Archives for category: Mittens

I’m excited to have been asked to be a part of Knit Red – a new book collaboration between Jimmy Beans Wool and Vogue Knitting.

For my contribution to the book, I thought a red reprise of the Druid Mittens (Remember these? They were featured on the cover of Vogue Knitting magazine in the Fall of 2008) would be beautiful. The submission timeline dovetailed with the launch of Loft last year, so I had to give these classics a whirl in our Long Johns colorway. I love how rich they are – a nice contrast to the apple green Shetland wool of the original pair.

The book is officially released in June and features patterns from a host of great folks – I’m looking forward to seeing it!

We’re starting the new year off with a very special announcement: the second installment in our Wool People series is all polished up and ready to take flight from the BT Nest!

We were humbled by the response to our first issue’s release in August, and have had a blast putting together a sequel to that collection. The new issue features work from 14 diverse talents from our industry – all of whom have been an honor to collaborate with.

As with our first volume, we shot for a balance of project types and skill levels in hopes of curating a group of patterns that is accessible to a wide range of knitters. We’re also thrilled that our roster of designers spans such an inspiring range: from long-time industry celebs to exciting break-out talent.Winnowing by Bristol Ivy

It was our first really cold photoshoot of the year, but it’s always worth braving the chill in the name of the pearlescent light that only Winter can deliver. Having woolen knitwear as your subject matter is certainly helpful, and our models were glad for it!

We invite you to sit down with a mug of something warm and flip through the pages of the Look Book to get to know the new collection. You can view it from right within your browser by clicking “Expand” below, or download the PDF version for on-the-go viewing later.

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The patterns are all available as digital downloads through our website – with a portion of every pattern sale going directly to the designer for the lifetime of each design. 

We thought this was a great way to kick off the beginning of a new year, and hope you find something to keep your fingers contented as we head deeper into Winter.

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RESOURCES: Patterns from Wool People Volume 2 are available here. Yarns for each project are available here. View the Look Book on our website, or download the PDF version to your computer, tablet or mobile device.

November 1st has been marked with a giant red circle on our calendar at BT HQ for what seems like an eternity – we’ve just been dying for this day to finally come! Why? Because today we get to introduce you to our little darling: LOFT.

She is the newest member of our US-grown yarn family, and we simply love her.

From the very first time I laid my hands on Shelter, in early 2009 – months before its public debut – I couldn’t stop thinking about how perfect it would be to create a companion yarn in fingering weight. A light woolen-spun 2-ply is such a dreamy medium for lace and colorwork, especially for Wool Hounds like us (and likely, you too).

We weren’t surprised, either, to hear a steady stream of similar requests after Shelter’s official launch for that exact thing. We knew this yarn had potential to be a real stunner, so we took things slow, proceeding with caution and care (the way we like to do things around here). This one had to be just right.

Fast forward to today – 11 months since we began our first serious planning meeting with the mill in Harrisville – and it’s finally here. And what a journey it has been!

So what is Loft all about? From the outset we sought to design an ideal lightweight wool yarn for handknitters that looked and felt special. A yarn whose gently-spun nature mimicked the lightness and loft of handspun, and created stunning lace or stranded fabrics. We also dreamed of a substantial palette of stunning heathers worthy of serious Colorwork.

Our new color lineup boasts 32 carefully crafted dyed-in-the-wool shades – the original 17 from the Shelter palette, plus 15 newbies. The added colors were selected with our existing palette in mind; because each blend draws from the same 11 dyed solids, there is a cross-range coherence that makes the old colors pulse with new life.

Loft requires a slightly gentler touch than other yarns, but we think the results are so worth it. The lace fabrics it makes are so fluffy and light, they just beg to be cuddled, and the airy nature of the construction allows for a notable range of possible gauges. Loft can fluidly shift from dense fingering weight gauges like 9 spi in colorwork, on up to traditional sport weight gauges of 6 spi without losing fabric integrity – one of the hallmarks of true woolen-spun yarns, and as a design team, one of our favorite features (fabric variety!).

Each 50g hank packs a generous 275 yards, too – an added bonus for those of us who hate weaving in ends.

