Fireside Knitting

As the gift knitting season draws to a close, it’s traditional for us all to start planning our “selfish knitting” for the Christmas break. It’s finally time to curl up in a comfy chair by the fireside, cast on with some freshly wound yarn, and knit on that indulgent project just for you.

The Om Shawl in Malabrigo Rios worn as an oversized cowl neckwarmer

Personally I’ve been eyeing up Jenny’s Om Shawl since we photographed it a few week’s back. The vibrant colours, the clever design, the generous size and drape – all have been calling to me these past weeks.  Jenny knit her version in Malabrigo Rios, but I’d love to try one in with Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran too.

(c) Andrea Mowry - image shared on Ravelry

(c) Andrea Mowry – image from Ravelry

This versatile pattern can be worn so many ways: a shawl, a poncho, a wrap and a generously oversized cowl.  The designer even models the piece as a boxy cardigan, so the only limit appears to be your creativity (and origami skills!).

This design is also right on trend, mixing subtle stitch texture with striking colourwork. Jenny knit hers up fast, as the patterning at each end kept her interest. But she also appreciated the plain “vanilla” section of knitting in the middle – the ideal accompaniment for those box set binges! Jenny also has two top tips for anyone else planning their own Om Shawl:

  1. Choose lightweight buttons – as you don’t want them to drag on the edges of your piece.
  2. Use a smaller needle size then the pattern recommends. Jenny’s version was knit on 5.5mm needles. The suggested needle size of 6.5mm needles will produce a fabric that is too loose for many people.

I just have to decide now between these three gorgeous combinations.

Malabrigo Rios suggested colour combination for Om Shawl
Bright and Bold in Malabrigo Rios?
Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran suggested colour combination for Om Shawl
Muted and Cosy in Falkland Aran?
Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran suggested colour combination for Om Shawl
Classy with a pop of Teal in Falkland Aran?

Which bundle would you choose?  Whichever skeins end up coming home with me, I’m looking forward to a quick, fun and cosy knit to get me through the dark days of winter still to come.

The Om Shawl in Malabrigo Rios worn as a buttoned wrap.

And in the meantime I’ll just steal Jenny’s!

This is Knit Details of Christmas Holidays 2016

A Weekend of Shawls with Melanie Berg

We love a good shawl around these parts, and we know you all do too. So what’s an LYS to do? Well, how about scheduling an entire weekend of Shawl Workshops in April next year?

Title Image for Melanie Berg's Shawl Construction Workshop at This is Knit in Dublin on Sat 8th April 2017

We’ve invited the wonderfully talented Melanie Berg to Dublin, and she’ll be teaching three topics with us: Shawl Construction, Mosaic Shawls and Colourwork Shawls. It’s all happening over the weekend of the 8th and 9th of April and the spaces are filling up fast.

Melanie combines texture and colour into wearable modern designs that are both playful and beautiful. She enjoys matching cheeky stripes with elegant lace, and choosing unexpected colour combinations.  We love absolutely Melanie’s designs, so much so that it’s hard to choose just one favourite. So instead we’ll let the Ravelry ratings give you the run down!

Ravelry Screenshot of Melanie Berg's most popular patterns

You will automatically receive a 10% discount if your sign up for more than one of the weekend’s workshops, so you can really immerse yourself in all-things-shawl!  And if you happen upon this post and discover some of the sessions have been booked out, then we’d encourage you to add your name to the waiting list.  There’s always a chance of cancellations between now and April.

Have you ever knit any of Melanie’s designs? Or which ones are on your “wishlist”?

Finally we just have a small reminder that we will be closed for the Christmas Break from 5.30pm this Friday. We wish you all a lovely Christmas, full of cosy knitting time, gorgeous yarns and good company too.

