Behind the Brands
With Lisa Sisk of This Is Knit
Powerscourt Centre is the hub of the creative quarter and is full of the most successful Irish designers and shops. We are thrilled to gain an insight behind some of these wonderful brands.
Next in the series, is Lisa Sisk, owner of This Is Knit, an independent, family-owned yarn shop that is full of high quality, natural-fibre yarns.
How did you begin your career in craft?
I began knitting while I was back packing in New Zealand after finishing my degree. I was used to being “on the go” between work and study, so I wanted to fill the down time of travel with something productive. I had no idea back then that my new hobby would change my life so completely. The plan had been to come back home and resume studying law in one form or another!
Instead I convinced my Mum to partner with me in opening “This is Knit” and we’ve never looked back.
Describe the This Is Knit brand and aesthetic.
We supply quality yarns and tools for the enthusiast fibre crafter. Our service is friendly, open and helpful, with a strong focus on community. We provide a tempting array of colourful yarns and plentiful project suggestions, all in a beautiful and inspiring setting.
What are your top tips for someone interested in getting more creative?
If you’re going to take up knitting or crochet for the first time then I would definitely suggest choosing a quality yarn that “speaks” to you. Find a colour that you love or a texture that you just can’t put down. You’re far more likely to finish that first project if you are enjoying having the materials in your hands.
You can always pick up a spare piece of yarn to practice new techniques on, but then go back to your “treat” yarn and make something small and simple. When a beautiful wool is used your project will shine (without the need for any complicated stitch patterns).
As for learning new techniques, we stock lots of beginner guides in the shop and we also offer knitting and crochet classes in the evenings and on weekends. There are also a huge number of online resources from You Tube videos and photo tutorials, to discussion groups and paid online courses.
With the colder months approaching, what is the most popular product your customers are making?
Around this time of year there’s a particular design that gets a lot of attention! It’s called the “Herriot Hat” and it’s knit in a chunky yarn made from 100% Baby Alpaca. We have a sample of the finished hat in the shop and it’s topped with a fake fur bobble. It’s fast to knit and fun to wear, with the bonus of being kitten-soft and toasty-warm.
We also expect the patterns from the latest Laine magazine to get a lot of attention in the coming months. Laine is a Nordic Knitting and Lifestyle Magazine with stunning photography, refined knitwear designs and long format articles. It has proven very popular with our customers this year.
What would you most like to knit that you haven’t so far?
I have so many designs in my “queue” so that’s a tough one to answer!
I’d really love to make a giant cabled throw to snuggle under all winter. It’s something I’ve been dreaming about for years but I haven’t quite gotten around to making a reality yet.
On the other end of the scale there’s is a pattern called “Tsumuzikaze”, pictured to the right, which uses a very lightweight yarn blended from Merino Wool, Alpaca, Silk and Linen. It’s a very elegant layering piece with lace detail on the sleeves and an asymmetric hem. We have a finished version of it on one of our shop mannequins, but it has to stay there because it gets so much attention!
Who are people that inspire you in the creative world?
We have been fortunate to host some very talented designers in our shop for workshops and events in the past few years. I’m always blown away by the creative mind of “Woolly Wormhead”. She is constantly innovating and adapting existing knitting techniques to create hat patterns that are both structural and beautiful. I’m always learning something new from her!
What attracted you to base your business in Powerscourt Shopping Centre?
The Centre is a lovely oasis of calm in the midst of the City Centre bustle. The building itself is beautiful and so many of the tenants are design-led, owner-operated businesses. The fact that it is based in the “Creative Quarter” makes it an ideal fit for This is Knit too!
What does the future hold for This Is Knit?
We’ve been working away on organising an entire Yarn Festival for May 2018! “Woollinn” (www.woollinn.com) will feature an exciting array of workshops from many special guest tutors, and a fabulous marketplace of top-quality yarns, fibres and tools for knitters and crocheters.
It’s an exciting new venture and we’re looking forward to welcoming fibre enthusiasts from all over the world to Dublin for the event.
This Is Knit can be found on the first floor at Powerscourt Centre and online at www.thisisknit.ie