Knitting in the Library

I wrote a guest blog post recently for my LYS This Is Knit about a feature I noticed on Ravelry. If you’re browsing knitting books on Ravelry you can now search WorldCat, a library catalogue aggregator, to see if any libraries need you have the book. In case you didn’t know I qualified as a librarian about a year ago. So this link was very intriguing to me.

Knitting in the Library

 

I’m not sure how many Irish public libraries have signed up to WorldCat, but Irish library users can search BorrowBooks.ie, and in some cases use inter-library loans to get a book sent from another library to their local library.

This is exactly why libraries exist – to give everyone equal access to information and education (and knitting patterns). […] If you are not a member of your local library then why not? You can find a full list on the Ask About Ireland website. Think of all the money you can save on knitting books that you can then spend on more yarn. See? Genius.

Now, off you go to read my original post on This Is Knit’s blog, then come back and let me know what you think.

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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.

A Yarny Hangover

Wow what a weekend. First up we had the Yarn Tasting at This Is Knit, my local yarn shop. This was their fourth yarn tasting and my third. A yarn tasting is a really cool event where we get to ‘taste’ all the new yarns in the shop.

Yarn Tasting SamplesOn the way in we were given a goody bag with a yarn key explaining the brand and name of each yarn, as well as the category, fibre composition, recommended needle size, ball weight, length and price. All very useful information. The evening was divided into three sections, first up the laceweight and 4plys, next up was the sport weight and double knits and finally aran weight and bulky yarns.

Little bags of yarny heaven. These samples are great for trying out the yarns before committing to buy anything, for knitting small swatches or just have a play with the new yarn lines. Or how about knitting some toys for the cats and kitttens at the DSPCA for Pawsitive Knits!!!

We also had a talk from Carol Feller aka Stolen Stitches and Ysolda Teague. Then it was back to the shop for nibbles, trying on samples and even more yarn.

On Saturday Ysolda was teaching a class on knitting ‘The Perfect Sweater’. I have yet to knit myself a jumper or cardigan. It’s the fear really, all that time and money and then what if you ended up with something you didn’t like or didn’t fit. So this seemed like a great class for me to take. And it was indeed great. I really, really enjoyed the day and learned so much.

Ysolda explained the different properties of different yarns and fibers and the pros and cons of each in terms of knitting a garment.  Aparently, superwash tends to grow quite a bit and therefore it’s not always the best option for a jumper.

Knitting swatchThen we talked about importance of swatching and swatching properly. This means knitting a 6×6 inch swatch, washing it, laying it out to dry AND then hanging it with a few pegs along the bottom to weight it a bit. This means you can measure how a yarn is going to behave with wear. Genius.

After lunch we talked about measuring yourself and how this combines with ‘ease’ to help choose the right size to knit. And lastly we looked at shaping and how to work with the pattern to add bust or waste shaping.

I actually feel confident enough to knit a cardigan for myself now and have chosen Carol Feller’s Ravi and am currently swatching with MillaMia (above, but not quite so PINK in person). And I’ll have Ysolda’s book Little Red In The City beside me if I need to reference it for extra help. I have a few more projects in my queue before I get to cast on for Ravi but I’m excited to be able to knit something like this for myself.

This Is Knit move house

Ok, this is a really quick post just to show off a few of the photos I took today when I popped into This Is Knit to see the new shop. The place looks amazing and the full of yarny goodness. The shop is flooded with gorgeous light coming in from the large windows.

The shop is split over two floors with books and a seating area upstairs with room for knitting classes. Downstairs the walls are lined with shelves full of yummy yarn. Don’t ask me what’s in any of the photos because I haven’t a clue, it really was a flying visit.

But there are buttons, which did make me actually squeal and yarny cards made my one of favourite photographers, Julie (and I’m not just saying that because she is shooting my wedding ;-))

This Is Knit is more than just a shop. Although it is a very successful shop. It seems to me to be the centre of a knitting community. There is nothing more special or important than people who are generous with their skills and knowledge. Because of this amazing community the skill and art of knitting will remain vibrant for years to come. They have really inspired me to push myself and my knitting ability and are always there when I falter to get me going again.

Oh and here is a gratuitous pic of little Mia.