This is Knit Details of Christmas Holidays 2016

Crafty Client Entertainment

We thought our readers might like a peek at something a little different that we did last week – a Client Entertainment “Mini Workshop” over at the stunning Radisson Blu Hotel.  It was an really fun event, with a wonderfully festive atmosphere. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone and we were delighted at their enthusiasm for the tasks too.

A yarn and bauble wreath photographed at the This is Knit Client Entertainment Workshop at the Radisson Blu Hotel

We had been challenged with coming up with a Christmas-themed craft activity.  The catch? It had to be completed in under 20 minutes, and we had to presume no previous experience of knitting or crochet.  It took a few trials, and we “cheated” a small bit with the advance preparation of materials, but our winner was these little woolly hat decorations.  Aren’t they the sweetest?

Woolly Hat Tree Decorations photographed at the This is Knit Client Entertainment Workshop at the Radisson Blu Hotel

We used Rico Melange Glitz yarn in a range of seasonal shades – the dash of glittery fibre really added that festive flair.  We then hot-glued on some sparkling embellishments and strung a little jingle bell on to each hanging loop as a fun finishing touch.  All told there were at least 40 of these made (some people came back to make a second, or even third) and we love the idea of these little decorations being spread among the trees of Dublin and beyond!

Thank you to everyone who came along and particularly to the lovely ladies at the Radisson Blu for planning such a wonderful event and for making us feel so welcome.

Yarn and craft materials ready at the This is Knit Client Entertainment Workshop at the Radisson Blu Hotel

Are you planning a corporate event or staff entertainment in 2017? We’d be delighted to work with you! Contact Lisa today for a proposal and quotation.

Beginner Beauties

As we had our adventurous knits last week, today is a good time to strike some balance and have a little peek at two of our favourite Beginner Knitting patterns.

You may be a regular reader of our blog, or you might just have stumbled upon this post when searching for a somewhere to start on your knitting journey.  Either way we have some very pretty projects to share with you – and both demonstrate that simple doesn’t have to mean “basic” or “boring” at all.

Bread and Buttoned Mitts in Rico Soft Merino Aran pictured with lots of buttons. Simple Fingerless Gloves pattern for beginner knitters.

Our “Bread and Buttoned” Mitts

It’s a common misconception that a first project for a new knitter should generally be a scarf. Don’t get us wrong – scarves are very good introductions to the world of knits and purls. However the more impatient among us can find them a bit same-y after a while and be eager to try to something new.  That’s where the Bread and Buttoned Mitts come in! They have all the same techniques that you’d learn in a scarf – cast on, knit and cast off – with the added bonus of just being 5-6 inches worth of knitting per mitt.

Bread and Buttoned Mitts in Rico Soft Merino Aran pictured with a Debbie Bliss Mug. Simple Fingerless Gloves pattern for beginner knitters.

You’ll have a pair of these mitts whipped up in no time, and will be an expert at the basics by then, because you will have done them all twice in a short space of time.  So the simplest of stitches is turned sideways, and then a bit of whimsical embellishment is added… the result? One happy new knitter with a funky new pair of fingerless gloves!

The Mistake Rib Scarf

So maybe after that you fancy a scarf after all? And why wouldn’t you, when you can throw in a fun new stitch pattern, and maybe try a new yarn now that you’re confident in your skills?

Mistake Rib Scarf pictured in front of the Powerscourt Townhouse. Knitted in Louisa Harding Trenzar. Simple scarf for beginner knitters.

We’ve been knitting Mistake Rib scarves for over a decade now, and they never fail to please. They are perfect as gift knits for men or women, and the broken rib stitch pattern works well with almost every yarn imaginable. This season we have chosen Louisa Harding Trenzar, for its subtle tweedy finish and for the warmth of its merino and alpaca base.  It’s a winning combination, and the end result certainly looks much more than the sum of its parts.

Mistake Rib Scarf pictured in front of the Powerscourt Townhouse. Knitted in Louisa Harding Trenzar. Simple scarf for beginner knitters.

