Pass it on


I want to brag a little because I have been hanging out with awesome knitters lately.

I had the pleasure of teaching a class last month at local yarn shop Wild and Woolly, based on the Saguaro pattern I designed to celebrate the fact that W&W is now carrying gorgeous Malabrigo Rio yarn.

knit class with Renee Callahan

I had a lovely class of learners. My job was pretty easy, as the students were already good knitters and I was just introducing them to a few new techniques.

ELK teaches knit techniques

Plied with tea and homemade sweet treats, it was an excellent evening of learning 2-colour cabling and cabling without a cable needle.

Plutoniummuffins knitsI am so pleased that the class went well and everyone came away with something new, which has lead to some great finished objects.

plutoniummuffins saguaro cowl

Allidecks saguaro hat

Stitchyalli’s Saguaro hat in a lovely combo of Fibre Company Terra yarns.

alittlebitoflucy Saguaro cowl

AlittlebitofLucy’s cowl is a triumph of moody Malabrigo purples.

I am pleased as punch to announce I’ll be teaching a ‘knit your first cardi’ class at Wild and Woolly. More details to come, but I would just like to say now that it’s gonna be a whole lot of awesomeness going on from 20 May-22 July. Boom.

Happy knitting,



Something for the weekend


The traditional fisherman’s sweater is an enduring source of inspiration for hand knitters and designers alike.

Alexander Wang AW 2015 cables and studs

Alexander Wang AW 2015 studs and cables photo courtesy of

Alexander Wang’s take on the classic sweater features metal studs highlighting the cable patterning.

Alexander Wang AW 2015 studs and cables

Alexander Wang AW 2015 studs and cables photo courtesy of

This is a  sweater that has never really gone out of style. There are so many beautiful versions of it on Ravelry, but here are a couple that stood out to me as really remaining true to the tradition, but remaining fresh.

Catherine Sweater by Glenna C.

The Catherine sweater by Glenna C. adds a flattering feminine scoop neck to the mix, as well as a lattice-type pattern to the centre front panel.

Fisher Queen Sweater by Jennifer Dassau

The Fisher Queen by Jennifer Dassau  introduces interesting broken ribbing to the side panels, and a quick-to-knit bulky yarn to mix. The natural colour of the yarn really shows up the lovely textures.

Happy knitting,




My closest local yarn store is Wild and Woolly, run by the lovely Anna. I met Anna some time before she opened the shop and it is probably because I have seen some of the hard work (angst, even?) that goes into opening a shop that I am really rooting for her to succeed.  So I was pretty excited when we started to chat about me designing a pattern in her latest addition to the shop–several gorgeous shades of Malabrigo Rios.

Knitting Yarn: Malabrigo Rios

What I wanted to design was a cowl that worked with two colours, one of which was an especially beautiful variegated yarn.  I always find these yarns very appealing in the skein, but when it comes time to knitting it up, I was never quite sure what to do with it. So I designed something to show off the colourwork, giving each yarn it’s own space to shine, but remains simple and enjoyable to knit.

I have worked 2-colour cables before with the Duelling Cables headband, and the technique is ohh so satisfying. There is just something flashy about 2-colour cables, a tiny bit of showing off, but in a nice, knitty way. The result was Saguaro–named for the distinctive cactus the cables resemble.

Cosy Saguaro Hat and Cowl

The hat and cowl combination together use exactly 2 skeins of Malabrigo Rios.  Each begins and ends with striped ribbing and then goes on to the Saguaro cable pattern.

Saguaro Hat by Renée Callahan

The Rios is a lovely, bouncy Merino with intense colour and a joy to work with. The variegated Candombe colourway was really interesting-it continually evolves, changing to incorporate more yellow, then more purple, then browny-green hues.

Saguaro Hat and Cowl by Renée Callahan 1

To celebrate this lovely yarn and my new pattern, we are having knit-along at Wild and Woolly Ravelry group starting 16th March and ending 6th April. For anyone in the London area, I will be teaching a class on the 2-colour cabling technique Wednesday 18 March at Wild and Woolly, from 6:30-8:30 pm.  It would be great if you could join us! Please contact the shop to reserve a space.

The Saguaro pattern is available for download here!

Happy knitting,


Something for the weekend


Like many fashion students, I was awed by the theatrics of fashion shows when I began studying.  Vivienne Westwood, Maison Martin Marglelia, and Comme de Garcon all created the kind of spectacle that impressed many and, no doubt, also put many people off fashion as a ridiculous and unnecessary endeavor. I used to be one of the many people put off, but now I really enjoy the most theatrical of shows.  They are, after all, shows.

The one that really stole my fashion-student’s heart was Alexander McQueen. He created gothic fairy tales that were disturbing and beautiful. Savage Beauty, a retrospective of his work, promises to be a huge hit at the Victoria and Albert Museum this year. I can’t wait to see it!

McQ is the diffusion line for Alexander McQueen and features the pieces you are more likely to find at Selfridges than the elaborate show pieces.

Stripe Sweater McQ AW 2015

McQ AW 2015 photo courtesy of

This jumper has been laminated with a metallic application, but creating a similar effect with a block of colour across the sweater is straight-forward to achieve.

Pendleton by True Brit Knits is a lovely example of the simple but effective technique of adding a colour-block to a cable sweater.

Pendleton sweater by truebrit knits Happy knitting,




I am so excited to have been included in the Winter 2014 issue of the Twist Collective.  I have long admired the publication and the designs featured have often gone straight to the top of the queue.  So when I started taking this designing thing seriously, I was super keen to submit a design to them. Imagine my surprise when they actually accepted my design–my head nearly exploded the pride!

Hyssop Pattern by Renée Callahan

Hyssop by Renée Callahan. Photo © Crissy Jarvis

The Twist Collective sent me a lovely Polwarth wool and silk mix yarn from Lisa Souza to make the sample with–the stitch definition was really beautiful and I loved the gentle variagation of the colour.

Hyssop by Renée Callahan

Photo © Crissy Jarvis

Hyssop pullover by Renée Callahan.

Photo © Crissy Jarvis

My idea was to create a seamless pullover that required no finishing-when the final stitches were cast off, the garment was practically ready to wear. No need to pick up stitches for neck trims, or add ribbing; it was all to be part of the design.

My prototype sweater is still one of my favorites.

Proto-Hyssop  by Renée CallahanI knit it out of some really beautiful Blue Sky Alpaca’s Suri Merino, which has turned out to be a fairly robust yarn for a single ply.Proto-Hyssop back by EastLondonKnitIt is a recipe I really like in a sweater–fitted, with a flattering deep V-neck, a combo of simple cables and simple eyelets, and a built in finish. The recipe is so great, in fact, that I am working on a few more sweaters with variations of these ingredients for publishing in 2015 (which I can’t believe is almost here!).

You can buy Hyssop here.

Thanks so much to Kate and Sue and the whole Twist Collective team for all their help and support.

Happy Knitting!