Machine Knitting: Sweater Basics, live!!

Hello!

It is live!! Machine knitting:Sweater Basics is up and ready for casting on!

machine-knitting-sweater-basics-by-renee-callahan

photo credit: Craftsy

I am really pleased to be able to offer you a whopping 50% discount on the purchase of the class! Just follow the link above or go to my website for more information and a link for 25% off any other Craftsy class you may like to take!

In Machine Knitting; Sweater Basics, you will learn everything you need to know to knit a sweater on the machine: from basic machine maintenance, how to cast on, making fabric you love, to seaming, blocking and everything in between. The class includes my Sweater Blank–a worksheet that will lead you through making your sweater in any gauge or fabric you want and making it easy to customize. I will post more about the Sweater Blank later, but I have to say I am pretty pleased about it and I hope you will be too.

Although it was excruciating for me to watch this the first time, here is the trailer, for your amusement!

Happy knitting,

Rx

Zen Variations: the Sleeve

Hello!

Zen Variations Kaizen cardigan Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-29

I think one of the challenges of working a set-in sleeve is that it isn’t obvious what is going on as it’s being worked, and one of the challenges of explaining the set-in sleeve is that the work is no longer flat, but 3-D, making the illustrating of the technique also less than obvious. Today I’ll attempt it anyway.

For a Zen Variations sweater, the Front and Back have been worked separately and then the body has been worked in the round, with stitches added on at the underarm (12). This leaves us with an empty armhole to fill with a sleeve as follows:

Diagram of sleeve on Zen Variations by Renée Callahan

13. Pick up Sleeve sts from around the armhole.
14. Knit across the flat of the sleeve head (A), and work the sleeve head with short rows: working back and forth between sides B and C; W&T each st along the armhole sides until the sts cast on for the underarm (12) are reached. Then work sleeve in the round to cuff.

For a different perspective on a similar fit, it may help to have a look at this diagram of a sweater by the Knitting Fiend, which is worked flat but may help to give a larger overview of how the elements are fitting together.

And that is it! The next step in working your Zen Variation sweater is to weave in ends, block it and wear it forevermore.

So, I would love to hear from you–what is your favourite sleeve? To knit and to wear, are they the same?

Happy knitting,

Rx

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.

Shortening Sleeves tutorial

Hello!

In this last post about the family cardigan, I thought you may enjoy seeing some sweater surgery. Cutting into knitwear is always a bit of a thrill, and it was necessary for Grandma’s cardigan. I knit the sleeves to my own length in her absence. I should have known better, as I am abnormally long monkey arms and an unconscious desire to knit all sleeves longer than they should be. That’s a theory for why my sleeves often come out out too long anyway.

Hand knit cardigan for GrandmaELK hand knit cardigan (1 of 1)-10

When we tried the cardigan on Grandma, the sleeves were much too long–more than 10 cm, so I marked the correct length with a safety pin and grabbed some scissors. I knit the cardigan bottom up, so ripping back the sleeves wasn’t an option.

ELK hand knit baby cardigan (1 of 1)-3

I cut it to the correct length, and then decided to graft the cuff I already knit back onto the sleeve.  The other solution would have been to pick up the stitches and knit a new cuff down.

ELK hand knit baby cardigan (1 of 1)-4

Beginning to work a cuff-length from the cut-off point, I began to graft the stitches from the cuff to the sleeve.
ELK hand knit baby cardigan (1 of 1)-5

I quickly realised 2 things; first, there were more stitches at this place on the sleeve, and they would have to be eased into the number of stitches on the cuff. Second, that it was easier to rip back to the point I wanted to graft from and work directly with the live stitches. After being blocked the stitches are well-set and the chance they will run/get lost is minimal.

ELK hand knit baby cardigan (1 of 1)-6

I grafted all the stitches, easing in the extra stitches evenly around the cuff.

ELK hand knit baby cardigan (1 of 1)-7

I kept the stitches loose until then end, and then tightened them up and I think it is a pretty smooth join.
ELK hand knit baby cardigan (1 of 1)-8

In the end, I think she was happy with it too. Or at least she did the nice thing and acted appreciative.

Grandma's hand knit cardigan

Happy knitting,

R.

