Blog Tour: The Klee Collection

On the last episode of the podcast we joked about keeping things "all in the family" when we've made recommendations or reviews or promoted people in the past. The reality is we're thrilled to have met a lot of folks in this community, many of who have become friends. Being good friends, we're happy to support them when we can - whether it's sharing our platform or working with them behind the scenes.

But we also want to make sure there's a balance and that we're not being one-sided by only talking about our friends or sponsors either. We're trusting you to tell us if things ever feel too heavily skewed one way or the other. In return, we will be as transparent as we can when there's crossover from our non-YITC work into stuff that we talk about as Yarn in the City. Fair deal?

Today's blog post is about a long-time Yarn in the City friend, Renée Callahan of East London Knit and her new release of patterns The Klee Collection. We first came to know Renée as one of our volunteer yarn guides for the first Great London Yarn Crawl and she's helped us out in many ways since. We've been happy to return the favour:  in the interest of full disclosure, you should know that Rachel has helped with some of the tech editing on The Klee Collection and Allison has helped out with with some of the promotion and putting the blog tour together.

The Klee Collection by Renée Callahan of East London Knit is Renée's first collection and a lovely, thoughtful offering that pairs three garments with three accessories. A former student of art history, Renée was inspired by the works of Paul Klee on a trip to the Tate Modern a few years ago. In particular the works Angel in the MakingTwilight Flowers and Angelus Novus.

Angelus Novus by Paul Klee, 1920.

Angelus Novus by Paul Klee, 1920.

When Renée and I first chatted about how she'd come up with the idea, I was fascinated. I love hearing about the inspiration behind a designer's work and seeing how that initial spark translates into a final piece. To take inspiration from paintings as wonderful and different as Klee's boggled my mind - where does one even start?

The Angelus Novus cardigan

The Angelus Novus cardigan

Luckily I'm not a designer and can enjoy instead the results of Renée's hard work. It's the little details in particular that get to me. Pretty, feminine eyelets, a pop of colour, a cosy waterfall opening  on a cardigan, beautiful hand-dyed yarns. Klee was a modernist painter and his works are an excellent complement to Renée's interpretations as a modern knitwear designer.

Twilight Flowers. I have sport weight yarn in my stash that I think is now destined to become this sweater.

Twilight Flowers. I have sport weight yarn in my stash that I think is now destined to become this sweater.

Twilight Flowers Mitts

Twilight Flowers Mitts

It's hard to choose a favourite and I keep waffling between the snuggly-looking Angelus Novus cardigan and shawl (knit in Blacker Yarns Swan Falkland Islands DK - a yarn I've been dying to use) and the elegant neckline of Twilight Flowers (knit in The Uncommon Thread Everyday Sport). I'm not a wearer of long, fingerless gloves but the Twilight Flowers Mitts are causing me to deeply question why not.

Likewise, the lace detail on the yoke of the Angel in the Making pullover is shown off in a pop of colour that takes a sweater from being simple into being simply more. The yarn used is the German hand-dyed The Walk Collection's Cozy Merino Fingering and I'm quite in love with how the neutral grey and that lipstick red complement each other!

The Angelus Novus Shawl

The Angelus Novus Shawl

As a designer Renée likes to keep things interesting in her patterns - both for herself as she's creating them and for the knitter when they're making them. The result are innovative construction techniques - like the way the Angelus Novus cardigan starts and grows from a garter-tab cast on like a shawl - and unexpected details such as the lace panel down the sleeves of Twilight Flowers. Gosh, you can tell I'm really dithering over which to cast on first, can't you?

The Angel in the Making Shawl

The Angel in the Making Shawl

The patterns are all available individually on Ravelry for £5/ea for the garments or £3.50/ea for the accessories. Or if you're like me everything suits you to a tee then you can grab the whole collection for £15. That's great value for all of that gorgeousness!

And if you're interested in learning more about the pieces, Renée has started writing about the collection on her blog and her design process. The Klee Collection really is "selfish knitting at its best". Now where to start...

You can check out the rest of the blog tour on these lovely sites:

Thursday, 29 October - East London Knit

Friday, 30 October - Curious Handmade

Tuesday, 3 November - A Yarn Story

Wednesday, 4 November - Plutonium Muffins

Thursday, 5 November - Blacker Yarns

Friday, 6 November - Yarn in the City

And how would you like to win a digital copy of the whole Klee Collection? We've got one to giveaway thanks to Renée. Leave a comment below by Thursday, November 12 telling us your favourite from the collection and which one you'd cast on first! We'll draw a lucky winner next Friday!

Wool Gathering

We are thrilled to be the third stop on The Great Gwlana Blog Tour because without Gwlana's predecessor retreat, this website, the Great London Yarn Crawl and all the other trouble that Yarn in the City are getting up to probably would not exist. 

In October 2012, we and 28 other intrepid souls ventured out to the lovely Beggars Reach hotel to meet up with our fellow yarn maniacs for a weekend of classes, inspiration, yarn, yarn and more yarn. And while there was lots of the above, the most critical part of the weekend was the gathering: gathering with like-minded people, in an isolated spot, to spend a concentrated period of time thinking and talking and focused on knitting.

