festival this coming weekend (hurray!) and we’ve got some changes to our usual Bank Holiday weekend opening hours.

We’re open on Saturday and Sunday as normal, but we’re closed on Monday March 17th itself.

So if you’re in town on Saturday or Sunday, drop by and say hello. The Powerscourt Centre’s all dressed up for the Festival and the Pepper Pot’s sure to be serving something special…!

It’s springtime!

And that means a Knit-Along!

This time, we’ve chosen a stunning Stephen West pattern, Daybreak. It’s a lovely versatile accessory, and like the Color Affection in last year’s KAL, it uses two yarns to make smart stripes.

We’ve made two already, both in Malabrigo Arroyo. The purple and navy, made by Jacqui, is the smaller size (it took 62g of the navy and 82g of the purple) and Nadia’s teal and back is the medium. They’re both very generously sized, so we think the Large might be truly epic! Of course, you’re not limited to just two colours, either. A look through Daybreak projects on Ravelry shows many gorgeous shawls with stripes of several colours, so this can be a fantastic stashbuster too.

The clever radiating lines are made very simply by slipping stitches, so you’re never working with more than one colour at a time. In fact, it’s the perfect introduction to slipped-stitch colourwork. You’ll find lots more inspiration in the Daybreak discussion thread in the Westknits Fan Club group.

With a Bank Holiday weekend coming up, we’ve designated Saturday 15th March as Cast On Day, and this KAL will be running until Worldwide Knit In Public Day in June, so there’s lots of time. So why not pick some colours and join us? And of course, we’re all excited in the shop at the prospect of helping you with colour and yarn combinations. Last year’s KAL was so much fun, and this one’s sure to be even better!

What we’re making: Nadia

Ever wanted to know what your favourite staff members are up to outside of This Is Knit? Well, you guessed it: we are knitting or crocheting most of the time. We thought you might like a little view into what we are up too, as most of our projects never make it up on Ravelry before they are gifted away or worn never to be taken off again. So over to Nadia!

Long ago I used to be a scientist. This is most definitely something you should know, so when I was asked to write a blog post, I said I would with lots of enthusiasm and head nods. When faced with a blank page, well, you stick to what you know.

Experiments in knitting

Aim:

To knit the Baby Kimono by Elizabeth Jarvis

Apparatus:

2 balls of Sirdar Baby Bamboo Snuggly DK in taupe shade 170.

1 Pair of 4.5mm Needles (I used 4.5mm circular)

2 Heart Shaped wooden buttons from This Is Knit.

1 sewing up needle

Method:

This little kimono is worked flat and then seamed with simple straightforward instructions of K2tog or m1 for shaping.

Results:

Taa Daa!!

Discussion:

I’ve learned a few things from this little project. This is the second baby kimono that I have made but is definitely the winner and it’s because of the yarn, not the pattern. The baby bamboo was a dream to work with but a nightmare to seam. You would think the fact that I work in TIK and that I warn people on a weekly basis that bamboo is hard to seam that this would somehow impact on my needle size decision…yup I’m quite frankly an idiot!

Now considering the fact that bamboo is a slippery little sucker you would think I would choose a 4mm or 3.75mm needle to knit this but nope. I didn’t swatch (I know, but who swatches for a child’s garment, right? They are going to fit eventually ahem) so when I washed the sweater it bloomed into a beautifully soft sleek fabric that I loved, until I had to seam. In the end my needle size left weaving in the ends and matching the decreasing quite difficult but with careful unpicking and re-sewing it turned out fab!! I would definitely recommend using locking stitch markers or safety pins to pin out the blocked garment before sewing and if your inner voice is screaming at you to get more but you can’t get your bum off the couch and up the stairs to get them, well expect to pay the consequences :/

I followed this pattern quite closely and I did lengthen the sleeves a little so that I could roll them up or down to get more growth out of the kimono as the buttons are movable and you make button holes on the inside of the sweater too so it’s designed to grow with babies. I also love that the two balls and buttons came in under €11, which is amazing for how expensive this looks in person.

Previously I knit this Baby Kimono by Joji (also a free pattern) which is knit in garter stitch and all in one piece from the top down and I loved the fact that when I cast off I was done with only one or 2 ends to weave in. My perfect combination of a kimono pattern would be a stocking stitch top down all in one piece and there are in fact 6 pages of Ravelry patterns to choose from. I love how I only came to this realisation after I knitted both patterns.

Conclusion:

I can’t stress how much I love this yarn, it’s fantastic and a perfect choice for babies if you’re looking for an alternative to wool and cotton. This pattern is well written with no mistakes so it shouldn’t invoke the knitter rage (you know what I’m talking about) and makes a sweet little heirloom. Just please swatch with bamboo and save yourself my headache of seaming. Also this little guy earned me two Winter Ravellenics Medals from Bobicus himself! Woo!