In celebration of Loft’s public release, our design team has put together an original collection to help introduce our shiny new treasures. We really indulged ourselves in lace (once you see the yarn, you’ll know why), but also threw in some colorwork and textured accessories, and even a pullover for good measure.

The best way to experience the collection and the new yarn is by viewing the Look Book – our biggest yet – which is bursting with  lush, Autumn-flavored photos, and plenty of info about the new undertaking. Just click on the cover below to view it in your browser. The patterns themselves are all available now for download.

I’d like to also take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support – it is the single reason that we are able to continue developing yarns and projects that truly inspire us, and bring us such joy in sharing.

Happy Lofting!

Very sincerely,
Jared and the BT Team

Resources: Loft yarn can be purchased online here. See The Loft Collection Look Book here. View all the designs from the collection on our website –including all pattern-specific information – here. See a list of our Flagship Retail Locations, each of which has the full palette of Loft in stock today.

Yesterday I walked out the front door of my apartment building and got about five steps before I stopped suddenly and realized…. I needed a scarf! For the first time since early Spring, I had an urge to don knits out of necessity. What a wonderful day it was! The second time I walked out the front door I savored the chill and ended up spending much more time out in the city than I have in quite some time.

The arrival of Fall this week (not on the calendar, but in feel) seemed like the perfect timing too, since we’ve been working hard behind the curtain to bring you a collection of designs inspired by this time of year. I’m happy to share with you BT FALL 11, a collection of 16 handknitting patterns.

This season I’m joined by designers Leila Raabe and Michele Wang (you’ve seen work from both of them in our first issue of Wool People). About 6 months ago, I approached each of these women to see if they’d be interested in coming together with me to form an official In-House Design Team at BT. To my great delight, they each accepted and the three of us have been happily collaborating on knitwear ever since!

Though we’ve been at it for a while now, we’re thrilled to be releasing our first group of designs as a team, just in time for the changing of the leaves. As with Wool People, we’ve put together a Look Book for the collection in hopes of giving you a pleasurable aesthetic introduction to the work. You can view it in the space below (click “expand” to view the full-screen version) or on our web site. If you’d like to download a free PDF copy to take along with you on your laptop, tablet, or device, you can get that here.

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We were wooed by all sorts of surface texture as we were designing these patterns. We also wanted to make use of Shelter’s rich palette of Autumn, and create projects of all sizes and time-commitments. We hope there’s something in it for everyone to enjoy – happy Fall!

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RESOURCES: All the patterns in BT FALL 11 are available now for digital download here. Shelter US wool yarn is available here.

Last week Véronik Avery released the third installment of her wonderful St. Denis magaizine to coincide with the launch of her new web site. I designed a mitten pattern for the magazine with Veronik’s fingering-weight wool Boreale.

It has been almost a year since I made these, so it was a fun reminder when I saw the magazine had been released… though I had to do some digital spelunking to find the photos in the cavernous system of knitting folders on my computer.

These sweet little mittens have a geometric colorwork pattern adorning the cuff and transition into a Norwegian ‘lice’ pattern (the traditional name) for the hand. I really love the high-value-contrast color combination; it plays up the graphic quality of the patterning and makes the floating ‘lice’ stitches pop.

The cuff is lined – approximately three quarters as deep as the colorwork cuff motif – and turns with a Picot hem, adding a touch of playfulness to this traditional aesthetic. (Options for a non-picot hem are provided if you’re more of a clean, purl-row-hem-only type of knitter.)

Congrats to Véronik on another beautiful magazine, and the launch of her new site!

RESOURCES // The Northlight Mitten pattern is included in St. Denis Magazine Issue 3, available here. Boreale yarn is available here.

Today features another winter accessory project, and with the temperatures in the low 20′s here this week, I’m thinking there can be no such thing as too many mittens.

These were inspired by some vintage English photographs I came across featuring children’s cabled knitwear.  I loved how fun and playful the use of cables and bobbles can be, and need to get it out of my system every once in awhile.

