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
 

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!