Archives for category: Sweaters

Today feels like a very “full-circle” experience for me as we release our very first collection of knitting patterns exclusively for men.

It doesn’t feel like so long ago that I was a new knitter, searching for male sweater patterns that suited my own tastes, needs, and abilities. Though the absence of such patterns was perhaps the single most influential factor in my path towards knitwear design, I’ve always remembered the frustration I felt as a result of my limited options.

Knitting has taken me on quite an unexpected and wonderful journey since then, and all along the way I’ve daydreamed about creating patterns for men that might help those knitters who find themselves in the same place that I was then – be you a male knitter yourself, or any knitter with a husband, brother, son, partner or friend who has at one time or another made that sacred request for a handknit sweater or accessory.

Last year, when I pitched the idea of a men’s collection to the design team, an immediate excitement engulfed. That fervor stayed strong all throughout the process – we’ve had a great time putting all the puzzle pieces of this collection together. In designing, we set out to create knits that were understated and easy to wear, but maintained details that made them special (and enjoyable to make by hand).

Selfishly, I loved having the excuse to design and create some of the pieces that I’ve been been wishing were in my own closet for quite some time!

The look book features the entire collection – 8 garments and 5 accessories – that cover a range of skill (and commitment) levels, from beginner to advanced.

 

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We hope you enjoy our first small contribution to the genre of men’s knits!

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Resources: The BT Men look book can be viewed on our website here, or download the free PDF for viewing on your tablet or device.

Each pattern is available for instant download here, or on Ravelry.com. Brooklyn Tweed yarns used in the collection are available for purchase online, or at one of our 16 flagship retail locations.

 

Hitch was designed by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark in Alabama and has a great casual elegance about it. The dolman shape means that the garment is made with two pieces (front and back, with sleeves integrated). If you look closely at the direction of the garter stitch on the cuffs, you’ll see that the sleeves are worked sideways as a result.

While swatching at the beginning of the design process, Mercedes fell hard for this cable – which she said reminded her of thick links of chain (our inspiration for naming the design) – and built the rest of the sweater as a suitable “frame” for it.

I think the proportions are great – the deep garter hem, the front-only panel of chain cables, three-quarter sleeves and a wide boat neck. The fabric is lightweight – worked in Loft at a relaxed gauge – which means it has that “easy to throw on” thing going for it, too.

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Resources: Hitch is available as a PDF download at Brooklyn Tweed or Ravelry. The pattern is knit with Loft yarn, shown here in color Tent.

This week I’ll be spotlighting some of the patterns from the Wool People 5 release to better acquaint you with some of the details about the patterns that may not always be apparent from photos alone. Today – the Reverb Cardigan by Tanis Lavallée:

Tanis hails from beautiful Montreal, Canada, and has a knack for garments that are stylish, smart, and fun to knit. Canadians really have a way with sweaters.

Reverb is worked seamlessly as a top down raglan – which is a great way to make a sweater, especially for knitters who don’t enjoy finishing. The obvious benefit of knitting garments this way is the ability to try on as you work – a great advantage when customizing the sleeve and body lengths of your individual garment.

Though the cardigan has no waist shaping, the slimmer fit is achieved with a relatively low amount of ease (+1-3″, shown on the model with +1″ of  positive ease).

The zigzag cables reflect (“reverberate”) across the cardigan opening; on the back they combine to create a mirrored panel of diamonds. The cables are simple to work, but have a great effect in their overall combination.

This is a great project for both fledgeling and seasoned sweater knitters alike!

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Resources: Reverb is available as a PDF download at Brooklyn Tweed or Ravelry. The pattern is knit with Shelter yarn, shown here in color Hayloft.

Is it May already? This time of year always seems to fly right by – before you know it winter has slipped through the cracks and summer is right around the corner. The past few weeks have been positively delightful weather-wise; a late spring, but one that was definitely worth the wait!

Today I’m happy to announce our newest collaborative effort – the fifth (!) installment in our ongoing Wool People series is all polished up and ready for spring and summer knitting!

