Meet the New Arrivals!

Hello everyone!

Well, last week I promised you something new was coming… And today I’m excited to reveal that I’m now an Adriafil stockist!

Image borrowed from https://adriafil.com/

Adriafil is a fourth generation, family owned and operated Italian yarn producer, founded in 1911 by Paolo di Lorenzo. Originally based in the comune (municipality) of Mercatina Conca, the di Lorenzo’s first wool mill harnessed the power of the Conca river to spin fleeces from the many sheep farms in the surrounding area.

In the 1950s, Paolo’s sons Paolo, Alessandro and Giuseppe Di Lorenzo inherited the business, and in 1960 Paolo (jr) took the decision to expand further by moving the company to the eastern coast – first to Cattolica and subsequently to the city of Rimini. He also changed the name of the company to Adriafil, in keeping with their new home on the shores of the Adriatic Sea.

Today the Adriafil company is in the capable hands of its founder’s great-grandson, Alberto Di Lorenzo, who works alongside his wife Sabina Garampelli to produce high quality yarns that are entirely made in Italy. So with this kind of pedigree, it was pretty hard to resist adding some of their beautiful yarns to my own store! Let’s take a look, shall we?

Primosole

Primosole yarn colour range - Knit With Helen

I’m actually knitting something with this yarn right now! I couldn’t resist the soft texture and delicate fuzzy halo, and the combination of four different natural fibres makes this a great choice for knitwear projects that you’ll wear all year round.

Woolcot

Adriafil Woolcot yarns available from Knit With Helen

Adriafil Woolcot is a soft, snuggly, lightweight blend of organic cotton and extrafine (18 micron diameter) merino wool. An ideal “between seasons” yarn, I’ve definitely got some projects in mind for this for the Autumn!

Dama

Adriafil Dama Yarn - Knit With Helen colour range

Another stand-out yarn that I just had to add to my range – look at that stunning raspberry shade! Dama is a soft, luxurious blend of baby alpaca, mulberry silk and wool which almost seems to glow when it catches the light.

Tenerife

Adriafil Tenerife Yarn - Knit With Helen

This yarn has summer knitting written all over it! Soft with a subtle sparkle, Tenerife will be perfect for lightweight tops, sweaters and cover-ups to see you through the warmer months.

Matita

Adriafil Matita Yarn Range - Knit With Helen

I’m delighted to be able to offer a hemp blend yarn in my store! Hemp has been left out in the cold for too long, and I think it’s time to welcome this soft, durable and sustainable fibre back into our wardrobes. I’ve chosen two fun colourways to launch with, and I hope you’ll like them as much as I do!

Llama

Llama Yarn - Available from Knit With Helen Adriafil stockist Dublin

The lovely glossy sheen of Llama really caught my eye when I was looking through Adriafil’s samples, especially on the black colourway! This chunky yarn will make for some sophisticated but cosy knits if you’re already planning your Winter wardrobe.

So, that just about wraps up our tour – I hope you enjoyed walking through the virtual aisles with me! If you’ve any questions about the new additions, or if you just want to say which is your favourite, be sure to hit reply and tell me all about it!

Until next time… Happy knitting!

Something New is Coming…

Wow! For a month which is normally fairly quiet knitting-wise, June this year has been surprisingly busy!

Not only have we had World Wide Knit in Public Day (read more about that here), I’ve also been working away behind the scenes so that my little knitty business can start to grow a bit bigger. First up were some long-overdue shelving upgrades to my storeroom, once a near-deathtrap of piled-high giant yarn boxes. Thanks to the DIY skills of my Dad, and with the help of a few of my studio neighbours, it’s now -gasp!- a well-organised functional space where everything I need can be accessed quickly and easily.

The new shelving freed up a bit more room for me to actually store things, too… Which brings me neatly around to the “new stuff that’s coming” which I mentioned in the title. Back at the beginning of the month, I had a meeting – the exact nature of which I’m going to keep under wraps for the moment, in the name of adding a little mystery and suspense to the knitting “fallow season”. But all will be revealed when I get back from my holidays next week! I’ll be announcing the new arrivals here first, so if you want to be top of the line to hear about them, make sure you’re on the list… All it takes is to pop your email in the box below and click “subscribe”!

Let’s Knit Together!

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted something here, hasn’t it? But this week I have some fun news to share, and it seemed like a great opportunity to jump back in… Especially since it involves something else which I haven’t done in a long time.

