A tourist’s guide to yarn shops in Dublin

I was doing some reasearch recently on yarn shops in New York and came across this great post written by a New Yorker about the yarn shops in her area. It gave me the idea to write this post as a guide for tourists to yarn shops in Dublin, written by a Dubliner.

When I’m abroad I love to visit local yarn shops and pick myself up a few treats, especially if it’s yarn that I can’t get at home. And who better to give you the low-down on local yarn shops but a local! So, in alphabetical order, here are some of my of my favourite Dublin yarn shops. You can read more about my yarn shopping in New York here.

(Top tip: If you are resident outside the EU you may be able to avail of Tax-Free shopping for tourists. You can ask for a tax refund docket in-store, This Is Knit and Springwools both told me they have them available, and I’m sure other shops will too.)

The Constant Knitter

88 Francis Street, Dublin 8. Phone 087 996 7197

ConstantKnitterThe Constant Knitter has been trading online for as long as I’ve been knitting and much longer, but Rosemary opened her first bricks and mortar shop in January 2012. The shop is located on Francis Street, in the heart of the Antiques Quarter of Dublin. It’s a few minutes walk from St Stephen’s Green so very easy to work into your sight seeing schedule. The Constant Knitter stocks a huge range of yarns, from affordable everyday yarns to the more luxury yarns.

If, like me, you like to buy some souvenir local yarns The Constant Knitter stocks Studio Donegal Soft Merino and Studio Donegal Tweed as well as Cushendale Mohair and Cushendale DK. If you’re looking for a really unique treat Rosemary also stocks Smudge Yarns laceweight merino, which is dyed especially for the shop.

And if you give Rosemary enough notice, groups are welcome to while away the afternoon upstairs in the beautiful, large and bright studio, stitching and drinking tea.

This Is Knit

Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin 2. Phone (01) 670 9981

ThisIsKnit

I have to admit that this is my favourite yarn shop and the one where I shop most often. This Is Knit is run by a mother and daughter team, Lisa and Jacqui, and all the staff are extremely friendly and very helpful. The shop is located right in the centre of Dublin, just off Grafton Street, the main shopping area on Dublin’s southside. The yarns they stock are on the more expensive side of things, but they stock the most beautiful luxury yarns so I don’t mind paying for them. If you’re looking for a really special treat to bring home with you then this is the shop for you. And they also stock more everyday yarns too that won’t break the budget.

If you’re looking for something Irish to bring home with you This Is Knit stock Studio Donegal Aran Tweed, Soft Donegal and Homespun. And for a really special treat they stock Dublin Dye Company YarnsHedgehog Fibres and my favourite personal Coolree Yarns. All three are Indie dyers from different parts of Ireland.

In terms of non-yarny treats they also stock Lizzy C brooches and keyrings, Carol Feller books and patterns, handmade stitch markers by Maria and locally handmade ceramic buttons.

Springwools

6 Olde Sawmills, Dublin 12. Phone (01) 450 9134

SpringwoolsWhen I was a kid I would go to Springwools with my mum and would spend hours looking at the patterns, yarns and buttons. Hmm, I guess maybe that’s where my love of colours and textures came from, even though I only started knitting again a few years ago. Their shop is in the suburbs, so probably not the easiest to find for tourists, but they have good directions on their website.

I freely admit that I am a complete yarn snob, that’s no secret. And as such I don’t buy much yarn anymore in Springwools, but it’s my mum’s favourite shop. They stock a huge range of baby wools and everyday yarns. In terms of Irish products, they also carry a large range of Studio Donegal yarns – Aran Tweed 50g balls; Soft Donegal hanks and a variety of Donegal Yarns in 1kg and 2kg cones – as well as Cushendale Mohair Boucle. Springwools also told me they’re currently expanding their Irish yarns selection, and will have a really comprehensive selection of Irish brands and Irish-made yarns and products available soon.

Springwools also offers a mail service for tourists and out-of-towners who visit the shop. They will parcel up and mail products bought in-store to your home address, at special low prices.

Winnie’s Wool Wagon and Craft Cafe

3 Woodbine Park, Blackrock, Co. Dublin. Phone (01) 260 3734

WinniesWinnie’s Craft Cafe opened in 2010 and is a gorgeous yarn shop and cafe located on the southside of Dublin, near UCD college. It’s not on the usual tourist routes, but I think the cafe would make a great pit-stop in your sight seeing schedule. They stock a great range of yarns that won’t break the bank and the staff have been really friendly any time I’ve been there. They also stock a range of other craft materials, including beads and buttons.

