Playing Catch Up

It’s been a blur. These past few weeks have whizzed by in a whirlwind of special guests, trunk shows and visiting tour groups. There has been a sprinkling of knitting in scarce moments in between. It hardly seems possible that June is on the horizon, but on ticks the year, carrying us with it…

Summer Colour by Olann.ie at This is Knit

The “uninitiated” might assume that, for knitters, these summer months are idle, clicking needles stilled in to silence. Thankfully there’s absolutely no reason to press the pause button on our favourite activity. If anything, longer days and better light present only more opportunities to indulge!  Instead we see project bags filled with finer yarns and Instagram feeds filled with golden light.
These longer days are also providing more time to share and to learn, as the students at the Playful Day workshops did just this past weekend.  Kate fostered such a supportive atmosphere in these sessions while sharing her plentiful expertise, and the assembled makers and creatives brought so much to the table themselves with their insightful questions and discussions. We very much look forward to seeing how each of the students will grow and develop their online spaces, and we have a little Instagram challenge planned to build on everything we learned.
Students at the Playful Day Smartphone Photography Workshop
There’s lots more to come this summer, with two July workshops by Justyna Lorkowska just announced, some special birthday celebrations and an in-store Knit Night with Maggie Jackson and guests.  Don’t forget our regular class schedule runs for most of the summer too.

On that note, if you’ve a languishing project that needs seaming then the longer evenings are ideal for the task. Not sure where to start? Take our once-off Finishing School class, and we’ll get you on the right track.

Speaking of finishing, there’s the small matter of a certain Spring KAL to wrap up. In case you missed it, we’ve extended the deadline to this weekend. That means that if you post a photo of your finished project in the Ravelry thread before midnight on Sunday 21st May then you will be in with the chance to win some of the fantastic prizes we have on offer.

So. Let the grass grow… there’s knitting to be done.

Carpino sweater in progress for our Spring KAL

Top Tips from the KAL Cast On

We had a fantastic afternoon in the shop on Saturday, when we officially kicked off our Spring KAL with a bunch of lovely knitters and a healthy dose of sugar and caffeine!

Lots of enthusiastic knitters at the This is Knit Spring KAL Cast On Party

For many of us swatching was the order of the day, and there was some cajoling, coaxing and convincing to be done about the merits of the task. My own swatch showed just how crucial an exercise it is – on the recommended 3.5mm needles I was no where close to hitting the 23 st tension required. My own version of Carpino will now be knit on 4mm needles.

Measuring a swatch at the This is Knit Spring KAL Cast On Party

There were a number of other techniques discussed and demonstrated during the afternoon so, for the benefit of those who couldn’t be there, here are some helpful links to tutorials on the topics that were raised.

Swatching

The SSK Decrease.

Short Row Shaping

Blocking (this post is about lace knitting, but the principles are the same: soak, squeeze, shape and leave to dry)

Joining to knit in round, being careful not to twist (an example on DPNs, but equally applicable to circular needles)

Spit splicing (it’s magic – really).

 

Close up of a knitter swatching for their chosen sweater at the This is Knit Spring KAL Cast On Party

By the way, it’s not too late to join in the KAL antics. Anyone who completes their KAL Sweater in TIK Yarn before Saturday 13th of May will be in with the chance to win some of our fabulous prizes.  Thanks again to everyone who came along and we hope to see you at our next meet up on Saturday 1st April, if not before!

Two knitters getting to know each other at the This is Knit Spring KAL Cast On Party

It’s KAL Cast On Day!

Today at 3pm we’ll be hosting the official TIK Spring KAL Cast On Party! We’ve a lovely afternoon of tea, cake and knitting planned. We’re looking forward to welcoming our KAL knitters in to the shop for a few tips and tricks on their chosen pattern and for a bit of a general natter too.

A welcoming image of the exterior of This is Knit on a sunny morning.

If you’re just learning about the KAL today, or if you’ve been following our posts and are still undecided about joining, then rest assured you don’t have to be casting on today.  We’ll be delighted to welcome new members over the course of the Knitalong and everyone who completes their project in TIK yarn before Saturday 13th of May will be in the running for our fabulous prizes.

We posted a fun graphic during the week, showing the relative popularity of the four sweater designs. Here’s the very latest update:

A pie chart showing the relative popularity of the four KAL sweater designs.

