Did anyone else feel like 2019 was a total whirlwind? I can't quite believe that - not only is the year coming to an end - but the decade is too! Way back in 2011 is when we moved into the shop's current home in Powerscourt Townhouse and since then each year flown by quicker than the last.
Over the years we've seen customers become successful yarn shop owners, designers and writers, and we've celebrated all of your successes from right here on the shop floor. We know from all the comments and emails that This is Knit means more to you than just our physical location - so before we dive into the whirlwind of 2019 and all that you lot 'encouraged' us to do - we want to thank you for all of your support, visits to the shop, ninja hugs, baked goods (this should be encouraged) and, of course, your custom.
Without the support from all of you This is Knit couldn't be what it is today.
*Clears throat* 2019 has been quite a year. For those of you who are wondering how decisions get made here in the shop... Well, let's take a look at some of the highlights of the year and who's responsible for each shall we?
January saw the start of the New Year, and for some reason, we thought it was a great idea to do a show really close to the Holidays... and in the United States! Just look at how excited, happy, and (ahem) naive we were!
Vogue Knitting Live was an exhilarating experience from stock management and delivery, to vending and to catching up with all of you. VKL was the brainchild of Lisa, with a push from Jenny who *really* wanted to visit VKL (keep reading you'll notice a trend throughout 2019 here).
We saw stock lost in transit, had "fun" with customs, and a mad-cap round trip dash to the DHL Depot in JFK. It all came together just at that last minute, thanks in no small part to the help of some wonderful festival attendees. They helped us get our stand set up just in time for opening, showing us that the fibre community is global in its kindness.
VKL was also the first showing of staff member Eimear Early's design Kylemore Wrap. We couldn't have been more proud of her, and 2019 has seen her design career go from strength to strength. Keep an eye on this lady - we know she's got lots more up her sleeve for 2020.
One of the highlights of 2019 was the interest all of you had in all of the staff that brings This is Knit to life, both virtually and on the shop floor. Between the February introductions and the This is Knit Vlog we hope that you have enjoyed getting to know all of us throughout the year.
You can catch up with the introductions on our Instagram and with all of the This is Knit Vlogs here. Nadia talked and talked (and pestered some more), until we agreed to do the Vlogs, but I'm glad that we did and that all of you joined us in the comments to cheer on our WIPs and finished objects. If there is anything that you would like to see on the Vlog then add a comment at the end of the post, we love the challenges, prompts and conversations!
I bet you're wondering what could top a global yarn show and swallowing our fear and stepping in front of the camera? Well how about a national TV spot... LIVE!?!
In case you didn't notice, when we get a little scared we make Lisa do *all the things* - and this was no exception. Lisa's knowledge of the yarn industry, coupled with her knowledge of Aran Knitting is something that needs to be shared. We couldn't have been more delighted to watch her on the Today Show with Maura and Daithi, chatting about Vawn Corrigan's book Aran Knitting: History, Knitting, Fashion. You can read all about it here.
2019 saw the addition of new mascots to This is Knit. Now, those of you who have been with us from the beginning know just how important our mascots are to us. Jose and Don Jose (our shop Alpacas) are still with us and throwing some side-eye from time to time.
Staff Member Joy added Ser Woollinn and Ser Flamalot to the crew. They add character and charm to the shop and we are considering them having their own IG account... If you think you can handle these gnomes you can find the pattern by Sarah Schira on Ravelry here.
The Woollinn Make Along was launched in April, which saw LB Handknits and Aoibhe Ni come together to create two beautiful designs that could be knit in the same two Irish yarns. There were chats, fun and tutorials shared in our Ravelry group and the group shot below is one that brings tears to our eyes - tears of joy at the number of you who showed off your makes at Woollinn 2019.
Community is at the heart of what we do, and just look at these happy faces below. For some, this was their first garment and it was the community support that gave them the push and the confidence to cast on.
Amid the fun and frolics of the Make Along, we stole the wonderful Aoibhe Ni from her Yarn Towers HQ and gave her the reigns here in This is Knit. Aoibhe packed up her infamous suitcase with samples and yarn and (with the help of Nadia behind the scenes), she took over This is Knit's Instagram for the day and didn't all of you have fun! Our DMs were hopping!
