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

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All the learning

Hello!

I love teaching people new knitting techniques. It is one of the most rewarding things I do.

I also love learning new things and I’ve had some wonderful learning opportunties recently.

First of all, I was lucky enough to grab the last place at Karie Westermann’s Nordic Traditions workshop at Wild and Woolly. It was great, even though¬†Karie totally skewered¬†my ardent desire to learn all about ‘traditional’ knitting by explaining the way that tradition is often¬†the recent invention of savvy knitwear marketers….

Nordic Traditions with Karie Westermann

And shortly after that, I got to attend the Squam Spring retreat, where I took a wonderful hap workshop with Gudrun Johnston and a photography/styling workshop with Helene Dujardin, which resulted in some excellent photographs of my new shawl design, Lakelet.

Lakelet by Renée Callahan

I was assisted by my beautiful classmate Michelle (modelling above), and Helene herself, who was kind enough to take the following 2 photos.

Lakelet knitting pattern by Renée Callahan

We practiced our styling (and posing!) with a design I have been wearing quite regularly now, Beetlebum:

Beetlebum by Renée Callahan

 

Classes and Events coming up

On the other side of the coin, I have been enjoying teaching in several new venues, particularly The Yarn Dispensary, where I will be teaching Next Steps Brioche July 9th.

I am really looking forward to teaching a workshop on Zen and Art of Sweater Construction at the Village Haberdashery 3rd July. There are still a couple of places left, so please do join me to learn the ins and outs of top-down seamless sweater construction.

Are you going to Fibre East 30-31 July? I will be there with Kettle Yarn Co. (as is my habit) and I would love to see you. If you are going, please do come by and say hello!

The last event of the summer for me is a trunk show at Purlescence 20 August. From Purlescence:

This time, we’ll be welcoming not one but two guests. Linda of KettleYarnCo will be bringing along a stunning selection of her hand-dyed yarns, and providing inspiration for the yarn will be Renee of EastLondonKnit.

As well of plenty of yarn and other knitterly goodies to browse, they’ll also be plenty of tea and cake  to enjoy while you catch up with some friends and settle down on the sofa with some knitting.

We’ll be open between 10 and 4 at our premises in Leckhampstead, just off the 4 near Newbury, and have plenty of free parking available.

Which takes us right up to knitting season!

Happy knitting,

Renée x

Introducing: the Lakelet Shawl

Hello!

This week I published the Lakelet Shawl!

Lakelet knitting pattern by Renée Callahan

Last year I attended the famous Squam Art Workshops for the first time and I had an amazing time. I was so excited to be there that I was up early every day and saw some of the most spectacular sunrises I have ever witnessed sitting on the dock.

Squam lake by Renée Callahan

It was a technicolour experience, with the pinks, blues and yellows really racing across the sky.

Squam lake by Renée Callahan

The experience inspired the Lakelet shawl. Lakelet is an asymmetrical triangular shawl that begins in one corner with just a few stitches and works across the body of the shawl to end with a beautiful bubbling of lace in a colour the shade of a cloud at sunrise.

Lakelet by Renée Callahan

The smallest size of the shawl uses 110g of the main colour and 25g of the contrast colour. Kits for the shawl featuring Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul yarn will be available soon. (Watch this space!)

Lakelet kits by Renée Callahan

 

In other news, Knitlandia by Clara Parkes¬†is now available as an audiobook and I am downloaded and ready to go! I attend a bookgroup in real life and I really love reading along with others, so I was wondering… would you enjoy a read-along? If so, join me over on the ELK Ravelry thread ūüôā

Upcoming events:

I will be teaching Brioche Basics and Next Steps in Brioche Stitch on Saturdays 25th and 9th July at the Yarn Dispensary in Faversham

and I will having a trunk show for the Zen Variations sweater collection as well as teaching a workshop on the top-down construction at the Village Haberdashery on Sunday 3rd July. Please do come and join in the learning!

30-31 July I will be assisting the lovely Linda of Kettle Yarn Co. on her stand at Fibre East in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

20th August, we will be together again at Purlescence for a trunk show and open day.

Finally, an early bird special: Lakelet is on sale for 15% off with the coupon code ELKLakelet until 16th June.

Happy knitting,

Renée

Classes and catching up

Hello!

I think I am almost over the Edinburgh Yarn Festival hangover.¬†If you managed to go, you know it was an awesome event and I don’t need to tell you. If you didn’t manage to go, you probably don’t want to hear about what an awesome event you missed. If you didn’t make it this year, definitely come next year!

I will say that I met some wonderful fibre folk and I came home with some gorgeous yarn.

EastLondonKnit yarn purchases

I tried to be strategic and only bring yarn home with a project in mind.¬†I¬†introduced¬†my current project previously, and it is very much in the works now. It may seem odd that I have mentioned a project revolving around the use of scraps and leftovers, and then come home with lots of beautiful new yarn, but my thinking was this: I want to create a collection that allows people to use up little odd bits of yarn and stash, but¬†it’s also¬†important to me that every design also works with available yarns in only one or 2 colours in larger quantities. I am still in the early stages of swatching and designing, but I am feeling optimistic about it!

