London Craft Guide Project: Waterloo Mitts

We had a question early on in the planning of the London Craft Guide when thinking about the number of projects to have: could we include one from ourselves? We decided that since the London Craft Guide was our book, we not only could our own design, and we definitely should!

  Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

The Waterloo Mitts were inspired by the Union Jack. You often see many Union Jack flags in London and there's always Union-Jack-everything in the many tourist souvenir shops. We thought it would be great to have a project that used those colours and evoked the feeling of a souvenir but in a more subtle way. 

We worried a bit about colourwork and whether or not it fit our creative brief for being a portable project. Since only two colours are used at a time and there are only three different colours in all we thought we could get away with it. They're also mitts, not a Fair Isle jumper, which helps to keep things more compact!

  Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

When we're traveling about the city and meeting up to plan the Great London Yarn Crawl or any of our other events you'll often find us with a project bag or two (or three or four!) and something on the needles. Finding and discovering all of these amazing yarn shops and crafty places can be a bit of an occupational hazard. We love seeking out yarn though - whether it's Rachel stumbling over the Dale of Norway factory outlet shop on a Norwegian family holiday to Allison learning about new shops as a yarn sales rep - and we often bring back little souvenirs for each other.

Just like the book, our creative process on the Waterloo Mitts was truly collaborative. We talked about the mitts and the kind of colourwork "look" we were after but also about we wanted to keep things simple. Having to follow a complicated Fair-Isle-esque pattern didn't strike us as being particularly travel-friendly! Since Rachel is a designer she wrote up the pattern and Allison did the test knit - making a few mods along the way that were incorporated into the final pattern.

Our next project following the book will be setting the wheels in motion for this year's Great London Yarn Crawl - we hope you'll save the date and plan to join us on Saturday, September 10th!

London Craft Guide Project: South Bank Shawl

Like the La Ville de l'Amour socks, this next project from the London Craft Guide is also inspired by an iconic landmark. We love how designer Kirsten Bedigan has visually represented the London Eye in her South Bank Shawl. Options are provided for the shawl in the book, allowing you to knit it as either a full or semi-circle and either with or without beads.

  Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

YITC: Tell us about the inspiration for your design. 
KB: 
South Bank was inspired by the London Eye. The shape and structure of the wheel seemed to fit beautifully with the idea of a shawl, especially since from so many directions you just catch glimpses of it rather than the full thing – a semi-circular shawl seemed very fitting.

YITC: What was your most memorable crafty vacation - where and why? What did you do?
KB: 
Probably my first visit to Iceland in 2013. I went on a last minute trip to Reykjavik with my Mum, and tried to get to as many yarn stores as possible, plus I spent the evenings teaching Mum how to knit socks!

YITC: Do you buy souvenir yarn or fabric? What do you look for?
KB: 
Oh yes – Yarn, always yarn. Generally, I try and go for things which I cannot easily purchase in person at home, especially yarns local to the area.

  Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

YITC: Tell us about you and your personal design style. How does your project fit in?
KB: 
I have a long-standing fascination with colour and texture – either through lace or decorative stitches. My early designs were focused very heavily on colourwork and strong motifs, but I’ve been moving more towards lace and using those techniques to create texture and interest. With South Bank, the challenge was less colour-based and instead focused more on the airiness of the piece. For such a big structure, there is a lot of space in the actual wheel and I wanted to try and convey that feeling.

YITC: What creative (or travel!) plans do you have for 2016?
KB: 
2016 will be a busy year for travel - Rome and Reykjavik are first up, one for work and one for holiday. More yarn shopping is order, plus the obligatory travel knitting.

From a creative perspective, I’ve just finished a shawl collection and I have a few patterns coming out with yarn companies over the next few months. I have some ideas on several colourwork collections, so the plan is to focus on those.

  Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

YITC: What's your favorite part of the designing/creative process?
KB: 
I really enjoy trying to take the idea out of my head and get it down on paper (or the computer screen). So converting an shape or motif to sketch or charts. I have a notebook which is basically my personal chart dictionary, new ideas get added to that.

YITC: Do you have a favourite designer who's work you follow?
KB: 
I love Kate Davies designs, she has such a clear and distinctive voice to her patterns. I also love TinCanKnits – their way of presenting and writing their patterns is so effective, and the finished items are incredibly wearable.

YITC: What are your designing essentials?
KB: 
Graph paper, coloured pencils, sketchbook, charting software. I find the sketching and working up charts by hand at first extremely useful.


When not designing Kirsten freelances in the world of academic research, contributing work on a number of topics. She also builds Lego for exhibition and publications purposes!

