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Jacqui came back from holiday last week, with a stunning new FO to show for the extra knitting time. It’s on display in the shop, and we thought you might like a look.

It’s Gudrun Johnston’s Halligarth, from Wool People 7, and available to download from Ravelry. We’re enormous fans of Gudrun’s – she gave us a fantastic workshop last year, and we’ve knitted many of her patterns (Aestlight and Flukra, just to name two).

Halligarth is knitted entirely in one piece, beginning with a single stitch at the apex of the triangle. This grows into the most beautiful leaf pattern, so it’s named for a woodland on Unst, the largest of the Shetland islands. When the body’s completed, you work the knitted-on border, and finally there’s a garter stitch band along the top edge.

As for the yarn, Jacqui chose Mirasol Sulka Legato, which comes in a range of lovely muted colours. There’s two sizes, and Jacqui knitted the large. It came out deliciously huge – she says that next time, she’ll knit the medium (she’s definitely making another). The large just squeaked into a fourth skein of the yarn, so three would be plenty for the medium.

You can read a Wool People interview with Gudrun Johnston about Halligarth at this link. What’s more, if you’re thinking about joining in our HapKAL, her Hansel is one of the nicest hap patterns around – Lisa’s lovely blue and cream FO can attest to that!

Next up in our continuing series of staff posts, Maria tells us about a gorgeous jumper, the power of persuasion and the joy of knitting garments that fit!

When it comes to knitting, I have a tendency to go for shawl patterns involving a single skein of sock yarn and a very loose interpretation of gauge. This approach has generally yielded more pretty neck pieces than I can reasonably expect to get around to wearing. But hey, they’re fun to knit, and that’s the point! Right?

Okay, confession time… years ago, after a few disastrous attempts to construct a garment that actually fit (tension square? what tension square?), I gave up. I decided handknit sweaters were not in my repertoire. I became a knitter of shawls, (and the occasional pair of socks), and that was that. However, it turns out you’re never too old to be susceptible to peer pressure, and when Jen and I came across this pretty little pattern, we decided that we would do it. Both of us. At the same time. So I couldn’t chicken out!

The pattern is called Snowflake, from TinCanKnits, and it’s just lovely. Jen used a beautiful combination of Louisa Harding Orielle and Malabrigo Arroyo (she has a thing for the hand-dyes!), and I plumped for Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (because I already owned some. Okay, a lot. And I wanted an excuse to buy some of the purple. Cuz it’s pretty).

A top-down knit, try on as you go, pretty lace yoke for a bit of interest and detail. Using a finer yarn on slightly larger needles, it knit up surprisingly quickly! (Even more quickly when you’ve Jen in your ear constantly nagging. I mean encouraging. Yeah. Encouraging).

The end result? A finished garment. And it fits me! I am ridiculously happy with this FO! It turns out I know how to knit stuff that fits, who knew?

Of course, given the temperatures at the moment, it’ll probably be a while before either of us get to wear our sweaters in the shop! But we’re okay with the sunshine… we’re just a little better prepared for the autumn now, too.

And sure if we start to feel chilly, I think there might be a shawl or two hanging around that we could use…

A month or so back, we featured a guest post from Fiona Parker and Daniel Rye, who keep us supplied with Navia Yarn. They gave us a glimpse of the sort of garments they feature, and now we’ve got sample garments and pattern books in the shop too, and oh my, they’re gorgeous!

Our display garments come from Navia Book 18, and we’ve also got Book 17 in stock. Using the amazing colour palette of Navia to the full, they’re packed full of lovely stranded colourwork pieces. They’ve got clever design details like in-the-round construction (no awkward purling while trying to follow the chart backwards!), cool touches like the neon flash on that shoulder placket, and simply effective colourwork motifs.

What’s more, these garments will stand up to a terrific amount of wear – the unique blend of Shetland, Faroese and Australian wool will ensure that.

And if you’ve never tried stranded colourwork before, then we’ll let you in on a secret: it’s not hard at all. In fact, it’s easy, and we can show you how! We have regular colourwork classes in the teaching schedule, so keep an eye on our list of classes and get yourself all skilled up!

We’re only barely containing our excitement at the moment – Ysolda Teague’s shawl design workshop is happening here in less than a month, on Saturday May 17th. There’s still a couple of places available, though there’s been a lot of interest. There’s even a group flying in specially from Scotland for the day!

When it comes to shawl design, Ysolda’s one of the greats (this is her portfolio). We’ve featured many of her designs, like lovely and popular Ishbel above, and elegant Marin below.

In this workshop she will give you the skills to make your own completely original shawl, just as lovely but completely exclusive to you! All you need is yarn, needles, squared paper, pencil and stitch markers – and your ideas!

You can snap up a place at this link, and then just imagine the thrill of saying “Oh this? It’s a design of my own, thank you!”

KAL news!

A month in and with two Bank Holiday weekends under our belts, the Spring Daybreak Knit-a-Long is romping along! We’re having so much fun in the shop helping you out together colour and yarn combinations (we’re offering the discount on suggested yarns right through the KAL).

Over in the Ravelry thread, there’s hints and support and a chance to see each other’s work in progress, so please drop in for a chat or some inspiration. There’s dozens of completed projects, and several of us have started second or third Daybreaks!

And there’s another Bank Holiday weekend just round the corner, and Daybreak’s an ideal combination of intriguing shaping and easy stocking stitch. So why not join the fun?

Today, we feature the latest in our continuing series of staff projects. This one’s already gone viral here, and we’re always happy to spread the word, so over to you, Jen!