What’s that, you ask?

Well, it’s been aaaages since I indulged in some social knitting – which is strange, because there was a time when I’d be out at knitting events at least a couple of times a week! So this year, when I remembered that World Wide Knit in Public Day was coming up, I decided it was high time I got involved again.

mother and daughter doing crafting activities
Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

What is World Wide Knit in Public Day?

It’s a day for knitters across the world to get together and share their passion for their craft with each other and their wider community. Everyone is welcome at these events, whether they’re a complete newbie, an experienced knitter… Or even a crocheter! World Wide Knit in Public Day has been running annually since 2005, and you can find out more about its history on the official website, here.

This year, World Wide Knit in Public Day falls on Saturday the 10th of June – yes, that’s next week! And my plan is to fill my whole weekend with yarny fun. Here’s how!

Friday 9th June

I’ll be hosting a WWKIP Day Warmup Party in Richmond Barracks, Dublin 8, from 10am-3pm. We’ll be setting up in the FoodCloud Kitchen pop-up café, so feel free to drop in at any point during the event to have a chat and add a row or two to your current WIP!

If you’ve never been to Richmond Barracks before, you’re in for a treat! It’s a super venue, and not too far out of Dublin City centre.

Saturday 10th June

Then, on the day itself, I’ll be joining the Dublin Knitwork WWKIP Day event in Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 2. What a great location!

Photo from OPW via iveaghgardens.ie

We’ll be knitting in the park from 1-4pm, so if you’re local please come along and join us! You can find full details of the event here.

And if you’re not lucky enough to find yourself in Dublin on the 10th of June, fear not! It’s WORLD WIDE Knit in Public Day, so perhaps there’s an event planned somewhere near you. You can find a complete list of Knit in Public events on the World Wide Knit in Public Day website.

So, perhaps I’ll see you soon for some public knitting! Or, if you’re overseas and planning on attending or organising a public knitting session on the 10th of June, be sure to tell us all about it in the comments.

Until next time… Happy Knitting!

Exciting News!

Well, this is pretty cool – I’m going to be on TV on Monday morning!

Back in June, I went to a market as my monster-knitting alter-ego CrawCrafts Beasties… And I got chatting to a man who, it turned out, works on Ireland AM, Ireland’s longest-running daytime TV programme. He said, “We’ll have to get you on the show!”

CrawCrafts Beasties market stall at Greystones CNS - Knit With Helen
My monster agents, who landed me the TV spot

And then I got a callback on Thursday!

So, I’ll be heading over to the Ireland AM studios in time for my segment at 9.45, in which I’ll be chatting about what I knit when I’m not teaching classes, and hopefully getting the presenters to have a go at a bit of monster-making themselves. I’m going to try them with these super-simple little creatures, which are a quick, easy project. They’re a great first make for kids and really fun to customise, too!

Knitted mini-monsters - Knit With Helen

Join us on Monday morning at 9.45am on Virgin Media One to see how we get on – hopefully I’ll be able to keep all these monsters under control!

Autumn Class Schedule

Well, here we are… The last full week of August! Where did the summer go?

Still, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s looking forward to the cooler days ahead, and all the autumn colours, drifts of fallen leaves and (most importantly) cosy woollies that come with them.

And speaking of knitwear, now is the perfect moment to make a start on a new knitted project… Or to pick up those needles for the very first time. If you’re not sure where to begin though, don’t worry! I have a whole heap of class options coming up over the next few months – why not join me and take your knitting to the next level?

Weekly Group Classes

Class Timetable Autumn 2022 - Knitting Classes - Knit With Helen

New season, new timetable! This schedule will lauch in the week beginning the 5th of September. My group classes are suitable for beginners and intermediates, and I can either guide you in your choice of project and get you started, or help you with a pattern you already have. The group size for each session is limited to 4 students, so please be sure to book your place in advance here. Each class lasts 90 minutes, with a short tea break at half time, and the Knit With Helen yarn store will be open for in-class stocking up of yarn and needles!

New Night Class at Malahide Community School

Knitting for beginners at Malahide Community School - Learn to knit in Dublin - Knit With Helen

For anyone based in North Dublin, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be teaching the Knitting Beginners Class at Malahide Community School, starting next month. Malahide Community School has an extensive Adult Education programme, and their dedicated knitting class for beginners kicks off on Thursday 22nd of September. The course runs for 10 weeks, with a midterm break in late October.

