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Spinning Around

Spin In Sunday

After a summer hiatus the Dublin Spin-In is back, and it’s happening this Sunday the 22nd of September from 1pm – 3pm on the balcony/stage area in the Powerscourt Centre. This is just around the corner from the shop and the ever-lovely Pepper Pot Cafe (who do a, frankly, epic Sunday brunch menu).

Never picked up a Drop Spindle before? No problem, this is the place to start. Everyone is welcome, even if you are just curious and want to see what it’s all about! There’ll be a least one wheel spinner there too and that’s always fun to watch (and sometimes quite hypnotic too).

Gorgeous fibre, new friends and fresh coffee – sounds like a perfect Sunday afternoon! Who’s with us?

Helping

Next Saturday, September 14th, we crafters get to do some good. For the third year running, HandmAid, the Dublin charity craft day, is happening in the Damer Hall on Stephen’s Green, from 10.30am to 4.30pm. You’ll find full details over on their website at this link.

This year every cent raised goes to the Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People, who provide close on a thousand meals a day for men, women and children (this Irish Times article about the work they do is an informative and sobering read).

If you haven’t been to HandmAid before, it’s a day of craft and good will down the granite steps of the Damer Hall:

At the bottom of the stairs, there’s a big room simply full of delight. You can take a class (there’s a huge range of classes from origami to wheel spinning, and you can book online at this link), you can enjoy tea or coffee and bake-sale cake, you can sit and stitch with friends…

…and there’s a huge heaping market stall: there’s terrific yarn and craft supplies at extremely reduced prices (made possible by the generosity of many businesses and individuals), there’s paper patterns and books, there’s finished objects to buy…

This is how we can make a difference. Let’s!

All photos in this post are the work of Julie of halfadreamaway.com, © handmAid, and used with permission.

The Happy Couple

That’s our Nadia right there, with her handsome beau John. And while Nadia is wearing a stunning Stripe Study shawl, that’s not the purpose of sharing these pictures with you here, oh no…

This lovely couple are getting married next Monday the 2nd of September and, of course, most of the TIK family will be in attendance. It’s going to be a wonderful day and it’ll be photographed by the supremely talented and very artistic Julie of Half a Dream Away (Julie also shot these engagement pictures of Nadia and John).

For this reason the shop will close at the earlier time of 4.30pm that day. We also won’t be opening this coming Sunday the 1st of September – the official “Winter Hours” will start from Sunday the 8th when we will be back open between 1pm and 5pm.

We’re very lucky to have Nadia as part of the TIK Crew and we’re delighted that her big day is almost upon us! We hope you’ll join us is wishing the Happy Couple a fabulous day next Monday and a lifetime of happiness together.

In the trees

Red letter day

We have two announcements in one today! On Saturday 5th October, we’ll be hosting not one but two wonderful workshops, led by internationally renowned designers!

In the morning, Gudrun Johnston will be giving a class on Shetland lace. She’s the designer of many This Is Knit favourites, including the Aestlight shawl. Lisa and Jacqui each knitted one each last year – you can see the two of them in the picture above. They’re the perfect examples of the techniques that will be taught in the workshop.

Gudrun was born in Shetland, and is carrying forward that great tradition in her mother’s footsteps. Her designs, which you can see in this Ravelry link, combine innovative techniques with long-established stitch patterns. It will be a privilege to welcome her to Dublin and this will be a terrifically exciting class. You can nab a place at this booking link.


(Image © Mary Jane Mucklestone and used with permission)

Then in the afternoon, we’ve got the honour of welcoming Mary Jane Mucklestone, who’s presenting her workshop on Scandinavian colourwork. This will be a huge treat – you can see her glorious take on stranded colourwork in the Halcyon hat in the picture above and on her pattern page. With her background in fine art and many years of teaching and working in the textile and fashion industries in the US, Mary Jane’s designs are practical and enormous fun, with novel techniques and clever details. You’ll find the booking link for this workshop at this link.

The only problem is which one to choose (and why not both?) – and don’t forget about our terribly clever waiting list system. When an event is sold out, adding your name to the waiting list gives you as much of a chance of a cancelled place as anyone else on the list. You’ll get an email telling you if a spot becomes free, and then the fastest finger wins!

