TIK Knits

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It always seems more like the holiday season when the This Is Knit gift kits start appearing, and we’ve just reached that point. In useful and pretty packaging, we’re offering a terrific range this year: yarn and patterns specially chosen to complement each other, giving hours of crafty fun and a gorgeous finished object to boot. There’s something for everyone: for children and adults, knitters and crocheters, beginners and experts alike!

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be shining a spotlight on some of our kits, and we’re starting with Eimear Earley’s Dapple Cowl. The package contains Eimear’s tempting pattern and a skein of Juniper Moon Farm’s Herriot DK weight.

We blogged about this yarn here when it came into stock, and the Dapple Cowl was written specially for it.

Together, the entire kit weighs in at less than 150g, which is excellent news if you’re posting your presents. So in the New Year, someone somewhere will be able to snuggle up in the warmest alpaca, whatever the weather brings.

And finally, if you fancy winning some Juniper Moon yarn, a mere mouse click will enter you into our twitter competition. Follow and retweet, and an entire gorgeous kilometre of yarn might be yours!

Yesterday evening, the Christmas lights got turned on in the Powerscourt Centre, and it’s looking so pretty. That means, of course, that it’s time to think about presents. As you’d expect, we’ve got lots of gift ideas to share with you.

If you’re looking for a truly knock-out gift for a knitter or crocheter, then a membership of our 2015 Irish Yarn Club is the perfect thing. It’s a gift that goes on giving well into the New Year – each month for three months, an exciting parcel will arrive, bringing exclusive hand-dyed yarn, each with a new Carol Feller pattern. Pattern support and tutorials will be provided, all as part of the package!

We’re so lucky to have such talented hand-dyers in this country: the picture above shows the work of Townhouse Yarns, the Dublin Dye Company and Hedgehog Fibres, our collaborators in the Club. We can’t wait to see their Club colourways!

If you’re shopping for a gift to send to Ireland or overseas, then we’ll organise all the wrapping and posting, though there’s also a store pick-up option. You can find out lots more by clicking here. The last day for orders is December 21st, and places are limited, so don’t wait too long!

There’s no gift like the gift of anticipation, is there?

Named for James Herriot, much-loved author and country vet, here’s our new Juniper Moon DK. When we showed it at the Yarn Dating, there was a lot of excitement about this delicious 100% alpaca, with incredible softness and the loveliest gentle colour palette.

It’s finally in stock, and we love it. And we’ve got the perfect pattern for it too: Eimear Earley’s Dapple Cowl.

Designed specially for Herriot and both simple and elegant, it’s got just enough detail to keep you interested and just enough soothing stocking stitch to ensure a relaxing knit. Needing just one skein, it’s a perfect gift knit, too.

So whether your project’s great or small, Herriot’s here.

One of the undisputed stars of our Yarn Dating evening back in September was our new lace offering, Juniper Moon Findley. It’s a beautiful blend, 50% silk and 50% merino, and as you can see, the colours are breathtaking.

The delivery has been avidly anticipated, but now it’s arrived. As our sample garment, Jacqui’s whipped up the sweetest little lace top: Bonny, by TinCanKnits.

Worked in the round, with just a touch of lace detail, this is a fast and easy knit. With Findley’s generous meterage, it’s economical too: a 700m ball (enough to make Jacqui’s Bonny) only costs €16.95!

With all this lovely laceweight in jewel colours, it’s going to be a very bright winter indeed!

Meet Korrigan, a sweet cardigan which Lisa recently made as a gift for a brand new little girl. It ticks so many of our favourite boxes: one skein of luscious handdyed sock yarn? Lisa used Hedgehog Fibres Sock in the exclusive Irish Yarn Club January colourway. Top down for no-fuss seam-free construction? Naturally! A simple cable used to lovely effect? Of course!

We’ve talked about this cable before. Back in February, we showed you Jacqui’s Quadrature for Korrigan, a pattern by the same designer, Solenn Couix-Loarer, which uses exactly that cable, mixed with the simplest garter stitch and stocking stitch. What clever, versatile design work!

To underline the point, Maria recently finished a Quadrature for Korrigan of her own, in Soft Donegal, and it’s huge! The weather’s warm right now, but come cooler days and this wrap will be perfect to snuggle up in.

You might very well suspect that we’re not done with these designs, and you’ll probably be proved right. There’s a matching hat, you see, in sizes from newborn to adult and in three weights of yarn, and we love a cabled hat round these parts!