For those of you who missed it, you can catch up on our Instagram and IG TV by starting with this post. Aoibhe has Tunisian crochet tutorials, answers your crochet questions, demonstrates the Irish pronunciation for many of her pattern names and takes a look at some of the crochet myths around yarn used in crochet. We are looking forward to some more takeovers in 2020. Is there anyone you would like to see on our shop floor? Let us know in the comments below.
I can't quite pinpoint the moment that Woollinn was born, but one of my favourite memories is standing on the This is Knit shop floor with Jenny and Lisa, while Lisa tried to convince us that the festival would be small and relaxed. It's not often that Lisa is wrong, so Jenny and I really enjoyed the "I told you so" moments as Woollinn 2019 kicked off with two huge marketplace spaces and 64 vendors!
So much happened over that weekend in June that it could be a who post in itself, so catch up on the whole backstory over on Woollinn.com. The festival couldn't happen without all of you, and the vendors, teachers and makers who all came together to celebrate and experience a yarn festival here in Ireland. Watch this space - 2020 is going to be epic!
Fresh and barely rested from Woollinn, we saw the first of two launches from Irish Designer Carol Feller. Carol joined us for the launch of Nua Worsted and started off by introducing us all to some fabulous designs and the fresh new colours. Intimate gatherings are what we love, it gives us time to meet all of you, answer all of your questions and also gives you time to browse and chat with our special guests.
In fact, you all love our special guests so much that we had to have not one but two sessions at our launches. Our second launch with Carol was for her collaborative book Cosy Knits. We love celebrating achievements, and this book had two staff members involved in the project (Eimear and Nadia). We finally got to hear Eimear speak about her designs right here in This is Knit. The wonderful Jimenez Joseph (@jimiknits) also joined us as a special guest to talk about her design journey and about her shawl Terrain. This was a special "squee" moment for us, as we have wanted to meet Jimi since our This is Knit Chicane KAL back in 2015.
2019 featured many enjoyable workshops for Knitting Tours. To all of you who joined us in 2019: THANK YOU. It was so much fun getting to meet you all, in between the whirlwind of our workshops and your travels around Ireland. We love meeting people from all over the world and seeing your beautiful finished knits. We hope that we can all stay in touch in 2020.
We are getting close to the end of 2019 but one of the things that you can never see coming is a spontaneous knit along. Once in a while a pattern comes out that has our staff and customers all buzzing. Soon enough we are talking yarn, colour combinations and potential modifications. Before you know it we've given a home to the projects in the form of a knit-along in our Ravelry group, strapped Jenny to the dye pots for more yarn and special colourways, and we've put together some yummy prizes for that final home stretch of sleeve island.
The pattern was, of course, The Love Note Sweater by Tin Can Knits. Each year when our community comes together in this way we all learn new techniques and get inspired by each other's yarn combinations. This knit-along also saw one of our long term customers knit and complete her very first sweater. Congratulations Jen! (And if you're wondering, she has gone on to knit a second garment too!)
On a serious note as a small business, we try to support or highlight other charities and causes throughout the year. From those chosen as charities/speakers for Woollinn, to fundraisers within our community. This year funds were raised for the NASC and the Immigrant Council of Ireland (via Eimear's Fána pattern fundraiser), Cooking for Freedom and Revived Yarn (via Woollinn) and we haven't finished yet.
We're currently running "Weaving Together", a project to raise funds for Doras and Cooking for Freedom. We hope you'll join in and try your hand at weaving, while creating community scarves that will be raffled among everyone who donates to the GoFundMe page here.
In December, from the 24th until the 31st we will be taking part in the Knitters Against Malariacampaign, and we hope that you will too. We know that knitters can change the world we live in and we are proud to take a small part in it. It's the small, everyday actions that create change and we can make a difference.
Thank you for being a part of all our adventures over the past twelve months. We're consistently blown away by the kindness and support that is shared with us in the shop, online and at shows. It's always a pleasure to get to know you, and we can't wait to share more adventures together as the new decade dawns.
Let's keep helping each other to try new things, to take leaps of faith, and to build a stronger community every day. Wishing you a wonderful festive break from all of us here at This is Knit x