Back in August when I began mapping out the concepts and art direction for this collection, I thought it would be fun to do a sort of “shawl challenge” – since spring always seems to be the time when my own lace bug reawakens, hungry for a new project. Lace is perfect for outdoor knitting and travel, two things that many of us will do often in the coming months. I love how something as lightweight and portable as an in-progress shawl packs so much value in terms of both knitting time and mental satisfaction.

Standing on this end of the collection timeline, it’s rewarding to see finished design work from the 7 “lace whisperers” featured in this spread. A nice variety of both lace & textured stitch patterns, simple to more involved techniques, and essential shapes to knit and wear – all worked in soft and airy Loft.

Of course at the core, we are sweater people – no matter what the season – and this collection has more than just lace to offer. I received some beautiful garment and accessory design submissions in this group: great looks for layering during the evenings in chillier summer climates (you lucky people) or in anticipation of next fall. Both the Reverb cardigan and the Bolt scarf (shown below) just scream for autumn, and there’s plenty of knitting time to get them done!

The look book introduces the collection in its entirety with full page photography spreads showcasing the new designs along with blueprints that are intended to introduce the architectural/technical elements of each pattern. When considering a new knitting project, I always like knowing what I’m getting into with a schematic “road map” and some notes on construction, shape and assembly.

Between the aesthetic and technical components of the look book, I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know this new collection of work. Happy spring to each of you!

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Resources: The Wool People 5 look book can be viewed on our website here, or download the free PDF for viewing on your tablet or device. Each pattern is available for instant download here, or on Ravelry.com. Brooklyn Tweed yarns used in the collection are available for purchase online, or at one of our flagship retail locations.

One of my favorite designs from the new winter collection is Grettir – a unisex Icelandic yoked pullover that I designed late last summer, after returning from my first-ever trip to beautiful Iceland.

The Icelandic yoke is a celebrated regional aesthetic that has seen increased global popularity in recent years. And though I’ve seen several of them in the US (in the streets of NYC, in advertising, etc), it wasn’t until I went to Iceland and witnessed these beautiful garments in their “natural habitat” that they really cast their spell over me.

Icelanders are proud of their knitting heritage, and taking a walk down any street in Reykjavik you’re likely to encounter several different variations of their signature colorwork yoke. What appealed to me most was how universal and utilitarian these garments are treated there – you’ll see them on all kinds of folks, regardless of age or profession. Even better, they look so lived-in, well-worn and loved – it is such a satisfying sight!

When I returned to the states, I resolved to research this classic yoke formula (pretty straightforward, once you get the hang of it!) and give it a go with an original design; Grettir is the result.

Another thing that really appeals to me about these designs is their versatility and ease of sizing. As long as you end up at the base of the colorwork portion with a multiple of 8 stitches on your needle, the yoke will work. Of course, yoke depth is an area that needs to be heeded (in the pattern I’ve designed four different variations of the yoke – each one slightly deeper than the next – to take care of that area).

Perhaps the best part of all, though: these are so much fun to knit! They seem to fly off your needles (at least relative to most sweater projects). Each piece is worked circularly from hem/cuff to underarm (mindless, therapy knitting if you ask me). Just when you are ready for something a little more exciting, you join your pieces together for a feast of colorwork. As you work the yoke, your rounds get smaller and smaller (faster and faster) which is certainly a motivator for the final sprint to the finish line. After the knitting is done, a simple graft at the underarms is all that’s left! No seaming, no complicated construction, just beautiful, seamless knitting at its best. (And suddenly I’m feeling the urge to make yet another.)

Both the men’s and women’s version have waist shaping: a very subtle amount for the guys, just enough to bring the waist in a touch so that there isn’t a ton of extra fabric hanging loose at the back (imperceptible when worn), and a more pronounced waist in the women’s version. The men’s yoke is deeper than the women’s as well. The schematic diagrams below show the difference between the two silhouettes.

