An Interview with Debbie Bliss

We were so thrilled to have Debbie Bliss join us recently for our 10 year anniversary party at This Is Knit. We got to hear about her creative process, her most recent yarns and patterns, and what we can expect in the coming new year. She was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions in this interview, for all of those who weren’t at the event, and want to know a bit more about this icon in the craft community!

Debbie Bliss and Louisa Harding Special Guests at the This is Knit 10th Anniversary Party

Firstly, we’d like to thank you so much for taking a few moments for an interview with us, it was such a pleasure hearing you speak at the This Is Knit Anniversary party!

It was an absolute pleasure to be invited to be part of your celebrations!

Q: What would you say is your main source of inspiration when designing a new yarn?

A: Normally I will see a yarn at Pitti Filatti, the trade show in Florence that I go to twice a year . If it is already perfect as with Lhasa, it will go into the ranges as it is but I may feel after swatching that a yarn can be improved by altering the blend. Or sometimes I will be approached by a company such as Laxtons, who introduced me to Falkland Aran, a beautiful pure wool from the Falkland Islands which is spun in Yorkshire.

Debbie Bliss holding her Falkland Aran Mood Board at the This is Knit 10th Anniversary Party

Q: Does your creative process often start with colourway or fibre choices?

A: When it is a book of designs rather single leaflets I will be looking at a collection that includes a variety of styles, different skill levels and a harmonizing colour palette.

Q: How much does modern fashion trends influence your design choices? Do you look more to current trends, or to the past for inspiration?

A: I love to research trends and keep up to date with current and future looks. This doesn’t mean that I will follow slavishly what is appearing on the catwalks but it interests me to see what shapes or textures are coming through and how I may want to interpret this in my own collections.

Q: Currently, what is your favourite trend in knitwear?

A: I love the way that ready to wear knits have adopted a very strong hand knit look, with textures traveling in different directions, vertical and horizontal cables for example, or a patchwork of texture.

Q: Your favourite fibre to work with?

A: At the moment I am really enjoying working with Lhasa, a cashmere/yak blend which is part of my Pure Bliss Collection. It is incredibly soft but still has great stitch definition.

Mixed Shades of Debbie Bliss Lhasa Yarn

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge you face when designing a new pattern?

A: I think it is trying to balance and incorporate all the elements that I think are important, style combined with wearability, creating silhouettes that are flattering to women, thinking about how the yarn behaves. All of this and then making sure that the design/pattern still works in all the sizes!

Q: What is your creative process for choosing colourways for a new yarn?

A: When it is a new yarn I am always lead by the “story” it tells me, a silk blend may call for bright vivid colours, or a soft cotton ice cream pastels.

Q: Which pattern would you say is an essential knit for babies/children?

A: A simple, classic cardigan.

Q: What is your earliest memory of knitting, and did you feel in that moment that you had found your calling?

A: My mother knitting me a school cardigan in a virulent bright blue. It came out before the start of every Autumn term and went straight back in the bag again after a few knitting sessions.

Q: If you were stranded on an island and you could only choose one yarn to take with you, which would it be? (If weather weren’t a factor)

A: My new Spring 2017 yarn Sita.

Q: If your dogs could speak, what would they divulge about your yarn stash and/or knitting habits?

A: They wouldn’t, they are very loyal!

Q: Currently, what is your favourite TV show to knit to?

A: The Vikings ( Netflix)

Q: And finally: do you have any hints as to what we can expect from Debbie Bliss in the coming year?

A: New downloadable toy patterns are launched this week in time for Xmas! A beautiful mako cotton/silk Spring yarn will arrive in shops in January and if knitters follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter I will keep them up to date on all our news!

Many thanks again to the lovely Debbie!

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. 

Yarn Shop Day – The Full Line Up!

YSDCollageBlog

Here’s the full low-down on our plans for a day to remember!

10.30 am:

Doors open and the first ten customers will receive *Platinum Level* Goodie Bags, just for being the earliest of early birds! So it’ll be worth your while forgoing the lie-in this Saturday… 😉

With thanks to our kind sponsors customers 11-20 will receive *Gold Level* Goodie Bags. So even those that are a little slower to leave the duvet behind won’t miss out.

