Into Mind


Following on from last week’s handmade wardrobe dispatch, I came across the Into Mind blog last year and found it instantly appealing. The minimalist philosophy, the clean appearance and advice all suits the mood I am in now. So I got myself a copy of the workbook.

into mind workbook

And I made a start on working through it. I began with a big clean out.

into mind wardrobe fun_-2

Everything got taken out of drawers and cupboards and divided up. I realised fairly quickly that although I thought I was good only buying things I would use and keeping the wardrobe in control, I had clothing I had not worn more than once in 10 years. Yet, every year I cleaned out my closet and then put these items back in, again unused. Well not this time!

into mind wardrobe fun_

I was especially pleased by the ease with which the shoes organised themselves. It was only that red pair in the left hand corner of the photo that gave me grief. I bought a pair of Alexander McQueen heels in a fit of madness once. They were a size too small and I knew it, but convinced myself that it would work because they were open-heeled… I loved them and actually wore them. Twice. It was a triumph of emotion over reason. They are on ebay now…

into mind wardrobe fun_a favourite dress

This dress, however, is very much the opposite. It may not be the most practical but has seen good use over multiple decades and I love it. The collar is fraying and the zipper is broken, but I am determined to mend it. I decided that the KonMari method was applicable here, and this dress sparks joy.

into mind wardrobe fun_my favourite store-bought cardigan

This is my favourite store-bought cardigan. I have to wonder why I don’t have more, really, as a cardigan is the most useful of garments, and I am a knitter after all!

Next is working all those remaining garments into outfits rather than one-off pieces. I tried to start on this previously, but with the new year comes a little extra motivation, so I will have another go at it. Wish me luck!

Do you think in outfits? This is a challenge for me, but I have a feeling it is the way forward!

Happy knitting,



Happy New Year!


Happy New Year people! In celebration of a new year and selfish-knitting season, all my individual patterns are 15% off. Please do have a look at the patterns & join us in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group for the Klee Collection Knit-Along, if you are that way inclined.

EastLondonKnit Knitting Pattern Sale

It is a shiny new year (my favourite kind) and I have been trying to sort the wheat from the chaff in my resolutions. I love making ’em en mass and then working my way back toward reality. Because I’m not really going to learn Spanish and complete 3 new part-time degrees as well as design 4 new collections before 2017, am I? So, what to focus on this year?

Well, I am still feeling very enthusiastic about the whole handmade wardrobe thing. I especially like it because it’s both personal and global.

The global issues have been well discussed by more knowledge people than me. The environmental impact of mass-market clothing production and the living/working conditions for many of the people who make our clothing, among other ethical considerations, have brought people in the crafting community together, and I feel like I am taking part in something really worthwhile by considering my wardrobe more carefully and making more of my own clothing.

On the personal side, the question of wardrobe has been the sand in my oyster for years; I hope for pearls but often just end up with a bit of annoying grit. I used to think what I wore didn’t really matter, and maybe, in the back of my mind, I still think it shouldn’t. But really, it does. For me, the proof is in the doing. Now that I work from home, I’m not so motivated to get dressed in the morning. I mean, who am I dressing up for? May as well stay comfy.


The truth is that how I dress changes how I feel and what I do, even when I am by myself. If I don’t get dressed, I am less productive and feel a bit like a slob. This is probably a similar logic at work to the ‘smile and you will feel happier’. No doubt this is an obvious thing everyone knows, but I have only just realised. This happens more often than I would like to admit, but let’s focus on the wardrobe today.

So I accept the fact that I have to get dressed. And I know that what I put on when I get dressed also matters.

If I were a swanky business person, I would perhaps discuss personal branding here. ‘Branding’ is a term that puts lots of people off, including me. But I think there’s a context wider than business and marketing for me here. In this case, I am thinking about who I am as a person and who I want to be, which is a more vexed question than it might be.

Pinterest and Instagram are full of positive slogans proclaiming you should ‘be yourself’ in all your quirky glory.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 13.42.29

Am I the only one who doesn’t know what that means? I am in a constant state of flux, which is probably why I like the idea of New Year’s resolutions so much. Why not just decide to be someone different, someone better this year? In fact, why not decide that everyday? This may be a new definition of insanity, or just indicative of a mid-life crisis, but what can I say? I haven’t decided who I am. I am still becoming.

My understanding of myself is worked out through multiple paths—the way I dress and style myself is one of them, as is the work that I do, the people I choose to spend time with, etc. This isn’t only about what I am showing to other people, but also about what I show to myself.

For all of these reasons, my hand-made wardrobe is still on the agenda for 2016. The Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge (which is on-going if you are interested!) really set this off for me last year, and I have been thinking about it pretty much nonstop since then. This year I am going to work out my ‘uniform’ and get my sewing mojo on.

There are other goals, and so many knitwear designs, but that is perhaps for another day…

Don’t forget the New Year Sale on EastLondonKnit patterns runs until 11 January.

