Episode 13: bmandarines and brushwork


I had the pleasure of chatting with knitwear designer and podcaster Melody Hoffmann aka mandarines this episode. Melody is a charming guest and I hope you enjoy hearing about her inspiration and work! We have some great give aways as well! With a special shoutouts for Martin’s Lab, Blacker Yarn, a new pattern, jet lag and bad hair…

Shownotes are in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group, where you will also find a new call for test knitters, and other goodness among other things….

Happy knitting!

Episode 10: Thea Colman & Iara

Episode 10 is ready for you and I think it’s a good one! Thea Colman, aka babycocktails was a great interviewee and there are not one but 3 giveaways this time.

If you would like to win a copy of the Iara wrap pattern, you can enter to win a free copy over here on Instagram.

Iara knitting pattern by Renee Callahan

Happy knitting!


Episode 1: Clare Devine and Double Yarn Overs.


Well, the pilot episode when so well, I thought I may as well have another go!

This time I catch up with Clare Devine at Edinburgh Yarn Festival for a little interview about her latest projects, I chat about my current knitting and do a little tutorial about working double yarn overs. You can find show notes in the thread for Episode 1 in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group.

There is a great giveaway from Clare for this episode, so please do have a view of the podcast if you would like a chance to win!


Oriental Beauty knitting pattern by Clare Devine

Oriental Beauty by Clare Devine

My brain seems entirely taken up on working on my new collection and the podcast. I keep sitting down to write a blog post and there is a yawning gap where my inspiration used to be. Maybe I should be concerned about it, but admittedly, I’m not.

This is how I see it: either, there is only so many creative words in me at any given time and I have used up my allowance at the moment, or I am percolating on some future words and themes (in an apparently unconscious way, HA!). Either way, it always seem like if I don’t have anything interesting to say, not to say anything at all.

So I think I will post about interesting things when they happen: I publish a pattern, or a podcast or have a sale or finish something. What do you think?

Happy knitting,


p.s. The best way to keep up with EastLondonKnit happenings, is to sign up for the newsletter!


The EastLondonKnit Podcast: Pilot episode


I did it! I published at least one podcast!

It wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be for me, but you will have to let me know how it is for you;)

You can find the show notes in the thread in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group.

To win the gorgeous skein of Blacker Yarn’s new yarn Samite, have a view of the podcast.

Thank you so much if you took the time to watch my first efforts. I will get better, I promise!

Happy knitting,


A Sweetheart Giveaway




This week I am having a little giveaway to celebrate my love for you!

I will be giving away a free Craftsy.com class to some lucky winner. You can choose any class at all, be it knitting or cake decorating!

To win, please sign up for my newsletter and then pop over to my Instagram feed and leave a comment on this post tagging a crafty friend.

To enter:
1. Please sign up for the ELK newsletter
2. Follow @eastlondonknit, and
3. let me know you are all signed up by tagging a crafty friend or two in the comments of this post.

You can still enter if you already received the newsletter and follow me on Instagram: just carry on with step 3. and you could win!

I will choose a winner Friday,  10 February.

With love from me to you!

Happy knitting,


Let the KAL begin!


Today the Klee Collection knit along begins and I am really pleased to discuss the first of the sponsors, who, not coincidentally, were also the wonderful sources of yarn for my collection:

ELK KAL prizes

Blacker YarnsWalkCollection and The Uncommon Thread have all generously contributed to the prize pots, as have I with some gorgeous yarn from the ‘give away’ stash and surprises to be announced. There will be prizes for finished garments and finished accessories, both randomly selected, as well as a social media participation prize and a prize for my favourite finished object.

The rules:

  • Join us over at the EastLondonKnit Ravelry Group.
  • Cast on any of the Klee Collection designs. (Those cast on before 1 Dec are also allowed)
  • Bind off on or before 1 February 2016.
  • Post a beautiful of your finished object in the Finished Object Thread of Joy.
  • Tag your project with ‘KleeCollectionKAL‘ on Ravelry or #KleeCollectionKAL on Instgram or Twitter.

Exciting times, eh?

This weekend the Klee Collection received a lovely review on A Playful Day’s podcast!

a playful day podcast

I began listening to Kate’s podcast many years ago, and was super pleased to hear my work mentioned in her dulcet tones! Please do have a listen🙂

I will be guest posting on her blog as well as partaking in a give away! Watch this space….

