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 Renee 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

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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

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

Port Townsend

Hello!

Just a note to start: I am teaching Brioche Basics and Next Steps in Brioche this Saturday at A Yarn Story in Bath. There are still a few places if you want to know everything there is to know about brioche stitch!*

knitting ELK brioche rib tut-14

*Well, maybe not everything… but all the good stuff;)

This January is all about organisation. I can’t tell you how much time I spent procuring planners and calendars and post-it notes. It is simultaneously a type of procrastination and a valuable activity. If nothing else, I am now well-informed of all the things I didn’t get to last year. As I was taking stock of the stash, I came across some very special souvenir yarn I bought last year on a trip to Port Townsend and am dying to show off to you.

Port Townsend is a lovely little town in Washington State, about 2 hours from Seattle. Although you could walk the distance of the high street in 15 minutes, it boasts not one but two gorgeous yarn shops.

Diva Yarn & Trim is a small but well-stocked shop tucked in to a building with several other shops. Many of the usual suspects were there, including lots of lovely Malabrigo among other luxurious yarns, but this is the one that caught my attention:

Yarn Small Blessings Farm

It is a sport-weight, 100% Romney wool in beautifully natural warm grey. The label affectionately informs the reader that this particular skein comes from the wool of Harriet the sheep. How sweet is that? The Small Blessings Farm is a very active small holdings in Enumclaw, WA and I have to admit I am looking for an excuse to visit on my next trip to Seattle. The question about what to do with a single skein of sport-weight yarn remains. It seems like a hat. Or maybe proper gloves. What do you think?

The other prize was Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop and Fiber Emporium.

Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop

I loved this shop. It is all the things a local yarn shop should be, with space for regulars to linger and a great array of yarn and fibre from small producers. I was lucky enough to visit while Kerri, the shop’s owner, was in and got a picture of her in situ.

Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop and Fibre Emporium

The shop is so well-thought out there is even a lovely porch for weary loved-ones to wait on…

Bazaar girls yarn shop

My treasure from this stop was a single skein of worsted-weight indigo-dyed Rambouillet wool. I wasn’t familiar with the Local Color Fiber Studio, but this yarn feels amazing! Another local business, this time from Bainbridge Island.

local color Fiber Studio

Again, I am thinking a hat… But really, I am open to suggestions! I would very much like to hear your pattern suggestions and just what you do with your single skeins of souvenir yarn.

The yarn was only one factor in a wonderful trip. Port Townsend is a wonderful place for a weekend away.

Port Townsend yarn shops

There are an abundance of fearless deer, no doubt the bane of local gardeners, but so damn photogenic.

Port Townsend yarn shops

The town traded heavily on its picturesquely decrepit Victorian history, a.k.a. photographer catnip. I took literally hundreds of photos. So much good texture and colour.
Port Townsend yarn shops

If you have single skein pattern recommendations, I would love to hear them and if you fancy learning all about brioche stitch and are near Bath, please come join the class!

Happy knitting,

R.

Tolt Yarn and Wool

Travels

Hello!

With all the excitement about the Klee Collection and fibre-y goings on, I am a little behind on the blogging I meant to do about my travels in the Autumn. There was my annual pilgrimage to Tolt Yarn and Wool during my visit to Seattle. I am a lucky lady. Living in London, I have several wonderful local yarn shops easily within reach. Visiting my family in Seattle, Tolt is my local yarn store, and a wonderful LYS it is too.

I have blogged about it before, so this year, I will only mention the swag.

Yoth Yarn

I was unable to leave the store without a couple of skeins of Yarn On the House‘s Little Brother fingering weight yarn. Every time I come across these yarns in my stash, I have to resist the urge to throw all WIPs aside and cast on some intricate lace pattern. This will happen very soon in the new year. The yarn is begging for it!

I also purchased a cardi-quantity of Quince and Co. Kestrel worsted-weight linen. I was pretty excited about this one too as I have never knit with linen, although I have been meaning to for ages. The yarn is an interesting chain-ply construction and it’s a flat tape, which I have also never hand-knit with.

Quince and Co. Yarn

The Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge motivated me to get knitting with it, as did a trip to Mexico, where all woolly yarn was in danger of felting in my hands as I worked. I did find the yarn a bit challenging to work with as it twists as I knit it and I can’t resist the urge to stop and untwist every now and then. It is a yarn that benefits from a slightly duller needle than I usually work with because it is easy to snag the individual linen fibres with a sharp needle.

knitting with linen linen knitting

Instagram tells me these pictures were taken 6 (!) weeks ago. I just got the cardigan out and I see that I haven’t made it much further… which is disappointing as my imagination had it nearly finished! Someday this will be finished cardigan. Someday after that, this will be a published pattern…

I hope you holiday knitting is going well!

R.

Winchester Cathedral

Hello!

Although it isn’t very warm here, it is summer time in the city and everyone I know is away. My world travels start in a few days, but I thought I would just share a few pictures from a trip we took earlier this year to Winchester. I love Gothic architecture–the incredible, and often very weird detail in the Winchester Cathedral is wonderful. There is an incredible about of craftsmanship and handmade love on display here.

Winchester Cathedral exteriorThe nave is a gorgeous Perpendicular-style construction with stone pillars that seem to defy gravity in a bid to get as close as possible to Heaven.

Winchester Cathedral Gothic NaveThere are so many things to appreciate in the space. The West Window is a spectacular monument to the British make do and mend spirit.

Winchester Cathedral West WindowDuring the Civil War, Cromwell’s men smashed the medieval stained glass, which was saved and randomly reassembled a few years later, with no attempt to recreate the images, which I think was a beautiful and brave solution to the problem.

Winchester West Window detailThe ornately carved choir and its screen deserve a dedicated coffee-table book.

Winchester Cathedral Choir

Winchester Cathedral Choir screen

Winchester Cathedral Choir Screen

There is a tradition of including irreverent figures within the decoration of medieval cathedrals and I especially enjoyed this misericord. A keen guide explained to me that the figure on the right was spinning with a spindle, and therefore was identified as a witch…..  you just can’t argue with logic like that.

Winchester Cathedral MEDIEVAL MISERICORDS

Finally just a couple of pics of the wonderful 13th century tiles. I found this whole place so full of pattern and design inspiration. Winchester 13th century floor tiles Winchester 13th century floor tilesI hope you enjoyed seeing the some of the images that inspired me, and I hope you are enjoying the summer time or winter time wherever you are.

In an unusual turn of events, I will traveling the world until mid-October and while I have ambitious plans to post brilliant posts throughout my travels, it may well be that I am a bit quiet on the blog front until my jet lag has faded and my first collection of hand knit patterns is ready to publish (!).

Til then, happy knitting!

R.