Social media info:
Ravelry: Aphaia
Website: aphaia.org
Instagram: athenaaphaia
Twitter: AthenaAphaia

London Craft Guide Project: Going Underground Bag

Although we're not huge sewists at Yarn in the City we still enjoy the craft and it was important to us to have fabric represented in the London Craft Guide. Happily, this next project from the book - the Going Underground Bag by Jacqui Harding - fit our brief beautifully for being inspired by travel. We quite fancy the idea of someone making this little wristlet in advance of their trip to London and being completely prepared for sightseeing with their Oyster card, spending money and a lipstick close to hand!

The Going Underground Bag uses small amounts of fabric so it's a terrific project for those precious pieces of fabric you might already have in your stash - or that you plan to pick up in one of London's many fabric shops!

  Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

YITC: Tell us about the inspiration for your design. 
JH: Back in 2012, I was lucky enough to be given tickets for the London Olympics. I knew the tube would be packed and I didn’t want to carry my big shoulder bag. I wanted a bag that was long enough to fit the event tickets, but small enough to be practical as a wristlet. I also loved the idea of using different fabrics and making my own trim. After using the bag I made for a lot more than just the Olympics, I made a few improvements, added a matching purse, and indulged in some Liberty fabrics to make the Going Underground Bag. As well as being perfect for showcasing some gorgeous souvenir fabrics, it’s ideal for keeping essential tickets & passports together when travelling. Grab your tickets, Oyster card, cash, phone and lippy, and go!

YITC: Do you travel for your craft? How do travel and craft fit together in your world?
JH: Craft and travel fit together perfectly in my world. Where others may find travel and the inevitable sitting around a drag, crafters can embrace it as perfect no-distraction crafting time. When travelling, I always plan my knitting & crochet projects before I think about clothes or anything else. (YITC: Us too!)

YITC: Do you buy souvenir yarn or fabric? What do you look for?
JH: Yes! Whenever possible. I look out for single skeins of locally dyed or spun yarns (normally either sock or lace weight) or unusual print fabrics - things that I can't easily get hold of. They are a souvenir and tactile memory chest without anything else happening to them - but then, once they are made into something they will remind me of the trip/people I visited every time I use them.

  Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

YITC: Tell us about you and your personal design style. How does your project fit in?
JH: The bag fits in perfectly with my design style. I like things to be useful, practical. They have to do what they are supposed to do. There's no point making a lovely bag that has a teeny tiny opening, for example, or one that will come apart after a few uses. But that doesn't mean that a practical item has to be boring. I like to play with colours, prints, textures. I like to add details that make things a pleasure to use or wear, and add interest for the maker. I also like to encourage people to personalise my designs. This bag is a perfect opportunity to play around with prints and trims to your heart's content. Make it bigger, use velvet ribbon for the handle, attach the purse to the bag with a long ribbon, embellish the outer fabric before cutting the pattern pieces - make it just the way you want it.

YITC: What creative (or travel!) plans do you have for 2016?
JH: More magazine designs, more self published patterns, and hopefully a little more making for me. The next thing I plan to knit for myself is a fairisle cardigan - Hedgerow, by Ann Kingstone. I have the yarn ready, and just need the time to cast on. 

YITC: What project do you have ongoing right now?
JH: I'm working on my last of 4 magazine designs that all arrived at the same time. And the yarn for another one will arrive next week. So it's all work at the moment.

  Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

YITC: What's your favourite part of the designing/creative process?
JH: The initial ideas bit. Imagining what I want something to do, look like or how I want it to feel. Sometimes it all turns out exactly as I wanted first time - that feels fantastic. Then again, some of my favourite designs - like the Melas shawl I made for The Crochet Project - fight all the way. That design was originally one colour, but it just wasn't coming together as I wanted. Adding a second colour was somehow the key to making it work, even though it wasn't part of my original idea at all. So the difficult designs that have a mind of their own are favourites too - but maybe not until they're finished!

YITC: Do you have a favourite designer who's work you follow?
JH: There are lots! We are lucky to have so many exciting British knitting & crochet designers - and I'm even luckier to have met many of them too. Sewing wise, I adore Alicia Miller's bag patterns.

YITC: What are your designing essentials?
JH: An open mind and willingness to make lots of mistakes.


When she's not designing you can find Jacqui keeping busy with work designing, prepping workshops or teaching sewing classes to keep herself from finding things that need fixing in her family's old (but new-to-them) Victorian house!

Social media info:
Ravelry: curvyjax
Website: happymakingdesigns.com
Instagram: curvyjax
Twitter: Curvyjax

UPDATE: London Craft Guide Pre-orders and Pricing

Hello yarn-lovers!