The as-yet-to-be-named limited edition shade of Townhouse Yarns Fade St 4ply will go on sale. Don’t forget to enter the competition: Name It to Win It!

11am to 1 pm:

We’ll be having a “Sit n’ Knit” session on our mezzanine level. Pop along with your current WIP to meet other members of our wonderfully crafty community. Sweet treats will be provided, along with expert advice for any knotty knitting problems you may have.

RAFFLE PRIZE


All Day:

We have yet more amazing prizes to be won! Everyone who spends over €15 on the day (in-store or online) will be automatically entered in to the draw to win the fabulous hamper pictured above. With three runner up prizes also on offer, there’ll be lots of chances to walk away with a bonus from the day.

Need help deciding on what to treat yourself to? We’re also offering a 15% Discount on each of the following yarns:

Juniper Moon Herriot
Juniper Moon Herriot Great
Sublime Superfine Alpaca
Katia Love Wool
Katia Love Wool Plus
Debbie Bliss Lara
Debbie Bliss Roma
Debbie Bliss Roma Weave
Lotus Yarns Cathay
Lotus Yarns Tibetan Cloud
Louisa Harding Trenzar
Juniper Moon Findley
Juniper Moon Findley DK

If you can’t make it to the shop for all the fun, then you can still avail of the 15% discount online, by using the coupon code YSD16 – feel free to share the code with your friends too!

Join Us on Yarn Shop Day!

Yarn Shop Day2016

Yarn Shop Day is fast approaching! Join us on Saturday 30th of April for a celebration of our crafting community and take part in some of the fun and frolics we’ll have on offer including:

  • Goodie Bags for the first 10 people through the door on the morning (we open at 10.30am).
  • Juicy offers on gorgeous yarns.
  • A “Name that Shade” competition for a (limited edition, exclusive) Yarn Shop Day colourway in Grafton 4ply by Townhouse Yarns. Name it to win it!
  • Sweet treats and great company!
  • Last year’s event was absolutely oodles of fun, so be sure to put the 30th of April in your diary. We’re looking forward to seeing you then!

    Textured Colourwork with Carol Feller

    Textured Colourwork

    We’re already well into January, and that means many of us are contemplating our ill-fated New Year’s resolutions. But, there is still time to make some new ones, so why not choose something fun like resolving to be more crafty? We can help you with that! Maybe you’d like to finally learn how to Crochet, or master Brioche? If you’ve not seen our schedule for classes and events lately, take a peek, we’ve got an impressive line up for the coming weeks. We are particularly excited to have Carol Feller back in the shop for her Textured Colourwork workshop at the end of this month!

    We recently celebrated Carol’s book launch of Short Row Knits, and now she’ll be back on the 30th with a workshop for a few lucky knitters. In this workshop, students will learn the essential skills for creating beautiful colourwork, with texture inspired by the Swedish Bohus style of knitting. They will learn how to manage dominant and recessive colours, how to work two-handed colourwork, all while creating unique texture using purl stitches. Students will also receive a kit with everything they need to make a hat, including a bonus pattern! Here’s what Carol had to say about this style of colourwork:

    I love texture in knitting such as cables and slip stitch patterns. Typically you would not associate texture with colour work, which is typically flat and smooth. Bohus knitting is different, there are purl stitches interspersed with the colour work which creates a very different type of knitting. This texture in the colour work breaks up the transitions and makes very integrated colour changes.
    I’m currently working on a small book about gradient and colour change yarns. The pattern from this class will be in the book as it’s a good example of how texture can add interest to colour changes in your work.

    Carol’s workshop is suited to knitters who know the basics, and can work in the round, even if you are new to stranded colourwork. You’ll receive plenty of detailed notes, and a kit with all supplies needed, which is included in the fee.

    Although this workshop is now fully booked, you can still add your name to the waiting list! The list operates on a fastest-finger-first basis, so even if we get just one cancellation you’ll have as much opportunity to snap up the spot as everyone else.

    Have you knit any of Carol’s designs recently? If you’ve been a member of the Irish Yarn Club, what was your favorite pattern?

    Gather Around

    Gather

    The 11th Day of Christmas is a day of gathering together for so many families around the world. And so it’s apt that TinCanKnits have shared with us their “Gather” Hat Pattern, and that is is available in sizes from baby right up to adult.

