Zen Variations the Front

Hello!

Autumn is here!! Whoop!! Bring on the sweaters and cast on ALL THE THINGS!

This is my mantra and I am practicing what I preach by having 4 sweaters on the needles at the moment. My monogamous knitting is, apparently, a thing of the past.  I’m not sorry! It’s great to have the option of knitting on different projects and not worrying about running out of knitting, or sweaters for that matter. I’m probably not the only one who constantly thinks the next sweater is going to be the perfect sweater of dreams.

If your dream sweater is a top-down, seamless construction like those of the Zen Variations, then let’s talk construction! A post published few weeks ago, I discussed beginning a Zen sweater with the back. Today we are carrying on, working the fronts to the same point.

Zen Variations by Renée Callahan Left front

After knitting the back to the underarms, work the fronts individually:

7. Pick up stitches for the Left Front along the Left Shoulder.
8. Work straight for the length of the flat at the top of the sleeve head (see A below).
9. Begin Left Neck increases: this will be a different instruction for every sweater (+).
10. Work Left Front Underarm increases (+).
11. Put the Left Front sts on waste yarn and work the Right Front in the mirror image.

It should be starting to look like the top of a sweater now!

If you are interested in learning more about the process of knitting top-down seamless sweaters, please do join me you can join me at one of the Zen and the Art of Sweater construction classes coming up:

1 October (this Saturday) I will have the whole Zen Variations collection at Wild and Woolly for a trunk show and little party to celebrate sweater season!

6 October Zen and the Art of Sweater Construction at Wild and Woolly, London

8 October Zen and the Art of Sweater Construction at Ida’s House, Caterham.

16 October Zen and the Art of Sweater Construction at A Yarn Story, Bath

Also, I have just found out the Curious Handmade Country House retreat has a couple of places left. It promises to be a wonderful weekend–do join us if you can!

Happy knitting,

Rx

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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

New to me

Hello!

I am pretty sure that travel is good for me. It is just healthy to occasionally get out of the routine, right?

My trip to the Squam Art Workshops in June was wonderful for so many reasons; because I travelled to a beautiful part of the world and spent time with my people, but also because I had the chance to meet new people who are doing exciting things on the other side of the pond, a few of these I would like to share with you today.

In addition to the full day workshops that attendees sign up for, there are several shorter, drop-in activities going on, including Tierney Barden‘s Fairy Tales and Paper Cutting, which was incredibly fun! My efforts from that afternoon:

I also had the pleasure of meeting Marce, aka BrownBerry, who documented her time in Squam with this sweet podcast:

Marce was accompanied by Nancy, who I met at Squam last year. I’ve been following Nancy Instagram posts of her yoga practice and fitness regime which I find really inspiring; have a look if you enjoy watching superfit people get more fit.

Finally, I was incredibly lucky to have the wonderful Amor from Crave Yarn as my roommate, who allowed me to run off with this gorgeous skein of her Thoreau yarn, a fingering/4 ply yarn of 50% yak, 50% silk in the Stolen Seas colourway (the photo really doesn’t give an accurate impression of the subtlety of the blue).

Crave yarn Thoreau

It is so soft and luxurious that I don’t even want to wind it into a cake. I am more than happy to admire it in the skein until I have time to pay some proper attention to it!

Happy knitting,

Rx

All the learning

Hello!

I love teaching people new knitting techniques. It is one of the most rewarding things I do.

I also love learning new things and I’ve had some wonderful learning opportunties recently.

First of all, I was lucky enough to grab the last place at Karie Westermann’s Nordic Traditions workshop at Wild and Woolly. It was great, even though Karie totally skewered my ardent desire to learn all about ‘traditional’ knitting by explaining the way that tradition is often the recent invention of savvy knitwear marketers….

Nordic Traditions with Karie Westermann

And shortly after that, I got to attend the Squam Spring retreat, where I took a wonderful hap workshop with Gudrun Johnston and a photography/styling workshop with Helene Dujardin, which resulted in some excellent photographs of my new shawl design, Lakelet.

Lakelet by Renée Callahan

I was assisted by my beautiful classmate Michelle (modelling above), and Helene herself, who was kind enough to take the following 2 photos.

Lakelet knitting pattern by Renée Callahan

We practiced our styling (and posing!) with a design I have been wearing quite regularly now, Beetlebum:

Beetlebum by Renée Callahan

 

Classes and Events coming up

On the other side of the coin, I have been enjoying teaching in several new venues, particularly The Yarn Dispensary, where I will be teaching Next Steps Brioche July 9th.

I am really looking forward to teaching a workshop on Zen and Art of Sweater Construction at the Village Haberdashery 3rd July. There are still a couple of places left, so please do join me to learn the ins and outs of top-down seamless sweater construction.

Are you going to Fibre East 30-31 July? I will be there with Kettle Yarn Co. (as is my habit) and I would love to see you. If you are going, please do come by and say hello!

The last event of the summer for me is a trunk show at Purlescence 20 August. From Purlescence:

This time, we’ll be welcoming not one but two guests. Linda of KettleYarnCo will be bringing along a stunning selection of her hand-dyed yarns, and providing inspiration for the yarn will be Renee of EastLondonKnit.

As well of plenty of yarn and other knitterly goodies to browse, they’ll also be plenty of tea and cake  to enjoy while you catch up with some friends and settle down on the sofa with some knitting.

We’ll be open between 10 and 4 at our premises in Leckhampstead, just off the 4 near Newbury, and have plenty of free parking available.

Which takes us right up to knitting season!

