The One with Brain Fuzz

Hello!

Do you get the feeling there is just a little too much going on to mentally process it? I have that at the moment. It feels like fuzz on the brain, preventing clear thinking and getting sh*t done.

When the brain fuzz strikes, I try to spend some quality time with my diary. I write out all the things I have to do (‘brain dump’ I’ve heard it called) and then find a space in the schedule for them. This may seem too obvious to mention, but it is actually helpful to remind myself there are only so many hours in the day and a limited number of things I can actually do (even fewer if I am trying to do them well). It’s like a licence to focus on just one thing at one time.  Because, as it turns out, I cannot multitask. This may be further evidence that I am an unnatural, bad woman, but I have a sneaking suspicion that most people can’t. It’s a delusion in which I occasionally indulge, but am always shown the error of my ways… eventually….

So what are all these things I seem to think I can/should be doing right now?  Well, I am working on a collection of hand knit patterns for the Autumn. This is a big deal to me, and I want to it be so good.  I am really excited about it–the inspiration close to my arty-farty heart, I have amazing yarn support and I have the time to do it justice if all goes to plan (HA!).

The first sample for the collection is practically finished…

Twilight flowers sweater sample

There are half a dozen other hand-knit design projects in various stages of completion (evidence of the multitasking failure), such as a design for the new Kettle Yarn Co. Islington DK yarn,

ELK knit stole in progress

and the Westknits pattern the Enchanted Mesa sweater is underway, though not seeming to go very quickly…

enchanted mesa handknit in progress

…my first participation in a proper KAL with the Fringe Association to knit the L’Arbre hat by Cirilia Rose

L'Arbre hand knit hat in progress

Then there is the studio. The studio is a sad tale of developers moving into the artistic heart of Hackney Wick and my own issues with the fashion industry, but that is a story for another not-so-distant-time.

my real workspace

My actual workspace right now….

It’s all about priorities, right? Just decide on the most important thing to do and do it. Then do the next thing.

What are your techniques for conquering the brain fuzz?

Happy knitting,

R.

#elkmayday Give away

Hello!

Apple blossoms in the ELK garden

It is a summery Spring around here and the pollen has gone to my head.

#elkmayday

I’m giddy with Spring sunshine & all the knitting plans. It’s time to share the love! I have 3 skeins of glorious dk undyed silk from Knit Witches, 4 skeins of organic lace-weight cotton dyed at the Natural Dye Studio, a project bag idiosyncratically sewn by me & a surprise gift to give away. If you’d like the goodies, please follow me on Twitter: @eastlondonknit or Instagram: @elkrenee and then re-gram or retweet my original post (here) with the #elkmayday in the text & I’ll randomly draw a winner from the reposts and retweets on 1st May 2015, noon gmt.

All of these things have a special place in my heart–the organic cotton yarn was specially dyed for one of the first fashion designers I worked with. The true colours are palest yellow and a softly toned blue.

Yarn May Give Away EastLondonKnit-2

The double-knit weight silk from the Knit Witches was a purchase from my very first yarn festival, back when I thought I was brave enough to stick masses of beautiful yarn into a dye pot willy nilly. But the yarn was just too beautiful undyed, and I never managed to make the stunning wedding shawl that was Plan B.

I just found out the Knit Witches are closing up shop and their last event will be the I Knit Fandango, 15-16 May 2015.  I will be there too, helping out at the Kettle Yarn Co. stand when I am not raiding the Knit Witches stand.

Yarn May Give Away EastLondonKnit-3

And finally, the project bag, made with my own hands, is made of a hemp-silk fabric that also came from a fashion designer I worked with.  It was the stuff of beautiful corset-style bodices and dresses, but can now serve the higher purpose of holding your hand-knit masterpiece-in-the-making.

Yarn May Give Away EastLondonKnit

 Please do join in and retweet/repost to win!

Finally, just a note that the Rill Rill jumper pattern is 50% off until 28 April.

Rill Rill knitting pattern by EastLondonKnit

Happy knitting,

R.

5 KALs for Your Spring fever.

Hello!

One of my new year’s resolutions was about being more active in the world-wide knitting community in general, and participation in a knit-along or two in particular. I have gotten off to a slow start with this one. In fact, I haven’t managed to join in a single KAL. Until now. I have finally found one. Well, in fact five; the one I am joining in, and the others I would love to do if I had the time….

So without further ado, here are 5 great KALs happening (mostly) right now:

1 The Knit British Hapalong

knit british hap-along

Knit British is a podcast by the lovely Louise, a Shetland-based knitter and British yarn enthusiast.

From the Knit British blog:

A hap is a square or triangular (half) shawl from Shetland, which has what is described as traditional Shetland construction, in that the centre is commonly knit first and the stitches are picked up to knit a lace border. Once an item of everyday wear in Shetland the shawl has had a bit of a resurgence thanks to designs by Kate Davies, Gudrun Johnson and Brooklyn Tweed. IF you search on Ravelry, there are a number of patterns to choose from – some with the old shale border and some with different lace incorporated into the border.

The Hapalong is now in full swing and looking great. You can hear about it on the Knit British podcast, read about it in the blog and join in the Ravelry group.