Some highlights of the weekend: the knitted shark-eating-a-baby story at the Saturday incarnation of "Today's Sweater"; seeing the Countess Ablaze stall at the mini-marketplace on Sunday; getting a rundown of the entire plot synopsis of "Downton Abbey" in ten minutes before descending on the hotel pub in our pajamas, knitting in hand, to watch that weekend's episode (and freak out the pub bartender, who had never seen anything like it). It was a gathering in the truest sense of the word - we were all invested in being together and sharing our love and enjoyment of wool - and it's a gathering that has continued to this day.

All this is a long way of saying we are so excited that Brenda has restarted the Gwlana retreat, and are gutted that we can't be at the May instalment. Having just had the experience of one of Felix's classes, and having had Brenda as a teacher previously, we are sure that the combination of Quotidian Colourwork workshop and Bespoke Yokes class is going to result in some truely stunning knitting.

If, like us, you're unable to join the May retreat, never fear! There's an autumn version scheduled for the end of October. You can find all the details about the workshops on the Gwlana website.

With that, we're going to hand it off to one last Gwlana alumna, Knit Like You Mean It. You can find all the other stops on the blog tour below - enjoy!

Monday, 27 April – Chopkins Knits

Tuesday, 28 April – Yarn in the City

Wednesday, 29 April – Knit Like You Mean It

Thursday, 30 April – Knit British

Friday, 1 May – Shinybees


Palette Collection winner!

So many apologies to those of you who commented on our blog post about Inspiration Knit's new Palette Collection. Rachel promptly lost the thread after the Blog Tour and completely forgot to pick a winner. That has now been rectified, and we are happy to announce that Comment #3 from Melissa has won a copy of the collection!

Melissa, please email us, or PM porpoise on Ravelry, and we will get you the download code. Thanks to everyone who commented, and happy spring scarf knitting!


Blog Tour: Palette from Inspiration Knits

We here at Yarn in the City are huge fans of Inspiration Knits, and the designer behind all those wonderful patterns, Louise Zass-Bangham. Louise has been a Great London Yarn Crawl volunteer, and a podcast interviewee, helping sort out the intricacies of #VATMESS, so we are very happy to be the  first stop on the Inspiration Knits Blog Tour for the release of Palette, Louise's newest pattern collection.

Painted worked in Rhichard Devriez Peppino in "Agawa Canyon", and Fresco worked in Miss Babs Yowza! in "Gal Noir"

Palette is a mini-collection of two scarf/shawl patterns designed to show off those gorgeous variegated skeins that all of us collect and adore, but maybe aren't sure how to use. Louise has used a vintage stitch pattern that keeps the colours in wildly variegated yarns from becoming too blended, allowing the beauty of the different tones to really shine. These patterns are perfect for those wild skeins that you might have picked up on one of editions of the Great London Yarn Crawl.

Painted, worked in Miss Babs Yummy 2-ply in "Berlin"

Painted, worked in Miss Babs Yummy 2-ply in "Berlin"

The first pattern in the collection, Painted, is a shallow triangle scarf worked in fingering weight yarn (hello crazy sock yarn stash!), that can be adjusted to use up your entire skein of yarn (around 440 yds/400 m). We appreciate this detail hugely around here, as there's nothing more frustrating then having little balls of sock yarn leftovers that aren't enough for another project!

Fresco uses the same vintage stitch pattern as Painted, but is a larger piece: a simple triangular shawl knit in approximately 550 yds/500 m of either DK or worsted weight yarn. The larger yarn makes for a super cozy wrap.

Fresco, worked in Blissful Knits Tango in "Regal Berry"

Fresco, worked in Blissful Knits Tango in "Regal Berry"

We can't wait to cast on for these pieces, using some of the crazy variegated yarns that have been hibernating in our stashes (case in point). And it's also great to have these available for future crazy yarn purchases - perhaps at the Yarn in the City Pop-Up Marketplace this September? Some of our vendors are sure to have yarn that fits the bill!

We're thrilled to help send these patterns on their way to all you shawl knitters out there. Louise has very kindly donated an electronic copy of the collection to one lucky blog reader. Just leave a comment on this post by midnight GMT, Wednesday 1 April, and we will pick a winner using the random number generator.

The next stop in the Inspiration Knits Blog Tour is Knitted Bliss, who will be posting on Wednesday. Check out all the rest of the stops on the Tour, which we've linked below, and happy knitting!

Tuesday 24 March: Inspiration Knits

Wednesday 25 March: Yarn in the City

Thursday 26 March: Knitted Bliss

Friday 27 March: Knit with Attitude

Monday 30 March: Miss Babs

Tuesday 31 March: Yarn & Pointy Sticks

Wednesday 1 April: SweetGeorgia Yarns

Thursday 2 April: The Golden Skein

Friday 3 April: Fyberspates