Two workshops from two such eminent knitters in one day? We hope you’ll join us!

Thursday night was Yarn Tasting night, and there’s an awful lot to report! Fascinating speakers, new yarn to try, projects to plan, friends to catch up with, new friends to make….

We started upstairs, taking over Jig’s theatre space for the evening. There was much excited rummaging through the goody bags, because there was brand new yarn to play with.

On garment rails, quietly waiting their turn, were enticing new garments in the loveliest fibres and colours….

We were so privileged this year to have two internationally renowned designers to talk to us. Debbie Bliss and Louisa Harding are old friends of This Is Knit, so it was marvellous to welcome them to the same stage, and to get their first-hand discussion of the beautiful things they’ve got in store for us this year.

Debbie spoke first and gave us a wonderful insight into her entire design process, from initial inspiration (Dior’s New Look and Downton Abbey are big influences this year) to her wisdom on fit and proportion.

As well as the delicious Blue-faced Leicester that we’ve already talked about here, there are new patterns for Luxury Silk DK and an adorable new babies’ and children’s collection for Baby Cashmerino (you should have heard the “aaaaah!” that went up when we saw the pictures). There’s even a terribly elegant dog sweater in the BFL!

And then a catwalk show broke out! The audience needed very little encouragement from Debbie to try on the sample garments and sashay up and down the aisle!

Lisa tried on the most beautiful silver grey Luxury Silk DK cardigan and found it hard to part from – she’s wearing it here reading out a winning raffle number (there were prizes right through the evening):

Then it was time for Louisa to show us the gorgeous things she has for us this season, and it was such a treat. There were gasps of delight on hearing that the dear departed Thistle aranweight is now replaced by Akiko and that there’s a new addition to the Grace range, Grace Harmony. This simple and elegant capelet is made in Grace, and it’s such an excellent example of Louisa’s design signature:

We also got to see (and feel) Luzia, which knits up into a fur fabric! This simple little jacket showcases it perfectly, though a little fur scarf will brighten up your winter coat no end too!

And then the festivities moved downstairs, where all the sample garments were available on the balcony for trying on, while our dear neighbours at the Pepper Pot lent their tables for sitting and chatting and trying out the new goodies. The shop was looking particularly lovely too:

Debbie and Louisa, thank you so much for coming! It was a delight, and we can’t wait till you come back!

And of course, thank you to all of our lovely Yarn Tasting guests – meeting you is the best part of the event every year, and this time was no exception.

So much to report, and so much to plan! The evening added significantly to our queues – how about you? We’d love to hear what projects you’re lining up for the new season, so why not leave a comment below and tell us!

Yarn Tasting 2013

With just over a week to go before the Yarn Tasting, we’re happy to say that four places have become available this morning, and they’re nabbable right at this booking link!

If your name is on the waiting list, you’ll have received an email telling you that there’s room, and then it’s fastest finger first! So check your email and click that booking button!

What this means is that the waiting list (for any of our classes or events) is a very good place to be, because everyone on it gets an equal chance at that coveted space, regardless of the length of the list!

If you head over to the booking page today and there are no spaces available, then you’ll remain on the waiting list in case of a cancellation, and you can add yourself if you’re not on it.

Excitement’s building here – how about you? Let us know in the comments if you simply can’t wait…!

Hats off!

Woolly Workshop

We’re delighted to say that last Saturday’s Hat Design Workshop with Woolly Wormhead was a huge success!

Her guiding principle is that everyone has a hat that suits them, even if they haven’t found it yet, so in spite of the heat, we had great fun trying on the hats she’d brought with her. And that was more than thirty hats!

The workshop involved plenty of maths (that calculator got a real workout), so everyone left with new-found confidence in designing knitwear from first principles. Since it lasted all day, there was even time for some speedy knitters to go home with completed hats, and we’re looking forward to seeing the others in all their glory! (If you’re the proud maker of one, we’ve got a Ravelry thread here for you to post pictures for us to admire, or tell us about it in the comments below.)

So huge thanks to Woolly – we’re hoping to have her back to give another workshop next year!