Instructions are included for a bobble-less version as well.  We have a pair sans bobbles worked in Brown Aran Shetland (sized up for man-hands) that look quite wonderful as well, but are still awaiting their photoshoot. The sample shown here was knit with 2 skeins of Shelter in Faded Quilt.

The pattern is available now through BT or Ravelry.

In other news, we’ve started sending out a periodic e-newsletter, although we like to think of it as a series of wooly postcards delivered to your inbox.  If you’d like to sign up, you can enter your e-mail address on the bottom right-hand corner of our home page.

Stay warm out there!

Sometimes a pattern has a very long journey from inception to publication.  Today’s pair of mittens has been one of those. To me it feels funny to be calling something a ‘new pattern’ when I spent most of the winter last year with these warming my hands. I had fun tracking their history — they first appeared on the blog almost two years ago and then again, finished this time, in April of ’09.  Having realized that these have been around, and well-worn, for a good amount of time reminds me of one of the many reasons I love Shetland Wool: the mittens still look clean and new with nary a pill to be seen. (The photos of the mens mittens were taken just days ago with zero surface-grooming needed!)

If you came to my house – you’d quickly notice that I’m a sucker for all things Chevron and Herringbone.  I have one too many woven blankets (if that’s possible) with variations on these themes and I never tire of incorporating them into my knitting. Strago blows up one instance of a Chevron motif which naturally follows the shape of the hand inside.  Simple, graphic, lovely.

When I got serious about writing out the pattern, I wanted to include a size for women as well and because I was so happy with the motif’s existing proportions, I decided to size them based on gauge.  The smaller size, shown here in a rich Ochre heather, is worked with fingering weight Shetland wool while the larger is worked in a DK weight.  Both mittens are knit with Jamieson’s ShetlandSpindrift for the small, Double Knitting for the large.

The motif on the top of the hand is reflected on the palm identically, which means Right and Left mittens are completely interchangeable and you’ll only be working from one chart for both mittens. If you begin wearing out the palm someday, just flip them over and switch hands and they’ll feel good as new. The thumb is worked with a shaped gusset along the side ‘seam’ of the mitten for a natural and pleasing fit.

The smaller pair traveled with me to Italy in the Spring and was shot in a small hilltown in Tuscany.  You may recognize the setting and model from our shoot for Dryad? It’s really hard to beat Tuscan light.

The pattern is now available through Brooklyn Tweed as well as Ravelry.  Mine have already seen some good use this year – the urban chill is definitely upon us.  Enjoy!

Today we wrap up with a few stragglers from the collection who haven’t fit into any other category yet. Both projects make great travel or gift knitting. And while I don’t fancy myself an expert crocheter by any means, I thought I’d be crazy and throw something in for fun for the hook-lovers.

Meet Grove.

Grove

These mittens are an ornate little treasure for the hands. I’ve always loved the relief-like quality of twisted stitch knitting (knitting all knit stitches through the back loops) and how sculptural and graceful they look when used in travelling-stitch and lace patterns.

Grove

The interesting thing about the main motif on the tops of the hands is that there is no cabling involved – the motif is formed by yarn overs and twisted knit decreases so I guess technically should be considered lace, albeit a well-disguised version. The cuffs on both hands do utilize traveling stitches in a spiral pattern that is mirror-imaged on either side to add that special detail.

Grove

There’s something enticing about mitten knitting – maybe the way they remind us of childhood winters, or how they don’t really make sense for adults who are constantly in need of finger dexterity (mittens are a great way to drop expensive little electronics down a large flight of stairs – ask me, I know), or that they’re just more enjoyable to knit than other things for your hands? Nevertheless, it seems that mitten knitting is alive and well, and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

And finally, Metropolitan.

Metropolitan

So these. I spent a lot of time staring at a few big, beautiful hanks of Aspen – a super bulky, heathered wool/alpaca blend that comes in a gorgeous array of autumnal colors – thinking What, Oh What am I to do with you? Super bulky presents a funny problem: it’s fun to knit for the instant gratification and larger-than-life sculptural quality of your stitches, but not as practical for daily wear because it’s, well… super bulky. The other sticking point is that the yardage isn’t exactly what you’d call generous – the fiber you could use for thousands of yards of lace schlumps itself into mere double digits in the super-bulky arena.

