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We just found out some terrific news: we’ve been nominated again as Ireland’s best local independent yarn store by Let’s Knit Magazine!

And it’s voting time! You’ll find all the details at this link – you’re in with a chance of winning amazing first, second and third prizes when you vote, too. We were very proud to be awarded this title last year in the British Knitting Awards by the votes of you, our wonderful customers.

There’s lots more to vote on, too. Here’s a chance to celebrate your favourite baby yarn, or your favourite blog, or most inspiring book, just to name three of the other categories. There’s even a new category: Best Yarn Shop Day Experience! You can read about ours right here!

Looking through the list of nominees is impressive – there’s such talent and dedication out there, and we’re honoured to be considered in such company! Good luck to everyone!

Aren’t these gorgeous? They’re the new colourways in S Twist Single Ply, and we asked their clever producer Diarmuid Commins to introduce them. So with news of an anniversary and a chance to win all the colours, it’s over to him!

I got a call last week from a farmer wanting to know when I would go to pick up this year’s wool. I couldn’t believe that shearing time had come around already. Following on that was the realisation that S Twist Wool is now a year old!

What a year it has been. At the start I was able to offer one yarn type. Over the year, that range has grown to three different yarn weights in different dyed options. It’s no exaggeration to say that this would not have been possible without This Is Knit.

Because of this, I’m delighted to team up with This Is Knit to celebrate my first year and to launch my latest line of yarns. These are the first of my repeatable colourways: six colours specially blended to complement the underlying gray yarn.

So to celebrate, here’s a chance to win a full set of six 100g skeins – one of every new colour! – simply tell us in the comments below how you’d use the prize. Several projects? One many-coloured one? Something for yourself? The closing date is midnight on Friday 26th June, so you’ve got two weeks to plan!

WWKIP2015

We’ve got reason to celebrate! Today, Townhouse Yarns is one year old!

To mark the occasion, Jenny is launching a new range of gorgeous laceweight – a 55%/45% merino and silk blend. It’s 800 metres of stunning colour and fibre, and it’s called Trinity!

And since birthdays bring presents to mind, we’re giving a skein of Trinity away! The glorious colourway below doesn’t have a name, so can you give it one?

Just suggest a name in the comments below before 5.30pm on Saturday June 13th (that’s shop closing time). One lucky person will win a skein of Trinity of their choice!

Why June 13th, you ask? Well, it’s our other reason for celebration round now – it’s the date of World Wide Knit in Public Day! We’ve got lots and lots of other exciting things planned to mark the day and we’ll be announcing them very soon, so watch this space!

And many happy returns, Townhouse!

Hot off Jacqui’s needles is this beautiful shawl, just in time for summer! Like much of her lacework, this is a pattern by Boo Knits. This one is called Wintersweet, and it’s a triumph of lace and beads.

When a knitter knits pattern after pattern by the same designer, it’s a very good sign. Sure enough, Jacqui really recommends all of Boo Knits’ work – beautiful, clearly written and much, much easier to knit than they look.

As for the yarn, the boat got pushed out a bit here. This Wintersweet is made from Lotus Silky Cashmere, 366 metres of luxury. The blend is 55% silk and 45% cashmere, and its softness has to be felt to be believed.

What a summer accessory this would make! Perfect for a elegant wedding (your own or someone else’s!), and easy to pack for a holiday trip, it would really make Summer 2015 shine. (And at the moment, Summer 2015 needs all the help it can get!)

We love hand-dyed yarns, but there’s no doubt that they can vary a bit, even if you buy them together and check them carefully. Working a larger project with slightly different shades can mean that one half of your shawl doesn’t match the other, or that one sleeve is strikingly unlike the rest of the jumper. What’s more, if your yarn is a semi-solid, the variation can give you pooling, and that’s a prime example up above.

There’s a really easy fix for this. Instead of working all of one skein before changing to the next, alternate the two. After working two rows or rounds with your first skein, drop it and take up the second. Work two rows with that, then drop it and work two with skein one. That’s it. There’s no need to cut the yarn – just carry it loosely up the back of the work. We promise, no-one will ever notice the variation.

In fact, you can use this trick with non-hand-dyes as well. We featured a project a couple of months ago that used it, and we’d bet quite a lot that you didn’t spot it!

This is Little Apple, a modification of our Cute as One Button baby cardigan. By accident, the knitter who made it had three (yes, three!) different dyelots of Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran in Light Grey lurking in stash, so it was alternate all the way. The yoke and sleeves were worked with the first and second ball, so they match each other.

The third skein wasn’t introduced until the body, alternating first with the remnants of the first, and when that ran out, with the second. If you look closely, you can see that there’s something going on. But it looks intentional, rather than having a crashing contrast halfway down one sleeve.

So those single non-matching balls can play happily together after all, and you can work big projects in delicious hand-dyes and keep the colour consistent all the way.