2 Yarn in the City Not a KAL KAL

yarn in the city

Yarn in the City is the dynamic duo of Allison and Rachel, aka Stitchyalli and Porpoise; podcasters, yarny events organisers and general fibre fixers.

From the YitC Ravelry forum:

Hey folks –

If you’ve been listening to the podcast you’ll know that both Porpoise and I have been “cold sheeping” and are trying to knit from stash as much as possible this year.

We’d also both like to knit with some of the pretties we acquired at the first ever GLYC (and the second one, and the Bath Road Trip…) before the next one happens in September and wondered if any of you would like to do the same?

We’ll keep it loose and extremely informal but would love the company if any of you want to join us! I’m sure we can rustle up some fun prizes too. 😉

Take some time to dig your yarns out, flash your stash and figure out what you want to knit and we will (informally!) cast on February 1st and figure out the rest of the timing from there. 🙂

The Not a KAL KAL is still going strong if you would like to join the fun.

3 Woolful monthly KAL

woolful

woolful knit along

Woolful is a podcast and blog by homesteader-in-the-making Ashley.  I am totally digging her podcast right now.  Her enthusiasm for the fibre community shines from under her laid-back delivery. It is all shiny and new–the podcast, the blog and the KALs, but it feels to me like something with the promise of a bright future. The KALs reflect a designer, yarn or subject that has been part of the podcast, and I like that it changes every month. This month it is Beau the Bunny, a pattern by Ashley herself. March’s pattern was the Moto Vest  by Shelli Westcott. I am already looking forward to May’s offering.

4 The Fringe Association’s Hatalong

Fringe Association knit and let knit

The Fringe Association is the blog belonging to Karen of the Fringe Supply Co., an online shop for gorgeous notions. I don’t know how I managed to miss this for so long. I recently came across it and immediately decided to give up blogging so that I could just read and reblog the Fringe Association. It’s a work of art. I have since revised my ideas and realised that when my blog grows up, it aspires to be as cool and crafty as Fringe Association. Fan-girl geeking aside, Karen is hosting a series of hat knit alongs and I am playing too.

fringe association Audrey Hat

The first in the Hatalong series was Audrey by Jessie Roselyn, and the next well be announced shortly. I have done a little stash diving and come up with some hot pink aran yarn that is just the business.

5 And one for the road: the Knit Along Fanatics group on Ravelry.

KAL fanatics Raverly group

It has been said many times before, and should be said many times again, Ravelry is awesome.  And if you are looking for a KAL for May, have a look at this group; the KAL Fanatics have great forum threads full of knit- and crochet-alongs lead by specific designs and Ravelry groups.

Go forth and craft along with your people.

Happy knitting & participating,

R.

Something for the weekend

Hello!

With impeccable timing (as ever…) I saw these Markus Lupfer hats and felt the need to share.  These would have been the ideal Easter knits, if, you know, I had managed to sort this before Easter…..

I don’t normally go in for this sort of thing.  I’m mostly a serious wearables kind of girl, but every once in a while, I have to give in to my inner 5 year old.

markus lupfer AW 15

Markus Lupfer AW 2015 Photograph courtesy of Style.com

Lupfer is British designer whose collections often display a certain wry playfulness.

markus lupfer AW 2015

Markus Lupfer AW 2015 Photograph courtesy of Style.com

There is no lack of great silly hats on Ravelry, but I especially like it when adults are the target audience.  Tiny Owl Knits is a fabulous example of an adult who embraces the inner child. The Deer with Little Antlers Hat is niche, but come on–tell me you don’t want to live in a world in which that is standard headgear.

Tiny Owl Knits Deer with Little Antlers Hat

I also enjoy the appropriation of children’s things by grown ups.  Carole Julius is a talented photographer and keen knitter who has made a great version of Heidi May’s wildly (!) popular Failynn Fox Cowl design. Heidi May is a prolific knitwear designer of super sweet children’s knitwear and can be found here.

Caroleknits Failynn Fox Cowl

Happy knitting,

R.

Pass it on

Hello!

I want to brag a little because I have been hanging out with awesome knitters lately.

I had the pleasure of teaching a class last month at local yarn shop Wild and Woolly, based on the Saguaro pattern I designed to celebrate the fact that W&W is now carrying gorgeous Malabrigo Rio yarn.

knit class with Renee Callahan

I had a lovely class of learners. My job was pretty easy, as the students were already good knitters and I was just introducing them to a few new techniques.

ELK teaches knit techniques

Plied with tea and homemade sweet treats, it was an excellent evening of learning 2-colour cabling and cabling without a cable needle.

Plutoniummuffins knitsI am so pleased that the class went well and everyone came away with something new, which has lead to some great finished objects.

plutoniummuffins saguaro cowl

Allidecks saguaro hat

Stitchyalli’s Saguaro hat in a lovely combo of Fibre Company Terra yarns.

alittlebitoflucy Saguaro cowl

AlittlebitofLucy’s cowl is a triumph of moody Malabrigo purples.

I am pleased as punch to announce I’ll be teaching a ‘knit your first cardi’ class at Wild and Woolly. More details to come, but I would just like to say now that it’s gonna be a whole lot of awesomeness going on from 20 May-22 July. Boom.

Happy knitting,

R.