Metropolitan

So my personal design challenge was this: what can you do with one skein (approx. 51 yards) of Aspen that isn’t a hat? And as I was mulling this over on my morning commutes to and from school, I found myself marveling at how all of my fellow commuters, while jammed together on a crowded train, were so perfectly isolated from one another by virtue of a fantastic modern wonder that we call Noise Cancelling Headphones. You know, the big, shell-like headphones that make you look like a cool, urban fighter pilot? Do you see where I’m going with this?

Then: the light bulb. Earmuffs! Inspired by these insular electronic devices! Or even, earmuffs to wear over your insular electronic devices! Well, now I was getting a little carried away, but more or less this is how these things came to be.

Metropolitan

Metropolitan is a simple crochet project, worked on two different sizes of giant hooks (Huge and Really Huge) for a structural pair of muffs. The ear “shell” is shaped by changing hook size – trust me, I’m not fancy enough to design other means of shaping in crochet with super-bulky yarn – we’re keeping it simple.

But the best news about this is that they use just under one skein (including tassels), can be worked in about an hour or less and are perfect for last minute gifts for that person in your life with quirky winter style. And if I can hook it, so can you – trust me.

And with that, we wrap up our official coverage of Made in Brooklyn – I hope you enjoy the collection and thank you already to all of you who have sent such supportive and wonderful e-mails about the work. It is very much appreciated.

In travel news – I’ll be headed out to Western Mass this weekend with the trunk show for some teaching workshops. Be sure to stop by WEBS to see the garments in person if you’re a local and need a knitting fix!

ETA: If you’ve been searching for a copy of Made in Brooklyn and haven’t been able to find a retailer, you can use CE’s “Where to Buy” page to find local shops that stock it here.

The booklet is also available online through CE’s website here.

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RAVELRY LINKS

Grove on Ravelry

Metropolitan on Ravelry

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be writing this post — it’s been a loooong time coming, and I feel like I’ve spent a year holding out on you about the knitting that was actually going on here behind the scenes. It felt so wrong to be knitting my fingers to the bone on this end, with a quiet lack of output on the blog. Well, it’s finally time to come clean and show you what I’ve been referring to over the last nine months as my Second Thesis.

Made in Brooklyn Cover

I’m happy to introduce Made in Brooklyn – a collection of original handknit designs in natural fibers, published with Classic Elite yarns and available beginning next week.

As you well know, the last year was a trying one here as I was finishing up my MFA and thesis, teaching and photographing regularly. So when the opportunity to take on a project like this presented itself, I was convinced I was absolutely crazy to take on an additional commitment of this magnitude and almost surely doomed to drive myself into the ground and bring all my projects crashing down along with me in the process. And yes, the last 11 months have not been without their low points, but now that the dust has settled and all is said and done, I’m so glad that the wonderful folks at CE trusted me enough to give me this period to work up this book.

The process started very organically and blossomed out of multiple friendly discussions that I was having last September with my dear friend Pam Allen, the artistic director of Classic Elite and designer extroidinaire, but most of all an absolute golden sweetheart. I had been expressing my desire to continue exploring new directions in print publishing for the yarn shop community while still being able to keep my online distribution and the independent publishing mojo that I love so much about the internet, Ravelry, etc.

We ultimately came up with a new model in which Classic Elite would give an independent designer like me the opportunity to create a publication of designs in which I was given complete creative control over designing, pattern writing and photography, while retaining the rights to my work and the ability to distribute them as online PDF downloads as well as having them available in print at your local yarn shop. Needles to say I was thrilled!

And I couldn’t have been luckier to be working with a company whose range of yarns is absolutely epic. As a designer, having such a solid range of high quality, natural fibers in a wide range of weights, constructions and colors seemed like such a dream-opportunity. And it really has been a wonderful, wonderful process.