Happy knitting,


Angelus Novus Shawl


Decision making is really not my super skill. And with knitwear design, there are a lot of decisions to make. Stitch patterns, numbers of repeats, yarn choices; it can all get a bit overwhelming. One of the choices to make is about the type of accessories or garment that will be the finished object, and for the Klee Collection, I decided to cheat this decision and do both.

Angelus Novus Shawl by Renée Callahan-2

Angelus Novus Cardi back by Renée Callahan

This was a particularly easy decision with the Angelus Novus design, as the cardigan begins life as a shawl and then continues on. The Blacker Swan used in the design is such a lovely soft and warm yarn that once I started knitting with it, I just carried on until I had half a small blanket. It is a simple but still quite luxurious. The shawl can be worked to any number of repeats and so made as large or as small as preferred.

I am pleased to announce that Blacker Yarn are one of the generous sponsors of the Klee Collection knit along, which begins on 1 December and will finish on 1 February 2016. You can join in the pre-KAL chat here and declare your intentions if you would like:)

And don’t forget to enter in the Instagram giveaway before Monday at 12 noon GMT to win a copy of the shawl and cardigan pattern!

Happy knitting,


Angelus Novus


Inspiration is a nebulous thing; sometime it is a single colour, as the shocking red of Angel in the Making, sometimes it is a more subtle thing, as the title of the painting which led to the idea of a lace in the making: a shape which begins as a small, simple motif and evolves with the knitting, growing into a complex lace pattern. Sometimes a metaphor morphs into another shape in the mind, as did the idea of graphic arm/wings in Angelus Novus.

Angelus Novus by Paul Klee

Angelus Novus 1920
Oil-transfer drawing and watercolour on paper on cardboard
by Paul Klee

Isn’t she a beauty? What gorgeous the curling scrolls of hair and geometric patterns in the body! I imagined the arms wrapping around the body and turned into a wing-like pattern that envelops the body. There is joy in the simplicity of the shapes, something both childlike and elegant.


The Angelus Novus cardigan knit itself in my mind long before I picked up the needles. It has turned out to be an easy-to-wear cardigan with an innovative construction begining with a garter-tab cast on at the lower back and growing up and around the body. It flatters many body types and can be worn with a casual comfort or as an elegant layer. Worn open, it has the effect of a waterfall front, or it can be secured with a beautiful shawl pin or single snap closure. The sample is worked in beautiful Blacker Swan Falkland Islands Wool, which is a thick DK weight, but a worsted- or even aran-weight yarn would also be great.

Angelus Novus Cardi 1 by Renée Callahan-2

The technical details:

Sized: S, M, L, XL
Bust: 33.5 (39.25, 45.25, 51.25) inches/ 85 (100, 115, 130) cm
Note: The sweater has considerable ease built in. For example, the medium can accommodate bust sizes from 34 inches-40 inches comfortably. The sample sweater is size Medium. I have a 36” bust and the sweater has a lot of room. People with much larger busts have also been happy with the fit of the medium size.

Blacker Swan DK (100% Superwash Falkland Islands Wool; 119 yd/110 m per 50 g ball) in colorway Stone;
9 (11, 12, 14) balls.

Note: The Blacker Swan DK is a very thick DK. If substituting yarns, consider a heavy worsted or even aran-weight yarn for a similar density of fabric, or a DK for a looser fabric with more drape.
1015 (1195, 1375, 1550) yards/940 (1105, 1270, 1435) metres

US #9/5.5 mm or size needed to obtain gauge long circular and double-pointed needles or your choice of needle for sleeve knitting.

Angelus Novus is available as part of the Klee Collection and also as in individual download.

The final Klee Collection Instagram give away is now going on! To win a copy of both the cardigan and shawl patterns, please have a look >here<.

Happy knitting,


Angel in the Making Sweater


You may have noticed that the Klee Collection has a lot of Angels. Earlier this week I wrote about the Angel in the Making Shawl, which was the first of the two Angel in the Making designs I worked on. The sweater came second, and not without some birthing pains. I really wanted the ‘evolving’ (i.e. ‘in the making’) lace to be the main feature, and while the border of the shawl presented itself as the obvious place for a long and changing lace motif, the sweater didn’t make it so easy.

The design went through several variations, including an idea revolving around intarsia lace panels (vetoed because I really do want people to knit my designs) and a couple of raglan variations before I decided that a round yoked sweater was the way forward.

I began by extracting sections from the shawl border to make the lace pattern in the yoke. As it is a fingering/4 ply weight yarn, I thought there would be many more stitches to work over all and so I wanted something to break up the mass of stockinette stitch in the body. Garter stitch columns recalling the central spine of the shawl along the sides of the body created both flattering lines and another connection between the accessory and garment. The result was not the what I thought it would be in the beginning, but I think it has turned out really well!

