Starflower Sweater

Because you are great, I have a 30% discount on my new sweater pattern for you!

starflower-sweater-pattern-by-renee-callahanHello!

Spring is sprung, at least according to the flowering cherry trees around my way. There is light in the sky when I get up and I feel the promise of warmth in the (still rare) sunshine.

So I think to myself, what better time to release a pattern for a chunky sweater! haHA!

In my defense, I wear sweaters all year round and will wear this sweater well into the spring, trading my coat for the breathable warmth of the sweater when the spring really kicks in.

The Starflower Sweater is a modified raglan pullover knit in beautiful chunky wool for a cosy hug of a sweater. Designed to be a beginner-friendly knit, Starflower is worked from the top down, so you can try it on as you go to get a perfect fit.

Starflower knitting pattern by Renee Callahan

I used  Hill View Farm Yarns Pleasingly Plumb wool for the sweater and I love the squishiness of the Bluefaced Leicester fibre.

I was honoured to be the recipient of the very first batch of yarn from Hill View Farm. It is a lovely yarn and I know that Natasha, the owner, has some amazing plans for crafty retreats, workshops, and yarn-based goodness.

You can buy the Starflower pattern here, and if you sign up to the EastLondonKnit newsletter, you will get a code for a 30% discount on the pattern with your confirmation email.

Happy knitting,

Rx

p.s. I have some podcast (!) based plans in the works, and I would love to know if you listen to/watch podcasts. If so, what do you really like or dislike about them? More on this next week, but it would great to hear your opinions!

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

Wool Tribe 2017

Hello!

How is your knitting season going? I hear that mid-January is considered the most depressing time of the year. Do you find that to be the case? For me, once I have had a tiny tantrum about Christmas being over, really over, I get excited about the New Year and new resolutions and plans and fresh starts, etc. I had the launch of my Craftsy machine knitting class to keep me on my toes, and the pleasure of seeing the latest publication from the Edinburgh Yarn Fest ladies, so I didn’t feel the blues.

wool-tribe-2017-cover

You may have seen the previews for Wool Tribe 2017 are up and the magazine is available for pre-order now!

There are 6 lovely accessory designs from indie designers, including Amanda B. Collins, Jane Crowfoot, Francesca HughesClare DevineDonna Smith and my contribution; Belsyde, an asymmetrical triangular shawl worked with Kettle Yarn Co. Baskerville in Dawn and gorgeous Islington in Siren Call teal.

belsyde-shawl-by-renee-callahan

The shawl uses 3 different types of geometric lace to create a unisex shawl with lots of interest.

To get all 6 patterns, you can pre-order your copy of Wool Tribe here!

The shawl will be available as an individual digital download in June.

I hope you are knitting the blues away!

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

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

Constructing the Zen Variations

Hello!

I’m visiting the family in Seattle this week, but I am not neglecting the Zen Variations knit-along while I am away! As I mentioned in a previous post, my travel knitting is the Enso sweater, knit in Kettle Yarn Co. Islington DK.

It’s all the rage to knit seamless, top-down sweaters and it is a construction I really love for a few good reasons.

With top-down, you can try as you go, checking the fit at the crucial junctures, making the armhole deeper if you want to, or shorter, and of course making the sweater body and sleeves as long as you want them.

Today I want to begin a step by step tutorial for knitting a Zen Variation sweater, which starts with the upper back:

Zen Variations by Renée Callahan back

In this schematic, we are looking at the Back from the right side, and working from casting on at the top down to the underarm/bottom of the sleeve opening.

1. Cast on the number of stitches required for both shoulders and back neck (the red line).
2. Place markers (m) to mark shoulders.
3. Work short rows to create shoulder slope: knit across Right Shoulder and Back Neck to Left Shoulder, wrap and turn (W&T) the next st; purl back to Right Shoulder, W&T the next st; knit back to the 1st wrapped st, k3 (wrapped st + 2 more) W&T, purl back to 2nd wrapped st., k3 (wrapped st + 2 more), W&T, etc.
4. Work straight until the back armhole is as long as necessary.
5. Work increases (+) at the underarm edge until the full back measurement (minus the stitches that will be cast on for the underarm) is reached.
6. Put Back sts on waste yarn.

I will continue the tutorial with the Fronts in a couple of weeks.

If you are interested in learning more, I will be teaching a several workshops in and around London, and further afield, leading students through understanding the construction as well as all the techniques associated with the design (working the wrapped short-rows, picking up stitches for a beautiful set-in sleeve, a perfect finish for  your new sweater) as well as choosing the right size, making modifications, and more. I’m teaching Zen and Art of Sweater Construction in several places this Autumn:

25 September  the Village Haberdashery.

1 October 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 Wild and Woolly

16 October A Yarn Story. 

Mon, Oct 24 to Fri, Oct 28 I will be in Romania teaching a number of knitting classes at the Taking a Moment in Time  Weaving, spinning, knitting and photography retreat.

12 November The Yarn Dispensary

For a more complete list of classes, including Brioche Stitch Basics among others, please sign up to the newsletter here.

Happy knitting,

Rx

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