And Our Two Winners Are…

We were overwhelmed with the response to our blog giveaway this week – with over 130 entries in response for our call for just two words to describe what knitting means to you.  It was tough to pick out our winners, but Terri and Sinéad’s entries captured two wonderful aspects of knitting life, so we felt they deserved the prizes…Blog Winners Two Words

Congratulations to you both! We’ll be in touch about your winnings!

Other entries that we loved ranged from “No Jailtime” to “Moving Meditation”, with a nod to “Duh, Socks!” there too :)  You can read all the entries over on the original post, and thank you again to everyone who commented!

Two Words, Two Winners!

It’s been a while since we’ve had a giveaway, so we figured it was time to run a fun little competition.  We’re making this very simple to enter, and there’ll be not one, but two winners come this Saturday!

Prize photo
Oh the pretty goodies…

You may have heard Lisa on 2fm last week, when she was chatting to the crew on the Nicky Byrne Show about all the many reasons why people knit. They mentioned creativity, relaxation, general mental and physical health, and others. And it all got us thinking… what does knitting mean to you?

So, that’s all you have to do – tell us why you knit (or crochet, or spin, or weave!), or what benefits you find you get from the process.

The only catch is… you have to tell us in two words.

Simply leave your comment on this blog post, and we’ll pick two winners at the end of the week.

Competition Prize
You could win this ensemble!

Our prizes are based around these beautiful new printed bags that we have in store from KnitPro – we’ve selected some co-ordinating yarns and accessories to show them at their best.

Comment entries for the giveaway must be left before 7pm (GMT) on Friday evening, and we’ll pick our winners on Saturday. The first name drawn will get first choice on the prize and it can be collected in store, or posted within Ireland. Prizes for overseas winners will incur a postage charge (sorry!).

So that’s it, couldn’t be easier. Just leave your two word comment below and hopefully you’ll be hearing from us with good news this weekend!

KAL Season

Hello, it’s Nadia (Bunnyt) here, and I’ll be your guide through some of TIK’s favourite Knit-a-longs that are happening this season.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the fast pace of Ravelry and you might miss the announcement of your perfect KAL. So how about taking a quick look at today’s round up of  Top 5 KAL’s running through this October / November season –  it might help you navigate your way to some fun new techniques and a gorgeous FO…

Our favourite KALS this season

Stephen West – Building Blocks KAL

We’re sure by now you have seen Jenny’s inspired Instagram pictures of Townhouse Yarn choices for the Building Blocks MKAL happening over on Ravelry.  It can be a little difficult to get your hands on the suggested yarn for the KAL so we think either Fade St. or  Clarendon Sock would be the perfect substitute.

Briocheveron Cowl by Stephen West. Photocredit: S. West
Briocheveron Cowl by Stephen West. Photocredit: S. West

This is a mystery KAL so you don’t see what your making until the last clue is released but (if you would like a sneak peek) there are a few spoilers floating around the Ravelry group and on Instagram! 

There is also a mini KAL for everything Brioche over in the WestKnits fan club group. This is a nice one if your not up for a full on KAL but would like the support of trying Brioche on a smaller project. The Briocheveron Cowl has been a favourite option for this knit-a-long so far.

2. WoollyWormhead MKAL

After the excitement of her recent workshops here in This is Knit, we are all still wanting a bit more of Woolly. Thankfully we can participate in her 9th mystery hat knit-a-long! This year there is a little bit of a twist: there are 3 hats, each featuring the same stitch pattern, but you can choose between a beret, beanie or slouchy style. You have plenty of time to get your needles and yarn ready for this one. We’re thinking of Dublin Dye DK or Ella Rae DK.

The boards for this are always fast, fun and full of support, so make sure you follow along here. We’re still in awe of Woolly’s approach to hat construction, and this KAL is guaranteed to incorporate her signature fun details and clever techniques.  Don’t you just love how Woolly’s mind works?

Luwan by Carol Feller (Photocredit J. Feller)
Luwan by Carol Feller (Photocredit J. Feller)

3. Carol Feller Luwan KAL / Wrap up Winter KAL

It wouldn’t be Autumn without a garment KAL from Carol. This year she has a beautiful textured stitch pattern with short row shaping called Luwan.  This KAL is happening on Carol’s dedicated KAL group on Ravelry, which is fantastic resource for support direct Carol and from a friendly bunch of fellow KAL-ers.

Luwan is knit from the top down and we think both Malabrigo Rios and Juniper Moon Herriot will work for this design.  The original yarn straddles between a DK and Aran weight though, so a tension swatch will be essential before committing.  Carol has written a little bit about swatching for this garment over on her blog and it’s definitely worth a read.

If the garment KAL is too big of a commitment, Carol is also running a Wrap up Winter Accessory KAL on the Stolen Stitches group. News is released in her News Reel thread and it’s perfect for the smaller “Knitmas” gift knitting season.

4. Ysolda Teague Knitworthy

Knitworthy 3 - Ysolda Teague (Photocredit: Ysolda)
Knitworthy 3 – Ysolda Teague (Photocredit: Ysolda)

Ysolda is back with Knitworthy 3, an annual gift knit-a-long for those that you deem worthy of a beautifully knitted gift. There are 8 patterns which are released every two weeks starting from the13th of September. There is still plenty of time to join in and it’s always fun in the Ravelry Group. We really like the look of Alleunmer in Ysolda’s Sport 5ply yarn but if you can’t get your hands on that you can look at Baby CashmerinoMalabrigo Finito, Mirasol Nuna or Grafton 4ply.

