Getting ready to Unravel

Unravel at Farnham Maltings

 

Happy Valentines Day if that is your kind of thing!

Will you be going to Unravel this year? I always enjoy Unravel–its location in the Maltings, all the fun events and vendors, the atmosphere all come together to make a lovely weekend.

This year will be a bit different for me, as I am both teaching and giving a talk (!). I was surprised when the organisers asked about a talk, and not only that, but specifically something about my journey as a knitter. It seemed a tall order to speak about myself for 40 minutes; even if I thought of something to say, who would come listen to me go on and on? Well, we will find out Sunday….

If you can’t make it to the event, I did a little Q&A with the Unravel team you can find on their blog.

Also, congratulations to @laraloreleiknits, the winner of my Sweetheart giveaway. Thank you so much to everyone who participated!

Wish me luck!

Rx

The Curious Handmade Country House Retreat

Hello!

The first Curious Handmade Country House retreat happened in March, and I was green-eyed with jealously that I couldn’t make it. So I was thrilled when Helen asked me if I would teach a workshop at the second retreat. I joined a stately-home full of lovely knitters for fantastic weekend at the end of October in the gently rolling hills of Cumbria, and took my camera for a little walkabout in between endless cups of tea and the coziest hours spent knitting in front of the fire.

curious-handmade-country-house-retreat curious-handmade-country-house-retreat-2 curious-handmade-country-house-retreat-3 curious-handmade-country-house-retreat-4 curious-handmade-country-house-retreat-5 curious-handmade-country-house-retreat-6

The next CH Country House Retreat will happen in March, just before the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. Be sure to sign up for the Curious Handmade newsletter if you would like to find out more!

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

A Room of One’s Own.

Hello!

Last time I posted about my old studio and my travels on the road to become an independent knitwear designer.

This time I just wanted to post a quick photo diary showing the progression of my new studio. I know there are so many incredibly talented people who are able to perform this kind of transformation on their own, but I had a great set of builders in to do it for me.

Our garage was full of stuff and on its way to becoming a junk store when I decided to have a studio in there instead. It isn’t massive, obviously. It is a single garage with no insulation and had a way to go before I could use it.

the garage before

Before the building, but after some serious cleaning out occurred…

the garage before

I was especially keen on natural light, and the ability to put in large skylights was the deciding factor with going ahead.

new studio in the works

The builders did an amazing job, separating off a small section of garage from a well-lit craft room. They put in laminate flooring with under-floor heating, power points, shelves and lighting. With a little help from IKEA, we were ready to go…

New knitting studio ready to go

Once I had moved everything I could fit from the old studio, there is not a lot of room left over, but it is a tiny perfect space with everything I need.

New EastLondonKnit Studio New knit Studio

Although this is quite a reduction from the previous studio, I am so happy with the result. I never have to worry about the rent going up again! It gives me the space and time to really work on my own designs and projects and dreams, such as my first hand-knit collection. This first baby of mine, the Klee Collection, is so very close to being ready, I can hardly wait to show you.

Happy knitting,

R.

EYF Educational

Hello!

My recent outing to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival was particularly exciting, not only because it was a wonderful event put on by fabulous people, but also because I had the good fortune to take a couple of classes.  I am a big fan of education in general and was quite the professional student until I took up knitting. I don’t get the opportunity to take so many classes these days, so the Edinburgh Yarn Festival was a real treat.

Saturday morning I took DIY hat design with Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits.  I love Emily’s knitwear.  There is something really down to earth and wearable about her designs, so I was really looking forward to hearing what she had to say about her design process. (Spoiler: whatever it is, don’t over-design it.) After an inspirational presentation, we got down to the knitty gritty and everyone worked on their own hat designs.

DIY hat design with Emily Wessel

There was a nice mix of those who just wanted to have a go and those who were gearing up to take on designing as a job. Admittedly, I wasn’t terribly focused on the task at hand, and as a result I don’t have much to show for my first class, but it was enjoyable and I have a few ideas to knit up someday.

I also took a class about the Lopi sweater shaping with Helene Magnusson, aka the Icelandic Knitter. I got 2 things in particular from this class. First yarn-over short rows are awesome. Second, I really must to go Iceland someday. It sounds amazing.

Lopi Sweater Shaping The icelandic knitter

Helene modeled her nearly finished Lopi cardigan and used miniature Lopi sweaters to demonstrate different shaping methods–they were the cutest damn educational aids I have ever seen.

the icelandic knitter on lopi shaping

It’s like a bug–I am already trying to figure out how I can take some more classes soon! Suggestions for UK-based learning opportunities are welcome!!! What is the best class you have ever taken?

Happy knitting,

R.

Unravel 2015

Hello!

I am nearly recovered from a really great weekend at the Unravel Festival of Knitting.I have been looking forward to it for what feels like such a long time. With suitcases full of workshop materials, knitting and camera, I waddled my way to Farnham Maltings for the first time.  Now I can hardly believe I have missed it all these years. It was a great show! So much gorgeous yarn! While it was quite busy, it wasn’t painfully manic and I got to meet so many great people who came by the lovely Kettle Yarn Co. stand where I was helping out.

Kettle yarn co. stand at Unravel

Kettle Yarn Co. stand

EastLondonKnit at Unravel

Not an extrovert by nature, it isn’t always so comfortable for me to chat to people, but everyone was very friendly, and a big thanks to Lynsey, Emily and the whole Unravel team, who even came around with candy to help keep the energy levels up.

I was especially looking forward to/terrified of the workshop I was running; Revamp that Jumper and Learn to Love Again….  I had a really lovely group of people who came with unloved knitwear and great attitudes.  I meant to take some action shots, but it turns out I was quite busy for the whole two hours, so here are some pics of the haberdashery ‘before’,

Unravel Knitting festival before the workshop

I have always loved the LOVER….

Unravel Knitting festival before the workshop

It was nearly closing time on Sunday when I realized I hadn’t visited the rest of the show and seen all the other great vendors. I grabbed the camera and ran off to chat to the vendors, grope the yarn and check out the woolly art installations. Frankly, I also went for cake, but, in the single negative experience of the weekend, the cake was sold out. Heartbreaking though that was, there were so many great things this weekend, I didn’t shed a single tear.

Unravel Knitting festival growth installation

‘Growth’ crochet installation at Unravel

Unravel Knitting festival Blue Jumper installation

Blue Jumper installation

Unravel Knitting festival I knit because

‘I knit because…’ installation

Unravel Knitting festival main hall

The Main Hall, just before closing. Don’t worry, I won’t give up my day job.

I am already looking forward to next year.

Happy knitting,

R.