But that’s not all – we’ve got other special guest workshops coming this Autumn. First of all, we’re looking forward to the arrival of Ysolda at the end of August. Her workshop is currently full, but you can add your name to the waiting list at this link It works on a “fastest finger first” basis, so register your interest and if a space comes free, you’ll get an email to alert you.

And for news of our other upcoming events, keep an eye on our facebook page at This Is Knit and on twitter at @ThisIsKnit, as well as right here!

One of the many lovely things about running a yarn shop is seeing our customers and friends progress in their crafts, gaining more confidence and developing new skills all the time. Aoibhe Ni was already a highly skilled craftsperson when we first met her, but in the last few years she has become an incredibly talented designer, with a huge following on Ravelry, and a highly sought-after workshop teacher.

In this guest post she shares her thoughts on the process of becoming a designer and offers some advice for others who would like to follow a similar course. Thanks Aoibhe!


I think at this stage it’s safe enough to call myself a professional crochet designer.

I design, and I make a living out of it, so the definition fits. But I have to admit that I still feel like I have a lot to learn. Around every crochet-laden corner, I find a new knot I have never encountered before, and I suspect I’ll never run out of mathematical muddles to resolve.

But there are many things I wish I had known earlier, and that’s what this post is about. This is my attempt to give a hand up to anyone thinking of taking a similar path to mine. If I can help you avoid some of the pitfalls I encountered, then my work here is done.

So, let’s launch into a list of 5 things I wish I could tell younger me.


1. Starting out, keep it simple.

Ambition is a great thing, but you have to keep a handle on it. Baby steps, folks. Don’t try to run before you can walk. Design a simple glove that you’d like to wear yourself. Then write it up. Show it to some friends, ask them to give the pattern a go. If you’re not half bad at writing, bravo! That’s your first challenge overcome.

If, on the other hand, your writing makes about as much sense as sanskrit to a monkey, then read some patterns by the pros, learn the flow that good pattern text requires. It’ll stand to you.

Really, really simple

Really, really simple.

2. Free Patterns, Yea or Nay?

I have mixed feelings about free patterns. I actively warn my beginner crochet students against them, mostly because I fear they will contain mistakes or will be badly written, leaving those new to crochet feeling like it’s their fault, and that they’ll never “get it”. But, I also offer free patterns, myself.
“What’s up with that, you hypocrite?!”, I hear you bawling. Well, I reply above the din, I think a well-written free pattern that proves you can write well, and that your diagrams are clear and your style is legible, is the best thing a new designer can do. It will ensure people trust your ability to write. This may lead them to buy a paid pattern.

But don’t undervalue your work! Offer one or two choice patterns for free, but ensure they are on the simpler end of the spectrum. The key here is to whet the appetite, not allow people to satisfy their curiosity completely.

The right free pattern can bring a lot of good attention your way

The right free pattern can bring a lot of good attention your way.

3. A good editor not within your budget right now?

Never fear, Ravelry has several very well regulated, and extremely active tester groups. Search them out, follow their guidelines for offering your pattern for testing, be up front about what you want to get out of the test (do you need your testers to calculate duration of project? Yardage used? Do you need them to use a specific yarn?) and listen to your tester’s feedback. They will be the best resource you could ever hope for when it comes to honing your skills.

The Testing Pool

This group is my favourite; The Testing Pool

4. Remember that mistakes happen.

You will release patterns with errors in them, deadlines will come and go with a whoosh, everything takes longer than you expect it to (even this blog post… sorry, This Is Knit!), but own up to the error and you will find most people will understand. Stay silent, and any good feeling you may have built up will likely start to fade.

5. Most importantly, Be You.

Design for yourself above all else. Your taste will come out in your work whether you want it to or not, so go with it. Don’t try to design something that is fashionable right now. By the time you get your version out, it’ll be 6 months forgotten.
If you design to your own taste, for your own aesthetic, it’ll always look good on you and that is why it’ll sell. But even better, you will start to gather fans around you who like that style, and will stay around to see what you produce next, confident that they will like that too. And that really, from this designer’s perspective, is the key.

Be Yourself

Your own unique view on design is your greatest asset.

