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Friday, 17 May 2013

STOCKIST PROFILE - This Is Knit, Dublin

In the second of our series featuring our MillaMia stockists, I caught up with Jacqui and Lisa Sisk - the mother and daughter owners of destination yarn shop, This Is Knit in Dublin. They are both incredibly talented knitters, passionate about yarn and their craft and have been 'seriously' obsessed with all things yarny since around 2004 when Lisa re-discovered knitting on a backpacking trip to New Zealand. She came home 4 months later a self-confessed yarn addict and immediately persuaded Jacqui to pick up her needles after a 15 year knitting hiatus.

They began This Is Knit with a small market stall at the Blackrock Market in 2006, and since then the business has morphed and evolved into the stupendously successful shop it is today, situated in a substantial premises in the Powerscourt Townhouse in central Dublin. The shop today is a haven for knitters, crocheters and crafters alike, and the place in Ireland to attend one of the many workshops or events that the girls run throughout the year. Their reputation is such that they attract many well-respected knitting 'celebrities' to teach and attend events at the shop - Carol Feller and Ysolda Teague to name but two.

I was thrilled to have the chance to find out a bit more about Jacqui and Lisa, but you can always keep up with everything 'This Is Knit' on their beautiful, award winning blog.

Jacqui and Lisa                                               Cute as One Button                                          Lisa's Cameo

1) Firstly, and most importantly - what have you got on the needles at the moment?
Lisa: Oh dear, I’ve lots of projects on the go, but not all of them are 'active' right now! Top of the list at the moment is Cameo by Paulina Popiolek in FyberspatesScrumptious. It’s a simple shawl with stripes, picots and a bit of lace that I want to wear to a friend’s wedding this weekend.
Jacqui: At the moment I have a small baby cardigan called 'Cute as One Button' in Malabrigo Rios. It's a simple top down raglan cardigan, a great pattern as an introduction for top down knitting and it is fantastic for showing off variegated yarns.

Pia Cardigan featured on This Is Knit blog
2) How do you choose new brands/yarns to stock in the shop? Are you influenced by trends, what's popular on Ravelry or do you indulge in yarn that you personally love?
Jacqui: One of the best things about owning your own yarn shop is that you get to stock the yarn that you love yourself.  If I pick up a yarn and I want to knit with it then I know I can offer this yarn to our customers too. Customer input is also very important to us. We all like to knit with different yarns, what one person my love another may not so the more people that give us input the better we can relate to customer needs.
3) My next question is linked to the last one – how tempting is it to knit every new yarn as it arrives, and does this result in lots of UFO’s?
Jacqui: Oh very! I have about four different WIPs at the moment all in different yarns. As for UFO's - yes indeedy and that's all I'm saying. Restraint is futile!
Lisa: I wouldn’t even want to count the UFOs that are stashed around my house! I’ll have to start getting a little more strategic in my project selection! We’re actually very lucky to have four excellent employees who volunteer to knit shop samples on a regular basis so we try to share around the new yarns amongst us all.  That can lead to trouble sometimes though, especially when a particularly lovely new yarn arrives!!

4) What's the best thing about owning a yarn shop?
Jacqui: Our wonderful staff and customers, talking yarn all day and being inspired by the FO's that people come to show and tell us about!
Lisa: The people! We have met so many wonderful friends through the shop, and so many talented designers and creative customers. It really is a wonderful privilege to know them all and to be part of such a great community. (The next best thing is definitely the yarn though!)

5) What is your favourite MillaMia yarn and pattern?
Lisa: I’m a big fan of the bright shades in the Millamia range. Daisy is one of our best sellers, I think Fuchsia is also a great shade, but my personal favourite is PeacockI love boatneck sweaters so the Emma Boatneck from Country Escape is a natural favourite.
Jacqui: Oh it is hard to choose between the Cecila coat and Erika and my favourite colour has to be Peacock. We have very similar tastes obviously...! 

Erika Cardigan from Colour Coded                                        Emma Boatneck Jumper

6) You run lots of interesting workshops, and attract lots of the most popular knitting celebrities too – what has been your favourite workshop/event?
Our favourite event definitely has to be our 5th Birthday bash as it was such a milestone for us. It was a wonderful evening that featured lots of those great people that we mentioned earlier! Debbie Bliss came over to celebrate with us (she also officially opened our first shop so there’s a nice symmetry there!) and we were also joined by our very talented friend Carol Feller.  Then of course there was plenty of yarn, gorgeous garment samples to try on, lots of bubbly and delicious cake!

7) Tell us something unusual about yourselves.
Jacqui: I was in a music video for the Irish band Something Happens.
Lisa: I once taught Ollie Murs how to knit!
(posted by Max)

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