A whole lotta Zen

Hello!

The EastLondonKnit KAL starts in just a couple of days and I thought I should declare my own goals and intentions to get things started. So here it is: I am going to knit an Enso sweater for myself. I wrote about the inspiration and the original sample here, and I have been hankering after a version just for me ever since.

Zen Variations Enso Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan skirt

I was lucky to have some amazing test knitters who left me with some very inspiring ideas.

Yarn-Tan-Tethera's Enso sweater

Yarn-Tan-Tethera used her own beautiful hand-dyed yarns in the stunning interpretation above. I think the simplicity of the design is ideally suited to show off amazing yarn.

squaresandstripes' Enso sweater

I love how squaresandstripes stayed true to her aesthetic and kept the stripe game strong!

thespinnacle's Enso sweaterthespinnacle's Enso sweaterThespinnacle made a really lovely everyday sweater–the type that gets used year after year, which is exactly what I am hoping for.

For my own version I’ll be using Kettle Yarn Co.’s Islington DK yarn in the awesomely titled ‘Siren Call’ colour way. I plan to make a few adjustments: one is adding in a bit of positive ease. You can see from the photos above that the sweater is usually worn with approximately 2 inches/5 cm of positive ease. I am going to increase that by adding in some stitches at the underarm on either side when I get there and decreasing the long length of the body to create a slightly more boxy silhouette.

Wish me luck or better yet, join me! The Zen Variations knit-along runs from 1 September to the end of the year and you can make any EastLondonKnit design to participate. I have already bragged blogged about the amazing prize packages, but the real pleasure is in the making.

Happy knitting,

Rx

It’s (almost) knitting season: Let’s knit together!

Hello!

Regardless of the temperature, September brings out the student in me, and I’m nostalgic for those crisp Autumn mornings at the beginning of the school year. This year, I’m embracing the nostalgia with a knit along to kick start the knitting and learning season. I’ll focus on the Zen Variations because although each sweater is quite simple and clean in terms of design, there are several techniques that might not be obvious to inexperienced sweater-knitters. I will make some tutorials and explanatory blog posts which I hope will encourage knitters to make sweaters they will wear forever.

Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan

The knit along will run from 1 September to 31 December in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group. Cast on any EastLondonKnit design on 1st September and post a photo of the finished object in the thread before the 31st December (bonus points if it is modelled on a person:) and I will pick a number of winners in the early hours of 2017.

To sweeten the pot, I have put together a few fantastic prize packages to tempt you into joining the fun!

Llovely Llama prize from EastLondonKnitThe first prize is a Llovely Llama ‘un courtesy of Kettle Yarn Co. Linda who has generously gifted one of her popular LlamaLlamaLlamaLlama bags to the prize pot. I am pairing it with 3 gorgeous skeins of the Fibre Company’s Acadia yarn for some lucky soul… 

I have also organised A Very Tweedy Prize of a woollenflower notions bag with 3 matching skeins of Acadia by The Fibre Co., because everyone knows you should coordinate your notions bags and yarn…
EastLondonKnit tweed prize

My final offering is a Woodland Zen prize: a cute foxy notions pouch and three more skeins of yarn among other presents: a beautiful skein of Acadia, a hand-dyed beauty from Dirty Water Dye Works and a lovely, crunchy skein of indigo blue Skudde Wool from Natures Luxury.

EastLondonKnit prizes: woodland zen

I hope to see you in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group for encouragement, help and a chance to win some wonderful prizes!

You can browse the Zen Variations and all the other EastLondonKnit patterns here.

Happy knitting!

Rx

Wisteria Blossoms

Hello!

Thursday I will publish Wisteria Blossoms! I am really pleased with how this cardigan has turned out.Wisteria Blossoms by Renée Callahan sea Wisteria Blossoms Cardigan by Renée Callahan backIt began life long ago and far away… on a Mexican beach last year….

It happened that I didn’t have a project to travel with, and, in a panic, I decided to take yarn and a sketch book and hope that I could work something out as I went.

This meant that I had to make the construction and design simple to follow because there was no clever spreadsheet to do the work for me, and I had to be able to be able to put it down and pick it up without thinking too much.

The yarn turned out to be the perfect choice; I had purchased a sweater quantity of Quince and Co. Kestrel from Tolt Yarn and knitting while visiting Seattle last year.