As you can see “Ravello” is proving the most popular so far, and we’ve been putting together some lovely colour combinations for this design over the past while.  We thought we’d share a few suggestions today, just in case there are a few of you still seeking inspiration…

Colour Suggestions for the This is Knit Spring KAL 2017 in Clarendon Sock
L-R: Clarendon Sock in Velvet, Toffee Pop and Mustard Seeds

 

Colour Suggestions for the This is Knit Spring KAL 2017 in Malabrigo Sock
L-R: Malabrigo Sock in Alcuacil, Natural and Tiziano Red

 

Colour Suggestions for the This is Knit Spring KAL 2017 in Mechita
L-R: Malabrigo Mechita in Teal Feather, Pearl and Light of Love

 

Colour Suggestions for the This is Knit Spring KAL 2017 in Mechita
L-R: Malabrigo Mechita in Frank Ochre, Water Green and Polar Morn

Can you tell that we got a lovely delivery of Malabrigo Yarns during the week??? Don’t forget that you’ll receive 10% off your KAL yarn, using the code SKAL17 …

So, have we tempted you to join us?

The Townhouse Doodler

We have another gorgeous finished shawl to share with you today – Jenny’s version of Stephen West’s “The Doodler“.  This design has been getting a lot of attention in the shop, and it’s easy to see why. The unique construction and clever use of colour both draw the eye, and the beautiful drape and butter-soft texture of Clarendon Sock create a wrap that you would never want to take off.

The Doodler by Stephen West in Townhouse Yarns Clarendon Sock

Jenny used “Toffee Pop”, “Mustard Seeds” and “Velvet” for her version and the effect is really striking.  There are so many stunning versions on Ravelry for colour inspiration too. We’re particularly in love with bronze, teal and grey  but there’s no limit to the options really!

It’s fair to say that Stephen West is a truly unique knitting pattern designer. He embraces colour and texture wholeheartedly and his designs are created with a true sense of fun and adventure.  He frequently encourages knitters to push their boundaries and to see yarn as something to be played with. And if you love this approach then his latest music video is sure to make you smile!

The Doodler in Townhouse Yarns Clarendon Sock Close Up

If all that pop is a little too much for you though, then we would still encourage you to look at some of Stephen’s designs in a more pared back light. A case in point is Enchanted Mesa – a stash busting sweater design, with short rows and funky eyelets that draw attention to the changes in colour and texture.

Image of the original Enchanted Mesa Design by Stephen West, featuring colourful yarns in an autumnal palette
Enchanted Mesa Image (c) Westknits

Then look again at versions by MelleChou and KatiWoolF, and suddenly we are using words like “refined” and “elegant”, rather than “wild” and “eye-catching”. One approach may suit you more as a knitter, or you might love both. Either way, you can’t argue that Stephen’s designs are clever and versatile and more than worth paying attention to…

Golden Yellow Solid Colour Version of Stephen West's Enchanted Mesa Knitting Pattern
Enchanted Mesa (c) MelleChou (on Ravelry)

Have you knit any of Stephen West’s designs? Check out Stephen’s latest Mystery Knitalong here. (If you’re not too busy with our Spring KAL, that is!)

Swatching for our Spring KAL

While the official cast on date for our Spring Knit-a-long is this coming Saturday the 4th of March, we know there will be some very diligent knitters out there, swatching away in their chose yarns in preparation.  Others among you might be reluctant, or even uncomfortable, with the concept of swatching. How do you know how big a swatch should be? Or be sure that you are measuring it correctly?

Well, luckily, we have two very informative blog posts from our archives to share with you today. One covers swatching for flat knitting and the other discusses swatches for knitting in the round.

All of our KAL projects are knit on circular needles and so, ideally, your tension should be measured over a piece of fabric that has been knit in the round. You should still have a read over both tutorials though, as there are some basics covered in the first article and they are referred back to in the second post.

A selection of Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn. One of the yarns suitable to be used in the This is Knit Spring Knitalong 2017

Getting the tension right is an essential part of successful knitting but it’s also very important to be sure that you like the fabric that is being created by your chosen yarn when it is knitted at that gauge. Do you think it will suit the design well? Do you want your fabric to be structured or flowing? Does the yarn show the stitch pattern well? Taking the time to ask these questions before actually casting on for a project is a really worthwhile exercise.  It’s all about starting well, before you actually start…

We’re on hand to offer advice and opinions if you have queries about any aspect of your swatching experience. If you are attending the Cast On Party then please bring along your tension pieces. Otherwise feel free to post questions here in the comments, over on the Ravelry thread or on social media using the hashtag #TIKKAL17

Join Our Spring KAL 2017

It’s almost time to get knitting! Have you chosen your Spring Knit-a-Long pattern yet? Our official cast on date will be Saturday the 4th of March, so there’s still time to review the pattern options discussed in our blog posts from last week.  We first looked at Carpino and Ravello, and then learned a little more about Timeless Henley and Nogat. It will be tough to choose a favourite!

Join the This is Knit Spring Knit-a-Long with a choice of four light weight sweater patterns from four independent designers, all knit in 4ply yarn.

How to Sign Up:

Choose your pattern and either purchase and download it direct from Ravelry or come in to the shop where we can purchase it for you, and add it to your Ravelry library.

Select your yarn, buy online or in our shop and receive a 10% discount with the code SKAL17

Make sure we have your details by signing up to be a KAL Member here. When signing up you also can let us know if you’ll be coming along to the our Cast On Party at 3pm on Saturday 4th of March.

A Little Help From Your Friends:

At the Cast On party we will be offering short demonstrations and general technique assistance, so be sure to come along armed with questions! We’ll also feature tips and tricks here on the blog, and there will be group support available through our dedicated thread over on Ravelry.

Ad hoc support will also be available in the shop, on the usual basis (5-10 minutes of assistance once a staff member is free) and you can also post questions to any of our social media accounts (using the hashtag #TIKKAL17) and we’ll get right back to you.

All-Important Prizes:

Everyone who completes their project before Saturday the 13th of May will be in with the chance to win some of our fabulous KAL prizes!

Our wonderful featured designers have each sponsored pattern prizes, and there will be TIK Goodie Bags up for grabs too!

So what are you waiting for? Sign up to participate in our Spring KAL today.

Two More Pattern Choices for our Spring KAL

Did you spot our Spring Knit-a-Long announcement earlier this week? In that post we introduced two of the four pattern options for this year’s KAL, so today we’re going to take a quick look at the other two designs – Timeless Henley and Nogat.

Timeless_Henley_2_medium2

TIMELESS HENLEY

A refined, tailored sweater with rib and lace details, Joji Locatelli’s Timeless Henley is the sweater that you would wear to Sunday brunch or tea with friends. The buttons on the henley neckline are carried through the design to the deep cuffs on the sleeves, and the lace motif is an easy-to-memorise repeat that lends further interest to the overall design.

Choosing this pattern would allow those of you who are comfortable with Top Down Raglan construction, to try Top Down Set In Sleeves for the first time.  This method will require close attention to gauge, which means diligent swatching, but again we’re here to help!

Set In Sleeves are generally considered to be the most flattering of sleeve shapes so, if you’re a fan of seamless knitting, it’s certainly worth giving this method a go.  For project inspiration you can click on through to Ravelry here.

A screenshot showing how to select Most Favourites as the sorting method when viewing finished projects on Ravelry

Also, to see the best and brightest versions of each design make sure you have selected “Most Favourites” from the drop down menu toward the top of the page.

Our top yarn picks for this pattern are Malabrigo Mechita and Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn (we received shipment from Hedgehog just this week).

Nogat by Justyna Lorkowska

NOGAT

Nogat really has it all going on: cables, lace, garter and rib plus a glamorous scooped neckline – this is one elegant sweater. The designer, Justyna Lorkowska, describes Nogat as a “lively and adventurous sweater”. This is one adventure we’d love to help you embark on!

We’re back to the Top Down Raglan method here, but the non-standard neckline should add an element of interest to the technique. And then the fun really starts, as every row will combine panels of intriguing stitch patterns.

There are many spectacular finished versions on Ravelry, and it would certainly be worth browsing through the projects to decide on the amount of ease and length that would suit your own shape best.  This is one of the many advantages of top-down knitting: you’ll be able to try on the garment and custom fit the project as you go.

As with all the project choices you can work them in any 4ply yarn, but we quite fancy Fade St 4ply and Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply for this particular design.

Join the This is Knit Spring Knit-a-Long with a choice of four light weight sweater patterns from four independent designers, all knit in 4ply yarn.

Are you ready to join our Spring Knit-a-Long? Check back very soon for all the details on yarn discounts, fabulous prizes and, of course, how to register ahead of the start date of Saturday 4th of March.

Join our Indie Designer Knit-a-Long this March

It will soon be Knit-a-Long time again here at This is Knit, and this year we’re encouraging you all to dive in to lightweight garment knitting for spring.

Join the This is Knit Spring Knit-a-Long with a choice of four light weight sweater patterns from four independent designers, all knit in 4ply yarn.

This year we’re all about lightweight garments, with a choice of 4 stunning sweaters, all knit in 4-ply yarn and coming from 4 of our favourite Independent Designers.

We’ve selected a range of designs, covering several unique techniques and across a spectrum of skill levels, so there’s something here for everyone. We’d encourage you to choose a pattern that’s just a bit out of your comfort zone though, and then make use of all the support that will be available to make that project a reality. Our aim is to help you learn some new skills along the way and to enjoy the process of knitting along with other members of the extended TIK community.

With four patterns to choose from we’re going to take a closer look today at two of the four designs: Carpino and Ravello.

Check back soon for our post highlighting options three and four for this KAL: “Timeless Henley” and “Nogat”. We’ll wrap everything up in a third blog post, with all the details about the yarn discount, the prizes on offer and the plans for our KAL Cast On Event!

CARPINO

Are you familiar with the top-down raglan technique, but would like to take it to the next level? Then Carpino may be the choice for you.  This refined design from Carol Feller features a simple lace repeat that adds texture and interest to the finished garment.

Carpino by Carol Feller
(c) Brooklyn Tweed / Jared Flood

For colour and styling inspiration have a browse through the beautiful selection of finished versions here on Ravelry.  As you can see, this design works well in many yarn types, but our suggestions are Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal and Townhouse Yarns Camden Tweed.

RAVELLO

Simple and stylish, Ravello by Isabell Kraemer is an ideal easy-going knit for those of you dipping your toes in the 4ply water… This design uses the seamless top-down raglan method too, so there’s no sewing up to worry about. It’s also a perfect choice if you’d like to mix in a bit of stash yarn to your KAL project, as you can base your colour choices around that special skein or two.

Ravello by Isabell Kraemer
(c) grasflecken

Again there’s lots of project inspiration on Ravelry, and we’d be delighted to help you with colour choices in the shop or by email.  We think Malabrigo Sock will be a popular option for this design and Juniper Moon Herriot Fine could be a winner too.

So what do you think of our line up so far? Are you tempted to jump in and knit either of these designs? Check back soon for more KAL info (including how to join in!), ahead of our official cast on date of Saturday 4th March…

2017: A Year for Yarn

Nadia brings us some of the unmissable events of 2017…

January is always a time of plotting and planning here at TIK, as we’re sure it is for many of you.  We’ve been busy finalising details and setting other wheels in motion and it’s safe to say that we’re very excited about what 2017 is going to bring! Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s have a look at just some of what’s coming up this year:

Flat lay with notebook, pen, needles and malabrigo yarn. Notebook features the text "2017 - Knit All The Things". Plans for This is Knit 2017. Featured events.

 

Irish Yarn Club

Starting in February you will be seeing the first instalment of the Irish Yarn Club 2017 hitting the hands of the lucky knitters who managed to nab a coveted membership. There will be stunning, never to be repeated, colourways from Hedgehog Fibres, Townhouse Yarns and The Dublin Dye Company and designs by the lovely Carol Feller. If you’d like to be a part of it all then you can still join the pattern-only collection here.  

Special Workshops

Along with our usual class schedule and tutorials, we have 3 very special workshops with the wonderful Melanie Berg coming up in April. Starting on Saturday the 8th of April, Shawl Design with Melanie Berg is *the* workshop to attend if you want to bring the shawl of your dreams to life.  You’d want to be pretty quick clicking that link because there are only 2 places left as I type!

Saturday afternoon Melanie takes it one step further with Design Your Own Mosaic Shawl.  Here you will create an original mosaic pattern and Melanie will walk you through all the necessary steps, from casting on, over fitting your pattern into a triangular shape, to finally binding off.

Melanie Berg's Eifelgold Shawl - a mosaic shawl. Learn more about Mosaic Knitting and design your own shawl at Melanie's workshop in This is Knit on Saturday 8th April 2017

As if that wasn’t enough, on Sunday the 9th of April some lucky knitters are joining Melaine in her workshop on Colourwork Shawls.  This class is fully booked but do add your name to the waiting list in case some places become available.

We have a number of other special guests planned, some return visitors and some first-timers! In fact we just revealed yesterday that Kate from the stunning craft and lifestyle blog A Playful Day will be joining us for a weekend of talks and workshops on the 13th and 14th of May. More details shortly, we promise!

Headshot of Kate from A Playful Day who will be visiting This is Knit for a weekend of workshops and talks on the 13th and 14th of May 2017

It might be worth keeping Saturday the 15th of July free too, as we welcome back a friendly face. You know it’s always good to indulge in some mid-summer technique enhancement…

Ok so that’s enough hint-dropping for now! Make sure you don’t miss any upcoming announcements by signing up to our newsletter here.

The Spring KAL Returns

We’ve been running the TIK Spring Knit-along for several years now and it’s always great fun and leads to lots of stunning FOs. We’ll be mixing things up a little this year, with several projects on offer across a common theme. Have we piqued your interest? Stay tuned for more details of yarn discounts, in-store events, prizes and frolics!

Are you making any exciting plans for 2017? Let us know in the comments we love hearing from you.

And if you need some instant gratification right this second, you can catch our SALE which includes the fabulous Lhasa. Find out more here.

Debbie Bliss Lhasa on SALE now at This is Knit. Buy 4 for the price of 3. Mix and match across all sale ranges.

 

 

 

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.