Cardigans for ALL! But especially beginners…

Hello!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Saturday at your local yarn store for Yarn Shop Day. I was at Wild and Woolly in East London, stuffing myself with cake and drinking all the prosecco.

yarn shop day

I love all the London yarn shops, but Wild and Woolly has a special place in my heart as I happened to meet Anna before she opened the shop and I’ve had the pleasure to watch the shop take shape over the past year. I really enjoy the feeling of community that is growing up around the shop and am so pleased to be able to participate in it.

One of the ways I am taking part is by teaching some classes, and the next one is for beginners and those who would like step by step help with making their first cardigan. I designed the Cyclamen Cardigan for this purpose–a simple, top down cardigan with garter stitch trims and optional extras.

Cyclamen Cardi pattern by EastLondonKnit

From the description:

Knitting your first adult-sized garment can be intimidating. Over 11 weeks we will go through the knitting of a cardigan together step by step, helping each other along the way and in the end you will have a new cardigan and the confidence and knowledge to knit your next garment successfully.

  • Week 1: How to Choose the Right Size: Preparation
  • Week 2: How to Begin the Cyclamen Cardigan: Yokes
  • Week 3: How to Work the Body: Shaping
  • Week 4: How to Work the Sleeves: Decreases and Length
  • Week 5: How to Knit and Attach Patch Pockets
  • Week 6: How to Finish Your Cardigan

You can sign up here.

I would be really grateful if you would pass this on. For the class to run, we need it to be full, so I would be forever in your debt if you would tell the beginner knitters in your life (or any knitters you think would be interested) about the class.

Cost: £120 (does not include yarn)
Dates: Wednesdays 20th, 27th May, 10th, 24th June, 8th, 22nd July 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Cyclamen Cardigan Pattern pocket (Small)To book: Email or call 020 8985 5231

Happy knitting,

R.

Pass it on

Hello!

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,

R.

The year that was 2014

Hello!

With less than 48 hours of 2014 left, I thought I would write a roundup post for the year, scraping in under the deadline one last time.

This year has been an exciting one. I finally pursued the type of knitting I love and I’ve learnt so much my brain very nearly imploded with the effort. Pattern writing is a tremendous skill, and now I have all kinds of appreciation for those who do it well. While I’ve really only scratched the surface, I’m confident I can continually improve.  Ditto with this blogging thing.  Ditto with all that social media stuff. Maybe that is the resolution for next year–like this year, but with added competence. (HA!) It doesn’t exactly catch the imagination with its literary flair, but, you know, it may just work.

My personal accomplishment this year was to have patterns published in some wonderful places: Knit Now, Amirisu, Twist Collective and Knitty, as well as independently publishing a pattern per month. This is the first year I have achieved New Year’s resolution completion.  Ever.  So I feel entitled to brag a little, however modest the accomplishment. So here it is, Merry Christmas, and please enjoy the lovely little fruits of my labour with me!

January’s pattern: Sea Scales Cowl

Seascales Cowl by Renee Callahan

February’s pattern: Asterisks Shawl

asterisks shawl by Renee Callahan

March’s pattern: Sea Moss Headband

EastLondonKnit Sea Moss Headband

April’s pattern: Antiprism

East London Knit's Antiprism Shawl

May’s pattern: The Veil of Leithen

EastLondonKnit Veil of Leithen

June’s pattern: Blackberries on Brioche Hat

EastLondonKnit Brioche in Blackberries 2

July’s pattern: Naloa

East_London_Knit_Naloa_3

August’s pattern: Learn to Knit Kit

EastLondonKnit How to Knit Kit

September’s pattern: Frost & Flame Shawl

ELK Frost & Flame Shawl5

October’s pattern: Christmas Eve Baubles

E.L.K. Christmas Eve Bauble with lights

November’s pattern: Rhombolution Scarf

Rhombolution by EastLondonKnit (3)

December’s pattern: Beetlebum Shawl

Beetlebum shawl by Renee Callahan

As a tiny celebration, all the patterns in my Ravelry store are buy one, get one free with the code ELKin2014 until 15 January 2015.

Happy knitting,

R.

p.s. Thanks so much to everyone who was patient with me and helped me so much.  I am really grateful Mr. B, Linda,  Dani & Deb!