Kestrel linen yarn

Kestrel is worsted-weight, 100% linen yarn, chain-plied into with a flat tape. The linen was excellent for the beach—no chance of accidental felting, although as I was knitting, I was twisting the yarn and felt the need to untwist it every so often which was a drag. That said, I really like the fabric it produced, which has loads of drape and, being linen, is super breathable and perfect for a warm summer evening.

Wisteria Blossoms knitting pattern by Renée Callahan

I am offering an introductory discount on Wisteria Blossoms for subscribers to the EastLondonKnit newsletter—please do sign up for both the discount code and for the Brioche Twister knitting pattern, a free gift for subscribers.

Finally, I will be hosting a knit-along beginning 1st September in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group, and running through the end of the year. I’ll be posting tutorials and information specifically about the Zen Variations collection, but you can knit any EastLondonKnit design you would prefer, including Wisteria Blossoms!

Happy knitting,

Rx

Fibre East 2016

Hello!

It is funny how the things you do affect your view of the world. I used to think of the year in terms of fashion weeks and final collection schedules. Since I began to focus on designing and teaching hand-knitting, my mental markers for the year have become fibre festivals and the immediate knitting season.

For example, Fibre East has come to define the summer season. And now that it is over, I feel like it’s time to prepare for Autumn.

If I was clever, I would have stocked up on sweater quantities of yarn in preparation for all the sweater-season knit-alongs–my own included!** However, I was kept busy in the Kettle Yarn Co. stand and didn’t manage much shopping. For me, fibre festivals are great for a couple of different reasons; I spend most of my time working alone, and the festival weekend is a chance to catch up with colleagues and our online friends and customers face to face. This is both exhausting and really wonderful. It is also a chance to fondle the fibre. I love the internet, but it makes such a difference to see and feel yarn in real life.

It's show time @fibreeast! Gorgeous @kettleyarnco yarn and #eastlondonknit patterns are here! Come on over & see me sometime😘

A post shared by Renee EastLondonKnit (@eastlondonknit) on

There were lots of exciting things going on around the grounds, and as per usual, I hardly remembered to photograph anything, with a couple of notable exceptions….

@kettleyarnco in her natural, woolly environment. #knitting

A post shared by Renee EastLondonKnit (@eastlondonknit) on


If you would like to see the event itself, Mina, the Knitting Expat, has done a vlog episode giving you a whirlwind tour of the whole festival. Extra points if you catch my own brief cameo 🙂

Just a note to say that a new cardigan pattern, Wisteria Blossoms will be out next week. I will be offering an introductory discount code, but only to subscribers to the EastLondonKnit newsletter–please do sign up to get the all the fun stuff.

Wisteria Blossoms by Renée Callahan

**The Zen Variations knit along will start the 1 September and run through until the end of the year. I have been amassing wonderful yarn and knitting prizes and I will be posting tutorials and offering support through out the knit-along to keep your needles on track. Please do join in–I am happy for you to knit any EastLondonKnit pattern, but extra stars for a Zen Variations sweater 🙂

Happy knitting!

Rx

Sundogs and seasides

Hello!

Last week I had the incredible luck to take a holiday by the seaside that coincided with a mini heat wave here in the UK. I was prepared with my holiday knitting: a new sweater design using brioche stitch. I made a reasonable amount of progress on it, but I can’t show it off January (!!) which feels like such a long time because I am so excited about it now. I also took my trusty camera, and thought I would share some holiday inspiration with you today.

Sundog at Swanage by Renée Callahan

Have you heard of a sundog? I had not, but Wikipedia tells us this about them:

Sun dogs (or sundogs), mock suns or phantom suns, scientific name parhelia (singular parhelion), are an atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a pair of bright spots on either horizontal side on the Sun, often co-occurring with a luminous ring known as a 22° halo.

We saw an astonishingly vivid sundog while out and about one evening. My camera wasn’t quite able to cope with taking in the entire scene, but there was a sundog either side of the setting sun, and halo was just visible.

Swanage 2016-12

I enjoyed some quality knitting time and fit in a few rows before going out in the evening.

Swanage 2016-13

There was a fantastic full moon. I read some things online about how this was a special full moon, but have to admit I can’t remember any of those special things, which in no way dims my enjoyment of it!

And finally, we did took some photos for a sneak peek of new a cardigan design to be released later this month.

Wisteria Blossoms by Renée Callahan 5

About which, more soon…

Happy knitting!

Rx