Angel in the Making sweater

Angel in the Making is a seamless, round- yoked, light-weight sweater worked from the bottom up in a fingering/4-ply yarn. The sample is knit in the Walk Collection’s Cozy Merino, a gorgeous single which holds the lace perfectly. A contrast-coloured band highlights the delicate lace in the yoke and the body features flattering garter stitch details along the sides.

Angel in the Making Sweater pattern

The technical details:

Walk Collection Cozy Merino Fingering (100% Superwash Merino Wool; 400 yd/366 m per 100 g skein) in main colour: Nightshade; 3 (4, 4, 4, 5)(5, 6, 6, 6) skeins, contrast colour; Lipstick 1 skein.

Total grams: 280 (315, 350, 385, 420)(455, 490, 525, 560) g
Total yards: 1121 (1261, 1401, 1541, 1681)(1821, 1961, 2102, 2242) yds
Total meters: 1025 (1153, 1281, 1409, 1537)(1665, 1793, 1922, 2050) m

Main colour grams: 244 (274, 305, 335, 365)(396, 426, 457, 487)
Contrast colour grams: 36 (41, 46, 50, 55)(59, 64, 68, 73)

The Angel in the Making sweater is available as part of the Klee Collection and as an individual download.

Please join us for the Klee Collection knit-along on the EastLondonKnit Ravelry Group. The knit-along is open to anyone and you can knit any of the Klee Collection patterns in whatever yarn you would like for a chance to win some beautiful yarny prizes!

Angel in the making Shawl and sweater

Finally, I just want to mention the Angel in the Making Instagram give away is going on until Monday! If you would like to win both the shawl and sweater pattern, please have a look here.

Happy knitting,


Twilight Flowers Sweater


It is time to take a breath. Autumnal light and colour are pouring in through the window and I feel like I am on the road to getting caught up after a couple of months of travel and excitement. I’m overjoyed (read: relieved) that the reception for my first collection of hand knits has been positive and I have the feeling that I will finally catch up with myself and my to-do list now. What can I say, I am an eternal optimist:)

This week I begin a series of posts about the individual designs from the Klee Collection to explain a little about the inspiration behind each one and what makes it special to me. First up: the Twilight Flowers sweater.

Twilight Flowers by Paul Klee

Klee painted Daemmer-Blueten–translated as Twilight Flowers (and occasionally Dusk Flowers)–just a few months before his death in 1940. I love the flat, patterned aspect of the simple geometric shapes and the pops of colour among the muted palette.

Twilight Flowers pullover by Renée Callahan

Twilight Flowers sweater is the first design I worked on for this collection and, maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but it is also the first saddle shoulder sweater I have ever knit. I was able to use some beautiful Uncommon Thread Everyday Sport yarn for the sweater, which makes for a springy, bouncing fabric. It isn’t the usual choice for lace stitches because the roundness of the merino closes in on lace eyelets, but the repetitive, simple shapes of the painting were leading me to simple, repetitive lace patterns, and I had to follow.  The TUT yarn is in the Hemlock colourway, a rich, almost black, green, like the darkest shapes in the painting. And for both the nature of the raw materials and the painting-inspiration, the lace stitch I used needed to be simple and easily ‘readable’.

After playing around with variations of eyelets and short-repeat lace patterns, I decided on an the arrow-shaped (even tulip-shaped…mustache twirl…) lace for the sleeve and the panel just fit into a saddle-sleeve construction beautifully, which was a good motivation to learn about a new construction technique.

Twilight Flowers shoulder detail

I needed some detail at the neck but the more complicated it got, the less I liked it. In the end, I wanted a pretty but not fussy solution, and a simple necklace of eyelets did the trick, with the tiny circles drawing attention toward the face.

twilight flowers by Renee Callahan

Twilight Flowers pullover by Renée Callahan

The result is a cosy, top-down seamless sweater that is easy to wear. You can buy the Twilight Flowers knitting pattern here, and the entire Klee Collection here. And since this is all new and shiny, I am celebrating by giving away copies of both the Twilight Flowers pullover and mitts. If you would like to win, please do the following:

  1. Follow elkrenee on Instagram,
  2.  Repost this image of the sweater, using the hashtag #twilightflowersknit, and tagging 2 friends.

I will randomly choose a winner from the hashtag group next Monday:)

Happy knitting,