The year that was 2014


With less than 48 hours of 2014 left, I thought I would write a roundup post for the year, scraping in under the deadline one last time.

This year has been an exciting one. I finally pursued the type of knitting I love and I’ve learnt so much my brain very nearly imploded with the effort. Pattern writing is a tremendous skill, and now I have all kinds of appreciation for those who do it well. While I’ve really only scratched the surface, I’m confident I can continually improve.  Ditto with this blogging thing.  Ditto with all that social media stuff. Maybe that is the resolution for next year–like this year, but with added competence. (HA!) It doesn’t exactly catch the imagination with its literary flair, but, you know, it may just work.

My personal accomplishment this year was to have patterns published in some wonderful places: Knit Now, Amirisu, Twist Collective and Knitty, as well as independently publishing a pattern per month. This is the first year I have achieved New Year’s resolution completion.  Ever.  So I feel entitled to brag a little, however modest the accomplishment. So here it is, Merry Christmas, and please enjoy the lovely little fruits of my labour with me!

January’s pattern: Sea Scales Cowl

Seascales Cowl by Renee Callahan

February’s pattern: Asterisks Shawl

asterisks shawl by Renee Callahan

March’s pattern: Sea Moss Headband

EastLondonKnit Sea Moss Headband

April’s pattern: Antiprism

East London Knit's Antiprism Shawl

May’s pattern: The Veil of Leithen

EastLondonKnit Veil of Leithen

June’s pattern: Blackberries on Brioche Hat

EastLondonKnit Brioche in Blackberries 2

July’s pattern: Naloa


August’s pattern: Learn to Knit Kit

EastLondonKnit How to Knit Kit

September’s pattern: Frost & Flame Shawl

ELK Frost & Flame Shawl5

October’s pattern: Christmas Eve Baubles

E.L.K. Christmas Eve Bauble with lights

November’s pattern: Rhombolution Scarf

Rhombolution by EastLondonKnit (3)

December’s pattern: Beetlebum Shawl

Beetlebum shawl by Renee Callahan

As a tiny celebration, all the patterns in my Ravelry store are buy one, get one free with the code ELKin2014 until 15 January 2015.

Happy knitting,


p.s. Thanks so much to everyone who was patient with me and helped me so much.  I am really grateful Mr. B, Linda,  Dani & Deb!


Beetlebum shawl by Renee Callahan



Beetlebum by Renée Callahan 2

December’s pattern is Beetlebum–a semi-circular shawl designed to use a single skein of lace-weight yarn (about 750 yards for the sample size, but easy to make bigger or smaller). With two easy-to-follow lace patterns, this shawl is a pleasure to knit–not too complicated and just interesting enough. The lace patterns form three distinct shapes that look to me like a beetle opening its wings.

Polybothris sumptuosa framed specimen from

Amaze-balls Polybothris sumptuosa framed specimen from


I normally avoid lace-weight yarns, and not only because of my extreme laziness.  I am pretty sure God invented knitting machines because fine-gauge hand knits can drive a person crazy.

Beetlebum shawl by EastLondonKnitBut when the lovely Dani, aka Lioness Arts, showed me this gorgeous yarn in this beautiful blue-green colourway, I couldn’t resist. As a happy bonus, the shawl knit up surprisingly quickly.

Beetlebum by Renee Callahan 1

Kits for Beetlebum with a skein of Julie Asselin’s beautiful Merletto is available at the Unwind Brighton Shop.

You can buy the pattern for Beetlebum here.

Beetlebum by Renee Callahan 3Happy holidays and knitting!




I learned to knit rather late in life, maybe six or so years ago. Not from some beloved grandmother or other family relation, but I learned to knit from the wonderful world wide web.  It was a magical thing, that internet learning and Knitty was one of the first resources I found. I loved that the patterns and information were free–just the kind of entry-level drug necessary to get me and thousands of other beginners hooked and on our way to becoming intermediate knitters and craft evangelists.

When I first thought about designing, I looked to Knitty and began trying to write up those early, terrible patterns.  It took me a few goes to get an entire pattern, but I managed it in the end and I am incredibly proud to have my first pattern published in Knitty’s 50th issue: Reflector.

Reflector by EastLondonKnit

Reflector was the solution to a problem. I love to cycle, I get cold ears and I believe in ‘Safety First’! Also, I had all this amazing reflective yarn and no idea what to do with it. After much yarn play, I decided a double-faced fabric would be the most comfortable way to wear it and that knitting with 2 very different yarn thicknesses created an interesting contrast in the fabric.

It all begins with a tubular cast-on, followed by ribbing which turns into double-knit vertical stripes and is topped with a reflective pompom.

Reflector by Renee Callahan with Xmas bricks 4

Reflector by Renee Callahan tower bridge Reflector by Renee Callahan 2

Many thanks to my long-suffering models Ben and Linda!

Retroglo yarn is available at the EastLondonKnit Etsy shop here,



I am so excited to have been included in the Winter 2014 issue of the Twist Collective.  I have long admired the publication and the designs featured have often gone straight to the top of the queue.  So when I started taking this designing thing seriously, I was super keen to submit a design to them. Imagine my surprise when they actually accepted my design–my head nearly exploded the pride!

Hyssop Pattern by Renée Callahan

Hyssop by Renée Callahan. Photo © Crissy Jarvis

The Twist Collective sent me a lovely Polwarth wool and silk mix yarn from Lisa Souza to make the sample with–the stitch definition was really beautiful and I loved the gentle variagation of the colour.

Hyssop by Renée Callahan

Photo © Crissy Jarvis

Hyssop pullover by Renée Callahan.

Photo © Crissy Jarvis

My idea was to create a seamless pullover that required no finishing-when the final stitches were cast off, the garment was practically ready to wear. No need to pick up stitches for neck trims, or add ribbing; it was all to be part of the design.

My prototype sweater is still one of my favorites.

Proto-Hyssop  by Renée CallahanI knit it out of some really beautiful Blue Sky Alpaca’s Suri Merino, which has turned out to be a fairly robust yarn for a single ply.Proto-Hyssop back by EastLondonKnitIt is a recipe I really like in a sweater–fitted, with a flattering deep V-neck, a combo of simple cables and simple eyelets, and a built in finish. The recipe is so great, in fact, that I am working on a few more sweaters with variations of these ingredients for publishing in 2015 (which I can’t believe is almost here!).

You can buy Hyssop here.

Thanks so much to Kate and Sue and the whole Twist Collective team for all their help and support.

Happy Knitting!