Printed Zen Variations

Hello!

I have (finally!!) had the Zen Variations printed!

Zen Variations knitting patterns

I am really pleased with how it has turned out, even though it took much longer than I had hoped that it would. We added several variations to the variations.

Zen Variations Yama Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-42

The original Yama Cardigan, for example, was knit it 2 gorgeous colours of The Fibre Co. Acadia yarn. To give people an indication of the versatility of the designs, I knit another version in a single solid grey colour, which you can see on the cover of the newly printed booklet at the top of this post.

I also have several new variations in gorgeous Kettle Yarn Co. Islington DK.

 

Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-16

Above is the original version of the Intoku sweater in Acadia, with a longer length and pockets, to which we added the Islington version below, with a more cropped length and no pockets.

Zen_Variations__Intoku_by_Renee_Callahan-2

If you would like a copy, pop over to the EastLondonKnit Etsy shop.

Tomorrow I will publish Episode 2 of the EastLondonKnit Podcast and if you tune in, you will get a code for a 20% discount off the printed Zen Variations and the printed Klee Collection as well as an awesome interview with Woolly Wormhead!

Happy knitting,

Rx

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Happy New Year!

Hello!

Welcome to 2017! How’s it treating you so far? I am off to a flying start. I have made lists by the shed-load and the post-it notes have proliferated, but I am happy with that. This feeling is probably something to do with having had a good, lazy holiday break with lots of movie-watching and naps. I did have a tiny tantrum yesterday just before I accepted that Christmas was really over and Ben really was going to go back to work and I had to get up at 6am AGAIN!?>! but then I set the alarm and got on with it.

Which brings me to the first order of service for the new year: last year’s EastLondonKnit knit-along. It is officially over, but just in case you have knit an EastLondonKnit design and would like a chance to win one of the fabulous prize packages…



If you would like to win of these lovely packages, please post your finished EastLondonKnit project over on the thread in the ELK Ravelry group. I will choose 2 prize winners at the end of this week.

So, let’s talk about resolutions!

If you know me, you know that I love a New Year’s Resolution. Honestly, I am not restricted to New Years to make my resolutions–I make them regularly throughout the year with unnecessary zeal, but I have a real soft spot for the beginning of January. This year, in addition to the usual promises to self: more exercise, less sugar, no booze this January, I also wanted to add some different things: find somewhere to regularly volunteer, don’t be angry about the world, do things to make it better, and something completely unrelated: learn to play the guitar, because, well, why not?

I know that I should have started with the musical things a lifetime ago, but I’m one of those people who thinks it is never too late. If I start now, in 10 years I might be pretty good. If I don’t start now, in 10 years, I’ll just be 10 years older and still not playing any instruments.

And until I figure out where to volunteer (suggestions welcome!!), I am going to knit some hats and things for KnitAid. If you haven’t heard of KnitAid, please do have a look. They are making a big collection on 20th January if you would like to participate too!!

Do you make resolutions? If so, do you keep them?

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

It’s (almost) knitting season: Let’s knit together!

Hello!

Regardless of the temperature, September brings out the student in me, and I’m nostalgic for those crisp Autumn mornings at the beginning of the school year. This year, I’m embracing the nostalgia with a knit along to kick start the knitting and learning season. I’ll focus on the Zen Variations because although each sweater is quite simple and clean in terms of design, there are several techniques that might not be obvious to inexperienced sweater-knitters. I will make some tutorials and explanatory blog posts which I hope will encourage knitters to make sweaters they will wear forever.

Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan

The knit along will run from 1 September to 31 December in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group. Cast on any EastLondonKnit design on 1st September and post a photo of the finished object in the thread before the 31st December (bonus points if it is modelled on a person:) and I will pick a number of winners in the early hours of 2017.

To sweeten the pot, I have put together a few fantastic prize packages to tempt you into joining the fun!