Happy knitting,


How are those resolutions coming along?


I may have mentioned this once or twice (or at every opportunity); last year’s New Year’s resolutions were uniquely successful, and I was super keen when the time came to set this year’s resolutions. My key resolution for this year was all about participating more. Finding my people is a particularly important aspect for not only for my business, but also for my mental well-being. It is all too easy for me to sit on the sidelines–just read the conversations without taking part and just admire the photos without letting people know I appreciate them.

To that end, I made an active effort to take part in Ravelry forums and on Instagram, which has apparently become my social media of choice. Although I still feel awkward, I do think it has been working–I do feel as if I am more connected to both people I have never met, and those I have, but don’t see as often as I would like.

There were specific bits of participation I wanted to embrace, such as my first KAL: The Fringe Co.’s Hat Along, giving me the rare excuse to knit someone else’s design: Cirilia Rose’s L’Arbre hat, which I love.

 L'Arbre Hat by Cirilia Rose

And then there was my slightly less successful attempt to multitask: I tried to take part in 3 make-alongs at once:the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge, Truly Myrtle’s Selfish Make Along and the Double Knit Podcast Cardi Party. The result was that I did actually finish my Endless Summer Tunic by A Verb for Making Warm, which definitely wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been trying to play along.

endless summer tunic

My cardigan-based offering didn’t quite work out though, as I mentioned last week...
summer tunic dress

The Ravelry boards and blog post comments were really lively, and although it was difficult to keep up, it was really rewarding to see the other participants chatting and encouraging each other.

Participation is more than the virtual contact to me. Maybe I am just a throw back to the pre-internet dark ages, but I need to meet people in a face to face kind of way. I did get a chance to do that thanks to Linda of Kettle Yarn Co. who let me hang around her stand at various and wonderful fibre festivals, such as the I Knit Fandango…

I knit fandango

And I taught some workshops, which is perhaps the most rewarding and the most stressful kind of connection I can make.

ELK teaches knit techniques

In the end, I think it was a successful resolution. I am really pleased I made the effort, and am already thinking about how I can expand on the participation for next year. I have a few ideas, but making more connections with my knitting community and reinforcing the old ones are absolutely the ways forward.

Speaking of participation, the Klee Collection KAL is warming up. Please do join us over on the forum to knit along, get help and win lovely prizes!

Happy holidays and I will see you in the New Year!



Happy New Year 2015


Two weeks into the new year have slipped by already! As with every year, I think I will get much done during the holidays (reading, knitting, plotting my global takeover, etc.) but really only manage to eat, drink and be merry, which is really the point of the holidays–taking a break to spend time with people you love and even some you like, right?

Well, I am in full-blown planning mode for 2015, and am really looking forward to this shiny new year. Good stuff is going to happen!

This includes teaching a workshop at Unravel in Farnham Maltings all about resuscitating and recycling your unloved knits.

jumper recycling workshop at Unravel

The rest of the weekend I will loitering at the Kettle Yarn Co. stand to flog my patterns and Linda’s beauuuutiful yarn. This is the first of several events I will be accompanying Linda to to help out on the stand, meet knitters and sell patterns.

I will also be visiting the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March as a layperson.  I am excited to have signed up for 2 classes and the market place looks like it will be great.

Those of you who know me will know that I loves me a resolution. This year it’s all about 2 words: participation and consolidation.

I tried new things in 2014 & I liked them.  I really enjoy designing hand knits and feel like I have found my tribe with crafters of all sorts, and especially knitters.  So this year I want to work on that relationship.  I have to admit here that I am not much of a joiner.  I have not actually participated in a knit-along yet, or been much for forum chat on Ravelry.  But this year, I am going to connect by taking part in new things, such as knit alongs, and events and not be afraid to just introduce myself and make new friends.

The consolidation is one of skills and habits; I tried new things in 2014 that I want to continue in 2015, but better. Pattern writing, and grading, my blog and social media are all things I want to smooth out, improve and really delve into, with more tutorials, more finished objects (!), more patterns and maybe some interviews with some of the amazing people I have met in the past year in this industry.

It’s going to be a good year. I have a feeling.

Happy knitting,


p.s. there are still 2 days left on my 2 for 1 pattern sale! Have a look at my previous post for the discount code.


The year that was 2014


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


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,


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!



Great Balls of Hallowismas


This month I was so close!  The pattern is written, knit up, tech edited and almost ready to go.  The thing is, I going to spend Halloween with the lovely Kettle Yarn Co., and October’s pattern is knit in her gorgeous yarn. I really can’t resist taking knits and camera along for a little photo shoot. It would be rude not to.

But I really couldn’t stand the fact that I am so close to actually achieving a New years resolution.  A whole year of doing what I resolved to on in those first hazy days of the year.  Only 3 months to go.  And even if I was just a couple of days late and could have overlooked the discrepancy since I am the only one keeping track, I guess I really wanted the prize for ridiculous adherence to the letter of a law I made up.  So here it is it, my pattern for Christmas in October!