If you have visited This Is Knit you might have noticed there is, a lot of the time, more than one sample of the same pattern hanging from a shop wall. (*ahem* Color Affection!)

Sometimes more than one of us TIKer’s get taken by a certain pattern for its beauty, cleverness and downright handiness…. Introducing said pattern in this case: Zuzu’s Petals. It’s a clever cowl that looks like a shawl and it is such a quick, adjustable (with a bit of playing) enjoyable knit.

Maria knit her Zuzu in Malabrigo Rios in the highly variegated Arco Iris, Jacqui used self-striping Amitola by Louisa Harding. I decided to stray from the written pattern and use gorgeous heavy lace weight yarn, Mirasol Sulka Legato with added Swarovski crystals (you can see them shining in the first picture). I loved knitting this, and I love the finished object.

Have I tempted you? What would you knit yours from?

Weaving in ends is one of the final stages of a project, and despite our best efforts (splicing when adding a new ball, working seamlessly and so on), there’s always some to do.

The Garter Yoke Baby Cardi (a hugely popular and dotey free pattern on Ravelry) is a case in point. It’s a delight to work in sportweight yarn (this one’s in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino), made from the top down with the option of a neat i-cord edging. It’s quick and it’s easily customisable.

But there’s no denying it: that’s a lot of ends.

It’s a good idea to leave your ends long while you wash and block and snip them off only at the end. But then it’s easy to get confused about forget which ones you’ve woven in and which you haven’t, and you can easily end up peering crossly at your work trying to decide. So here’s a handy trick to speed things along: as you finish weaving in a strand, just tie a knot in it.

Then it’s easy to run your fingers down the length of any end and spot if you still need to deal with it. It’ll keep you a little further away from your wits’ end!

Spring is clearly on the way. The weather’s shown an upturn over the last few days, and we’ve got new Spring/Summer yarn and garments in the shop.

One of the loveliest this year is Louisa Harding’s brand new Noema. It’s a cotton/acrylic blend, and it’s got the prettiest long colour changes which work up into a dappled tweedy fabric.

The cardigan in the image above is called Azurine, and it’s one of the fourteen garment and accessory pattern in the Noema booklet. It’s such a Louisa Harding signature piece: pretty to wear and straightforward to knit. The largest size takes only six balls, so it’s quick as well as terribly versatile.

Today, we’re featuring a guest post from Ken McCamish, a very good friend of ours who lives in Jeffersonville, Southern Indiana. When he told us how his car reacted to his knitting, we wanted to share it with you, so over to Ken!

We call it The Passenger. It’s the name given to my cone of Donegal Tweed I purchased at This is Knit.

The whole thing started out as a simple overseas trip to Ireland with my nephew, Cody. Since I’d never been to Ireland, the first thing I wanted to do was log onto my favorite hotel-finding site and have another window open with knitmap.com in it. Doesn’t everyone use this method to find hotels? I settled on Brooks Hotel, which looked lovely on the website and which was a very short walk to a yarn store called This is Knit.

This is Knit turned out to be a wonderful shop. It’s one of those shops where a yarn enthusiast feels right at home even though he’s 6,000 or more kilometers from home. I dutifully picked up a nice collection of yarn and then I saw a display for Contemporary Irish Knits, by Carol Feller. As I was flipping through its pages, my nephew came up behind me and noticed the Straboy sweater.

“I want one of those! Make me one of those!”

Normally I’d have shrugged it off but as my nephew was starting to express an interest in knitting and since I’m willing to do anything to get another family member into the fold, I agreed to make one for him. Nadia told me that if I wished, the shop could order the yarn on a cone and ship it to my house in America for a little less than it would cost to buy the yarn in skeins. I could get two of the sweaters from one cone! Since I’d never bought yarn cones, I knew I had to do it that way!

The yarn arrived sooner than expected and since it was cheaper than estimated, Lisa gave me shop credit. (Credit in yarn is like good cheese. There’s no such thing as too much!) I packed up the project to take to work that first night after receiving my cone. I had the book, appropriate needles and sundries, and my cone of Donnegal Tweed in the passenger seat of the car. As soon as I pulled out of the driveway I heard a beeping noise. My car was complaining that my passenger was not wearing a seatbelt.

If I wasn’t already a Knitter with a capital “K” for using knitmap to decide what hotel to book in a new city, I think I earned it the night my car mistook my yarn for a passenger. My husband, Dani, dubbed that yarn cone The Passenger and it has kept that moniker ever since.

“Are you taking the Passenger to work?”
“No, I’m going to work on these socks tonight instead . . . .”

The Straboy was not nearly as hard as I’d expected once I’d gotten the mechanics straightened out in my head. However, now that I’ve finished the Straboy sweater, I feel a little lost without my friend. Maybe I’ll wind up a huge cake of yarn or two and see if they pass the seatbelt test. Let’s see if I can get away with my next project counting as a legal passenger for carpooling!

To mark the day, here’s a lovely little lace shawlette, recently knitted by Jacqui. It’s called Fragile Heart, and it’s designed by the wonderful Boo Knits.

It’s lovingly accented with Swarovski crystals – just enough beading to give sparkle to the lace and interest to the knitter.

The yarn is Malabrigo Baby Silkpaca, and Fragile Heart took just over a skein.

And given the day that’s in it, don’t forget about our Valentine’s Day prize draw – it runs until midnight on Monday week, and you’ll find all the details over at that link!

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