craftopolis

This is Knit has its home in the Powerscourt Centre – a place that strongly reminded me of what the Corn Exchange in Manchester used to be like in the 1980s (ie, when it was a happy mecca of independent retailing, rather than just another anonymous mall). In the English North, such places tend to spring up in the ruins of Victorian industry, but the Powerscourt Centre began life as a Georgian townhouse, at its heyday during the years of Grattan’s Parliament. The architecture and stuccowork are still impressive — the Powerscourts clearly liked to spend the season entertaining in considerable style.

In the present era, when multinational capitalism has reduced the world of goods to a dull, mass-produced uniformity, I found it rather heartening that all but two of the numerous businesses in the Powerscourt Centre are independents. There are local fashion designers, florists, antique dealers, nice wee cafes like The Pepperpot, and a number of places to please anyone interested in craft and design.

This is Knit is top of the list, of course. One of the many nice things about the shop is how it supports other Irish yarny businesses. There you will find tempting skeins from the Dublin Dye Company . . .

. . . and Laura Hogan

. . .as well as the work of talented designers, such as crocheter Aoibhe Ni Shuilleabhain .


I love Aiobhe’s shawl designs – which are nifty and elegant in a way these pictures do not do justice. Above you see the picoted edge of Honeymeade, and Aiobhe’s shoulders wearing Snapdragon.

Round the corner from This is Knit is Article, where you can find Anouk Jansen’s cups, Bold and Noble’s prints, and Rob Ryan’s all-sorts-of-things, as well as throws and blankets from the lovely folk at Studio Donegal.

But my own personal find has to be A Rubenesque, on the ground floor of the Centre . . .

I have a mild addiction to trim and ribbons, evidenced in a large and ever-expanding stash (perhaps I shall show you the boxes one day). Here, I was in ribbon heaven.

I don’t know about you, but in me, haberdashery induces a ridiculous excitement that I really don’t feel in any other sort of store. . .


(beaded trim! oh, my!)

. . . perhaps this is because there are so few good haberdashers about. Anyway, A Rubenesque struck me as a very good one indeed. Not only is the range of trim and ribbons vast and well-selected, but the store also has a pop-up showcasing the work of local textile designers. . .

. . and it is one of just a few places where you can still buy traditional lace, hand-made by the talented lacemakers of Clones in County Monaghan.

Did I come away with something? Yes, of course I did.

Ahem. Time to excavate the ribbon stash again . . .

29 responses

  1. Oh my goodness, so many lovely yarns and of course ribbons and trims! That place looks like heaven. I haven’t been to Dublin in years but this is definitely a reason why I must make a trip.

  2. In the US a haberdasher sells men’s clothing and accessories. I had to look it up in the dictionary to find that in the UK it can mean a dealer in notions (your sense of haberdashery). Your blog is definitely expanding my sense of the possibilities of the English language (stravaighing, neeps, and now haberdashery with ribbons instead of gentlemen’s clothing).

  3. Your Dublin posts have been so amazing for me. I was just living in Dublin, and working at the little chocolate shop around the corner from the Powerscourt centre (Cocoa Atelier by the entrance to the arcade). The This is Knit ladies were so helpful and I went to them to buy the yarn (Debbie Bliss Fez) for my first major/meaningful/love-imbued knitting project (a cardi for my baby cousin). A Rubanesque is owned by my mother’s best friend’s niece, Alexa, and so I was in there all the time, and talked about Alexa’s own new ribbon line all the time and got so many lovely things there.

    Thank you so much for these posts and it’s so good to see you having such a wonderful time in Dublin!

  4. Very pleased that you found such treasures. Also very taken with Aiobhe’s Ravelry description of the “wingspan’ of her shawl, gently suggesting the transformative power of a light, wisp of laciness into an article with magical powers.

    • Thank you, Coleen.
      I guess it’s easy to tell that one of my parent’s is an aeroplane pilot!
      My designs are just lucky that I don’t call the “body” the “fusilage”, or something!

      • Or you might use the terms “inboard” and “outboard” (for the main body and outside edge respectively), as I find myself doing. Too much time spent with aviators!

  5. Often I find myself as a fashion victim of mass produces….thats another reason for my motivation to learn various art forms and some day I will excel…. :-)
    Gorgeous ribbions, especially the beaded one!

  6. I am totally with you on the independet traders. I hate shopping when you go along a high street in Anytown and it is the same as the one before – and the one before. Places like the centre above are great finds and restore my faith in the individual successfully doing her own thing.

  7. Love all those stores you mentioned, (lucky locals) You always manage to find the best places Kate. The ribbons you purchased are gorgeous.
    I think you love all these types of places as they are full of possibility and inspire you (especially being a designer). The Donegal tweed fabric is so beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to photograph for us.

  8. Oh, how I wish that the yarn tasting had been before I went to Ireland this summer!
    I’ve been to Dublin, but didn’t find this lovely place. And nowhere else I saw a yarn store with a decent choice…
    I would have loved to take some nice yarn home from my holidays. *sniff*

  9. Fortunately, I toured Studio Donegal on my first (and only, so far) trip to Ireland, but didn’t explore Powerscourt while in Dublin. Yet another reason to return!

  10. A Rubenesque is certainly more notable in your post than in my memory! However, when I lived in Dublin, I was not in the habit of buying notions or knitting my own things, so perhaps the grandeur of the shop was somewhat lost on me. I like very much your appreciation for the exquisite nature of the Powerscourt shopping centre and I am delighted that a knitting shop has found its home there! I hope Blazing Salads is still there and I’m really glad you had a lovely time.

  11. We though the Powerscourt Centre was lovely too. We had lunch at the Pepper Pot after I bought yarn at This is Knit (on their very favorable recommendation of the café)! It was great food, and the staff was very friendly. And I believe I was quite taken with the fabric owl stuffed animals at A Rubenesque…and I got a card at the store that had the Dublin mugs. All in all, I was very pleased with our visit to Dublin, as, it sounds like, were you. Though I think what I liked best was hiking around the Howth peninsula–it was beautiful.

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