ELK Christmas Eve Bauble

Christmas Eve Baubles

Christmas Eve Bauble

The Christmas Eve Bauble is a lovely and quick knit, perfect for using up scraps of 4-ply yarn.  I have listed the yarns used, but any will 4 ply or light DK/heavy fingering yarn will work beautifully. EDIT: I have found out that Rowan had discontinued yet another yarn I have in my stash. I knit up another bauble in scrapes of sock yarn and it works out just fine! Knitable in an evening (or even the night before), these baubles will deck the halls with cosy, handmade style.



4 ply/fingering approx; 175 yds/160 m per 50 g ball)

MC: (light grey) 8 g.
CC1 (dark grey) 2 g.
CC2 (blue) 1 g.
CC3 (red) 2 g.


US #2/2.75 mm double-pointed needles/circulars or size needed to obtain gauge.


1 Christmas bauble, tapestry needle, 1 stitch marker.


6 sts and 8 rows = 1 inch/2.54 cm in stranded St st stretched over bauble.


10 3/8 inches/26.5 cm bauble circumference



With MC, cast on 8 sts.  Arrange sts on dpns or circular needle to join in the rnd.  Keep the cast on loose enough to accommodate the hanging attachment. PM to mark beginning of rnd.


Rnd 1: (K1, m1*) around. (16 sts)
Rnd 2 and all even rounds: Knit around.
Rnd 3: K1, m1, (k2, m1) to last stitch, k1. (24 sts)
Rnd 5: K1, m1 (k3, m1) to last 2 sts, k2. (32 sts)
Rnd 7: K1, m1, (k4, m1) to last 3 sts, k3. (40 sts)
Rnd 9: K1, m1, (k5, m1) to last 4 sts, k4. (48 sts)
Rnd 11: K1, m1, (k6, m1) to last 5 sts, k5. (56 sts)
Rnd 13: K1, m1, (k7,m1) to last 6 sts, k6. (64 sts)
Rnd 14: Knit around.


EastLondonKnit Christmas Eve Bauble ChartWork 8 repeats of chart once through row 1-11.


Rnd 1 and all odd rounds: Knit around.
Rnd 2: K1, (ssk, k6) to last 5 sts, k5. (56 sts)
Rnd 4: K1, (ssk, k5) to last 4 sts, k4. (48 sts)
Rnd 6: K1, (ssk, k4) to last 3 sts, k3. (40 sts)
Rnd 8: K1, (ssk, k3) to last 2 sts, k2. (32 sts)
Rnd 10: K1, (ssk, k2) to last stitch, k1. (24 sts)
Insert the ball into the knitting.
Rnd 12: (K1, ssk) around. (16 sts)
Rnd 13: Ssk around. (8 sts)

E.L.K. Christmas Eve Bauble below


Thread the tail through a tapestry needle and draw through the remaining sts twice. Secure top tail to make a hanging loop or weave in end.

E.L.K. Christmas Eve Bauble with lights

At least I know I won’t be last minute with my November pattern! (Or will I?! It is so too early to start with the panto, I know…)

*I use a backward loop cast on as a m1–please see the abbreviations page if that isn’t a familiar one for you.

Happy knitting,



Tardy New Year’s Resolutions

This year I am all about the New Year’s resolutions.  I have tons of them.  And (almost) none involve fitness and diet.

This year it’s all about the Knit.

Now, I realize I am seriously behind on all of this.  I don’t mean the fact that I am writing about the New Year’s resolutions on 9th February, but about the blogging thing and even the knitting thing in general.  I love knitting, but not so much the social networking aspect.  I love to read other people’s blogs and appreciate the large amount of work that goes into a good one.  And although I am sloooowly coming around to the idea that this here is the place for me to show the knitting world what I am about, I am both extremely lazy and, well, a little shy.

But, as this is the year of the Knit and of the New Year’s resolutions that are adhered to, I am going to work on this blog.  I am going to make it a thing of beauty, or failing that, a useful thing.

Not yet a thing of beauty or especially useful, this post is a statement of intent.

With this blog, I will learn to teach. My first series of photo tutorials will be about double knitting techniques.

With this blog, I will organize my unwieldy and random interests and research.  I have a mile-long list of topics that I have been wanting to explore and the blog is a great way to process this research and share it.  I think it could be the difference between having a look at something interesting on Wikipedia and really engaging with all the weird and wonderful things out there.

With this blog, I will document and promote my hand knitting designs and other works in progress.  Keeping with the theme, I am taking the hand knitting seriously this year.  I am going to publish one pattern a month (I really hope!) and here is the place to talk about it and, well, be held to account.

There is something about making public declarations.  The declaration takes on a weight and significance when it is public.  In this case, I really hope that means I will manage to do something interesting for you with this blog.

I have a ton of kinks to work out, so be patient, ok?  And please, please tell me when you find them!!

So, see you here next week? !