 

 

Finally, I included two options for the neckline. I’ve had turtlenecks on the brain (I often do when it’s cold outside) so added a nice cozy one to the women’s version. If you prefer a cleaner finish, though, a rolled crew neck will be a better choice (pictured on the men’s version).

The garment uses a total of 4 colors – the main sweater color, plus 3 additional shades for the yoke. The possibilities are endless for how to combine colors here, and I could be happy just designing new combinations again and again. I’m really excited to see what colors you knitters combine!

As for the name – why Grettir? While visiting the northern coast of the country, I met a storyteller who recounted the amazing saga of Grettir – the longest surviving outlaw in Icelandic history. (Interested? More here.) I was particularly intrigued by the final chapter in the story: Grettir’s demise on the rocky cliffs of Drangey, a fortress-like stone island off the coast; an monolithic sight, visible from the very shoreline where I sat when hearing this tale.

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The Grettir pullover pattern includes a range of sizes for both men and women – full specs for each version can be found here at Brooklyn Tweed or on Ravelry.com. The design uses four colors of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter.

2013 has been quite a hectic year around here so far! On top of the regular day-to-day operations that make BT tick, we spent January moving into a fresh new space – a much needed move, but definitely disruptive! – as well as putting the finishing touches on our design team’s new winter collection.

This release feels particularly timely today, as we endure another week of below-freezing temps here in the Northeast. An assortment of cozy wool knits sounds like just the ticket, to me!

The four of us (Véronik Avery, Julie Hoover, Michele Wang, and myself) had an absolute blast working on this collection. Probably no surprise there – winter is one season where our yarns feel right at home.

For this collection, we set out to tell three distinct stories. The first – my personal favorite – is a modern take on traditional colorwork. (My trip to Iceland last summer certainly influenced my own designs. I just couldn’t get those beautiful colorwork yokes out of my head until I tried creating one myself!) The second story features knitted loungewear in shades of grey and cream – a tonal, romantic story inspired by cozy afternoons at home. The final story – classic winterwear – is rife with cables, colors and textures that are perfect for snow days.

The full collection features 18 original knitting patterns – all of which are now available for instant download. The designs in this group truly cover a diverse range, from thoughtful accessories that can be knit over a casual weekend, to deeper, more significant undertakings that will keep you company through several long winter evenings.

You can view photographs of each new design, as well as pattern-specific information, schematic diagrams, and a photo essay about our shoot location (Hudson, NY) in the look book below (click “full screen” for enhanced viewing). Free copies of the look book PDF are also available for download here.

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On behalf of the entire design team  – we hope you enjoy seeing what we’ve cooked up for snow season!

Stay warm, and be well.

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Resources: The Winter 13 look book can be viewed on our website here, or download the free PDF for viewing on your tablet or device. Each pattern is available for instant download here, or on Ravelry.com. Brooklyn Tweed yarns used in the collection are available for purchase online, or at one of our flagship retail locations.

 

We’ve been dropping teasers for a few days over on our Facebook page, and this morning our newest creation is all ready to leave the nest! Today I’m very happy to introduce the fourth installment in our ongoing Wool People series! This issue features 15 new patterns from some of our favorite independent designers in the industry and offers a satisfying variety of sweaters, shawls and accessories.

Since the weeks and months leading up to the holidays tend to be consumed by (sometimes stressful) gift knitting, we thought launching in late December would offer some much needed incentive for getting those gifts finished. We all know the prospect of new patterns are often an essential component to finishing your WIPs, just in case the looming holidays weren’t enough!

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Each year when winter comes around, the urge for cable knits always wells up inside of me. It never fails. When I was organizing the mood boards and art direction for this collection I had that thought on my mind, so you’ll find several beautiful cable projects tucked into the pages of the Look Book.

We also love our shawls at Brooklyn Tweed – can’t get enough of ‘em – so we’ve got three new ones here. Its difficult to pick a favorite!

