Quick And Cosy

With temperatures dropping below zero all over the country, many of us are feeling the bitter sting of winter, and that quickly reminds us of the need for cosy layers! With your holiday queue done and dusted, it’s time to focus on you again. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ve even been gifted some lovely wool, or a gift voucher for the holidays, and are in need some inspiration. There are plenty of last minute, super quick projects that you can whip up in a few hours to keep yourself warm. We’ve come to your aid with a list of some very easy accessories to knit and the perfect yarn to go with each. All patterns are available for free, and available to download via Ravelry.

c handepande on Ravelry

Cold feet? Everyone needs a good pair of slippers, and much unlike socks, these Garter Stitch Slippers have the most simple construction possible. Worked flat in garter stitch, you can knit them up in any hearty Aran weight wool; we recommend using some fun, self-striping wool such as Noro Kureyon (you’ll need two skeins) or Katia Azteca (just one ball).

c Jane Richmond

Anything knit in super bulky is sure to be instant gratification, and perfect in a time crunch. The cushy Marian Cowl is sure to fly off your needles, and only takes one skein of Debbie Bliss Roma.

c Sheep n Stitch

A warm hat is essential this time of year, keep it quick and simple with a classic beanie like The Big Hat. Super bulky is your best friend in a pinch, this hat will be done before you know it! We recommend a fluffy Wool Alpaca blend like Katia Love Wool or Love Wool Plus, you’ll need two balls for this hat, which will leave you with plenty to do a fun bobble!

What is your favourite accessory for the winter? What’s the first project you’ll be knitting for yourself this year?

A Zeal for Teal

Ashby Wrap

Every knitter has their weaknesses, whether it be the perfect sock pattern or alpaca blend wool, though I’m sure none are stronger than my unwavering addiction to the colour teal! It’s hopelessly insatiable, I’m quick to snap up any teal skein as soon as it hits the shelves, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. Two of my most recent projects have only proven this: I’ve just finished a wrap with wool I had purchased at This Is Knit’s Yarn Dating (which was so much fun!) There I was introduced to all the beautiful shades of the Studio Donegal tweed, but of course did not struggle with my colour choice, not when the beautiful 3637 Teal shade was there waiting for me!

Ashby, by the always inspirational Brooklyn Tweed, is a big, warm wrap with a gorgeous cabled edge and simple textured body. The pattern asks for 4 balls of Studio Donegal WSC but will leave you with considerable leftovers. In my wrap, I used a 5th skein and added an extra repeat to the edge (two total) which made it slightly larger overall: with a 36 inch spine, 86 inch wingspan, which I just love! This wool is perfectly suited to the pattern, it knits up considerably light, which makes for a nice balance in such a large wrap. I finished mine in time for our trip through County Kerry, and ended up wearing it every day. It was perfect for warding off the October chill on our road trip around The Ring of Kerry.

Cocoon

The Cocoon hat, pattern available for free on Ravelry, is a super quick and easy knit. It uses exactly one ball of Malabrigo Mecha, and I of course opted for the shade: Teal Feather. It’s the most rich, gorgeous colourway, making for a lovely squishy, warm hat. I love the broken rib, which creates a nice, simple texture that really allows the beautiful colour of the yarn to be the focal point. I think this hat compliments Mecha very well, and I’d definitely make another; possibly to gift… but more realistically to keep for myself 😉

What colour would you consider your greatest weakness?

Christmas Starts Here!

Yarn Wreath

We’ve been eyeing up yarn-themed wreaths on Pinterest for a while now, so it was past time one was created for the shop. After a bit of stash-diving, *lots and lots* of wrapping, and a healthy dose of hot glue, this is the result!

There are oodles of versions on Pinterest for inspiration and plenty of tutorials too. If you’d like to make something similar then these are the instructions we found to be most helpful.

Happy December Everyone!

Jingle Balls

Mojo Magic

Garter Flap Hat

We meet a lot of customers in the shop who confess to having “too many” projects on the go at home. This fact is whispered conspiratorially, often guiltily, and quite often during a purchase of yarn for a new project to be started.

Of course, we understand, I’m sure not I’d like to know the actually number of items that I have languishing half-finished on needles, scattered around my house.