5. Boo Knits – Halloween mKAL

We couldn’t leave out one of favourite shawl designers – Boo Knits always runs a fun knit-a-long and this year is no exception. The Halloween KAL has a little nod to the 400 year anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. The Taboo shawl is a top down crescent shape that has a bit of lace, beads and that Boo Magic. We’re in love with both Findley by Juniper Moon and Townhouse Yarns Trinity 2ply for this spooky KAL…

Do you have a favourite designer running a KAL at the moment? Drop a link in the comments so we can all have a look too! If you’re joining in a KAL and need help with choosing the right yarn for your project then you can drop into the shop – we would only be too happy to help – or you can find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram as @ThisisKnit. 

Simple and Swift

Are you looking for some quick, cosy and stylish accessories to whip up with some very squishable yarn? On today’s blog we’re highlighting two fabulous shop samples that we think will do the job quite nicely…

File 17-10-2016, 21 55 35  October_15__2016_at_1122AM

First up is this Cable Edged Cowl from the lovely people at Conway and Bliss.  Using just two balls of their Odin yarn and 10mm needles, you can cast on for this project on Friday evening and be snuggling in to its cosy depths come Monday morning… This project would be a wonderful introduction to cables for the newer knitter, or a super gift-knitting option for the more experienced of you out there.

October_15__2016_at_1116AM

It’s been all about hats at TIK recently, and the project choices just keep piling up! Sample number two is a sweet slouchy beanie, made using a nifty free pattern from TinCanKnits and one skein of cloud-like merino in the form of Debbie Bliss’s new Falkland Aran. The pattern is called Barley and it’s available in sizes from newborn right up to adult’s large. Why not make one for everyone?

Are you getting a head start on gift knitting right now? Or using any super chunky yarn? We’d love to hear all about the quick-knitting projects you have on the needles!

Top 10 Essential Knitting Techniques

Every knitter should have a few tricks up their sleeve, techniques that can be life savers or help you put the finishing touches on any project. We’ve compiled a list of 10 techniques that we think are essential for knitters of any skill level, and are sure to come in handy no matter what you have in your queue!

Top 10 knitting techniques

1) Long-tail Cast On:

Though there are dozens of ways to begin your project, the long-tail cast on is a go-to for many knitters and pattern writers alike. It is versatile, flexible and neat, with the biggest perk being you get to skip row 1 and begin knitting immediately on row 2! Once you have some practice there’s a rhythm to casting on each stitch that is easy to remember, and there are also variations for creating knit and purl cast on stitches which is great for ribbing. Video here.

2) Mattress Stitch:

There are many ways to create a seam in knitting, and depending on the edges you’re looking to bind together, the technique you should use will vary. But in the case of two side seams (where the knitting runs vertical on both sides) there is nothing better than mattress stitch. It is completely invisible and sturdy, excellent for finishing off the sides of a garment or joining multiple swatches for a blanket. It’s easy to learn and all you need is a tapestry needle. Video here.

3) 1-Row Buttonhole:

If you can cast on and bind off, you can do this buttonhole! You choose the size you want to make it by binding off as many or as few stitches as you need to create a snug hole for any size button. It works in stockinette as well as it does in garter, ribbing and most other knitted fabrics. Video here.

4) M1L and M1R Increases:

Increasing stitches can be done many different ways, and while the pattern and stitches surrounding the increases will determine which method is best to use, in most cases you will find M1L and M1R is a good fit. They are perfectly mirrored and don’t leave any gaping holes in your work. Video here.

5) Stretchy Bind Off:

A tight bind off is a common problem for many knitters, as is matching your bind off to your cast on edge, especially in the case of ribbing where you’ll want the most elastic edge possible. There is a very simple way of binding off for maximum stretch, which will create a tidy, finished edge for any project. Video here.

6) Correcting dropped stitches:

Dropped stitches can happen to even the most careful knitter, which is why a crochet hook should always have a place in your knitting bag. A crochet hook is the best way to catch a stitch you’ve dropped, no matter how far down it’s run, by bringing it up one row at a time. Video here.

7) Invisible join in the round:

There is a very simple way to avoid the obvious bump that occurs when joining to knit in the round, this trick will make your first row transition into the second seamlessly! Video here.

8) Lifelines:

Even the most seasoned knitters make mistakes, and when it comes to projects with lace or complicated stitch patterns, a lifeline is the best insurance policy! This simple trick will save you from scrapping your whole project when you’ve made a mistake, you can even do it after you’ve already noticed an error and need to go back. Video here.

9) Magic-Loop:

If you learn how to do the magic loop, you can knit a project in any diameter in the round with just one extra long circular needle. From socks to sweaters, magic loop lets you knit any number of stitches in the round on the same length of cable. If you invest in a set of interchangeable circular needles, you won’t need a set of straight or DPN needles ever again! Video here.

10) i-cord:

There are many different uses for an i-cord, you can use them anywhere you need a sturdy strap, or a tidy, finished edge. They’re simple enough to make and all you need is a double pointed needles (DPNs)! Video here.

Have you mastered all of these essentials? What other technique would you add to the list?