So, in this class I’ll be starting at the very beginning, helping students to get to grips with the knit and purl stitches, plus other essential skills such as casting on, casting off, shaping and sewing up. We’ll be completing two projects together along the way, and the good news is that enrollment is already open!

Saturday Knit School Returns!

Saturday Knit School - Learn to knit a hat - Knitting classes Dublin - Knit With Helen

And finally – an option for any beginner knitters based in Dublin city centre! My Knit School Hat Workshop is the perfect way to get started with knitting in a fun and relaxed setting. Over the course of 5 weeks, beginning on the 10th of September, we’ll make a classic beanie-style hat… And learn a bunch of useful knitting skills along the way. All materials are provided, and as with my group classes, numbers are limited to make sure that everyone gets plenty of help with their project.

Hopefully there’s something there to pique your interest… But I’m always on the lookout for new ideas for knitting-related classes and workshops, so if there’s something you’d like to learn, be sure to tell me all about it in the comments!

See you next time, and happy knitting!

Addi Knitting Needles Are Here!

It doesn’t take much to put a smile on my face. Happiness is a good pair of knitting needles!

Happy knitting needles - Addi circular needles - Knit With Helen

Some of my all-time favourite knitting needles are my metal Addi circulars. Back when I became seriously hooked on knitting again, Addi needles were the norm in Dublin’s better yarn stores. I bought a good few pairs, but my most cherished ones were a pair of 4mm circulars with metal points. For a few years, almost everything I knitted was done on those – until one fateful day I lost them. When I went to pick up a replacement set, I discovered that there was no longer an Addi stockist in Dublin city centre, and I was gutted!

Fast forward a few years, and I found myself trying to source knitting needles to sell in my own online store… And I was having some difficulty. I didn’t want to stock anything I wouldn’t use myself, but a lot of the needle brands I rate most highly were only available through non-EU wholesalers, and that means import taxes. Not ideal if you’re only starting out!

So I thought, “What about Addi? They’re good quality, and made in Germany – maybe I can reach out to them.”

So that’s what I did. And now, finally, I can offer a range of my favourite metal-tipped circular knitting needles for sale to you, my lovely customers!

Addi Metal Circular Needles Range - Knit With Helen

I have two cable lengths available (40cm and 80cm) and a range of needle point sizes, which will cover you for most projects. I also made sure to buy in the recommended needle sizes for every yarn I sell, so whatever you’re making, I can get you kitted out to make a start on it!

Take a look at the full range of Addi circular knitting needles in my store now! And if you’re not sure about which needles go with which yarn, you can always reach me here – I’m happy to help.

And that’s all from me for this week… Now I might just go and treat myself to a fresh shiny pair of 4mm Addi knitting needles! See you next time, and happy knitting!

Addi Circular Knitting Needles, 4mm x 80cm - Knit With Helen

New Yarns Have Landed!

Hello everyone! Today’s post brings exciting news – I’ve been adding to my yarn stocks and I’ve loads of lovely new things to share with you. First up…

100% Cotton now available!

Easy Knit Cotton | 6 new 100% cotton yarns | Knit With Helen yarn store

After the post I did a few weeks ago on eco-friendly knits for your home, I decided it was high time I sourced a nice chunky 100% cotton yarn that would work well with those patterns. And here it is! Katia Easy Knit cotton is lovely and soft, and its Aran/chunky weight thickness means it knits up nice and quickly, too. I ordered 6 colours:

Katia Easy Knit Cotton in brights and pastels | Knit With Helen yarn store

… Three brights and three not-so-brights! You can find them all in my online store, here. And next…

Irish Yarns are here!

I love to buy local and work in 100% wool, so I’m delighted that I can now offer not one but TWO yarns that tick both of these boxes. Say hello to Studio Donegal’s Darnie, in five colours…

Studio Donegal Darnie | 100% Lambswool Yarn | Knit With Helen yarn store

…And Soft Donegal, available in nine different shades.

Studio Donegal Soft Donegal - 100% Merino Wool Yarn - Knit With Helen online store

Both yarns are spun in beautiful scenic County Donegal, in the northwest of Ireland, and each colourway has multicoloured tweed flecks running through the strand alongside the dominant colour.