So, I wish you luck, and inspiration, and lots of yarn support from your favourite yarn makers. It’s more than a full time job; you’ll never stop working and planning and promoting … but if you catch it at the right angle, and are blessed with a smile from the yarn gods, it’s worth every ounce of effort you can give it.


Aoibhe’s next workshop at This is Knit is on Saturday the 21st of September and you book a place right here.

So, are you a budding designer? Have you been inspired? Tell us about your work in the comments – we love to hear what you’re all up to!

Yarn Tasting 2013

Join us on Thursday the 15th of August for the *fifth* annual Yarn Tasting event at This is Knit…

We have another incredible night of yarn-based fun planned for you all with not one but two special guests – Debbie Bliss and Louisa Harding. They will be presenting their new Autumn/Winter collections and will have oodles of sample garments to show us.

We’ll be running raffles for some fantastic prizes over the course of the night, and everyone who attends will be entered in to the draws.

There will also be an extra-special discount offer of 15% off all new-season yarns on the evening! This includes any purchases made on the night and any special orders placed.

Never been to a Yarn Tasting event before? You can read all about our previous evenings of fun and fibre frolics here, here, here and here.

Want to join in the fun? You can find out more and book your place right here.

We’re delighted to welcome the words of world-famous Irish designer Carol Feller to our wee blog today. Carol recently travelled to the yarn industry’s biggest trade show, called “TNNA”, in Columbus Ohio. The June show (that Lisa and Jacqui attended back in 2009, and hope to make it back to some *year* soon!) previews all that the yarn world has to offer for the upcoming Autumn/Winter season. We’re thrilled to be sharing Carol’s experiences with you all…

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At the end of June I went over to Columbus, Ohio for a trade show, TNNA Unlike most knitting shows in Ireland and the UK this show is aimed entirely at yarn stores which makes it very different. It means that buyers are there on behalf their businesses and it also means that it’s not going to be as crowded as a show that sells directly to the customer.

As a knitwear designer there are multiple layers of benefit. The most obvious one is that I get to promote my new book, Among Stones, to yarn stores.

Among Stones

Even though this is my second time going to the show it was my first time exhibiting. I have a US distributor, Deep South Fibers who has a block of booths that we can reserve. I opted to share a booth this year and I was paired with Stephen West who is always lots of fun! It is rare as a knitwear designer to meet up with other designers, so events like TNNA are a huge mental overload…but in a good way. Every year I get to meet up with old friends and meet a whole host of new faces.

Carol's Booth

This is where the next layer of TNNA comes in for me, networking. Not only do I get to spend every evening with designers I love, I also get to meet and talk with magazine and book editors that I’ve only known virtually. It’s good to have a face to put with the name and it does make emails easier when you have a personal knowledge of the person on the other end.

Irish Yarn

Last year I began doing some teaching on knitting tours for Tourism Ireland and they put together a great hamper for me to give away at my stand this year. It made me feel extra Irish to have a big basket of Irish yarn at my feet! I was astonished at how much interest there was from yarn stores about the tours. Seems like everyone wants to come to Ireland knitting.

So what about the yarn I hear you say….

There was much yarn, needle, button and knitting goodness. Interestingly there seemed to be tons of bright neon yarn, there was even a very cool yarn with light reflector material spun through it to make reflective accessories. Who doesn’t need a hat that glows in the dark right?

Swag

I discovered that I am very focused on greens at the moment, every shade from lime through to olive. The only yarns I actually brought home with me this year were Phydeaux Designs ‘Caresse’ and Anzula Yarns ‘Cricket’. You may notice they are both green…

A couple of booths, Sweet Georgia Yarns, Shalimar Yarns and Shibui Yarns really caught my eye – especially the Silk Cloud yarn…in green of course!

I forgot to go back and order some but Moving Mud had the cutest buttons and accessories. The small, flat buttons they were displaying were just beautiful.

Hopefully this post will give you a little flavour of what my extended weekend was like, now add in enough talking that your voice was gone when you got home, lots of cocktails and 17 hours of travel each way and you’ll be right there with me!

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Wow, that’s a lot of yarny goodness right there! We hope you enjoyed the round up. And, we’re curious… if you could choose one of the featured brands for TIK to stock, which one would it be? Tell us in the comments and, you never know, wishes just might come true! :)

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