Episode 5: Bristol Ivy and Close to Heart

Hello!

Episode 5 is up and I am so pleased to have had the chance to catch up with Bristol Ivy for this one. I also chat about my new design, Close to Heart, and do a couple of mini tutorials.

Show notes are to be found in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group.

Happy knitting,

Rx

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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

A new Craftsy class: machine knitting; sweater basics!

Hello!

machine-knitting-with-renee-callahan-on-craftsy

It is nearly time!! My Craftsy class is in the final stages of preparation and I am really excited to share it with you!

I know not all of you are machine knitters, but if you are at all interested in machine knitting, I think this class will give you a lot of information and help, not to mention a great pattern for a simple sweater.

A Sweater Blank Sweater by Renee Callahan

A Sweater Blank Sweater by Renee Callahan

A Sweater Blank Sweater by Renee Callahan

Photos courtesy of Craftsy

Although I am really proud of the whole class, I am particularly proud of this sweater pattern which will enable the knitter to knit this drop shoulder sweater in any gauge with any yarn and any stitch pattern. I will post more about this later, but I hope it will be an incredibly useful pattern for the beginner or intermediate knitter.

You can enter to win this Craftsy class by simply clicking the link below. The winner will be chosen at random when the class goes live.

Win a free class! Enter by clicking here.

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

Constructing the Zen Variations

Hello!

I’m visiting the family in Seattle this week, but I am not neglecting the Zen Variations knit-along while I am away! As I mentioned in a previous post, my travel knitting is the Enso sweater, knit in Kettle Yarn Co. Islington DK.

It’s all the rage to knit seamless, top-down sweaters and it is a construction I really love for a few good reasons.

With top-down, you can try as you go, checking the fit at the crucial junctures, making the armhole deeper if you want to, or shorter, and of course making the sweater body and sleeves as long as you want them.

Today I want to begin a step by step tutorial for knitting a Zen Variation sweater, which starts with the upper back:

Zen Variations by Renée Callahan back

In this schematic, we are looking at the Back from the right side, and working from casting on at the top down to the underarm/bottom of the sleeve opening.

1. Cast on the number of stitches required for both shoulders and back neck (the red line).
2. Place markers (m) to mark shoulders.
3. Work short rows to create shoulder slope: knit across Right Shoulder and Back Neck to Left Shoulder, wrap and turn (W&T) the next st; purl back to Right Shoulder, W&T the next st; knit back to the 1st wrapped st, k3 (wrapped st + 2 more) W&T, purl back to 2nd wrapped st., k3 (wrapped st + 2 more), W&T, etc.
4. Work straight until the back armhole is as long as necessary.
5. Work increases (+) at the underarm edge until the full back measurement (minus the stitches that will be cast on for the underarm) is reached.
6. Put Back sts on waste yarn.

I will continue the tutorial with the Fronts in a couple of weeks.

If you are interested in learning more, I will be teaching a several workshops in and around London, and further afield, leading students through understanding the construction as well as all the techniques associated with the design (working the wrapped short-rows, picking up stitches for a beautiful set-in sleeve, a perfect finish for  your new sweater) as well as choosing the right size, making modifications, and more. I’m teaching Zen and Art of Sweater Construction in several places this Autumn:

25 September  the Village Haberdashery.

1 October I will have the whole Zen Variations collection at Wild and Woolly for a trunk show and little party to celebrate sweater season!

6 October Wild and Woolly

16 October A Yarn Story. 

Mon, Oct 24 to Fri, Oct 28 I will be in Romania teaching a number of knitting classes at the Taking a Moment in Time  Weaving, spinning, knitting and photography retreat.

12 November The Yarn Dispensary

For a more complete list of classes, including Brioche Stitch Basics among others, please sign up to the newsletter here.

Happy knitting,

Rx

It’s (almost) knitting season: Let’s knit together!

Hello!

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.

Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan

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!

Llovely Llama prize from EastLondonKnitThe 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…
EastLondonKnit tweed prize

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.

EastLondonKnit prizes: woodland zen

I hope to see you in the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group for encouragement, help and a chance to win some wonderful prizes!

You can browse the Zen Variations and all the other EastLondonKnit patterns here.

Happy knitting!

Rx

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.