Oh, and the unhappy hand-dye in the top picture? The top was frogged and the yarn is much, much happier as a completely different project, so that story has a happy ending too!

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a completely new 100% Irish offering in the shop: S Twist’s gorgeous new Hiking Sock Yarn in lovely colours. When Diarmuid Commins introduced his handspun yarn in undyed colourways last May, he wrote a guest post about it for us. We’re very happy that he’s done the same for his new range!

The wool comes from Castlecomer, Kilkenny and is from Cheviot sheep, a breed with a centuries-long history. They’re a reliable producer of dense, firm wool that is durable without being harsh, with a long staple length and lovely bouncy crimp.


(Cheviot ewe and lamb © Donald Macleod and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons BY licence.)

In other words, it’s perfect sock wool. I add 10% nylon for extra strength, and then the wool is blended and spun for S Twist Wool. Each skein is then dyed individually. After the skeins have dried, I go through them to see which are finished as they are and which need to go back for another dyeing. Each round of dyeing adds another layer of complexity and depth to the colours of the skein. This, of course, is the part which is the most fun. It also means that every single skein is unique!

One of the main things that I love about this line of yarn is that it is like the knitter and I are doing it together. As I am dyeing up the different families of colour, I have an image in my mind of how the different skeins would work together and I use the techniques and tools of a dyer to make my image happen. As at least two skeins are needed to make a pair of socks, the knitter goes through a similar process while choosing which skeins to get. They then use the techniques and tools of the knitter to make their vision happen. At the end of it, the knitter and I have worked together to create something truly unique and special. I find that idea very exciting and a lot of fun.

I’d love to see pictures of your finished Hiking Sock Yarn projects – you can email them to thespinner@stwistwool.com, or post them in the S Twist group over on Ravelry!

Well, we were bowled over by the response to our Mia Chevron Blanket competition! You really are the most creative people imaginable, with the best colour sense! In fact, there were so many beautiful colour combinations suggested that we decided to have two prizes!

So we fired up the Random Number Generator (we were very glad we didn’t have to choose a favourite ourselves!) and the first winner it gave us was Elizabeth’s gorgeous “garden afternoon” selection: Sky, Rose, Citrus, Buttermilk, Stone:

And the second winner it chose was Jaele’s elegant combination of Marine, Ecru, Duck, Peach, and Corn.

Get in touch with us, ladies, and we’ll arrange for you to get your lovely Mia prizes!

The other entries were all so inspiring, though, that we really want to share a few more with you. Here’s Aqua, Corn, Fuchsia, Cinnamon and Marine. We suggested funky, and this certainly is:

And when it comes to combining subtle and fresh, what about White, Corn, Ecru, Citrus and Buttermilk?

And if you’re looking for uncompromisingly pink, then here’s Fuchsia, Rose, Light Pink, Buttermilk and Petal!

We could go on and on, because all the entries were as gorgeous as these. So if you’re looking for inspiration, then do what we’ll be doing: look through the suggestions and get knitting!

Congratulations again, Jaele and Elizabeth – we can’t wait to see your blankets!

We’ve found a wonderful pairing – Tin Can Knit’s Vivid blanket and Townhouse Yarns’ “Saoirse” colourway!

Vivid is the teaching pattern for one of Emily Wessel’s workshops on Saturday June 27th. We can’t wait to host Emily – she’s a wonderfully inventive designer and such a good teacher.

Vivid is the most versatile pattern – made in easy bite-sized squares like the ones above, it’s a great baby blanket. And it’s surprisingly easy, especially when Emily’s showing you how. You’ll learn the pinhole cast on method, how to read a lace chart, how to knit in the round using the magic loop method (if you want – you can use double-pointed needles if you prefer), how to block your individual lace squares and finally how to seam your pieces together with an overhand stitch. And best of all, it’ll be enormous fun!

The Vivid workshop is from 2.00pm to 5.00pm in the afternoon. You’ll find the booking page for it at this link. There’s still a few places left, both for Vivid and for Emily’s Lush cardigan workshop in the morning. It’s hard to think of a better way to spend a Saturday!

Our Yarn Shop Day last Saturday week was enormous fun, and we’d like to say thank you to everyone who shared it with us!

The shop was buzzing right from the moment we opened – a queue had formed outside our front door, so we knew it was going to be good crack! The shop was looking very festive, with jolly bunting and giant pompoms all over the place.

There were prizes and cupcakes and in the afternoon our knitting and crochet experts were put to the test with your most challenging queries.

And all day, our lovely customers dropping in – that’s what made it such a very special day, so here’s to all of you! Very special congratulations, too, to Margaret Connally, who won our super prize of a place at Tin Can Knits’ workshops at the end of June.

It was such fun that we’re already planning next year’s Yarn Shop Day, so we can do it all over again, and we hope to see you there!

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