That said I think there’s a great benefit to be had from not feeling too tied-down to a project. Sometimes our enthusiasm can wane mid-way through a second sleeve (as is currently happening with my Nanook) and all we need is a little pick-me-up: a quick project to boost the knitting mojo again, to remind us that FOs can and *will* happen, and we’ll be delighted that we plugged on through another few inches of stockinette.

Garter Flap Hat

And, for me, the Garter Ear Flap Hat from the wonderful Purl Soho website has been that project. A two-night diversion, with just enough detail in the techniques to keep things interesting. The clever short row shaping used for the ear flaps creates a flowing, seamless finish, and the visible line of double decreases lead in to a pleasingly whimsical tassel.

The pattern is free and this baby size version was knit using less than one ball of Katia’s Cotton-Merino. All in all, a pretty much guilt-free diversion, one which has magically restored my mojo.

Now… where’s that second sleeve?

Etsy on our doorstep

A little more than nine years ago, This Is Knit started with a wee market stall and a very tiny website. There’s a bit more room to walk around in the shop now, but we’re still a small business.

So we like to support other small businesses in any way we can, especially if they’re craftspeople, and the internet makes it so easy. Let’s hear it for Etsy!

There’s traders from all over the world on Etsy, of course, but up there with the very best are lots and lots of wonderful Irish businesses. For example, the picture up above is BethShanConnemara’s work – the sweetest wee teapot pendant in Connemara marble! Ah go on, go on….

And ah here! Look at this…

It’s a crocheted custard cream brooch! Did you ever! It’s made by
FunAroundTheClock, and a look at that shop will make you grin so broadly! If you don’t fancy a custard cream with your tea, there’s Mikados and pink wafers and Jammie Dodgers too! And it’s not all biscuits, either – there’s beautiful picture frames and lovely accessories!

And if you’re looking for Irish wool straight from the sheep, then may we recommend MarkreeWoolCraft? Using fleece from well-loved Wensleydales and Jacobs in county Sligo, this is naturally produced and dyed wool for spinning, knitting and crochet – and it’s so, so soft! And if you fancy dyeing your own yarn, you can find lichen for dyeing it here too!

Aren’t Irish craftspeople amazing?

The Little Yellow Duck Project

This is Cecil. He’s part of a very special movement: the Little Yellow Duck Project. All over the world, little crafted yellow duckies are popping up in unexpected places, looking for a home.

The project has a serious basis. Founded in memory of a young woman who died of cystic fibrosis before a suitable lung donor was found (here’s the page giving the full story), its aim is to make us think about the importance of donating blood, tissue and organs. The little duckies are powerful little messengers.

It’s very easy to get involved. Make a duck – knitted or crocheted or sewn. You’ll find patterns here or you can make up your own! Print out a tag (there’s several styles to choose from) which points to the Project’s website so the message gets through.

Then you leave your duck to be found, and the tag explains why he’s there, waiting to be taken home. The lucky adopter of a duck can log the find – more than four thousand ducks all over the world have already spread the word.

Some of the tags also have a space for the duck’s name – that’s how you’d know that our little crocheted chum above is called Cecil. And this is Gertrude.

Between them, Cecil and Gertrude took an evening to make, and took 25g of aranweight (any weight will work beautifully if you choose a suitable needle or hook size). What’s more, they’re a ball to make! Here they are with their labels attached, waiting to find their new home.

We can help save lives with these little characters. So will you join us in reminding the world, just by making someone smile, and then think, with a little yellow duck?

And if you were in Stephen’s Green earlier, just by the duckpond, maybe you saw Gertrude waiting patiently on a bench. She’s got something important to tell someone.

Casting off the year

2014 was quite a year, wasn’t it? As usual, we’ve been looking back at what we got up to at This Is Knit, and it was a bumper year. We’ve got some highlights to share with you, so why not pop the kettle on and join us for a spot of nostalgia.

A very happy event happened early in the year. Keen-eyed blog readers had noticed that a lot of baby items had been appearing in these pages. Of course: we were getting ready to welcome a splendid little chap called Oisín, born to Lisa and Ronan in February.