So have we convinced you to give this knitting lark a try? Let us help you get started – our January knitting courses are booking now.

Or are you one of our regular readers? If so then remember that we offer beginner kits for both of these designs so that you can share your love of the craft this Christmas… Knitting is contagious – so pass the bug around!

Learning Curve – Two Shawls for the Adventurous Knitter

Are you ready for your next knitting adventure? Today we are featuring two elegant knitted shawls from among the fabulous selection on display in store. Both are suitable for the more adventurous knitters among you, and I think we’ll dive right in with the more challenging of our pair…

The Cypri Shawl by Amanda Scheuzgerin Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn. Draped over a chair.

The Cypri Shawl

This beauty is the work of Twist Collective designer Amanda Scheuzger, and comes from the needles of our own guru-of-shawls, Jacqui :)  Cypri is cast on at the bottom edge, and shaped with short rows to create a gently flowing crescent.  The travelling stitches are achieved with a slipped stitch technique, over a garter stitch background, with the instructions for these details given in charted form only.

The Cypri Shawl by Amanda Scheuzgerin Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn. An elegant knitted shawl.

Jacqui really enjoyed working on this project but she did confess to having to rip back on a few occasions.  Her advice?

“Switch off the television and focus 100% on the pattern. The instructions are very well written but some of the techniques may be unfamiliar, so keep an open mind.  The results are so worth the effort though!”

This version was worked in Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn, in colours that mimic the original design, but of course there’s lots colour combination inspiration to be had among the other finished projects on Ravelry.

So what do you think? Are you ready for the challenge? Or perhaps our next shawl, Holyrood, is more your cup of tea?

The Holyrood Shawl by Justyna Lorkowska in Townhouse Yarns Fade St 4ply. An elegant knitted shawl. Modelled.

Holyrood

Chevrons, eyelets, cables, stripes and ribs – Holyrood is a shawl that has it all.  In fact, this is a perfect learning project for someone looking to expand their stitching repertoire.  We’re a big fan of Justyna’s patterns here in the shop, and this design proved to be everything we’ve come to expect from her: clever, stylish and interesting to knit.

The yarn combination this time is two shades of Fade Street 4ply from our own Townhouse Yarns line – Rippleberry and Mustard Seed. And again there are oodles of inspiring combinations to browse through in the gallery of finished projects.

The Holyrood Shawl by Justyna Lorkowska in Fade St 4ply by Townhouse Yarns - Detail

While some patterns would have you plough through miles of garter stitch or stockinette just to get to the fun parts, Holyrood’s frequent change of stitch pattern can, almost counter-intuitively, lead to a faster end result.  It’s similar to knitting with self-striping yarns: you keep going just to see what’s coming next and then, all of a sudden, it’s done!

So there you have it, two elegant knitted shawls for the intermediate knitter, both tried and tested and guaranteed to give you warm fuzzy feelings of accomplishment when complete.  While each may pose their own learning curve, both will definitely provide hours of knitting fun.

Have we tempted you to push your knitting boundaries? Or are you working on your own challenging knits right now? We’d love to hear about them in the comments. :)

Warmth without the Weight

Oh Chunky Sweaters, how we yearn for them on days like these. So satisfying to knit, so cosy to snuggle in to, but so often such a drag (literally). You see, there has traditionally been a trade off for these quick-knitting beauties: weight.

We have seen Super Chunky sweater patterns that call for upwards of 2kg of yarn. And while those all-over cabled tunic-length garments are beautiful creations, they often sag and grow with time, turning into shadows of their former selves.