Come learn with me!

 

I am pleased to announce some awesome upcoming classes in the next couple of months:

28 April I will teach stranded colour work knitting at Wild and Woolly in East London: Colourwork Magic part 1.

5 May following on from the stranded knitting, we will learn about the mysterious ways of the steek at Wild and Woolly in Colourwork Magic Part 2.

7 May I will be back in Bath teaching¬†Brioche Stitch Basics and Brioche Stitch Next Steps¬†at A Yarn Story, but if you can’t make that date, I will be back in October to teach the same classes.

loveknitting.com

 

And finally, I now have patterns available on Loveknitting.com, including Angelus Novus and several shawl and garment patterns. Please do pop over to have look:)

 

Happy knitting,

R.

EYF Educational

Hello!

My recent outing to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival was particularly exciting, not only because it was a wonderful event put on by fabulous people, but also because I had the good fortune to take¬†a couple of classes. ¬†I am a big fan of education in general and was quite the professional student until I took up knitting. I don’t get the opportunity to take so many classes these days, so the Edinburgh Yarn Festival was a real treat.

Saturday morning I took DIY hat design with Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits. ¬†I love Emily’s knitwear. ¬†There is something really down to earth and wearable about her designs, so I was really looking forward to hearing what she had to say about her design process. (Spoiler: whatever it is, don’t over-design it.) After an inspirational presentation, we got down to the knitty gritty and everyone worked on their own hat designs.

DIY hat design with Emily Wessel

There was a nice mix of those who just wanted to have a go and those who were gearing up to take on designing as a job. Admittedly, I wasn’t terribly focused on the task at hand, and as a result I don’t have much to show for my first class, but it was enjoyable and I have¬†a few ideas to knit up someday.

I also took a class about the Lopi sweater shaping with Helene Magnusson, aka the Icelandic Knitter. I got 2 things in particular from this class. First yarn-over short rows are awesome. Second, I really must to go Iceland someday. It sounds amazing.

Lopi Sweater Shaping The icelandic knitter

Helene modeled her nearly finished Lopi cardigan and used miniature Lopi sweaters to demonstrate different shaping methods–they were the cutest damn educational aids I have ever seen.

the icelandic knitter on lopi shaping

It’s like a bug–I am already trying to figure out how I can take some more classes soon! Suggestions for UK-based learning opportunities are welcome!!! What is the best class you have ever taken?

Happy knitting,

R.

Outlaw Craft

Hello!

My second blog post! ¬†Two weeks running, and I am sooo patting myself on the back for this amazing accomplishment. ¬†It’s not literally winning a gold metal or anything, but I take the little prizes when they come. ¬†There is a saying about beggars and choosers, but I had a glass of wine with dinner and am no longer sure of the exact wording.

Anyways, I have news! ¬†I have every intention of going to the Outlaw Craft Fair http://www.outlawcraftfair.co.uk¬†on 5 April in Penzance. ¬†I say ‘intention’ because part of the rail line between London and Cornwall (aka me & them) has washed away in the recent flooding. ¬†Check out the drama: ¬†www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Violent-weather-leaves-trail-destruction/story-20631838-detail/story.html

If all goes to plan and I am able to make the trip, I am really excited to be teaching 2 workshops, ‘Revamp Your Jumper’ (a shortened nomenclature: I wanted to name it ‘Revamp that Jumper and Learn to Love Again’ but it doesn’t fit the title space with all that hyperbole) ¬†and ‘It’s the Knit! A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting’. ¬†I will also have a stand selling ‘Learn to Knit’ kits, and pom pom making kits, among other knitterly things.

Please let me know about your ‘Sweater Saves’! ¬†I would really love it if you would share your story of saving a beloved sweater from ruin, or rescued a fugly jumper from a horrible death. ¬†I am looking to inspire people to put a little work into something and come out the other side with a garment they will wear! ¬†Save Our Sweaters! ¬†I am thinking about embroidery embellishments, steeking to make cardigans out of pullovers, fancy darning, that sort of thing.

It will be only my second ever trip to Cornwall. ¬†My first was many years ago, and we had a wonderful time with perfect summer weather. ¬† I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up, what with the flooding and wind storms, but I can’t help but think of sunshine and holidays when I think of Penzance. ¬†Here’s hoping…..

Til next time,

R

p.s. if anyone knows about how to make proper hyper-links in wordpress posts, and actually put pictures in, I would be totally grateful for the advice.

p.p.s.s. 6 music is playing a Morrissey playlist. ¬†I am not listening to it in order to write this. ¬†I fear I may be missing ‘How Soon is Now’. ¬†I am going to download the Craft now.