(Image courtesy of Emmylie Cruz Photography)

He slotted right in to the This Is Knit team, turning up to greet you all at events like the Yarn Dating and at the Knitting and Stitching Show. Welcome once more, Oisín!

And there was knitting – oh, so much knitting! In fact, this year we had two Knit-Alongs. After the success of Color Affection, we chose another striped shawl for the first: Stephen West’s Daybreak. Here’s just a few of the lovely FOs that resulted!

The second Knit-Along was the Hap-Along – following Kate Davies’ lead, we dived straight in to the world of Shetland shawls. So much garter stitch and feather-and-fan – oh my!

We had lots of giveaways and competitions, and had the most fun with our WWKIP Photo Scavenger Hunt. We had workshops, too, from inspiring teachers and designers like Carol Feller, Ysolda Teague and Woolly Wormhead. We’ll be having more this year, of course, so make sure you keep up with our news. Sometimes events book out in an hour or so, but you can find out fast, on Facebook and twitter (we’re @ThisIsKnit) and through our newsletter.

Back in August, our hopelessly romantic side came out when we invited you all to our Yarn Dating! Up in the Powerscourt Theatre, we hosted a night of unabashed glee over the new stock we’d chosen for Fall/Winter 2014.

There were lovehearts and cheesy music to accompany the yarn and patterns, and so many new fibery offerings to choose from.

Indeed, lots of lovely new products appeared on the shelves during the year. Townhouse Yarn, dyed by our very own Jenny, was an immediate success (that’s Chatham Lace in the very first picture above). Woolly Wormhead gave Grafton 4ply a terrific boost when she used it in her annual mystery knit-along (the pattern turned out to be Sophora).

S-Twist Yarns is as local and distinctive as you possibly wish: handspun a couple of miles from This Is Knit from native Irish fleece, it’s a unique product.

Late in the year, after its debut at the Yarn Dating, we piled the shelves with Juniper Moon Findley and Herriot. And there’s so much more too, new offerings from established producers and exciting newcomers! It’s no wonder we had to rearrange all the storage in the shop to fit it all in!

Speaking of shelves full of yarn, we returned to the Knitting and Stitching Show in the RDS in October as the exclusive partner of Malabrigo Yarns. As well as old favourites, we got to show you new goodies like Mecha, chunky, superwash and purest merino.

And in the midst of all this excitement, you gave us an award! Nominated by some of you, and then voted for by more of you, we were named Best Local Independent Yarn Store in the Ireland category of the British Knitting Awards. Thank you so much – lots of things made 2014 for us, and that was one of the best!

Well, here’s to you, 2014! It’s time to cast you off, fold you up and put you away. 2015 is ready to get onto our hooks and needles, and who knows what it’ll turn out to be….

Good done!

Saturday’s HandmAid Craft Day was a terrific experience – up in the Damer Hall on the Green, there was yarn and cake and tea and classes from morning till evening, and at the end of it all a wonderful amount had been raised for the Laura Lynn Hospice.

You can read about the day over on HandmAid’s news blog, and see the enormous list of people who gave their time and their skills to help. The final total isn’t in yet, but it’ll be posted over there. ‘

Yarn people are good people.

Only the best

Last weekend, the winners of the Irish Times Best Shops
for 2014 were announced, voted for by the public and carefully judged by secret shoppers. The list covers the entire country, so we were very proud to learn that two of the winners are our neighbours: Article in the Best Gifts, Design and Interiors section and The Garden for Best Shop Window.

So imagine our delight when we discovered that Article currently stocks the most beautiful knitting- and crochet-themed platters at the moment. The image above shows the knitted version: the striking design is made by pressing a piece of knitted lace onto the surface of the plate before the coloured glaze goes on.

This is the crochet version – again, a delicate lace doily is preserved forever on the surface. They’re made in Italy by Ceramiche Bucci. They’re so characteristic of what Article offers: unique, practical and beautiful design. And what a special occasion gift for a knitter or crocheter!

So if you’re visiting us, schedule a wee detour into Article – you’ll be very glad you did, and you never know what you might find.

And you’ll be only steps away from the most beautiful shop window in Ireland – Mark Grehan’s astoundingly lovely flower shop in the front hall of Powerscourt townhouse….