In terms of Irish yarns Winnie’s stocks Cushendale Boucle, Studio Donegal Aran and Aran Soft and at the time of writing they were awaiting the arrival of Kerry Aran in an array of colours. They try to stock Irish suppliers where possible, both in the shop and the cafe and you can pick some cute Irish gifts like Lizzy C sheep brooches and shawl pins from Kieran Cunningham.

In the cafe they have a range of Irish cake, chocolate and ice cream suppliers who are small businesses themselves, Caryna’s Cakes, Chocolate Garden of Ireland, Tipperary Organic Ice Cream and The Cake and Crumb being just a few.

Other Yarn Shops

There are other yarn shops in Dublin that I have never been to so I’m not in a position to review them, but they might be close to where you’re staying (also in alphabetical order).

If I have forgotten any shops please let me know in the comments so I can add to the list. And for any tourists reading, please let me know if there is anything else you want to know or if you found my guide useful.

Clue 2

Just a quick post today…

IrishArrowKAL 001I finished Clue 2 of the Follow Your Arrow KAL during the week. I chose to do the lace pattern (clue 2A) on top of the kite shape (clue 1A). I’m not sure yet how I feel about my shawl. It’s interesting, but I’m not sure I’m in love with it yet. I love knitting lace, and I love complicated, mind-bending lace. This was pretty simple for me I have to admit, even a bit boring. I decided against the short rows because (after sneaking a peak at the Spoiler thread on Ravelry) I didn’t really like the shape it created.

IrishArrowKAL 009What I do really love about the KAL is seeing how different all the shawls are turning out. I’m pleasantly surprised at how different each option is. I guess I wasn’t expecting that. Each option creates a completely different shape.

I’ve had the quickest look at Clue 3 this morning and both options are lace, which makes me excited. I’ll probably have  a sneak at the spoiler thread though before I decide which option I’m going with. It turns out I’m not as comfortable with the whole ‘mystery’ aspect as I thought I would be.

A rare review

A few months ago I bought a Gleener Pill Remover from my LYS to remove pills from my knitwear. Last September I know a pair of mittens and a hat in Louisa Harding Akiko.

BerryHat 030The merino wool and alpaca blend was lovely to knit with and lovely to wear, but the mittens in particular have been getting a lot of wear and have developed a bit of a – halo. They’re also a bit felted in spots which I really like. But the fuzz I don’t like quite so much.

Mittens for blogGleener to the rescue! This is the second time I’ve had to clean my gloves up. The gleener is easy to use and takes all the fuzz off my gloves and hat. I’ve used it on some of my shop-bought knitwear too and it does a good job at getting rid of the pills. And while they’re not as good as new, they’re not bad either, I hope you’ll agree.

#IrishArrowKAL

We’re one week into the Follow Your Arrow KAL and I have literally just finished clue 1 as clue 2 was released this morning. By the way the hashtag in the title is the hastag the Irish knitters are using on Twitter for the KAL. I had planned on being very good and not peeking at any spoilers before I started but that went pretty much straight out the window. Clue 1A is a kite shape, with clue 1B being semi-circular. I opted for A because it was something new to me, while I already have some semi-circular shaped shawls.

IrisharrowKAL 014I’m trying to blend two yarns so I’m doing the colour changes as written. You can kind of see the stripes in the picture above but I don’t think you’ll see it from a distance.

On to clue 2, the first option (A) involves lace and option B involves short rows. I’ve taken a peak at the spoilers again and I think I’m going to do the lace. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more time for knitting this week and I’ll get finished the clue in plenty of time.

A beautiful yarn bowl

This yarn bowl was hand turned by my father-in-law for my mum’s birthday. Isn’t it a thing of beauty?

Yarn bowl 004My father-in-law started wood turning, maybe 5 years ago. At some point after I started knitting I spotted some ceramic yarn bowls online and I asked if he could try to make one out of wood for me. He kindly obliged and I use my yarn bowl almost daily (when it’s not full of other balls of yarn and notions). I absolutely love my yarn bowl, my yarn doesn’t bounce all over the floor and when I’m finished knitting I can just pop the project into the bowl until it’s time to pick it up again.

