Marvellous Mechita

We think all weeks should begin with project inspiration, so we’re sharing two beautiful staff knits today, both knit in “Mechita” from Malabrigo Yarns.

Emiliana by Lisa Hannes knit in Malabrigo Mechita

If you’re already familiar with Malabrigo Yarns then you will know they specialise in semi-solid and variegated shades, dyed on sumptuously soft merino bases. The Mechita line is a superwash merino, single spun, 4ply / fingering weight yarn and we have some stunning deep jewel tones on our shelves right now.

Emiliana by Lisa Hannes is the most popular project on Ravelry for this yarn, and it’s easy to see why. The shawl uses mosaic knitting to striking effect, especially when two highly contrasting shades are used, as is the case with our sample. Jacqui chose two rich, vibrant shades of Mechita that would contrast well to show the pattern clearly.  The result is an eye-catching, generously sized wrap in versatile colours for everyday wear.

We can’t take our eyes off the mosaic effect – it’s hard to believe that it’s achieved using only one colour per row. If you’d like to learn more about the technique (and maybe even design your own mosaic shawl) then check out the upcoming workshop Melanie Berg workshop on this very topic.

Fallston by Dee O'Keefe knit in Malabrigo Mechita

Our second project is a study of garter stitch and lace – Fallston by Dee O’Keefe. This time around there’s a deliberate interplay in the colour choices, with the predominantly purples and blues of “Whales Road”, occasionally lighting on teal and mirroring the lace section’s use of “Teal Feather”.

Maria found working with Mechita a pleasure, and is really pleased with both the drape of her finished shawl and how well the yarn blocked to show off the lace stitch patterns.  Or, in her own words:

“It’s sooo nommy!”

We can’t help but agree.

Do you have a favourite Malabrigo yarn? Or a favourite colourway from the Malabrigo range?

Playful Workshops for the Creative Community

You may have already heard that Kate O’Sullivan from “A Playful Day” is coming to This is Knit in May. Her workshops are now open for booking and, in today’s blog, we’re sharing a little background as to why that makes us very excited indeed!

Kate O'Sullivan of A Playful Day will teach 3 workshops at This is Knit on the 13th and 14th of May 2017

We were very lucky to celebrate our 10th year in business last year. Back in early 2006 “This is Knit” was but a twinkle in our eye: a vision of a vibrant space, filled with like-minded crafters, all squishing and coo-ing over a delicious ranges of top quality yarns. We are so fortunate to have made that dream a reality and we are keen to carry on building our business and to continue fostering the great sense of community that exists around the knitting and crochet scene in Ireland.

We’ve always been keen too, to support fellow creative businesses along the way. It’s an ethos that Kate O’Sullivan shares. She is a strong believer in the power of collaboration and community support and, by partnering with Kate this May, we hope to help bring all of *your* creative plans to life.

Would you like to launch a blog, a podcast, or grow your existing online audience? Do you own a creative business and would you like help telling your brand’s story online? Are you a budding knitwear designer or Etsy store owner?  Kate’s experience in journalism, blogging, copy-writing, product branding and social media and will help you stand out from the crowd.

Over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of May we have a trio of tempting workshops to choose from. Click on the images below to reserve your place, and remember that a 10% discount will automatically apply if you book to attend 2 or more of the sessions.

Promo for Discover Your Writing Style a Workshop by Kate O'Sullivan of A Playful Day at This is Knit in May 2017

Promo for Telling Your Story Online a Workshop by Kate O'Sullivan of A Playful Day at This is Knit in May 2017

Promo for Visual Story Telling - a Workshop by Kate O'Sullivan of A Playful Day at This is Knit in May 2017

Are you already a fan of Kate’s “Playful Day” podcast? Are you counting the days until May?

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.

 

 

 

Fireside Knitting

As the gift knitting season draws to a close, it’s traditional for us all to start planning our “selfish knitting” for the Christmas break. It’s finally time to curl up in a comfy chair by the fireside, cast on with some freshly wound yarn, and knit on that indulgent project just for you.

The Om Shawl in Malabrigo Rios worn as an oversized cowl neckwarmer

Personally I’ve been eyeing up Jenny’s Om Shawl since we photographed it a few week’s back. The vibrant colours, the clever design, the generous size and drape – all have been calling to me these past weeks.  Jenny knit her version in Malabrigo Rios, but I’d love to try one in with Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran too.

(c) Andrea Mowry - image shared on Ravelry

(c) Andrea Mowry – image from Ravelry

This versatile pattern can be worn so many ways: a shawl, a poncho, a wrap and a generously oversized cowl.  The designer even models the piece as a boxy cardigan, so the only limit appears to be your creativity (and origami skills!).

This design is also right on trend, mixing subtle stitch texture with striking colourwork. Jenny knit hers up fast, as the patterning at each end kept her interest. But she also appreciated the plain “vanilla” section of knitting in the middle – the ideal accompaniment for those box set binges! Jenny also has two top tips for anyone else planning their own Om Shawl:

  1. Choose lightweight buttons – as you don’t want them to drag on the edges of your piece.
  2. Use a smaller needle size then the pattern recommends. Jenny’s version was knit on 5.5mm needles. The suggested needle size of 6.5mm needles will produce a fabric that is too loose for many people.

I just have to decide now between these three gorgeous combinations.

Malabrigo Rios suggested colour combination for Om Shawl
Bright and Bold in Malabrigo Rios?
Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran suggested colour combination for Om Shawl
Muted and Cosy in Falkland Aran?
Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran suggested colour combination for Om Shawl
Classy with a pop of Teal in Falkland Aran?

Which bundle would you choose?  Whichever skeins end up coming home with me, I’m looking forward to a quick, fun and cosy knit to get me through the dark days of winter still to come.

The Om Shawl in Malabrigo Rios worn as a buttoned wrap.

And in the meantime I’ll just steal Jenny’s!

This is Knit Details of Christmas Holidays 2016

A Weekend of Shawls with Melanie Berg

We love a good shawl around these parts, and we know you all do too. So what’s an LYS to do? Well, how about scheduling an entire weekend of Shawl Workshops in April next year?

Title Image for Melanie Berg's Shawl Construction Workshop at This is Knit in Dublin on Sat 8th April 2017

We’ve invited the wonderfully talented Melanie Berg to Dublin, and she’ll be teaching three topics with us: Shawl Construction, Mosaic Shawls and Colourwork Shawls. It’s all happening over the weekend of the 8th and 9th of April and the spaces are filling up fast.

Melanie combines texture and colour into wearable modern designs that are both playful and beautiful. She enjoys matching cheeky stripes with elegant lace, and choosing unexpected colour combinations.  We love absolutely Melanie’s designs, so much so that it’s hard to choose just one favourite. So instead we’ll let the Ravelry ratings give you the run down!

Ravelry Screenshot of Melanie Berg's most popular patterns

You will automatically receive a 10% discount if your sign up for more than one of the weekend’s workshops, so you can really immerse yourself in all-things-shawl!  And if you happen upon this post and discover some of the sessions have been booked out, then we’d encourage you to add your name to the waiting list.  There’s always a chance of cancellations between now and April.

Have you ever knit any of Melanie’s designs? Or which ones are on your “wishlist”?

Finally we just have a small reminder that we will be closed for the Christmas Break from 5.30pm this Friday. We wish you all a lovely Christmas, full of cosy knitting time, gorgeous yarns and good company too.

This is Knit Details of Christmas Holidays 2016

Crafty Client Entertainment

We thought our readers might like a peek at something a little different that we did last week – a Client Entertainment “Mini Workshop” over at the stunning Radisson Blu Hotel.  It was an really fun event, with a wonderfully festive atmosphere. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone and we were delighted at their enthusiasm for the tasks too.

A yarn and bauble wreath photographed at the This is Knit Client Entertainment Workshop at the Radisson Blu Hotel

We had been challenged with coming up with a Christmas-themed craft activity.  The catch? It had to be completed in under 20 minutes, and we had to presume no previous experience of knitting or crochet.  It took a few trials, and we “cheated” a small bit with the advance preparation of materials, but our winner was these little woolly hat decorations.  Aren’t they the sweetest?

Woolly Hat Tree Decorations photographed at the This is Knit Client Entertainment Workshop at the Radisson Blu Hotel

We used Rico Melange Glitz yarn in a range of seasonal shades – the dash of glittery fibre really added that festive flair.  We then hot-glued on some sparkling embellishments and strung a little jingle bell on to each hanging loop as a fun finishing touch.  All told there were at least 40 of these made (some people came back to make a second, or even third) and we love the idea of these little decorations being spread among the trees of Dublin and beyond!

Thank you to everyone who came along and particularly to the lovely ladies at the Radisson Blu for planning such a wonderful event and for making us feel so welcome.

Yarn and craft materials ready at the This is Knit Client Entertainment Workshop at the Radisson Blu Hotel

Are you planning a corporate event or staff entertainment in 2017? We’d be delighted to work with you! Contact Lisa today for a proposal and quotation.

Beginner Beauties

As we had our adventurous knits last week, today is a good time to strike some balance and have a little peek at two of our favourite Beginner Knitting patterns.

You may be a regular reader of our blog, or you might just have stumbled upon this post when searching for a somewhere to start on your knitting journey.  Either way we have some very pretty projects to share with you – and both demonstrate that simple doesn’t have to mean “basic” or “boring” at all.

Bread and Buttoned Mitts in Rico Soft Merino Aran pictured with lots of buttons. Simple Fingerless Gloves pattern for beginner knitters.

Our “Bread and Buttoned” Mitts

It’s a common misconception that a first project for a new knitter should generally be a scarf. Don’t get us wrong – scarves are very good introductions to the world of knits and purls. However the more impatient among us can find them a bit same-y after a while and be eager to try to something new.  That’s where the Bread and Buttoned Mitts come in! They have all the same techniques that you’d learn in a scarf – cast on, knit and cast off – with the added bonus of just being 5-6 inches worth of knitting per mitt.

Bread and Buttoned Mitts in Rico Soft Merino Aran pictured with a Debbie Bliss Mug. Simple Fingerless Gloves pattern for beginner knitters.

You’ll have a pair of these mitts whipped up in no time, and will be an expert at the basics by then, because you will have done them all twice in a short space of time.  So the simplest of stitches is turned sideways, and then a bit of whimsical embellishment is added… the result? One happy new knitter with a funky new pair of fingerless gloves!

The Mistake Rib Scarf

So maybe after that you fancy a scarf after all? And why wouldn’t you, when you can throw in a fun new stitch pattern, and maybe try a new yarn now that you’re confident in your skills?

Mistake Rib Scarf pictured in front of the Powerscourt Townhouse. Knitted in Louisa Harding Trenzar. Simple scarf for beginner knitters.

We’ve been knitting Mistake Rib scarves for over a decade now, and they never fail to please. They are perfect as gift knits for men or women, and the broken rib stitch pattern works well with almost every yarn imaginable. This season we have chosen Louisa Harding Trenzar, for its subtle tweedy finish and for the warmth of its merino and alpaca base.  It’s a winning combination, and the end result certainly looks much more than the sum of its parts.

Mistake Rib Scarf pictured in front of the Powerscourt Townhouse. Knitted in Louisa Harding Trenzar. Simple scarf for beginner knitters.

So have we convinced you to give this knitting lark a try? Let us help you get started – our January knitting courses are booking now.

Or are you one of our regular readers? If so then remember that we offer beginner kits for both of these designs so that you can share your love of the craft this Christmas… Knitting is contagious – so pass the bug around!

Learning Curve – Two Shawls for the Adventurous Knitter

Are you ready for your next knitting adventure? Today we are featuring two elegant knitted shawls from among the fabulous selection on display in store. Both are suitable for the more adventurous knitters among you, and I think we’ll dive right in with the more challenging of our pair…

The Cypri Shawl by Amanda Scheuzgerin Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn. Draped over a chair.

The Cypri Shawl

This beauty is the work of Twist Collective designer Amanda Scheuzger, and comes from the needles of our own guru-of-shawls, Jacqui :)  Cypri is cast on at the bottom edge, and shaped with short rows to create a gently flowing crescent.  The travelling stitches are achieved with a slipped stitch technique, over a garter stitch background, with the instructions for these details given in charted form only.

The Cypri Shawl by Amanda Scheuzgerin Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn. An elegant knitted shawl.

Jacqui really enjoyed working on this project but she did confess to having to rip back on a few occasions.  Her advice?

“Switch off the television and focus 100% on the pattern. The instructions are very well written but some of the techniques may be unfamiliar, so keep an open mind.  The results are so worth the effort though!”

This version was worked in Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn, in colours that mimic the original design, but of course there’s lots colour combination inspiration to be had among the other finished projects on Ravelry.

So what do you think? Are you ready for the challenge? Or perhaps our next shawl, Holyrood, is more your cup of tea?

The Holyrood Shawl by Justyna Lorkowska in Townhouse Yarns Fade St 4ply. An elegant knitted shawl. Modelled.

Holyrood

Chevrons, eyelets, cables, stripes and ribs – Holyrood is a shawl that has it all.  In fact, this is a perfect learning project for someone looking to expand their stitching repertoire.  We’re a big fan of Justyna’s patterns here in the shop, and this design proved to be everything we’ve come to expect from her: clever, stylish and interesting to knit.

The yarn combination this time is two shades of Fade Street 4ply from our own Townhouse Yarns line – Rippleberry and Mustard Seed. And again there are oodles of inspiring combinations to browse through in the gallery of finished projects.

The Holyrood Shawl by Justyna Lorkowska in Fade St 4ply by Townhouse Yarns - Detail

While some patterns would have you plough through miles of garter stitch or stockinette just to get to the fun parts, Holyrood’s frequent change of stitch pattern can, almost counter-intuitively, lead to a faster end result.  It’s similar to knitting with self-striping yarns: you keep going just to see what’s coming next and then, all of a sudden, it’s done!

So there you have it, two elegant knitted shawls for the intermediate knitter, both tried and tested and guaranteed to give you warm fuzzy feelings of accomplishment when complete.  While each may pose their own learning curve, both will definitely provide hours of knitting fun.

Have we tempted you to push your knitting boundaries? Or are you working on your own challenging knits right now? We’d love to hear about them in the comments. :)

An Interview with Debbie Bliss

We were so thrilled to have Debbie Bliss join us recently for our 10 year anniversary party at This Is Knit. We got to hear about her creative process, her most recent yarns and patterns, and what we can expect in the coming new year. She was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions in this interview, for all of those who weren’t at the event, and want to know a bit more about this icon in the craft community!

Debbie Bliss and Louisa Harding Special Guests at the This is Knit 10th Anniversary Party

Firstly, we’d like to thank you so much for taking a few moments for an interview with us, it was such a pleasure hearing you speak at the This Is Knit Anniversary party!

It was an absolute pleasure to be invited to be part of your celebrations!

Q: What would you say is your main source of inspiration when designing a new yarn?

A: Normally I will see a yarn at Pitti Filatti, the trade show in Florence that I go to twice a year . If it is already perfect as with Lhasa, it will go into the ranges as it is but I may feel after swatching that a yarn can be improved by altering the blend. Or sometimes I will be approached by a company such as Laxtons, who introduced me to Falkland Aran, a beautiful pure wool from the Falkland Islands which is spun in Yorkshire.

Debbie Bliss holding her Falkland Aran Mood Board at the This is Knit 10th Anniversary Party

Q: Does your creative process often start with colourway or fibre choices?

A: When it is a book of designs rather single leaflets I will be looking at a collection that includes a variety of styles, different skill levels and a harmonizing colour palette.

Q: How much does modern fashion trends influence your design choices? Do you look more to current trends, or to the past for inspiration?

A: I love to research trends and keep up to date with current and future looks. This doesn’t mean that I will follow slavishly what is appearing on the catwalks but it interests me to see what shapes or textures are coming through and how I may want to interpret this in my own collections.

Q: Currently, what is your favourite trend in knitwear?

A: I love the way that ready to wear knits have adopted a very strong hand knit look, with textures traveling in different directions, vertical and horizontal cables for example, or a patchwork of texture.

Q: Your favourite fibre to work with?

A: At the moment I am really enjoying working with Lhasa, a cashmere/yak blend which is part of my Pure Bliss Collection. It is incredibly soft but still has great stitch definition.

Mixed Shades of Debbie Bliss Lhasa Yarn

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge you face when designing a new pattern?

A: I think it is trying to balance and incorporate all the elements that I think are important, style combined with wearability, creating silhouettes that are flattering to women, thinking about how the yarn behaves. All of this and then making sure that the design/pattern still works in all the sizes!

Q: What is your creative process for choosing colourways for a new yarn?

A: When it is a new yarn I am always lead by the “story” it tells me, a silk blend may call for bright vivid colours, or a soft cotton ice cream pastels.

Q: Which pattern would you say is an essential knit for babies/children?

A: A simple, classic cardigan.

Q: What is your earliest memory of knitting, and did you feel in that moment that you had found your calling?

A: My mother knitting me a school cardigan in a virulent bright blue. It came out before the start of every Autumn term and went straight back in the bag again after a few knitting sessions.

Q: If you were stranded on an island and you could only choose one yarn to take with you, which would it be? (If weather weren’t a factor)

A: My new Spring 2017 yarn Sita.

Q: If your dogs could speak, what would they divulge about your yarn stash and/or knitting habits?

A: They wouldn’t, they are very loyal!

Q: Currently, what is your favourite TV show to knit to?

A: The Vikings ( Netflix)

Q: And finally: do you have any hints as to what we can expect from Debbie Bliss in the coming year?

A: New downloadable toy patterns are launched this week in time for Xmas! A beautiful mako cotton/silk Spring yarn will arrive in shops in January and if knitters follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter I will keep them up to date on all our news!

Many thanks again to the lovely Debbie!

Warmth without the Weight

Oh Chunky Sweaters, how we yearn for them on days like these. So satisfying to knit, so cosy to snuggle in to, but so often such a drag (literally). You see, there has traditionally been a trade off for these quick-knitting beauties: weight.

We have seen Super Chunky sweater patterns that call for upwards of 2kg of yarn. And while those all-over cabled tunic-length garments are beautiful creations, they often sag and grow with time, turning into shadows of their former selves.

But fret not – we have two solutions for you today! Both sweaters are still quick to knit, and warm to wear, yet they each took less than 400 g of yarn. So you can have the best of both worlds: warmth without the weight and without the wait

Coda Sweater in Woolfolk Får Chunky Knitted Sweater

The Coda Sweater

While this is technically a worsted weight pattern, it falls in to this quick-knitting-and-cosy category due both to the fitted finish (less knitting) and to the incredibly warm yarn we chose for our shop sample: the simply divine Woolfolk Får. This sweater was worked up in less than 7 skeins (under 350g), so it’s very lightweight to wear, but the “chainette” construction of the yarn lends extra insulation to the garment. Rather than being spun in the traditional sense, chainette yarns are very fine knitted tubes in themselves.  These tubes or chains have lots of tiny air pockets that trap the wearer’s own body heat proving that, when it comes to wool and warmth, bigger is not always better. Very clever stuff indeed.

The pattern from is from Brooklyn Tweed and it has all the signature style and smart detailing that you would expect from this respected design collective.  We opted to stick with the three-quarter length sleeves as provided for in the pattern, but they could easily be lengthened for added warmth.

Il Grande Favorito in Rico Alpaca Blend Chunky Knitted Sweater

Il Grande Favorito

Aptly named, this pattern is a firm favourite among us all at This is Knit.  “Il Grande Favorito” is a top-down sweater with optional short row shaping at the lower back to create a flattering dipped hem.  The original pattern called for holding two strands of yarn together to get the correct tension, but we have happily discovered that Rico’s  Alpaca Blend Chunky is perfect for this design, just as it is.

While the chainette construction of Får kept things light in our first example, this time around it is blended nature of the yarn creating a “best of both worlds” scenario.  Alpaca Blend Chunky contains 50% natural fibres (alpaca & wool) and 50% acrylic, and this allows for a full sweater to be made with just 8 balls (400g for the 38 inch size).  So we get all the cosiness of natural fleece fibres, with the dash of practicality from a lighter weight synthetic and it all adds up to a stylish winter “must-have”.

Do you have a favourite Chunky Sweater pattern?

Or have we inspired you to make one of these two?

Don’t forget you can pop in to see these garments (and all our shop samples) any time!