Episode 3: Knitting Machine Making

Hello!

The EastLondonKnit podcast is out! May I present to you Episode 3: Knitting Machine Making.

 

The show notes can be found in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group, and there is another great giveaway, a winner for a previous giveaway, and Craftsy discounts galore!

Happy knitting,

Rx

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A new kind of sweater pattern

Hello!

Today I’d like to introduce the pattern I wrote for the Machine Knitting, Sweater Basics. I have to say that I was really pleased with this pattern, and I hope it will be useful for both hand and machine knitters.

Sweater Blank schematic

My idea was to create a worksheet that could lead a knitter through making a pattern based on a fabric of any gauge. I wanted it to be super clear and easy enough for even a beginner knitter to understand and work through. It was particularly important for me that it would be easy to customise.

 

Sweater Blank worksheet by Renee Callahan

Peek of the Sweater Blank Worksheet courtesy of Craftsy.com

Initial indications suggest that the pattern has been really successful for the people who have used it and I am so excited about seeing the finished projects–sometimes a very first project for the knitter (!) coming through.

I knit several versions of the sweater, modelled here by the lovely Craftsy model:

A Sweater Blank Sweater by Renee Callahan

 

A Sweater Blank Sweater by Renee Callahan

A Sweater Blank Sweater by Renee Callahan

Photos courtesy of Craftsy

I have started a Ravelry project page for the sweater and I really look forward to seeing the projects progress.

If you haven’t signed up, but are interested in learning more about machine knitting or getting the Sweater Blank OR you would just like a 25% discount on any Craftsy.com class, please have a look at  my website.

Happy knitting,

Rx

Machine Knitting: Sweater Basics, live!!

Hello!

It is live!! Machine knitting:Sweater Basics is up and ready for casting on!

machine-knitting-sweater-basics-by-renee-callahan

photo credit: Craftsy

I am really pleased to be able to offer you a whopping 50% discount on the purchase of the class! Just follow the link above or go to my website for more information and a link for 25% off any other Craftsy class you may like to take!

In Machine Knitting; Sweater Basics, you will learn everything you need to know to knit a sweater on the machine: from basic machine maintenance, how to cast on, making fabric you love, to seaming, blocking and everything in between. The class includes my Sweater Blank–a worksheet that will lead you through making your sweater in any gauge or fabric you want and making it easy to customize. I will post more about the Sweater Blank later, but I have to say I am pretty pleased about it and I hope you will be too.

Although it was excruciating for me to watch this the first time, here is the trailer, for your amusement!

Happy knitting,

Rx

A new Craftsy class: machine knitting; sweater basics!

Hello!

machine-knitting-with-renee-callahan-on-craftsy

It is nearly time!! My Craftsy class is in the final stages of preparation and I am really excited to share it with you!

I know not all of you are machine knitters, but if you are at all interested in machine knitting, I think this class will give you a lot of information and help, not to mention a great pattern for a simple sweater.

A Sweater Blank Sweater by Renee Callahan

A Sweater Blank Sweater by Renee Callahan

A Sweater Blank Sweater by Renee Callahan

Photos courtesy of Craftsy

Although I am really proud of the whole class, I am particularly proud of this sweater pattern which will enable the knitter to knit this drop shoulder sweater in any gauge with any yarn and any stitch pattern. I will post more about this later, but I hope it will be an incredibly useful pattern for the beginner or intermediate knitter.

You can enter to win this Craftsy class by simply clicking the link below. The winner will be chosen at random when the class goes live.

Win a free class! Enter by clicking here.

Happy knitting!

Rx

Happy Holidays!

Hello!!

How are you? I love Christmas and am now in full holiday mode, but I do have a ton of exciting plans for 2017 that I can’t wait to share with you. Until then, I hope your holidays are wonderful and here is just a peek at what is coming up:

machine-knitting-on-craftsy

This January, Craftsy will have a new class in machine knitting! Stay tuned for announcements and special discount codes!

boreal-forest-cowl-by-renee-callahan

If you are still looking for a holiday knit, I might have just the thing for you: the Boreal Hat and Cowl patterns are now available for individual purchase!

boreal-forest-hat-by-renee-callahan

Happy Holidays to all and to all a good knit!!