Yarn bowl 022 Yarn bowl 021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With my mum’s birthday coming up I asked my father-in-law to make a yarn bowl for my mum. And he really surpassed himself this time. This bowl is a piece of art and I have to admit, as much as I love my own yarn bowl, I now have serious yarn bowl envy.

Yarn bowl 030The rest of this post is really just an excuse to share more photos of this exquisite bowl.

Yarn bowl 040

A New Year Knit-A-Long

Happy New Year everyone and I hope you had a lovely Christmas. I had a wonderful two and a bit weeks off, eating and drinking and relaxing and eating and drinking some more. I spent some lovely evenings with my family and with my friends and I slept, a lot. It was wonderful.

Just before heading back to work there was some chatter on Twitter about a new mystery knit-a-long (KAL) run by Ysolda Teague. I really enjoyed last year’s Colour Affection KAL, it was fun to be working on the same project as my knitter friends, but I’m sceptical of mystery KALs. What if I don’t like the pattern? But the twist to this one is that for each of the five clues there are two options, making 32 different options, so I’m sure I’ll knit a shawl I’m happy with. And I know Ysolda’s patterns are really well written. So I gave into (the nice kind of) peer pressure and signed up for the KAL.

followyourarrow_square_medium2So with the pattern purchased it was time to turn to yarn options. The pattern requires 622m of fingering weight yarn, which means two skeins of most yarns. I bought some delicious Coolree merino/silk at the Knitting and Stitching show in a colour called Baltic. It’s a divine blue green depending on what light you look at it in, but there was no more of this colour on the Coolree website. So I headed into  This Is Knit today to look at some options.

HokusaiI ended up picking up some more Coolree merino/silk in a colour called Hokusai’s Wave, which I already had a skein of at home having ripped out my Renita shawl. But when I got home I realised that it’s actually the same as the Baltic rather than my other skein of Hokusai’s Wave, which I bought over a year ago now. So yay! I’m delighted because it really has the most amazing teals as well as blues in the yarn, it’s really beautiful. I won’t be at home in the daylight again until Saturday (goddamn you January) so the photo above is from the Coolree website. Even this photo doesn’t show off the beautiful teal-y blues of the yarn.

I’m really looking forward to casting on next Monday and I’ll try to keep my blog updated with my progress. Is anyone else joining the KAL? What yarn have you chosen?

Cute baby stuff

The title of this post is fairly self explanatory. I finally finished my  the bulk of my Christmas knitting and it only took me until January 2nd to get it all done. I didn’t even have that much to do but it seemed to take longer than I expected.

First up is a cardigan I began at the beginning of November. This was knit for a friend’s sister who had a baby at the end of November, but before I managed to finish it I was distracted by the Santa coat for Mia. I finally finished it last night. It seems quite small so I hope it will fit the little boy in question. The Baby Sophisticate cardigan wasn’t meant as a Christmas present, it just ended up that way. I love the collar on it, as the name suggests it looks so sophisticated.

Baby stuff 004Baby stuff 001The second project is a pair of mittens for a toddler. These were knit using leftovers from my own mittens and knit at a pretty tight gauge. I had hoped I’d have enough yarn left to do an icord string that could connect the two mittens but I barely had enough to finish the mittens themselves. They look so small and I really have no concept of how small a toddler’s hand is so, again, I really hope they fit.Baby stuff 019

Lastly is a hat for a newborn. I had seen this pattern on Ravelry many times, but wasn’t sure I liked this pattern until I saw it on a baby’s head. Then it looked so cosy and cute. The hat is designed using short rows to create the curved shape of the head. It’s really clever and very effective. It’s also designed to cover the ears and there are a few options for fastening it. I chose icord strings and I wasn’t mad about the button to the side option. It’s also really tiny but I got to see it on the recipient this afternoon and it fit her snugly. I’m not sure how long it will fit for, but she’ll be a super cosy baby while it does.Baby stuff 023Phew, after all that I’m knitting only for me for the whole of January at least.

Happy Christmas from CraftyTails!

