Episode 6: Karen Templer and #summerofbasics

Hello!

I was so excited to chat to karentempler about #summerofbasics and slow fashion at Squam Lake. I have long admired Karen’s work. Are you taking part in #summerofbasics? I would love to hear about it if you are!

Show notes can be found in the thread for Episode 6 in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group.

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

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.

It's show time @fibreeast! Gorgeous @kettleyarnco yarn and #eastlondonknit patterns are here! Come on over & see me sometime😘

A post shared by Renée EastLondonKnit (@eastlondonknit) on

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….

@kettleyarnco in her natural, woolly environment. #knitting

A post shared by Renée EastLondonKnit (@eastlondonknit) on


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

Sundogs and seasides

Hello!

Last week I had the incredible luck to take a holiday by the seaside that coincided with a mini heat wave here in the UK. I was prepared with my holiday knitting: a new sweater design using brioche stitch. I made a reasonable amount of progress on it, but I can’t show it off January (!!) which feels like such a long time because I am so excited about it now. I also took my trusty camera, and thought I would share some holiday inspiration with you today.

Sundog at Swanage by Renée Callahan

Have you heard of a sundog? I had not, but Wikipedia tells us this about them:

Sun dogs (or sundogs), mock suns or phantom suns, scientific name parhelia (singular parhelion), are an atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a pair of bright spots on either horizontal side on the Sun, often co-occurring with a luminous ring known as a 22° halo.

We saw an astonishingly vivid sundog while out and about one evening. My camera wasn’t quite able to cope with taking in the entire scene, but there was a sundog either side of the setting sun, and halo was just visible.

Swanage 2016-12

I enjoyed some quality knitting time and fit in a few rows before going out in the evening.

Swanage 2016-13

There was a fantastic full moon. I read some things online about how this was a special full moon, but have to admit I can’t remember any of those special things, which in no way dims my enjoyment of it!

And finally, we did took some photos for a sneak peek of new a cardigan design to be released later this month.

Wisteria Blossoms by Renée Callahan 5

About which, more soon…

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

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