Rx

My Road to Independent Knitwear Designer

Hello!

There is something inspirational about a change in season. Today is another beautiful Autumn day with blue skies and a crisp coolness to the air. It feels like the beginning of something new and wonderful. And for me, it is. This year I have been making some decisions regarding my work and what I want to do with my life. I have been slowly transitioning from freelance knitter in the fashion industry to a independent designer in the handmade crafting industry. I am not there yet, but the path to being an independent knitwear designer is the one I am taking. In this moment, I am so grateful both to have the opportunity to pursue this dream and for all the wonderful people this decision has brought into my life.

Looking back, this all started with some incredible luck.

When I graduated from fashion college some years ago, I was presented with the opportunity to purchase some beautiful industrial knitting machines. I wasn’t ready for such a significant purchase, but these were not the kinds of machines you could just pop down to the shop and buy. They are not manufactured anymore for one thing. For another, machines in such pristine condition are rare as hens’ teeth. So, with more than a little help from friends and family, I bought them.

East London Knit's Dubieds5

Knitting machine

I immediately began to panic as I realised the size of the responsibility I had taken on. The first question to answer was: Where the hell was I going to put them?

A frantic search began and I eventually found a studio that would work—large enough, cement floors, heating, affordable, it was just what I needed. The location was particularly convenient. Hackney Wick is a neighbourhood within easy traveling distance from my home. Full of artists’ studios, quite scruffy but with a single decent cafe, the area suited me perfectly.

hackney wick graffiti

Things I will miss about Hackney Wick: Graffiti….

hackney wick graffiti1 hackney wick graffiti2

I bumbled along quite happily at the studio, making knitwear samples for designers, working with fashion students and teaching machine knitting. It wasn’t a great living, but I was making things and deciding my own fate as my own boss.

ELK sign

A sign on the door made it official.

I knew I should take action to make the financial living more sustainable, but then the next job would come in and I would put off the action plan again.

Then came the Olympics.

The Olympics came London 2012. Very specifically East London. Even more specifically, the stadium was built across the canal from the one decent cafe. The Olympic Park was around a 3 minute walk from the studio.

Stop me if you have heard this one.

More cafes sprang up and it was suddenly not unusual to see people in suits patronising them.

Hackney Wick Graffiti

Rents began to go up, culminating in an eye-watering increase this year. The type of increase that makes you laugh. Or cry. Or definitely make some emotional response.

This is when the action I had put off would be put off no more. I had to make a decision about whether to keep the studio, take on freelance/intern knitters and become a manager, or to give it up.

The thing is, I never wanted to be a manager. I want to make things. So after a bit of soul searching (read: endless complaining to the Very Patient Man), I made the decision and put the machines up for sale.

After feeling sorry for myself for a shake or two, I started to think about what to do with the money I would get from the machines. I can’t lie; this was a particularly sweet balm for my wounded pride. I had enough  to go to some fibre-based retreats this year. And even to build a small knitting studio in our tiny garage…

my garage before the studio was built

‘Before….’

Next time, construction begins….

Happy knitting,

R.

A sweater for him.

Hello!

I reckon the long-suffering love of my life is knit-worthy. So I wanted to make him a sweater–something he can wear to work, but likes enough to wear in his own time.  This began as the promise many months ago.  It was going to be a Valentines day gift, an anniversary gift, a birthday gift.  Somehow, there was never the time to do it, even though it was to be a machine knit, and therefore doable in a few days.  Finally, after months of dithering and knitting a piece here and there, I managed it.

EastLondonKnit's hubby sweater before

And the conclusion was that it was too short.

I found this conclusion somewhat aggravating.

I didn’t have the time to re-knit everything, so decided I needed to find some way of lengthening the body that wasn’t too invasive, as it were.  The best option was to make the hem longer.

So I knit some new, longer ribbing.ELK rib

And linked it on to the sweater, one row above the current too-short ribbing. (A mini-video of the linker in action is on the instagram feed, also, if you like machines, there’s one at work here.)

EastLondonKnit ribAnd in the end, we got there…

EastLondonKnit's hubby sweater after

 

And he likes it, which is lucky, because that is his knitting allocation for this year! If I start now, I may just manage next year’s anniversary/Christmas/birthday jumper….

Happy knitting,

R.