But fret not – we have two solutions for you today! Both sweaters are still quick to knit, and warm to wear, yet they each took less than 400 g of yarn. So you can have the best of both worlds: warmth without the weight and without the wait

Coda Sweater in Woolfolk Får Chunky Knitted Sweater

The Coda Sweater

While this is technically a worsted weight pattern, it falls in to this quick-knitting-and-cosy category due both to the fitted finish (less knitting) and to the incredibly warm yarn we chose for our shop sample: the simply divine Woolfolk Får. This sweater was worked up in less than 7 skeins (under 350g), so it’s very lightweight to wear, but the “chainette” construction of the yarn lends extra insulation to the garment. Rather than being spun in the traditional sense, chainette yarns are very fine knitted tubes in themselves.  These tubes or chains have lots of tiny air pockets that trap the wearer’s own body heat proving that, when it comes to wool and warmth, bigger is not always better. Very clever stuff indeed.

The pattern from is from Brooklyn Tweed and it has all the signature style and smart detailing that you would expect from this respected design collective.  We opted to stick with the three-quarter length sleeves as provided for in the pattern, but they could easily be lengthened for added warmth.

Il Grande Favorito in Rico Alpaca Blend Chunky Knitted Sweater

Il Grande Favorito

Aptly named, this pattern is a firm favourite among us all at This is Knit.  “Il Grande Favorito” is a top-down sweater with optional short row shaping at the lower back to create a flattering dipped hem.  The original pattern called for holding two strands of yarn together to get the correct tension, but we have happily discovered that Rico’s  Alpaca Blend Chunky is perfect for this design, just as it is.

While the chainette construction of Får kept things light in our first example, this time around it is blended nature of the yarn creating a “best of both worlds” scenario.  Alpaca Blend Chunky contains 50% natural fibres (alpaca & wool) and 50% acrylic, and this allows for a full sweater to be made with just 8 balls (400g for the 38 inch size).  So we get all the cosiness of natural fleece fibres, with the dash of practicality from a lighter weight synthetic and it all adds up to a stylish winter “must-have”.

Do you have a favourite Chunky Sweater pattern?

Or have we inspired you to make one of these two?

Don’t forget you can pop in to see these garments (and all our shop samples) any time!

We’ve got the blues…

… but in the very best way!

Anyone who has stepped foot in our shop (and many of you that have followed us from afar) will know that we’re addicted to knitted shawls, wraps and scarves.  We have so many samples in the shop, and so many pretty hand-dyed yarns to play with – it’s can be hard to keep up with the many wonderful creations that fly off the needles of our talented staff!

Watering the Garden knit from a Burlington Sock Blank by Townhouse Yarns
Watering the Garden

With that in mind we have a mini shawl round-up here on the blog today, with two true-blue creations, both of which play with colour in a different way.

Burlington Blank in "Myst" Gradient
Burlington Blank in “Myst” Gradient

First up is “Watering in the Garden” by Giddy Davies, which was knit using one of Townhouse Yarns’ “Burlington Blanks”, to achieve this beautiful gradient effect. The pattern is available to purchase and download on Ravelry, and the instructions are given in both written and charted form.

Also, if you have never come across a sock blank before, then you might want to know a little more about how they are used.  They may be a little odd to use, at first, but the effect is certainly worth it! These blanks are limited editions, but there are still a few available in the Townhouse Yarns Etsy Shop.

Bryum Shawl in Hedgehog Sock
Bryum Shawl in Hedgehog Sock

 

Our second shawl takes a more traditional route when combining colours – this time using stripes and slipped stitches to produce a beautifully textured scarf.

This sample is the “Bryum Shawl“, again available for purchase on Ravelry, where there are (currently) 518 stunning projects to browse for colour inspiration.  We opted for the Hedgehog Fibres Sock for our version, and it is just a dream to be wrapped up in.

Byrum Shawl Detail
Byrum Shawl Detail

 

 

We don’t currently list Hedgehog Fibres on our website, but we do get regular deliveries… so if you’d like to get some shipped to you just contact us today for the latest picture of what we have in stock.

Don’t forget to follow us over on Instagram for further project inspiration and yarns to drool over!

So what colour are you knitting with right now? Winter blues and icy greys? Or warming reds and rich jewel tones?

Do you have a colour “comfort zone”?

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.