TIK Knits

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We’ve been talking a lot about pompoms recently, and one question keeps coming up: what’s the best way of attaching one securely to a hat? Well, we had an intriguing suggestion tweeted at us recently, so we resolved to try it out.

It’s very simple, and that picture shows it in practice. Instead of just sewing the pompom to the hat fabric, sew it to a button on the wrong side of the hat. The button, nestling into the top of the hat, distributes the pulling of the pompom and makes it much less likely to come loose. You’ll find our tutorial on sewing on buttons at this link.

So yes, it works!

You know those patterns that make you want to drop everything and cast on? Well, this is one of those, so we did. There’s currently five of these gorgeous jumpers either finished or in progress among our staff, and we reckon there’s going to be a lot more.

It’s called Il Grande Favorito, and it’s the softest, comfiest thing you can imagine. It’s fast and easy, knitted from the top down with a touch of short row shaping on the back. The garter stitch front contrasts so elegantly with the plain stocking stitch back and sleeves.

It’s designed for sportweight, so Lisa hit on the excellent plan of combining Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (dozens of colours, from dramatic to pastel) with a toning shade of Fyberspates Cumulus, holding a strand of each together all the way through. As you can see, the result is a fabric that’s both substantial and hazy:

No surprise, then, that this has become our favourite thing, and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if it became one of ours too!

That’s part of a Snawheid. It’s a Kate Davies design, so of course the pattern is gorgeous, but this hat here? It’s just a bit…meh. It’s made with Navia Duo, which is lovely yarn and ideal for the job, and the stranded colourwork is very nicely done. Meh. Mustard and grey is a classic combination. Whatever: meh.

But this unfortunate hat is a perfect excuse for learning a little about how colour works. One of the things that distinguish colours is how far from white and black they are. It’s called colour value. And if we’re presented with two things of different colours and they have the same value, our brain notices and mutters “They’re the same!” And in this case, the knitter’s brain adds “That’s a boring hat!”

Happily, there’s a really easy way to avoid this which saves you time and money, and we were reminded of it by bioniclaura this week.

If you convert a colour picture to greyscale, you can see the values very clearly. So we did this with the picture at the top of the post, and here’s the result:

The stranded colourwork vanishes completely. That’s why this hat is uninteresting. Your brain notices that there’s no value difference.

Of course, it would have been good (and would have saved time!) to check this before starting. Well, here’s a picture of the two balls of Navia:

Converted to greyscale, that image looks like this, and you can tell it’s not going to end well:

Any digital camera will have a “monochrome” or a “black and white” setting, and so do most cameraphones – if you don’t know where to find this, a quick look in your manual will help. Click over to that setting when you’re choosing your yarn for colourwork and then snap a picture of your options. If they look like a good pairing when you subtract the colour, then you’re on the right path, regardless of the type of colourwork you’re planning.

Here’s a couple of examples. Here’s a likely-looking pair of yarns, both Malabrigo Rastita:

Changed to greyscale in the camera, this is the result, and it really does look promising, doesn’t it?

And ta da! here’s the finished product, a glorious Epistropheid hat!

Given the black and white treatment, you can see why this works so well – the colour values are deliciously distinct. Happy brain, happy knitter!

If you’re interested in reading more about colour theory in knitting, Knitty magazine has an excellent article here. Thanks again to Laura for inspiring this post!

By the way, this Epistropheid is now sporting a fake fur pompom from the new stock that we promised you last week, and Jacqui can’t be persuaded to take it off!

With storms and snow still the order of the day, it’s perfect weather for showing off warm and cosy woollen things, and here’s one of the best, shown here by our newest knitwear model. This adorable little jumper is called Anders. It’s knitted seamlessly from the top down and it’s sized from three months to two years.

It’s got a buttoned placket so it’s easy to get on and off small wriggling people, and the colourwork is easy as pie. It’s designed for sportweight, so Lisa chose Malabrigo Rastita. A slightly felted single, it’s wonderfully warm, and just look at the colours!

And as you can see, Anders is the very best thing to wear if you’re going exploring at this time of year.

If we had our way, there’d be pompoms on pretty much everything! There’s two of them, adding extra dotiness to our Candy Floss Baby Booties (ahhhh!)

