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!

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

Episode 5: New Year, New Goals Extravaganza

Happy New Year and welcome to 2015!

 

News

Sadly, the lovely Mrs. Moon in St. Margarets has closed their brick and mortar doors, but are still around online, and with many exciting plans for the future. While we are disappointed that they will not be able to be a stop on next September's Great London Yarn Crawl, you'll still have a chance to see them. How is that possible you ask? Well, because the next GLYC will happen alongside the

YARN IN THE CITY POP UP MARKETPLACE
 

Mark your calendars now for 5 September 2015, and come join us at Chelsea Old Town Hall for a carefully curated selection of independent makers from around the UK. We can not begin to express how excited we are for this new addition to the Yarn Crawl, and we hope you will be able to join us. More details can be found at...

Events

18 January - Waltham Abbey Wool Show, in Waltham Abbey (ETA: Our apologies for getting this episode up late which means you're finding out about this show at very short notice).

20-22 February - Unravel, at Farnham Maltings in Farnham

22 Feb-8 March - Sock Master Class at Loop, Islington

14-15 March - Edinburgh Yarn Festival

15 March - Julie Arkell workshop at Loop, Islington (ETA: March workshop is now full, but there's another one on 28 June 2015).

28 March - Sew a Feather Quilt workshop at The Village Haberdashery, West Hampsted

25-26 April - Wonderwool Wales, in Builth Wells

Projects

Allison finished off the Careen Capelet by Louise Zass-Bangham of Inspiration Knits, but sadly not in time for Christmas Dinner! She is still working on the Skulls sweater for her brother, and has started the Munchkin Blanket by Amy Swenson for a friend's impending sproglet. Best of all, said blanket is being knit in stash yarn!

Rachel has finished a new shawl design in cozy garter stitch handspun, and is working up a second version in Spirit Trail Fiberworks Sunna (75% merino/15% cashmere/10% silk, 150% scrumptious!). If anyone is interested in test knitting, there's a thread in her Ravelry group here. She has also started a vest for her MIL from Ecuadoran wool of unknown provenance, and has almost finished spinning the Orange Merino-Silk that will not end (otherwise known as Allison's 2013 Christmas present).

Goals and plans for the new year

The BIG Goal: KNITTING FROM STASH!!!!

We both have what might be considered an ample amount of yarn on hand, so we're going to do our best to knit from stash. 

Allison is going to knit from stash as much as possible. To help in this venture, she's participating in the Pre-Process Knitters Stashdown 2015, and the LSG Cold Sheep 2015.

Rachel is also Pre-Process Stashing Down/Cold Sheeping, but she has a number of goals (not resolutions!) for 2015, most of which seem to involve sweaters in one form or another:

  1. Organize the stash.
  2. Knit from said stash.
  3. Use up some of the three already-spun handspun sweaterlots in said stash.
  4. Spindle spin another sweaterlot (because she is certifiable). 
  5. Publish some of the sweater designs that have been marinating in her skull for too long.

Music Credits (all available on NoiseTrade)

Loneliness & Alcohol - Jars of Clay
Everything You've Done Wrong - Sloan
I Will Rise - Bearhart

Episode 2: Everyday Inspiration

We hopefully have sorted out our sound quality issues, with much excellent assistance from Allison's partner.

News and Events:
28 November - The Yarn Bowl Thing, aka launch of Annette Bugansky's limited edition yarn bowls with Knit with Attitude. They will be on display during the Cockpit Arts Open Studio in Holborn from 28-30 November.

29 November - Yarn in the City Bath Road Trip! Now with an option to join up with us in Bath. For more details see our Events page. Or click through for London-to-Bath or Bath-to-Bath ticket options.

29 November - Fyberspates new Viviacious book launch and trunk show at I Knit London.

6 December - Pom Pom Quarterly's Christmas party, at The Last, Athene Place, 73 Shoe Lane, London EC4A 3BQ. We will be there so come say 'hello'!

6-7 December - The Crafty Fox Christmas Market in Brixton, featuring the illustrator behind the Yarn in the City artwork, the lovely Kaylene Adler, on 7 December.

On and off our needles/wheels:
Rachel is back at work on the Marie Curie Mittens (after finally digging out a beading crochet hook), but has discovered that they are requiring more spare neurons then she has available at the moment, so they are going on hiatus. She cast on for her Insight Pullover, and is almost finished with a handspun Now in a Minute by Brenda Dayne that is her Bath Road Trip scarf, worked in some Hello Yarn Fiber Club Finn that was spun up for the Tour de Fleece 2013. Spinning-wise, she's spun up 4 oz of Polworth/silk singles from Hello Yarn, plied the first of Alli's Christmas 2013 skeins, and done a bit more Targhee spindling here and there.

Now in a Minute in progress.

Now in a Minute in progress.

Allison has picked up her Selbu Modern Beret and is going full speed ahead with the addition of some Addi Sock Rocket needles which are making her life much easier (good tools y'all...). She's put the Mitini Mitts aside for a bit to consider the yarn/pattern combination, and is working on some superwash BFL from Sweet Georgia Yarns for her spinning.

New Book Reviews:
We review two books in this episode. First up, Rachel waxes rhapsodic about Felicity Ford's Knitsonik Colourwork Sourcebook, which gives you a complete system for generating colorwork knitting patterns from everyday objects. (And which basically supports Rachel's long-held belief that swatching is the best thing in the entire world - a belief Allison strongly objects to). Then we both discuss Cirilia Rose's brand new book, Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads, with much oooing and aaahing and pre-processing. We particularly like the Isla Cardigan, the Reyka Pullover, the Loro Vest, the Heima Slippers, and the Jordaan Cape.

Special feature:

A quick chat with Cirilia Rose about her new book, the idea of "bricolage" and inspiration.

Wrap up:
We invite you to join us in our Ravelry group, let us know what you think about the podcast, and tell us about events happening where you are. You can also find us on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Music Credits (all available on Noise Trade):
Loneliness & Alcohol - Jars of Clay
Everything You've Done Wrong - Sloan
Blue Hotel - Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden