December in This is Knit is magical… with the lights from the Powerscourt Townhouse twinkling in the windows, to the smell of the freshly baked mince pies wafting in from the Pepper Pot. The festive cheer is really catching, so we’re in great spirits and I hope you are too. Today we’re taking some time to slow down a little, grab one of those mince pies (certainly not for the first or last time this year…) and share the highlights of 2018 with all of you.
Vogue Knitting Live NY
Waaaaaay back in January Jenny and I went to New York to visit Vogue Knitting Live (the rest of the team claim they weren’t jealous at all!) If you followed our Instagram adventures you would have seen some exciting posts that included appearances by Stephen West, Bristol Ivy, Andrea Mowry and more. In all our excitement, and with the benefit of the hotel wi-fi, we even hosted a quick live update on Instagram Stories to give you all a taste of this incredible event.
With temperatures to falling to -14c at one point, there was plenty of opportunity to appreciate the rather luscious knitwear on display going in and out of the venue. We were certainly glad of the layers we packed ourselves! If you are wondering that is Jenny’s Doodler and I’m wearing Encircle and Féile.
We had such a good time this year that, in just a few short weeks, we are going back as exhibitors!
The first of our special guest workshops in 2018 was with the very talented Felicity Ford (aka Knitsonik). Felicity took our students on a day-long adventure in colour work. Our very own Eimear took part in the class and wrote a wonderful blog post sharing the day in detail and you can read it here. These workshops were so popular that we simply had to invite Felicity back to be part of our Woollinn Tutor lineup in 2019. Felicity will be teaching Quotidian Colourwork, Colours of Flowers and Colours of Dublin: all using her Knitsonik method to produce unique colourwork designs, inspired by the world around us.
Which very neatly brings us to our favourite highlight of 2018 – Woollinn! When we were making the initial plans for the first Woollinn we envisaged a small to medium sized event, centred around a mutual love of yarn and some of the incredible producers we have here in Ireland. However, in the first few months of planning it became clear that we had a much bigger festival on our hands! It wasn’t long before the marketplace grew, the workshop and event programme expanded, and the number of people working furiously behind the scenes increased…
We’re very proud of all that was achieved by our team that weekend. We really couldn’t have done it without the hard work and dedication of so many people, from our staff here in This is Knit to the fabulous group of volunteers who shared their time and positive energy with at the venue. In one short weekend in May we celebrated our wonderful community and you joined us in cementing old friendships as well as forming new ones.
It’s impossible to think about Woollinn without getting a touch emotional, if I’m honest, so if you want to make a cuppa and pop on over to Woollinn 2018 in Pictures then you can take a little walk down memory lane with us (or get an idea of what’s in store for the bigger (yep, we’ve gone bigger again) Woollinn 2019).
Echoes of Heather and Stone Book Launch
We were delighted to host the book launch of Echoes of Heather and Stone by Carol Feller back in September. There was a fantastic turn out for this event and a lot of “oohing” and “aahing” over the stunning samples Carol brought along. We were treated to a behind-the-scenes account of the book from Carol and we had the opportunity to try on the finished designs from Karie Westermann, Lucy Hague, Isabell Kraemer, WoollyWormhead, Jennifer Wood, Amanda Schwabe and Justyna Lorkowska.
To top it all off, it was Carol’s birthday that weekend, so we all got to enjoy some rather delicious chocolate cake too!
Carol Feller’s Nua yarn has been a firm favourite here at This is Knit since its launch. We still have some of the beautiful samples from Echoes of Heather and Stone on display and I’m even hoping to have a completed cardigan to share with you all after the Christmas break! (It’s one I’ve been knitting since July, so it’s really time to get that last half a sleeve sorted… )
Townhouse Yarns – The Studio
Another huge milestone in 2018 was the opening of Jenny’s own studio for Townhouse Yarns. The existing dyeing quarters had been bursting at the seams for a while and we’d been on the hunt for a new location for several months. As you can see, the new “digs” are gorgeous – with a spacious dye kitchen, a drying room, an office and a space for storing the finished yarn that’s also suitable for welcoming groups. In fact, Jenny just had her first Studio Open Weekend at the start of December, and we can see many more taking place in 2019!
We’re so proud of what Jenny has achieved in just a few short years and we know that it’s onwards and upwards from here!
Cashmere & Cava
In October one of our very favourite people from the knitting universe came back to the shop for an wondering evening of Cashmere and Cava. Louisa Harding is now at the helm of her own Yarntelier range of pure cashmere yarns. It was an absolute treat to host Louisa again and to learn more about this exclusive product line, produced by a small mill in Yorkshire that is just a stone’s throw from where Louisa and her family live.
Not only could we sample the yarn itself (Louisa brought along the sweetest taster-size balls of every colour from range), but we could aslo bedeck ourselves in the most beautiful creations from this light and luxurious fibre. Louisa’s use of lace and beads makes the most of this precious cashmere – we can’t wait to see the new collections for 2019!
In November we went a little crazy and took on exhibiting at two overseas shows, two weeks apart. They were both whirlwind weekends, full of the intoxicating yarn fumes and magnificent people! I may still be recovering… 😉
First up was Yarnporium in Central London where (despite some significant challenges with most of our stock being MIA) we had a wonderful time as vendors. The festival took place in the simply breathtaking Westminster Central Hall, which proved to be a magnificent backdrop for some adventures in knitwear photography. I was lucky enough to take a class with Jonna Hietala and Sini Ellen of Laine magazine and what an incredible opportunity it was!
Thank you to everyone who made us feel so welcome in London, and to Joy for playing a blinder holding down the stand while I gallivanted off on a regular basis!
Next stop was Barcelona Knits, for a weekend of great food, wonderful company and dash of Drag Queen Bingo thrown in for good measure! As we were exhibiting as Townhouse Yarns, I thought I would hand over to Jenny for the brief recap of our trip:
We put Lisa’s Spanish speaking to the test on a trip to the inaugural BarcelonaKnits festival. A small but mighty show that was jam packed with amazing vendors and visitors alike. The rain may have been pouring but it didn’t dampen spirits as crowds made their way around the venue. It was a great experience from start to finish and we loved meeting so many crafters from around Europe. Poble Sec is a beautiful area and we enjoyed walking the streets and sampling the local tapas, pintxos and wine! We’d love to return in 2019…
Maureen made the trip with us this time, but she is surprisingly adept at avoiding the camera! She stuck with us through the long trading hours, the torrential rain and the many (many) flights of stairs. Thank you Maureen x
What a year…
So, there we have it, an incredible year full of amazing firsts and exciting new ventures. Yes, there’s been yarn, and *a lot* of it. But, looking at our algorithm-generated Instagram Top Nine posts, do you know what I’m so glad to see?
The people, front and centre. Because, more than anything else, I’ll remember this year for them. For our incredible team at TIK, those working the floor daily and those lending a supportive hand from home. For the tutors at our Stitch Sessions and those who help out when we host visiting tour groups. For the industry colleagues that have collaborated with and supported us throughout the year. For the sample knitters whose talents seem to know no bounds. For those phenomenal Woollinn volunteers…
And for you.
Thank you for being part of our 2018 story. We hope you are looking forward to a quiet break before moving on in to 2019.
And, folks, what a 2019 we have in store!