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We shot the collection earlier this month at the very inspirational Old American Can Factory on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. The maze-like industrial complex was constructed between the years of 1865 and 1901 and has recently been reclaimed/repurposed by artists and craftspeople as a studio community. What was once a 130,000 sq. foot industrial canning complex is now an inspiring enclave of creative minds who have breathed new life into this bewitching place.

A dear friend of mine has a studio there and on a recent visit I was completely besotted with the giant steel doorways, long brick corridors, cavernous elevator shafts, and texture-filled courtyard. It seemed like the perfect place to bring our woolens on photoshoot day!

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It’s such a rewarding moment when the finished samples start arriving into our offices, and even more-so when it comes time to photograph them all together. It’s one of those “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” kind of moments, and truly magical seeing each designer’s concepts spring off the page and come to life.

The new Look Book is filled with photo spreads of the each garment and accessory in the collection. We’ve also included schematic diagrams, design specs and pertinent pattern information in the “Pattern Blueprints” section, so you can get to know the designs from a technical standpoint as well. Feel free to view directly in your browser below, or download a PDF for viewing on your devices.

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All 15 patterns from the collection are available today as instant PDF downloads both on Ravelry and brooklyntweed.net. We hope to offer some inspiration for the final days of 2012 – happy knitting to all!

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Resources: The Look Book can be viewed on our website here, or download the free PDF for viewing on your tablet or device. Each pattern is available for instant download here, or on Ravelry. Brooklyn Tweed yarns used in the collection are available for purchase online or at one of our flagship retail locations.

It’s time to announce another fun project that we’ve been cooking up behind the scenes – this one has been a lot of fun, and I’m so thrilled with the end result!

Today we unveil a set of limited edition Brooklyn Tweed Sweater Cards – the result of a collaboration between the BT Design Team and Vancouver-based watercolor artist Mark Hall-Patch. Each pack contains 15 blank gift cards (with envelopes) and features 5 different commissions artworks featuring garments from our collection archive. Read on for the full story!

One afternoon last winter, when I was surfing the internet on one of my regular inspiration binges, I stumbled across some beautiful, minimalist watercolors by Mark and was struck by their delicate, poetic style. I immediately purchased a small water color for my own studio – a well-loved and slightly tattered Cowichan sweater – and when it arrived in the mail I was delighted to see that the in-person experience of viewing the painting was even more enchanting than my virtual one (as all good art should be!).

For several months I’d been kicking around the idea of finding an artist – be it a painter, illustrator or photographer – to collaborate with on some kind of special project for BT. When Mark’s painting arrived on my doorstep, the idea for these cards hit me like a ton of bricks. I promptly contacted the artist to see if he’d be interested in exploring some ideas.

I was further delighted to learn that Mark – a sensitive & sweet guy, as it turns out – loves collaborating on projects of this nature. Before we even finished our first conversation, we were setting to work on the details. I began by photographing several garments and accessories from the BT Pattern Archive. We then assembled the finished photos and started discussing which designs seemed to group themselves together naturally. Before long, we had landed on five projects, all in varying shades of grey and cream. (Shocking!)

A few months later – after Mark had carefully created each piece – five beautiful watercolors arrived at BT Headquarters, looking even better than I had hoped for.

The paintings are small – worked with tiny brushes and a very delicate hand. My personal challenge was to get as much of the original detail into the reproductions as possible. I also wanted the art to be reproduced in its actual size on the finished cards, so your experience would be as close to holding an original as possible.

So enough story telling – onto the art work! I’ve photographed each of the five paintings below, placing them aside the photos of their inspiration garments (we threw a pair of mittens in  for fun, too).

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I always find it refreshing to shake things up a bit and play around with new ways of experiencing our yarns and pattern designs. This was such an enjoyable process, we’re already on the hunt for some new creative folks to team up with!

Sweater Cards are available today on our web site here (or click any of the images above); each pack contains 15 cards (3 copies each of 5 paintings) with envelopes. Card dimensions are 4½” wide by 6¼” tall (A6).

If you are interested in seeing more of Mark’s painting and illustration work, you can visit his web site here. If you’re interested in any of the patterns pictured, those can all be found on our web site or Ravelry.

