With all the excitement about the Klee Collection and fibre-y goings on, I am a little behind on the blogging I meant to do about my travels in the Autumn. There was my annual pilgrimage to Tolt Yarn and Wool during my visit to Seattle. I am a lucky lady. Living in London, I have several wonderful local yarn shops easily within reach. Visiting my family in Seattle, Tolt is my local yarn store, and a wonderful LYS it is too.
I have blogged about it before, so this year, I will only mention the swag.
I was unable to leave the store without a couple of skeins of Yarn On the House‘s Little Brother fingering weight yarn. Every time I come across these yarns in my stash, I have to resist the urge to throw all WIPs aside and cast on some intricate lace pattern. This will happen very soon in the new year. The yarn is begging for it!
I also purchased a cardi-quantity of Quince and Co. Kestrel worsted-weight linen. I was pretty excited about this one too as I have never knit with linen, although I have been meaning to for ages. The yarn is an interesting chain-ply construction and it’s a flat tape, which I have also never hand-knit with.
The Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge motivated me to get knitting with it, as did a trip to Mexico, where all woolly yarn was in danger of felting in my hands as I worked. I did find the yarn a bit challenging to work with as it twists as I knit it and I can’t resist the urge to stop and untwist every now and then. It is a yarn that benefits from a slightly duller needle than I usually work with because it is easy to snag the individual linen fibres with a sharp needle.
Instagram tells me these pictures were taken 6 (!) weeks ago. I just got the cardigan out and I see that I haven’t made it much further… which is disappointing as my imagination had it nearly finished! Someday this will be finished cardigan. Someday after that, this will be a published pattern…
It is time to take a breath. Autumnal light and colour are pouring in through the window and I feel like I am on the road to getting caught up after a couple of months of travel and excitement. I’m overjoyed (read: relieved) that the reception for my first collection of hand knits has been positive and I have the feeling that I will finally catch up with myself and my to-do list now. What can I say, I am an eternal optimist:)
This week I begin a series of posts about the individual designs from the Klee Collection to explain a little about the inspiration behind each one and what makes it special to me. First up: the Twilight Flowers sweater.
Klee painted Daemmer-Blueten–translated as Twilight Flowers (and occasionally Dusk Flowers)–just a few months before his death in 1940. I love the flat, patterned aspect of the simple geometric shapes and the pops of colour among the muted palette.
Twilight Flowers sweater is the first design I worked on for this collection and, maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but it is also the first saddle shoulder sweater I have ever knit. I was able to use some beautiful Uncommon Thread Everyday Sport yarn for the sweater, which makes for a springy, bouncing fabric. It isn’t the usual choice for lace stitches because the roundness of the merino closes in on lace eyelets, but the repetitive, simple shapes of the painting were leading me to simple, repetitive lace patterns, and I had to follow. The TUT yarn is in the Hemlock colourway, a rich, almost black, green, like the darkest shapes in the painting. And for both the nature of the raw materials and the painting-inspiration, the lace stitch I used needed to be simple and easily ‘readable’.
After playing around with variations of eyelets and short-repeat lace patterns, I decided on an the arrow-shaped (even tulip-shaped…mustache twirl…) lace for the sleeve and the panel just fit into a saddle-sleeve construction beautifully, which was a good motivation to learn about a new construction technique.
I needed some detail at the neck but the more complicated it got, the less I liked it. In the end, I wanted a pretty but not fussy solution, and a simple necklace of eyelets did the trick, with the tiny circles drawing attention toward the face.
The result is a cosy, top-down seamless sweater that is easy to wear. You can buy the Twilight Flowers knitting pattern here, and the entire Klee Collection here. And since this is all new and shiny, I am celebrating by giving away copies of both the Twilight Flowers pullover and mitts. If you would like to win, please do the following:
It is a summery Spring around here and the pollen has gone to my head.
I’m giddy with Spring sunshine & all the knitting plans. It’s time to share the love! I have 3 skeins of glorious dk undyed silk from Knit Witches, 4 skeins of organic lace-weight cotton dyed at the Natural Dye Studio, a project bag idiosyncratically sewn by me & a surprise gift to give away. If you’d like the goodies, please follow me on Twitter: @eastlondonknit or Instagram: @elkrenee and then re-gram or retweet my original post (here) with the #elkmayday in the text & I’ll randomly draw a winner from the reposts and retweets on 1st May 2015, noon gmt.
All of these things have a special place in my heart–the organic cotton yarn was specially dyed for one of the first fashion designers I worked with. The true colours are palest yellow and a softly toned blue.
The double-knit weight silk from the Knit Witches was a purchase from my very first yarn festival, back when I thought I was brave enough to stick masses of beautiful yarn into a dye pot willy nilly. But the yarn was just too beautiful undyed, and I never managed to make the stunning wedding shawl that was Plan B.
I just found out the Knit Witches are closing up shop and their last event will be the I Knit Fandango, 15-16 May 2015. I will be there too, helping out at the Kettle Yarn Co. stand when I am not raiding the Knit Witches stand.
And finally, the project bag, made with my own hands, is made of a hemp-silk fabric that also came from a fashion designer I worked with. It was the stuff of beautiful corset-style bodices and dresses, but can now serve the higher purpose of holding your hand-knit masterpiece-in-the-making.