We’re big fans of simple baby garments, the ones that you can make as your first project, and then make over and over again! Here’s one that fits the bill: it’s Debbie Bliss’s Shawl-collared Baby Jacket from her Baby Knits for Beginners, and we love it.

Debbie’s book is terrific. It’s one of the best books for beginners out there, taking you from casting on through garter stitch and stocking stitch to shaping with short rows, all with clear explanation and diagrams and the dotiest collection imaginable of little knits. There’s scarves and hats and blankets and jumpers and the sweetest wee dress.

For our little jacket, we used Rico Soft Merino Aran, soft for baby skin and machine-washable to boot – and it comes in a gorgeous colour range.

The jacket comes in three sizes to fit from six months to two years, and the largest takes just four balls of the yarn, so it’s an economical little garment too.

But best of all, babies and knitted things just go together so well!

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!

Fancy using your crochet or knitting to help someone tiny and precious? Here’s just the thing: the Neonatal Centre & Special Care Baby Unit at Coombe Womens’ and Infants University Hospital are looking for teeny hats and blankets. Can you help?

One of our loveliest customers, Clare, who’s clareblove on Ravelry, recently started a thread in the Dublin Knit Collective forum over on Ravelry asking for wee hand-crafted contributions. There’s a good bit of discussion over there, but here’s the main points.

The Unit has an ongoing need for very small hats and blankets to keep their little patients warm. They don’t reuse articles from one baby to another because of the risk of cross-infection. They’re specifically asking for 30cm square blankets (that’s 12″ in old money) or a wee bit larger, but the Unit’s patients include larger babies too, so if your blanket is a bit bigger than that it’ll still be most useful.

Hats are needed in a range of sizes too – from the very tiny (13cm/5″ in circumference, 8cm/3″long) right up to a newborn size of 35cm/14″ around and 15cm/6″ long. We’ve all got small amounts of yarn left over from other projects, and this is the best imaginable use for it – the Unit has no preference as long as it’s machine washable (this makes life much easier for hassled parents doing the patients’ laundry at home). Your finished hat or blanket should be washed and each one put in a ziploc bag before donation.

If you’re looking for a hat pattern to follow, then Ravelry has more than you could ever imagine.

You know how swatching advice is always to make a good big square? A good big square sounds like a tiny blanket, doesn’t it? What about making a 30cm swatch the next time you’re making a garment, and once it’s done its tension-measuring work, it can go on to have a useful life as a blanket. And if your pattern needs a swatch in the round? That’s a hat right there!

We’ve got another drop-off option too – if you want to drop your hat or blanket into us here at This Is Knit, we’ll make sure it gets to its rightful destination.

And thank you!

On Tuesday, we announced the winner of our Spring Knit-Along (congratulations again, poppylillious!), and gave you a clue about our next KAL. You see, part of the prize was Kate Davies new shawl pattern, A Hap For Harriet.

Our KALs so far have had us all working on the same pattern. This time is a bit different, because we’re focussing on a style rather than a pattern. A hap is a traditional type of Shetland shawl, originally intended for warm everyday wear and worked in relatively substantial yarn.

Haps are traditionally square in shape, with a centre panel in a simple stitch pattern (very often lovely squishy garter stitch). Around the square centre there’s a lacy border, often in feather and fan pattern. Our two samples are like this – Jacqui’s cream version is Jared Flood’s Tweed baby blanket and Lisa’s calm blue and neutral one is Gudrun Johnson’s Hansel. The original Hansel pattern features a third section, a pretty toothed edging, that was omitted in favour of an i-cord cast off in this case (this is one of the techniques that we’ll post a tutorial on during the course of the KAL).

But nowadays there’s many, many variations on the theme – Kate Davies’ A Hap For Harriet is crescent-shaped, for instance, and Veera Välimäki’s ¾ Hap is three quarters of a square. You can use a hap as a wrap yourself, or a baby blanket, or a sofa throw, simply depending on the size you make. And there’s crochet versions too. Endless variation, and every single one gorgeous!

So our Hap KAL works like this: choose a hap pattern (you’ll find dozens of patterns at this Ravelry link) and join in the fun! When you’re purchasing the yarn for it, you’ll get a 10% discount. Just mention the Hap KAL in the shop or on the phone, and if you’re ordering online, use the code HAPKAL.

We’ll have a stickied thread in the This Is Knit Ravelry group for support and for chatting about patterns and yarns, and we’ll be blogging tutorials and regular updates about our progress. Every KAL member that posts a picture of a finished Hap in the Ravelry thread before September 7th will be entered in to a Prize Draw too.

It’s going to be enormous fun, so jump in!

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…

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