Llovely Llama prize from EastLondonKnitThe first prize is a Llovely Llama ‘un courtesy of Kettle Yarn Co. Linda who has generously gifted one of her popular LlamaLlamaLlamaLlama bags to the prize pot. I am pairing it with 3 gorgeous skeins of the Fibre Company’s Acadia yarn for some lucky soul… 

I have also organised A Very Tweedy Prize of a woollenflower notions bag with 3 matching skeins of Acadia by The Fibre Co., because everyone knows you should coordinate your notions bags and yarn…
EastLondonKnit tweed prize

My final offering is a Woodland Zen prize: a cute foxy notions pouch and three more skeins of yarn among other presents: a beautiful skein of Acadia, a hand-dyed beauty from Dirty Water Dye Works and a lovely, crunchy skein of indigo blue Skudde Wool from Natures Luxury.

EastLondonKnit prizes: woodland zen

I hope to see you in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group for encouragement, help and a chance to win some wonderful prizes!

You can browse the Zen Variations and all the other EastLondonKnit patterns here.

Happy knitting!

Rx

Buji Tunic

Hello!

Happy weekend to you! Throughout the last week and a bit, I have shared the inspiration behind each design in the Zen Variations collection: Takumi, Yama, Intoku, Enso and Kaizen. Today I give you the final installment of the Zen Variations series: Buji.

BUJI is the Japanese word meaning ‘all is well, no trouble’. The tunic features short sleeves, a boat neck and patch pockets that play with the colour blocking on the body.

Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-3

The concept of buji is one of perfect freedom from trouble or hindrance, and while it can veer toward carelessness, in the most generous understanding, it evokes a playful freedom. The Buji tunic felt like a playful garment to me–the longer length, short sleeves and particularly the geometric colour blocking with the patch pockets all added up to a grown-up version of a smock.

Zen Variations Buji Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-6

SIZING

79.5 (83, 89, 92.5, 96.5, 102)(110.5, 114.5, 120, 125.5, 129.5) cm or 31.25 (32.75, 35, 36.5, 38, 40.25)(43.5, 45, 47.25, 49.5, 51)”
The sweater is intended to be worn with 5cm / 2” of positive ease.

Buji schematic by Renée Callahan

YARN

The Fibre Company Acadia (60% Merino Wool, 20% Baby Alpaca, 20% Silk; 145 yds/133 m per 50 g skein) in main colour: Driftwood, 6 (6, 7, 7, 7, 8)(8, 9, 9, 9, 10) skeins, contrast colour: Cranberry, 2 (2, 2, 2, 2, 3)(3, 3, 3, 3, 3) skeins.

Acadia is a DK weight yarn. Buji uses approximately:

276 (296, 312, 327, 343, 362)(386, 401, 421, 440, 460) MC grams
79 (84, 88, 93, 97, 103)(109, 114, 119, 125, 130) CC grams

805 (860, 910, 950, 995, 1055)(1120, 1165, 1225, 1280, 1340) MC yards
230 (245, 255, 270, 285, 300)(315, 335, 345, 365, 375) CC yards

735 (785, 830, 870, 910, 965)(1025, 1065, 1120, 1170, 1225) MC meters
210 (225, 235, 245, 260, 275)(290, 305, 315, 335, 345) CC meters

Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-48

The Zen Variations patterns are for sale individually for £5 and the collection of all 6 sweater patterns can be purchased for £15.

The Buji Pattern 
The Zen Variations 

Happy knitting,

Rx

Note: The Zen Variations were beautifully photographed by Tommy Martin for The Fibre Co.

Kaizen Cardigan

Good morning!

Today I would like to share the Kaizen cardigan with you. It is one of my favorites in the Zen Variations collection and I hope you like it too!

KAIZEN is a Japanese word for ‘continuous improvement’. It features a traditional cardigan shape, with 4 pockets, garter-stitch collar and pocket flaps.

Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-28

kaizen in kanji

Like so many things, kaizen was big in the 80s; the concept was taken up by big American businesses based on the perceived success of their Japanese counterparts. And although the word may retain the slight taint of 1980s money-based amorality, I think the idea can of continually working toward something better is a worthy one, particularly with regard to craft and something like, say, a handmade wardrobe….

Zen Variations Kaizen Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-27

Kaizen takes the traditional workwear staple, the demin jacket, and translates this useful garment into cardigan that will never lose its appeal. It is a sweater that will be true throughout the decades.

Zen Variations Kaizen cardigan Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-29

 

SIZES:
79.5 (83, 89, 92.5, 96.5, 102)(110.5, 114.5, 120, 125.5, 129.5)
cm or 31.25 (32.75, 35, 36.5, 38, 40.25)(43.5, 45, 47.25, 49.5, 51)”
The sweater is intended to be worn with 5cm / 2” of positive ease.

kaizen schematic by Renée Callahan

YARN

The Fibre Company Acadia (60% Merino Wool, 20% Baby Alpaca, 20% Silk; 145 yards/133 m per 50 g skein) in main colour: Sea Lavender; 8(8, 8, 9, 9, 10)(10, 11, 11, 12, 12) skeins.

Acadia is a DK weight yarn. Kaizen uses approximately:

355 (375, 400, 420, 440, 465)(495, 510, 540, 560, 585) grams

1035 (1095, 1165, 1220, 1280, 1350)(1440, 1480, 1570, 1630, 1700) yards

945 (1000, 1065, 1115, 1170, 1235)(1315, 1355, 1435, 1490, 1555) meters

 

Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-44

The Zen Variations patterns are for sale individually for £5 and the collection of all 6 sweater patterns can be purchased for £15.

The Kaizen Pattern 
The Zen Variations 

Happy knitting,

Rx

Note: The Zen Variations were beautifully photographed by Tommy Martin for The Fibre Co.

 

Yama Cardigan

Hello!

Continuing with my introductions of the Zen Variation collection, today I want to show you the Yama Cardigan.

YAMA is a Japanese word for ‘mountain’. The cardigan features a flattering cross-over style, using 2 snaps/press studs for closure, a cropped length, deep rib hem, and contrast-colour sleeves.

Zen Variations Yama Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-

Mountains have a special place in the religious imagination of many different cultures, and in Japan reverence for the sacred mountain is strong. Mt. Fuji has inspired devotion and art for centuries.

On a personal note, I was lucky enough to go to Japan on my honeymoon, and have always had love for Japanese art and design. The beauty of the place and the craftmanship I saw there have never left me.

Japan copyright Renée Callahan

While I was working on the collection, the graphic crossing-over of the Yama cardigan suggested the distinctive brush strokes of a minimalist Sumi-e mountain painting and I emphasized this graphic aesthetic with a contrast-coloured buttonband. The deep ribbing at the hem and cropped length create a flattering shape, perfect for wearing with summer dresses.

Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-42

Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-39

SIZES:
79.5 (83, 89, 92.5, 96.5, 102)(110.5, 114.5, 120, 125.5, 129.5)cm or 31.25 (32.75, 35, 36.5, 38, 40.25)(43.5, 45, 47.25, 49.5, 51) ”
The sweater is intended to be worn with 0 to 2.5cm/1” of positive ease.

Yama Cardigan schematic by Renée Callahan

YARN

The Fibre Company Acadia (60% Merino Wool, 20% Baby Alpaca, 20% Silk; 145 yds/133 m per 50g skein) in main colour: Kelp 4 (4, 4, 5, 5, 5)(5, 5, 6, 6, 6)skeins, contrast colour: Granite3 (3, 4, 4, 4, 4)(4, 4, 5, 5, 5) skeins.

Acadia is a DK weight yarn. Yama uses approximately:

305 (325, 345, 365, 380, 400)(430, 445, 470, 485, 510) total grams

170 (180, 195, 205, 215, 225)(240, 250, 265, 270, 285) MC grams
135 (145, 150, 160, 165, 175)(190, 195, 205, 215, 225) CC grams

490 (525, 570, 595, 625, 655)(700, 725, 770, 785, 830) MC yards
395 (420, 435, 465, 480, 510)(550, 570, 595, 625, 655) CC yards

450 (480, 520, 545, 570, 600)(640, 665, 705, 720, 760) MC metres
360 (385, 400, 425, 440, 465)(505, 520, 545, 570, 600) CC metres

Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-46

The Zen Variations patterns are for sale individually for £5 and the collection of all 6 sweater patterns can be purchased for £15.

The Yama Pattern:
The Zen Variations:

Happy knitting,

Rx

Note: The Zen Variations were beautifully photographed by Tommy Martin for The Fibre Co.