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 Making, Twilight Flowers and Angelus Novus.
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?
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.
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!
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 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!