We put a jaunty one on our Thistle hat, of course. Pompoms like this are great for using up the remainder of a ball of wool, too, and they even have a practical purpose: if it’s snowing, the bobbing around of the pompom stops snow settling on top of your head!

Pompoms are terrifically easy to make. You can use circles cut out of cardboard (Vogue Knitting has a great photo tutorial at this link). An even easier, and more robust, option is a pompom maker like our Clover ones – you can see how they work on Clover’s video here.

Looking for a quick way to make teenytiny pompoms like the Candy Floss ones? Well, the incredibly clever Eskimimi’s got this covered over on her blog: hint! there’s cutlery involved!

But pompoms don’t have to be made out of yarn, either. Jen’s Epistropheid – the very one we featured in Tuesday’s colourwork post – just wouldn’t be the same without its great big funfur pompom! We have these in stock in red and white at the moment, but there’s a big delivery due in the next couple of days with lots and lots more!

Finally, if you find yourself needing to make a lot of pompoms in a hurry, here’s a video we found just for you! Garlands of pompons filling the house? Why not?

We’d love to hear what you’re putting pompoms on – let us know in the comments below!

It’s early days, but 2015 is looking like a Big Year for colourwork! It all started with Kate Davies’ adorable Epistropheid. There’s been a wee outbreak of them among our customers, and we’re jumping on that bandwagon with glee! Stranded colourwork is easy, fun to work and, best of all right now, so warm!

Epistropheid is very fast to work, and it’s such a good introduction to stranded colourwork. It’s designed for DK, and some of our first-time colourworkers have had it started and finished within thirty six hours!

Another splendid choice for your first stranded colourwork is the Easy Ombre Slouch, which was one of our most popular gift kits over Christmas.

There’s plenty of resources online to help you with stranded colourwork too, and a very good place to start is Stranded, the stranded colourwork group on Ravelry.

If you’re looking for a group to embark on colourwork with, then we hear that the Brooks Hotel knitting group is starting a colourwork Knit-Along this coming Thursday. You can work any colourwork pattern you like, but several people are starting the amazing Sanquhar Cowl. There’s details here.

And if you fancy learning colourwork in one of our classes, the next one is coming up on the 28th of February, and you can nab your place at this link.

This beautiful cardigan is one of the most admired garments in the shop, so we thought we’d share it with you all. It’s called Laar and it’s a design by the incredibly talented Gudrun Johnston.

Jacqui knitted it in Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace: gorgeous saturated colours, excellent yardage. She made the fourth size from less an a single skein, and found it generously sized (in fact, she says she’s thinking of making another and going down a size).

Laar is knittd from the bottom up, starting with a sweet little picot cast on. The body is worked in one piece and the sleeves are picked up and worked downwards, so there’s no sewing up to do at all. The lace on the bodice is a very simple repeat, though it looks much more intricate.

This is a project to take your time over and enjoy, so it would be perfect for holiday knitting (in front of the fire with a mince pie or two would be ideal). If you’re looking for fast gift knitting, though, we’ve got the very thing. Laar is accessorized above with Louisa Harding’s Vera, the simplest fur collar possible.

This little gem takes just one ball of Luzia, and you can make it in an evening. You’ll find the pattern, along with fifteen others, in the Luzia pattern book. As an emergency party accessory, or as a last minute gift, it’s perfect! And just look at those fun colours!

Finally, have you entered our Bake Knit Sew competition? We’re taking entries until midnight tonight! Just leave a comment over on that post, telling us what you’d like to knit and to bake from the book, and you’re in! The lucky winner will be announced on Friday, so stay tuned!

Last year, our Marin kit was one of your favourites, so we’re delighted to offer it again this year. Ysolda’s clever design is a joy to work: interesting enough to keep the knitter engaged, but straightforward enough to let you relax.

The result is simply lovely and unfussy, and the yarn really shines through. Once more, we’re offering the kit in Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply. It’s delicious to work with and comes in gorgeous saturated colours.

And we’ve got Marin all wrapped up with a bow for you, in a sweet little kit containing the yarn and the pattern. It’s the most elegant gift a knitter could receive!

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!

It’s present season!

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?

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