Are you ready for this? The cuteness that is my gorgeous girl Mia in her new Christmas jumper (even if I do say so myself) ? Christmas jumper are *everywhere* this year so it’s only right that Mia has one of her very own. I intend on knitting one for Ollie too but he hates wearing clothes, absolutely hates it. Mia is such a little girl though, she loves dressing up.Santa Coat 009The pattern is from Debbie Bliss Fall/Winter 2013 magazine. The instant I saw the pattern I knew I was destined to make at least one of them. The yarn is Garnstudio DROPS Nepal that I bought at the Knitting and Stitching show from Winnie’s Wool Wagon. It was on sale and cost less than €2 per ball from memory. In the end I bought enough for about 4 coats I’d say, I ended up needing far less yarn that the pattern suggested, less than one ball of each colour for Mia’s coat (she’s a Yorkie/Chihuahua cross, so pretty small).

Santa Coat 020This pattern is great as it’s very easy to tailor to your own dog, I just had to keep measuring it against Mia as I was knitting. The cables felt like they were taking FOREVER, but in the end they add great stability around the neck, and also on the belt. You can barley see the cabling on the belt because it’s black but it’s a lot more structured than garter stitch would be. I love it, and Mia loves it. She gets so much attention when she’s wearing it and she loves that too.

Happy Christmas everyone!!

Icord jewellery

Necklaces 001*taps screen* Is there anyone out there? Hello? I know I haven’t been here for a while but I hope there are still a few people reading.

The last few week seem to have flown by and all of a sudden it’s nearly Christmas. As I’m currently working as a Library Intern and disposable income is somewhat scarce, I decided to put my thinking cap on and come up with a gift idea that would be economical, quick and easy but with a bit of a wow-factor.

Necklaces 004My LYS started stocking Embellish Knit which allows me to knit icord really quickly and an idea was born. I had already played with icord necklaces but I wanted to try something a bit more complex. I can’t claim this design as my own because I’m using tutorials written by someone else, but I would like to think I put my own spin on them.

Necklaces 009For the necklace I used a little under three metres of icord and this tutorial for a knotted necklace from Operation DIY. For the bracelet I used about a metre of icord and this tutorial for a knotted cord bracelet from Katrinshine, except that I used one continuous piece of cord rather than two separate pieces. Both necklace and bracelet are secured at the back using a crimp clasp with a lobster clasp. The teeth on the crimp clasps grip the yarn well and feel very secure. I then put a few stitches in the knots to hold them in place and buried the ends on the icord.

Necklaces 007I’ve experimented with different types of yarn and have discovered that not all work. I thought this would be a great way to use up ends of my precious Coolree fingering weight yarns, but alas the resulting icord is too slinky and won’t hold it’s shape. One yarn that works really well is Louisa Harding Orielle. I suspect the 3% Metallic Polymide gives a bit of extra stability (and a gorgeous sparkle to the jewellery too). The necklace and bracelets in the photos are knit in Ice.

I also had some Zettle Panda yarn from Lidl, which works well too. This yarn also had a lovely sheen to it, I have some deep pink and a lovely cornflower blue, but I think I’ll be picking some more up the next time my local Lidl have it in stock. Right, now I’m off to what feels like miles of icord to get all my Christmas presents made.

Are you doing any Christmas knitting? If so what have you chosen and why?

In Threes Take Two

Wow, I have really been neglecting my blog recently. I’m putting it down to having started an internship recently (more on that in a later blog post, if I get around to it). It’s also getting more wintery by the day here so trying to get daylight photographs is difficult, even on the weekends, gah.

In Threes Two 011But I’ve been knitting up a storm even if I haven’t been writing about my projects. At some point I’ll have three hats, a pair of mittens, another baby cardigan, a shawl that is destined to be ripped out any day now and some knitted jewellery to share with you. I also need a new notebook, but I want a pretty one so I’m working on an idea for that.

In Threes Two 013But today I have a baby cardie to share with you. This is the second time I’ve knitted this pattern and I’m still as much in love with it as the first version. There are no sleeves to be knitted, it’s top down and seamless and the button band is knitted as you go so once you’re finished, you’re finished. All I had to do was sew on these cute buttons and it’s ready to send off to the latest member of my extended family.

In Threes Two 015This is now officially my go-to pattern [In Threes by Kelly Herdrich], but I would love to know what baby pattern you find yourself knitting over and over again. Let me know in the comments!