London Craft Guide - cover.png

Thank you SO much for the love you've been showing our designers as we've been teasing out images of the upcoming London Craft Guide. We're super excited with how the whole project has come together and we can't wait for you to see the finished book.

While making the final preparations for the book to go to print, we've realised that our printing costs were not matching up with our earlier estimates. We quickly discovered that when we originally set our price for pre-orders of the book we did so based on a book layout of approximately 90 pages.

Now that we have the final files, the pagination for the book has lengthened dramatically, to almost 150 pages. As you can appreciate, this has impacted the printing costs. Could we remove some content from the book? Well sure, but there are so many amazing crafty places in London that how could we choose which one does or doesn't make the cut? And to consider cutting any of the projects would be unfathomable. 

Cloth House spread.png

So we've come up with what we hope is the best solution: the current £15 price for the London Craft Guide will be the pre-order price, available only until February 18th, 2016. When the book launches officially at Unravel, the price of the printed book will go up modestly to £16.50 (as before, these prices do not include shipping). The digital version will remain priced at £14.

We're very sorry to have to pass these costs on, but we wanted to be transparent about it in the hopes that you all understand. Getting a book published, as we've discovered in over the course of the last year or so, is no small endeavour. In addition to printing costs, we need to make sure our contributing designers and the fabulous team who have done the layout and design work get paid too.

Projects - Knitters Tool Roll spread.png

All this is to say - if you've been thinking about getting yourself a copy of the London Craft Guide, now's the time to do it before the price increase goes into effect. If you also want to save on the shipping, we're happy to have your copy ready and waiting for you to pick up at Unravel - just let us know in the comments section of your order at checkout.

Thank you so much for understanding, and we look forward to seeing you at Unravel!

London Craft Guide Project: Zigging Hat and Cowl

When we're traveling it's easy to remember to pack a jacket but sometimes the accessories are forgotten or a change in temperature is unanticipated (oh wait, is that just us?).

The Zigging Hat and Cowl by East London Knit's Renée Callahan is a great solution if you find yourself having a similar problem. Both projects knit up quickly in Aran weight yarn and can be completed with only two skeins of Kettle Yarn Co.'s Waltham (a wonderful, bouncy yarn that we'll have with us on our stand at Unravel).

  Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

The striking, geometric lace is an easy-to-work stitch pattern that flatters both men and women, making these two pieces ideal for gift knitting too.

YITC: Tell us about the inspiration for your design. 
RC: 
This design is all about knitting satisfaction and showing off gorgeous yarn. I wanted to create a pair of accessories that are both perfect travel knitting and very wearable. Zigging is worked in a squishy aran wool that knits up quickly enough to start and finish while on holiday. The lacy pattern doesn’t require too much brain power, which I find is just the thing to make the hours on plane or train pass pleasantly by. 

  Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

YITC: How do travel and craft fit together in your world?
RC: 
I do travel for my craft whenever possible. I am often found loitering around the Kettle Yarn Co. stand at fibre festivals and I have ambitions for festivals further afield soon… Knitting and travel go together like Seattle and rain gear: they are a necessary pairing. I was once caught out with the wrong needles. It was a crisis of epic proportion, in my mind at least. I have taken precautions to ensure it never happens again.

YITC: Do you buy souvenir yarn or fabric? What do you look for?
RC: 
I do buy souvenir yarn whenever possible. I love to find yarn from local producers and indie dyers; things that I couldn’t find at home. 

  Photo credit: Juju Vail

Photo credit: Juju Vail

YITC: Tell us about you and your personal design style. How does your project fit in?
RC: 
Lately I seem to have a little obsession with simple lace knitting and Zigging absolutely fits into this. I released the Klee Collection last year which similarly focussed on applying easily memorised, small scale lace patterns to wearable garments. Although I enjoy exploring new techniques all the time, knitting lace is one of my all time favourites and I love trying to find the perfect balance between soothing, mindless knitting and interesting stitch patterns on a design. 

YITC: What project do you have ongoing right now?
RC: 
At the moment I am in the honeymoon stage with a new collection of knitting patterns. It’s that beautiful early point where I have been sketching, researching and swatching and I have all the optimism that I can finish it by summer. Love is unreasonable. 

The new collection began when I had a big clean out of my wardrobe and stash this January and decided I had to do something with all my partial and single skeins of yarn. Perhaps foolishly, I am making the whole process public this time, beginning with this blog post. 


Ha! Anything we can do to help Renée! - Love, YITC

Social media info:
Twitter: EastLondonKnit
Ravelry: EastLondonKnit
Instagram: elkrenee
Website: eastlondonknit.co.uk