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

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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

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.

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….


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

An Angelus Novus or Four…

Hello!

I am so pleased to have a some new Angelus Novus cardigans to show you. Curious Handmade Helen hosted a fantastic knit-along in her Ravelry group and the resulting finished objects have been awesome!

Little Bobbins Angelus Novus Cardigan

I was honored to have designed the cardigan that Dani, aka littlebobbins knit herself as a birthday present. She even mentioned it on her podcast, which was a bit of a thrill for me!
Tinkhickman's Angelus Novus Cardigan

Deb, aka Tinkhickman created a wonderful version and captured the entire making process from balls of yarn to gorgeous finished object on her Instagram feed and project page. Vincakent's Angelus Novus Cardigan

As I was looking through the finished objects for the Curious Handmade Klee KAL, I realised I hadn’t shared any of the previous finished objects, and I must as they have turned out so beautifully! Above is Vincakent’s cardi which I love in a fabulous shade of deep orange.

Chopkins Angelus Novus

When I first saw Chopkindknits interpretation in ombre shades, I nearly lost my mind–what a fantastic idea! I love it!

The amazing Josh Moll has knit up a wonderfully tiny version  of the Angelus Novus cardigan that makes my heart burst just a little. She has sent me notes, and I’ll grade the pattern and republish it for several children’s and baby sizes. This is so very exciting! This will be the first EastLondonKnit pattern for children and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Watch this space 😉

Happy knitting,

Rx

Yarniacs and Yamas…

Hello!

Although I aspire to knit all the things, realistically I have to constantly work on design projects or I’d never publish anything. I have a huge number of designs that I am dying to see in real life and so the queue for my needles is always pretty long. But everyone needs a break sometimes, and as I was catching up on podcasts, I heard about The Yarniacs Colors of Fall KAL. As I am almost always knitting on a design I can’t share right away, I normally can’t really participate in KALs, but I would like to make some of the Zen Variations designs with added, well, variations, so I decided I could justify knitting the the Yama cardigan in a single colour for the ultimate wardrobe basic. I’m using Galway Sport from Plymouth Yarn that I got in the amazing sale at Stitch House Dorchester in Boston. The ball band may say that it is color 702, but I am calling it ‘sharkskin’, and Gayle and Sharlene are kind enough to let me get away with it.

Instagram has been great for documenting the progress so far:

I would love to work up some of the other designs with variations as well, maybe Kaizen with cable panels running up the front instead of pockets, or Enzo with stripes of eyelets or some simple lace pattern…. I need so many more arms…

Happy knitting,

Rx

Love knitting

Hello!

How’s things?

I have been planting seeds of the knitting variety in anticipation of an Autumnal harvest. Work on the newest collection is coming along every so slowly. I keep getting side tracked by shiny new projects and beautiful yarns, but the designs are always there, reminding me to get a move on…

One of the shiny, exciting things that has my attention just now is a new KAL!

The wonderful Helen of Curious Handmade is hosting a knit-along for the Angelus Novus cardigan in the Curious Handmade Ravelry group. Please do join us on over there to take part in the knitting, cheer each other on and enjoy the making.

Angelus Novus Cardi back by Renée Callahan-2

 

I also recently did a little interview with LoveKnitting.com, in which I express my wish for knitting Oompa Loompas. Enjoy.

Happy knitting,

R.

How are those resolutions coming along?

Hello!

I may have mentioned this once or twice (or at every opportunity); last year’s New Year’s resolutions were uniquely successful, and I was super keen when the time came to set this year’s resolutions. My key resolution for this year was all about participating more. Finding my people is a particularly important aspect for not only for my business, but also for my mental well-being. It is all too easy for me to sit on the sidelines–just read the conversations without taking part and just admire the photos without letting people know I appreciate them.

To that end, I made an active effort to take part in Ravelry forums and on Instagram, which has apparently become my social media of choice. Although I still feel awkward, I do think it has been working–I do feel as if I am more connected to both people I have never met, and those I have, but don’t see as often as I would like.

There were specific bits of participation I wanted to embrace, such as my first KAL: The Fringe Co.’s Hat Along, giving me the rare excuse to knit someone else’s design: Cirilia Rose’s L’Arbre hat, which I love.

 L'Arbre Hat by Cirilia Rose

And then there was my slightly less successful attempt to multitask: I tried to take part in 3 make-alongs at once:the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge, Truly Myrtle’s Selfish Make Along and the Double Knit Podcast Cardi Party. The result was that I did actually finish my Endless Summer Tunic by A Verb for Making Warm, which definitely wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been trying to play along.

endless summer tunic

My cardigan-based offering didn’t quite work out though, as I mentioned last week...
summer tunic dress

The Ravelry boards and blog post comments were really lively, and although it was difficult to keep up, it was really rewarding to see the other participants chatting and encouraging each other.

Participation is more than the virtual contact to me. Maybe I am just a throw back to the pre-internet dark ages, but I need to meet people in a face to face kind of way. I did get a chance to do that thanks to Linda of Kettle Yarn Co. who let me hang around her stand at various and wonderful fibre festivals, such as the I Knit Fandango…

I knit fandango

And I taught some workshops, which is perhaps the most rewarding and the most stressful kind of connection I can make.

ELK teaches knit techniques

In the end, I think it was a successful resolution. I am really pleased I made the effort, and am already thinking about how I can expand on the participation for next year. I have a few ideas, but making more connections with my knitting community and reinforcing the old ones are absolutely the ways forward.

Speaking of participation, the Klee Collection KAL is warming up. Please do join us over on the forum to knit along, get help and win lovely prizes!

Happy holidays and I will see you in the New Year!

R.