I have (finally!!) had the Zen Variations printed!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Although I don’t think you can tell from my face in the photo below, I am really pleased with my finished Yama! Admittedly, it is not the most adventurous of versions, but I wanted a wardrobe staple and I got one. It is perfect for wearing over dresses and with higher-waisted skirts.
I’m not bragging (well, I am), but I not only managed to finish the cardigan, I also finished a long-languishing dress for a whole outfit.
I am especially proud of this dress. Not because I designed it: I didn’t, it’s based on a favourite dress of mine from Old Town. And not because it is a perfect fit; it’s not (I refer you to the innovative ‘bust darts’). But because it is my first attempt at ‘clean work’, that is to say, a sewn garment with all of the fabric edges enclosed in the seams.
This was relatively simple in the case of the side seams and the fact that it is a sleeveless dress was also helpful. That said, I nearly broke my brain trying to figure out how to make the belt hole placket ‘clean’ and I had to admit defeat when it came to the patch pocket.
As for the difference in the fabric between fronts and back, I really don’t even know what happened there, as I cut all the pieces from a single piece of fabric. It was clearly fated to be a learning project.
I feel like this is a slippery slope: I have to make the dress again, this time with improved fit, matching fabric and there must be a clever way of working those pockets…. (read: the beginning of an obsession here… :0)
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.
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!
The 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…
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.
It happened that I didn’t have a project to travel with, and, in a panic, I decided to take yarn and a sketch book and hope that I could work something out as I went.
This meant that I had to make the construction and design simple to follow because there was no clever spreadsheet to do the work for me, and I had to be able to be able to put it down and pick it up without thinking too much.
The yarn turned out to be the perfect choice; I had purchased a sweater quantity of Quince and Co. Kestrel from Tolt Yarn and knitting while visiting Seattle last year.
Kestrel is worsted-weight, 100% linen yarn, chain-plied into with a flat tape. The linen was excellent for the beach—no chance of accidental felting, although as I was knitting, I was twisting the yarn and felt the need to untwist it every so often which was a drag. That said, I really like the fabric it produced, which has loads of drape and, being linen, is super breathable and perfect for a warm summer evening.
I am offering an introductory discount on Wisteria Blossoms for subscribers to the EastLondonKnit newsletter—please do sign up for both the discount code and for the Brioche Twister knitting pattern, a free gift for subscribers.
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.
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.
**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 🙂
I am so pleased to have a some new Angelus Novus cardigans to show you. Curious Handmade Helen hosted a fantastic knit-along in her Ravelry group and the resulting finished objects have been awesome!
I was honored to have designed the cardigan that Dani, aka littlebobbins knit herself as a birthday present. She even mentioned it on her podcast, which was a bit of a thrill for me!
Deb, aka Tinkhickman created a wonderful version and captured the entire making process from balls of yarn to gorgeous finished object on her Instagram feed and project page.
As I was looking through the finished objects for the Curious Handmade Klee KAL, I realised I hadn’t shared any of the previous finished objects, and I must as they have turned out so beautifully! Above is Vincakent’s cardi which I love in a fabulous shade of deep orange.
The amazing Josh Moll has knit up a wonderfully tiny version of the Angelus Novus cardigan that makes my heart burst just a little. She has sent me notes, and I’ll grade the pattern and republish it for several children’s and baby sizes. This is so very exciting! This will be the first EastLondonKnit pattern for children and I can’t wait to share it with you!
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…