Soft Donegal is the thicker of the two yarns – it works out as a DK weight, or light worsted, and is ideally knitted up on a 4.5mm needle. And because it’s 100% merino wool, you know it’s going to be lovely and soft against your skin! Meanwhile, 100% lambswool Darnie is a lighter weight yarn (4-ply/fingering weight, with a recommended needle size of 2.25-3.25mm) which is perfect for accessories, shawls and fine-guage garments. It’s also meant to be great for colourwork, although I haven’t had a chance to test this just yet!

Both yarns are available in 100g skeins, and I’m happy to wind your purchase up into cakes for you before I mail it out. This service is free of charge – all you need to do is mention that you’d like to have your yarn wound in the order notes at checkout*. And if you’re looking for pattern inspiration, be sure to check out Ailbíona McLochlainn’s designs, here! Ailbíona lives in Donegal, and Soft Donegal or Darnie are listed as recommended yarns for many of her patterns.

* Please note: Once a skein is wound, it cannot be returned for refund or exchange

And finally…

New and restocked colours in Katia Merino Aran!

Katia Merino Aran is my go-to yarn for beginner knitters – it’s easy to knit, easy to care for and easy to rip back if things don’t work out first time around. The top seller recently has been this lovely tropical Cerise colour, which is now back in stock after the last lot was completely snapped up!

Cerise Merino Aran Yarn | Beginner Knitting Yarn | Knit With Helen

And since I was looking at the range, I picked out some new shades to add to the family! Just added to the lineup are (left to right) Dark Rose, Turquoise and Cornflower Blue.

New Katia Merino Aran Colours | Dark Rose Turquoise Cornflower Blue | Knit  With Helen Yarn Store

Is there anything in the new expanded selection that’s calling your name? Let me know in the comments, and tell me what you’d make with it! Or, if there’s anything you’d like to see added to the range over the coming months, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Happy knitting, and chat soon!

Knitting On The Go

With life returning to something like normal, a lot of people are starting to make their way back into the office. And that means many of us will once again be spending long stretches of time in trains, buses or trams.

pensive woman looking at window of train
“Oh, if only I’d brought my knitting with me!”
Photo by Whicdhemein One on Pexels.com

A few years ago, I spent a brief stint as a commuter myself. An average day saw me sitting on the bus for up to two and a half hours, and I was always trying to find ways to make that time pass a little more quickly. It was impossible to concentrate on a book – in fact, when I revisit anything I read at this time, it’s like I’m dipping into a completely new story! For a while, I tried doing my makeup on the morning run, but Dublin’s roads are really a little too winding and bumpy to manage convincingly unwobbly eyeliner.

In hindsight, I can’t believe I didn’t think to pack my knitting. I always do now! Dublin isn’t really a driver’s city, so I never got my licence and I still spend quite a lot of time on public transport. Although I’m not commuting as much as I used to, I’m still happy to have my latest project handy when my work takes me further from home than I can easily walk.

So, based on my own experience, here are my top tips for knitting on the move!

  1. Make it portable. Circular needles pack away much easier than straights, and your neighbour will thank you for not poking them in the side repeatedly for the whole journey. Small projects are also best for travelling – so socks or a hat, not that bulky-weight throw for your 3-seater couch.
  2. Make it easy. Checking charts or complicated patterns on a moving bus is no picnic, so something plain is better.
  3. Choose something you can stop. Breaking off in the middle of a long row so you can scramble for the door can lead to sliding-off-the-needle dramas, so I usually work on a small project or one knitted in the round. Then I can stop anytime.
  4. Invest in good storage for your tools – a zip-up wallet or bag means you can bring all your favourite gadgets along without losing them between the seats or dropping them on the floor.
  5. Be prepared to have at least one person ask what you’re doing… It happens every time!
man in brown robe carrying bag smiling
“I’ve pared my travel knitting projects down to the bare essentials this morning.”
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

And finally…

This one should really go without saying, but just in case – if you’re the one doing the driving, you probably should park your needles until you arrive at your destination!

Simple Eco-Friendly Knits

… That you can make with very little knitting knowhow!

Hello there everyone! Eeeek, it’s been a busy few weeks since I last posted here… I’ve had a couple of markets and workshops on in the meantime, and prepping for those tends to squeeze out everything else!

Anyway, if you can cast your mind back to the end of last month, I was talking about sustainability, and how learning to knit can play a part in lessening your impact on the planet.

But what if you’re really only just learning, and you’re not sure where to start?

No problem! Even your very first knits can be put to use in your home, helping you to replace some of the disposables that lurk in our kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

All of these simple eco-friendly knitting projects use an Aran-weight 100% cotton yarn, paired with 5mm knitting needles. Cotton is great because, as well as being a natural, biodegradable, plant-derived fibre, it’s super soft and easily washed and reused.

