Happy Holidays!

Hello!!

How are you? I love Christmas and am now in full holiday mode, but I do have a ton of exciting plans for 2017 that I can’t wait to share with you. Until then, I hope your holidays are wonderful and here is just a peek at what is coming up:

machine-knitting-on-craftsy

This January, Craftsy will have a new class in machine knitting! Stay tuned for announcements and special discount codes!

boreal-forest-cowl-by-renee-callahan

If you are still looking for a holiday knit, I might have just the thing for you: the Boreal Hat and Cowl patterns are now available for individual purchase!

boreal-forest-hat-by-renee-callahan

Happy Holidays to all and to all a good knit!!

Rx

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Summertime and the knitting is easy…

Hello!

The sun is shining here (however temporarily) and I have a holiday on the horizon which means I need to sort out my holiday knitting!

I have a few ideas, and perhaps you are making similar plans right now. There are a few requirements for my holiday knitting: portability, large sections of easily memorised pattern or stocking stitch, and I like ’em relatively small and accessory sized.

If you are in need of a little inspiration, here are a few I make earlier:

I would love to hear what you will be be knitting! What makes a good holiday knit for you?

Happy knitting,

Rx

Angelus Novus in Lace

Hello!

I recently updated the Angelus Novus Shawl pattern with a new version in lace-weight yarn:

Angelus Novus Lace shawl by Renée Callahan

Linda knit the shawl in her new Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul Lace base, which has turned out beautifully!

Angelus Novus Lace weight by Renée Callahan

I really did try to steal the shawl, but she was having none of it. Angelus Novus Lace weight by Renée Callahn 1

The pattern now comes with added instructions for the lace-weight version and the original worsted/DK weight.

Happy knitting!

R.

New Blacker Yarns: Tamar

Hello!

A new yarn is a fine thing. Especially when it comes from Blacker Yarns.

Blacker Yarn Tamar Shade card

Tamar is Blacker’s latest offering and it’s a beauty! A woolly yarn with a beautiful lustre and pretty halo, Tamar is made from heritage British sheep. The yarn blends Wensleydale, Teeswater, Cotswold and Black Leicester Longwool into the mix, along with 30% Cornish Mule lambswool, giving the yarn its soft halo.  I don’t know much about the folk history of Britain, but Cornwall is one of those places of legend and lore, and the Blacker Yarns blog relates the the legend of the Tamar River, for which the yarn is named which is well worth read. I am still a sucker for ye Olde England, even after all these years.

Knit cables in Blacker Yarn Tamar

I had the chance to play around with the yarn recently and it was a pleasure to knit with. The stitch definition remains strong even with the soft fuzzies. I wet-blocked the swatch below and while the texture stitches at the top of the swatch have a gorgeous pronounced quality, the lace knitting on the bottom half of the swatch would have benefited from a good stretching while blocking.

Knit lace and texture swatch with Blacker Yarn Tamar

As the yarn is not a superwash, it will hold the blocking beautifully, and would therefore make an excellent yarn for lace knitting, in spite of how my swatch is looking above.

The yarn comes in DK and 4-ply/fingering, and I was surprised how fine the DK was. I am a fan of Blacker and was lucky enough to use Blacker Swan DK for the Angelus Novus designs in the Klee Collection (Angelus Novus cardigan below), which is also a DK yarn but much closer to an aran weight, whereas Tamar felt closer to a fingering weight, and I am guessing has a good yardage per 100g skein.

Angelus-Novus-by-Renée-Callahan-1

As a test of the softness, I stuck my swatch into the front of my shirt and wore it around for a while next to the skin. Yes, I know, this was an extremely scientific process, but really effective! It was very warm and soft, but didn’t prickle at all, making it a great yarn for neck gear and garments.

Tamar officially launches 3 March will be available for fondling at the Edinburgh Yarn Fest this year. I will be there too, fondling away; it would be great to catch up with any of you who will be attending! For those of you further South in the UK, I will also be at Unravel this weekend. Hope to catch up with you at a fibre festival in the near future!

Happy knitting,

R.

Free Pattern: The Brioche Twister

Hello!

Ever since Nancy Marchant published her amazing books on brioche stitch and I realised that I could hand-knit my favourite machine knitting stitch, I have been smitten. I have done several designs with the stitch including a stockinette brioche stitch in the Frost & Flame shawl, and 2-colour brioche rib trim in the Heritage Heart Jumper and Blackberries and Brioche hat.

And now I have another addition to the collection: Brioche Twister.

knitting pattern Brioche twister scarf by EastLondonKnit

The pattern is meant to be an educational one, so I’ve included intermediate techniques such as a tubular cast on, brioche increases and decreases and a sewn bind off, each with detailed instructions to guide you through.

Brioche Twister knitting pattern by Renée Callahan

And the best bit is that this pattern is available for free if you subscribe to my (new!) newsletter.

(Technical things are not my super skill and I can tell I was tested in setting up the newsletter. It is the type of thing that even an idiot can do, and yet… )

Anywho, I am really pleased to offer this pattern to my subscribers and I am excited to start the newsletter. I hope to be able to collect some fun things together every month for a little bit inbox joy for you!

So please do sign up for the newsletter here!

Happy knitting,

R.

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.