In the past few months, I’ve had a couple of designs published in books that I have yet to share here on the blog. The first of which is the Alpine Tweed cardigan, as featured in Ann Budd’s new book The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top Down Sweaters.

This book is a sequel to Ann’s wildly popular Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweaters, which was published in 2002 and acts as a sort of sweater recipe book for various styles and gauges of yarn. With her new book, Ann set out to create a companion handbook for garments that are worked from the top down (from collar to hem). The top-down knitting experience is fun and has some great advantages, like being able to try a garment on as you work in order to execute exact sleeve and body lengths.

Ann asked 4 designers to each create a garment for the various yoke styles outlined in the book: Raglan, Saddle-Shoulder, Set-In Sleeve and Round Yoke. Alongside my garment are designs from fellow BT Design Team Member Véronik Avery, Wool People 1 contributor Ann Hanson, and my dear friend Pam Allen. Ann has also designed several sweaters in each style. What good company!

My assignment was the set-in sleeve – an architecture that begins with the fronts and back of the garment yoke being worked separately down from the (shaped) shoulder seam to the underarm, where they are joined into one piece and the rest of the shaped body is worked seamlessly to the hem. The top-down sleeves – which are picked-up and worked directly from the armholes – begin with short rows to complete the set-in cap shaping. After completion of the cap, the sleeves are worked in a traditional circular fashion, shaped with decreases to the cuff.

The design features a fitted, hourglass waist, stranded colorwork yoke and body trim, three-quarter sleeves and a contiguous ribbed trim that tackles the body hem and button band in one fell swoop. The trim also features increased miter lines at the corner turns as well as a Tubular Bind Off, worked in a contrasting color. The ribbed collar is a subtle ribbed crescent – also shaped with short rows – higher at the back neck than at the front.

The design is knit with Shelter in colors Soot (sweater color), Sweatshirt and Homemade Jam (colorwork/trim colors).

I wanted to create a garment with a classic silhouette and plenty of subtle details. It was a fun experiment for me since I haven’t done too much designing with a top-down set-in sleeve construction. It’s always good to change things up and try something new!

 

The minute September arrives it’s like an internal alarm goes off in my head. I think it must be a knitter thing, because most of the knitters in my life have the same impulse. Despite the lagging humidity of summer, the first month of Fall is here and it’s a change you can feel. We are ready to knit again in a serious way, and savor the perfect mix of color, temperature and light that Fall brings.

Today we celebrate the arrival of Autumn with a brand new design collection: BT Fall 12. This collection marks the one-year anniversary of the formation of our in-house design team at BT and the introduction of two talented new members to that team. I’m very excited to introduce the work of Véronik Avery and Julie Hoover – two seriously talented women who have been a blast to collaborate with. Together with Michele Wang, we’ve been working on this (and future) collections for months, but are thrilled to finally show you our first collaboration as a foursome.

We also bid a fond farewell to one of our original design team members Leila Raabe, who has gone on to to work full time as Operations Manager at BT (don’t worry, we still plan to bug her for a design here and there as her schedule allows!).

BT Fall 12 features wool sweaters aplenty, as well as a handful of accessories that are perfect for Fall knitting. We shot our 18-piece collection on the grounds of a beautiful sugar shack just outside of Montreal, Quebec – quite a fitting backdrop for classic wool knits!

The look book is now available for you to view below (or download the PDF here for viewing on your tablet or device).

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Alongside the pattern collection, we also have exciting yarn news! The mill in Harrisville has been busy this summer, spinning up 15 new colors of Shelter; the expanded 32-color palette of custom-blended heathers now matches that of our Loft line. The new shades are shown below – oh, the possibilities!

I hope you’ll each have a great Fall – and that you find something here to enjoy. We’ve certainly had fun putting it together.

All my best,
Jared

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Resources
: All 18 patterns in the collection are available now as digital downloads on our web site here. Our Wyoming-grown wool yarns are available for purchase here. Download a free PDF version of the Fall 12 Look Book here.