Made in Brooklyn Preview

The booklet features 13 original designs that run the gamut from simple, versatile accessories to major sweater projects for both men and women to long-term lace projects. My ever-present bug for colorwork was seriously indulged so if you’re a lover of stranded knitting be sure to give the patterns a look! You’ll also see a range of fibers used — wool (of course, and lots of it!), cashmere, alpaca, silk and angora — oh my, what fun! I had a WONDERFUL time putting these pieces together. And as I said before, I can’t tell you how happy I am to finally be able to share them with all of you.

The designs in the book are all named after streets in Brooklyn and I shot all the photography on location in the streets here – which I thought was only fitting, as they are such a constant source of inspiration for me in my knitting and designing.

Now for the technical details: The book will be arriving in shops later in the week, so be sure to check your local LYS for details and yarn selection. Online sales will begin through Classic Elite’s website mid-week, and pre-orders have already begun so if you prefer to go that route, please visit their site here.

PDF Downloadable Patterns

As I mentioned before, the patterns will also be available for download as individual PDFs. The three patterns above will be available for purchase online immediately upon release of the book next week – both on Ravelry and here at Brooklyn Tweed. The remaining designs will become available as PDF downloads in the Spring.

Over the next week or so I’ll be doing more in-depth coverage with plenty of photos here on the blog to introduce you to the new collection and these wonderful yarns, and catch up on showing you FO’s from the past year! Stay tuned for more images and info on the patterns.

Before I end, I want to thank everyone for sticking around here on the blog through sparse times and for your continued support with my designs and photography. I very much hope you enjoy knitting this collection of designs — I thought long and hard about enjoyable and intuitive ways to put these pieces together in hopes that you’ll get as much enjoyment out of their making as I did. Thank you all so much.

ETA: All patterns from Made in Brooklyn are now available as individual PDF downloads on the pattern page here.

Ooh, this is going to be a bit all-over-the-place, but there are so many little projects needing updating here that I figured I’d just cram them all in. Between baby knitting and de-stress knitting, The Piles (you know what I’m talking about) have been growing growing growing.

First, I finished my Shetland mittens and due to all this schizophrenic weather we’ve been having, they’ve gotten a lot of play in the last couple of weeks. I think they may now be officially retired for the warmer months, but hey, we could wake up (again) to hail tomorrow and biting winds. You never know these days.

Shetland Mittens

I have yet to give them a proper photoshoot or a more appropriate blog-post of their own, but they were so quietly sitting in the sunlight this morning that I figured they warranted a little show-and-tell time.

And speaking of finished projects yet-to-be-photographed-or-written-about, I’ve finished a few more little baby knits. (As an update for those who have been asking, I’m going to be an official uncle (not a father) and I’m VERY excited about it!) Below is a charming little vintage-style baby bonnet – a free pattern from Larissa at Stitch Marker – that is sweet sweet sweet. I knit this with a linen/wool blend (stashbustin’) and loved the crispness of the wavy ridges and soft-yet-sturdy quality of the fabric. The eyelets around the neck are for ribbon but I worked up a nice sturdy I-Cord instead.

More for baby

I blocked this using pins and a blocking wire (pictured) to open up the fabric. I could go on and on about how much I love blocking wires. I find I use them for all sorts of things and they just give finished garments that extra OCD punch.

The stashbusting continues in the baby knitting arena: I had one skein of super-silky SWTC Bamboo – this stuff has great yardage (the skein feels a bit like a hockey puck – so weighty and satisfying) and I thought I’d challenge the skein to a duel. Is a one skein baby sweater possible? I believe so! I’m done with the yoke and body and just have the sleeves left – according to the weight of the remaining yarn (40g!), we should be golden for a newborn-sized EZ classic.

Bamboozled

The pattern is the ever-popular and always-charming February Baby Sweater from EZ’s Knitter’s Almanac (I made one a couple years back in green).

Lastly: Remember my ‘Reward Cone’ of School Products Cashmere Merino? Well I couldn’t wait until proper reward-time came around and felt a mindless stockinette pullover was in desperate need of conjuring. So I started. And it’s making for some gooooood tactile gratification.

I Couldn't Resist

More details on many of these soon – apologies again for the random project purge session!