    By now I’m sure your knitting needles are considering the next special occasion in the calendar… a birthday or perhaps Valentine’s? Either way you can still nab a bargain on the yarn to make this project extra special – and today it’s Juniper Moon Findley DK. A bouncy blend of merino and silk that comes in colours to suit everyone – this yarn will make the hat as much fun to knit as it will be a pleasure to wear.

    Use the code TCKDAY11 in our online shop to claim the 15% off. Remember these codes are valid for one day only, and the “Gather” pattern is free just for 24 hours too.

    We’ll be back tomorrow with details of the final day’s free pattern. In the meantime we hope you get to put your feet up with a mug (or glass) of something yummy and that you have a very magical Christmas Eve.

    Loch Hat and Mittens

    Loch

    The 10th day is a bumper day in the TinCanKnits 12 Days of Christmas pattern giveaway. Today they have not one, but two designs to share with us – the Loch Hat and Loch Mittens. Together they make a beautiful winter-warmer set and, even though there’s just a few days until Christmas, there’s plenty of winter left yet!

    We think Katia Merino Baby is a perfect yarn match for these beauties, and we’re offering 15% off this range today only. It’s soft and warm, durable and washable, and comes in some perfect icy blues, a crisp snow white and a cosy ecru too.

    Loch

    To claim the discount on this yarn enter the code: TCKDAY10 during the checkout process in our online shop, or simply quote the code in-store or over the phone.

    Today is our last day of trading before the Christmas break, but we’ll still be posting our yarn offers for the 11th and 12th days of Christmas. The offers will then only be redeemable online, and we’ll hold all orders for shipping on our return in the New Year.

    Don’t forget that everyone who uses one of the 12 Days of Christmas codes will be entered in to a draw to *win* signed copies of Road Trip, Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe and Great White North, with the winner being announced in the New Year too.

    Garter Brim Hat

    Garter Brim

    On the 7th Day of Christmas TinCanKnits are sharing their Garter Brim Hat pattern, *free* for 24 hours only.

    We’re also offering 15% off on Noro Kureyon and on Noro Silk Garden Solo, so you have the option to knit your version in fully fledged colour, or a more subtle flecked tone.

    Garter Brim

    The discount code for today’s yarns is, you guessed it, TCKDAY7.

    We hope you’re having a relaxing Sunday before all the holiday fun. Don’t forget we’re open from 1pm to 5pm today if you need a little yarn therapy!

    Sitka Spruce for the Sixth Day

    Sitka

    We’ve all to wait another week for the man in red, but the elves at TinCanKnits just keep giving in the meantime! Today’s *free* pattern is for the Sitka Spruce Hat and Mittens. With a beautiful stitch pattern reminiscent of Evergreens, these projects are particularly seasonal, and perfect for knitting in front of a warm fire with a cup of something toasty beside you…

    Sitka

    The yarn we have on offer today for you is Malabrigo Rios, a firm favourite around here for it’s rich, varied shades and soft, bouncy feel. Use the code TCKDAY6 in our online checkout, over the phone or in store, and get 15% off the yarn today only.

    Have you been enjoying the patterns so far? Have any of them “jumped” in your queue and been cast on immediately?

    Toasty Toes on the Fifth Day

    Mukluks

    So, the clock is really ticking on Christmas knitting. How are you all getting on with your projects?

    If you have the presents all wrapped, and a bit of time on your hands, then the speedy among you might have the chance to whip up a pair of these gorgeous bootees. The Mukluks pattern sizes range from baby right up to adult, but we’re going to focus on the kids size today and offer you 15% Off Studio Donegal’s Soft Donegal yarn. This yarn comes in a fabulous array of shades and the tweed fleck will add a rustic look to the boots, while remaining soft against the skin.

    Mukluks

    Remember the lovely ladies at TinCanKnits are offering the pattern free for today only and our yarn discount is valid for the same time frame.

    Don’t forget our prize draw either! Everyone who uses one of the 12 Days of Christmas codes will be entered in to a draw to *win* signed copies of Road Trip, Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe and Great White North. That’s one winner for all three books – an incredible prize of 31 brilliant patterns!

    (Also, if you think you might make more than one purchase over the next few days then just let us know and we can hold orders and combine shipping costs.)