Happy knitting,

Renée x

Classes and catching up

Hello!

I think I am almost over the Edinburgh Yarn Festival hangover. If you managed to go, you know it was an awesome event and I don’t need to tell you. If you didn’t manage to go, you probably don’t want to hear about what an awesome event you missed. If you didn’t make it this year, definitely come next year!

I will say that I met some wonderful fibre folk and I came home with some gorgeous yarn.

EastLondonKnit yarn purchases

I tried to be strategic and only bring yarn home with a project in mind. I introduced my current project previously, and it is very much in the works now. It may seem odd that I have mentioned a project revolving around the use of scraps and leftovers, and then come home with lots of beautiful new yarn, but my thinking was this: I want to create a collection that allows people to use up little odd bits of yarn and stash, but it’s also important to me that every design also works with available yarns in only one or 2 colours in larger quantities. I am still in the early stages of swatching and designing, but I am feeling optimistic about it!

Come learn with me!

 

I am pleased to announce some awesome upcoming classes in the next couple of months:

28 April I will teach stranded colour work knitting at Wild and Woolly in East London: Colourwork Magic part 1.

5 May following on from the stranded knitting, we will learn about the mysterious ways of the steek at Wild and Woolly in Colourwork Magic Part 2.

7 May I will be back in Bath teaching Brioche Stitch Basics and Brioche Stitch Next Steps at A Yarn Story, but if you can’t make that date, I will be back in October to teach the same classes.

loveknitting.com

 

And finally, I now have patterns available on Loveknitting.com, including Angelus Novus and several shawl and garment patterns. Please do pop over to have look:)

 

Happy knitting,

R.

Port Townsend

Hello!

Just a note to start: I am teaching Brioche Basics and Next Steps in Brioche this Saturday at A Yarn Story in Bath. There are still a few places if you want to know everything there is to know about brioche stitch!*

knitting ELK brioche rib tut-14

*Well, maybe not everything… but all the good stuff;)

This January is all about organisation. I can’t tell you how much time I spent procuring planners and calendars and post-it notes. It is simultaneously a type of procrastination and a valuable activity. If nothing else, I am now well-informed of all the things I didn’t get to last year. As I was taking stock of the stash, I came across some very special souvenir yarn I bought last year on a trip to Port Townsend and am dying to show off to you.

Port Townsend is a lovely little town in Washington State, about 2 hours from Seattle. Although you could walk the distance of the high street in 15 minutes, it boasts not one but two gorgeous yarn shops.

Diva Yarn & Trim is a small but well-stocked shop tucked in to a building with several other shops. Many of the usual suspects were there, including lots of lovely Malabrigo among other luxurious yarns, but this is the one that caught my attention:

Yarn Small Blessings Farm

It is a sport-weight, 100% Romney wool in beautifully natural warm grey. The label affectionately informs the reader that this particular skein comes from the wool of Harriet the sheep. How sweet is that? The Small Blessings Farm is a very active small holdings in Enumclaw, WA and I have to admit I am looking for an excuse to visit on my next trip to Seattle. The question about what to do with a single skein of sport-weight yarn remains. It seems like a hat. Or maybe proper gloves. What do you think?

The other prize was Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop and Fiber Emporium.

Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop

I loved this shop. It is all the things a local yarn shop should be, with space for regulars to linger and a great array of yarn and fibre from small producers. I was lucky enough to visit while Kerri, the shop’s owner, was in and got a picture of her in situ.

Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop and Fibre Emporium

The shop is so well-thought out there is even a lovely porch for weary loved-ones to wait on…

Bazaar girls yarn shop

My treasure from this stop was a single skein of worsted-weight indigo-dyed Rambouillet wool. I wasn’t familiar with the Local Color Fiber Studio, but this yarn feels amazing! Another local business, this time from Bainbridge Island.

local color Fiber Studio

Again, I am thinking a hat… But really, I am open to suggestions! I would very much like to hear your pattern suggestions and just what you do with your single skeins of souvenir yarn.

The yarn was only one factor in a wonderful trip. Port Townsend is a wonderful place for a weekend away.

Port Townsend yarn shops

There are an abundance of fearless deer, no doubt the bane of local gardeners, but so damn photogenic.

Port Townsend yarn shops

The town traded heavily on its picturesquely decrepit Victorian history, a.k.a. photographer catnip. I took literally hundreds of photos. So much good texture and colour.
Port Townsend yarn shops

If you have single skein pattern recommendations, I would love to hear them and if you fancy learning all about brioche stitch and are near Bath, please come join the class!

Happy knitting,

R.

Teaching and a Garden of Twilight Flowers

Hello!

In teaching news, there are just one or two places on the Brioche Stitch Basics class I am teaching at Loop on 15th & 22nd November. If you are in London and would like to take the class, please do contact Loop to register.

I am also teaching a class on knitting your first cardigan at Wild and Woolly in January. If you know of any beginner knitters who would like to be lead through the process of a top-down seamless sweater, this may be the perfect Christmas present!

As  I just wanted to take a moment here to thank my wonderful test knitters for their work.

Nanerlzeknittingbirdkayemgeemskgb, and saltheknitter; you were all really great and I can’t thank you enough!

Twilight Flowers Knit by saltheknitter

kayemgee's twilight flowers knit mskgb's twilight flowers nanerl's Twilight Flowers zeknittingbird's twilight flowersYou can join in the Twilight Flowers Instagram give away until Monday–join in the fun if you would like to win the pattern & be sure to use the hashtag #twilightflowersknit or I won’t be able to find your entry:)

Happy knitting,

R.