Project 1 – Face Scrubbie

These couldn’t be easier! The scrubbie is just a straightforward knitted square. Use yours with facial soap to gently cleanse and exfoliate your skin.

  • Cast on 12 stitches
  • Knit until piece is 7cm long
  • Cast off and weave in ends

Project 2 – Wash Mitt

I love a good wash mitt, and handknitted ones are my particular favourites. The bumpy texture of the knitting makes this handmade mitt a perfect substitute for plastic shower puffs, too!

  • Cast on 20 stitches
  • Knit until piece measures 34cm, or until it fits comfortably over both sides of your hand
  • Cast off, fold in half and use the tails to sew up each side

Project 3 – Dishcloth

Commercial dishcloths are so often produced using man-made materials, and they’re basically designed to be disposable. Switch things up by hand-knitting your own – these simple squares are a great way to try out new yarns and stitches! Knit them from durable cotton yarn and see how much longer they last. You can pop them in the washing machine to freshen them up, too.

  • Cast on 40 stitches
  • Knit every row until you have a square (about 26cm)
  • Cast off

Have you any go-to knitted items that have replaced commercial disposables around your home? Be sure to tell us all about them in the comments! And if you’re interested in giving any of these projects a go, I’ve included a printer-friendly version of the patterns below.

Happy knitting!

Learn to Knit, Save the World

That title’s a bit of a bold statement, isn’t it? But I’ve been thinking a lot about sustainability this week, because at the weekend I’ll be teaching and selling at an event which is all about reducing, reusing and recycling.

I’ve especially been considering how to put a sustainable spin on the knitting workshop I’ll be running on Saturday morning. It’s down in the programme as “eco-knitting”, so what if someone asks me “how is this eco-knitting”?

But knitting really can play a part if you’re making an effort to live a more environmentally-friendly life… So really, most knitting counts as eco-knitting! Here are the top 5 ways that learning to knit can help you to change the way in which you brave the murky waters of the clothing industry – currently one of the biggest culprits in global pollution.

1. You can choose your materials.

four green yarns on chopping board
Photo by Surene Palvie on Pexels.com

The majority of high street knitwear is made of synthetic fibres, such as acrylic, nylon and polyester. These materials are basically plastic, so they are non-renewable and non-biodegradeable. Also, every time they’re washed, they release harmful microplastics into the water. When you knit, you get to decide what you use – plant fibres like cotton, or animal fibres like wool and alpaca, all of which have a lower environmental impact than man-made fibres. They also keep you warmer! Even reducing the percentage of synthetics in the clothes you knit, by using a good blended yarn, is a step in the right direction.

2. You can make what you really want.

positive black woman showing knitted sweater
Photo by Miriam Alonso on Pexels.com

Ever gone shopping for a new sweater, and ended up buying something you “sort of” liked, because it was all you could find? Knitting puts you in control of the size, colour and fit of whatever you make. With time, you’ll learn what suits you, and you can make everything in your favourite colour. And you’ll consume less – your wardrobe will contain only items that you absolutely love, rather than bursting with stuff you half like.

3. You recognise quality.

young african american woman choosing clothes in shop
Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

When you knit, you learn how much time and material goes into making something… And you realise that there’s no way a sweater that costs €15 can be well made or sustainable. A closer look often reveals dodgy seams or cheap fabric, and you might even think “I could make something nicer than this”! You’ll be quite content to leave fast fashion behind and embrace a slower approach to style.

4. You take better care of things.

a close up shot of a person holding a stack of folded knitted fabrics
Photo by Arina Krasnikova on Pexels.com

If you knitted something yourself, it becomes important to you. After all, you built it up stitch by stitch… Maybe it’s even your own design! You appreciate the effort you invested in creating it, and you want to keep it looking good. And you’d never dream of throwing it away after only wearing it a handful of times!

5. You have the power to mend and remake.

person in gray long sleeve shirt holding black pen
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Understanding how knitting works means you can fix your favourite garments when they become worn or torn. And if your handknitted sweater is too big, too small or you just fancy a change – rip it up and reknit the yarn into something new!

How about you? Any thoughts on how knitting (or making generally) helps us to reduce our impact on the Earth? (And yes, it’s entirely possible I might incorporate the best ideas into my lesson on Saturday 😉 )