Archives for category: BT Design Team

Julie’s seamless Chesterfield pullover strikes that great balance between being easy to knit and fashionable to wear. The body and sleeves are worked circularly from the hem/cuff to the underarm. At that point, all pieces are joined together and worked circularly to shape the raglan yoke (also worked circularly, with no seams). The squishable ribbed turtleneck is worked last – and for those guys who feel a little stifled with all that wool up around their necks, substituting a simple stockinette rolled edge, or a shallow 1×1 ribbed neckband is a snap.

If you look closely at the fabric, you’ll notice that the colors have a marled appearance – this is achieved by working with two different colors of Loft (our fingering weight wool yarn) held together and treated as a single strand. The resulting fabric is the same as a worsted weight yarn, but with a beautiful, mottled look.

Between the combination of the colorblocking at the base of the garment and the marled yarn, five separate colors are used in total to create the look shown above. Again, if the colorblocking isn’t your (or your guy’s) cup of tea, the entire garment can easily be knit in a single color for a more traditional look.

The basic shape and construction of this garment allows for all kinds of individual modifications to suit your own tastes – I love seeing how knitters experiment and modify our designs. Isn’t that one of the best reasons for making your own clothes, after all? As an added bonus, Julie included a “girlfriend” version of the sweater that incorporates waist shaping to decrease bulk in the body, while maintaining an overall cozy, oversized feel. See photos of the modeled girlfriend version on Chesterfield’s pattern page.

The Hugo pullover is a modern take on the traditional fisherman’s gansey – with its low-relief allover cable motifs paired with handsome moss stitch. The traditional layout of cables contrasts more modern elements like the slashed ribbed turtleneck and updated silhouette.

Hugo‘s proportions sit closer to the body than a traditional pullover for a slimming effect; the long sleeves cover the full wrist while the body falls just below the belt line. This stylish silhouette creates an eye-catching update to the historic ganseys we all know and love.

Véronik chose to work up her design in Shelter‘s “Stormcloud” colorway – a rich, warm grey that features undertones of both brown and blue. A surprisingly versatile color, it pairs with both warm tones (as photographed), or cooler blue and grey shades (any shade of denim).

The slashed ribbed turtleneck has a garter stitch placket with snap closures, though it can be easily modified to feature traditional buttons/buttonholes, or knit circularly as a more traditional stand-up collar.

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.

Our Design Team just wrapped up a couple of wonderfully creative days in the design studio, planning for future collections. This is what our collections look like at their earliest stage of development.

This is one of my favorite stages in the process – ideas are fluid, mix easily and often combine to create even better ones. The piles and piles of swatches aren’t bad either…

This week we’re heading out west for Madrona Fiber Arts in Tacoma, Washington. Madrona is a special show that is well-loved by so many, and for good reason! Several aspects make this one of my own personal favorites among knitting events: the intimate and friendly vibe, the glass-art-filled hotel, a strong communal love of natural fibers, and a line-up of standout instructors and vendors to name a few. (Admittedly, I’m also biased by the fact that the event is held in my home town.)

We will be staked out in the marketplace all weekend – sharing a large booth with our friends at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. We’ve got the booth packed to the gills with all 32 colors of both Shelter and Loft, so if you’re in the need of some quality US-grown wool, stop on by!

We’ll also be featuring the trunk show from our brand new BT Winter 13 collection throughout the weekend in the booth – all 24 samples that were featured in the look book will be available for visitors to try on.

Finally, I’ll be joined by three of our in-house designers (Julie Hoover, Leila Raabe, & Michele Wang) on Saturday from 10-2 for a meet-and-greet/pattern signing in the rotunda. We’ve prepared some visual displays that  illustrate our team’s design process so that knitters can get a taste of how things look behind the scenes when we’re putting together a new design collection.

It’s certainly shaping up to be a fun and busy weekend; for those attending, we hope to see you there!

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.

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.

 

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.

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).

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.

 

I’ve gotten several questions about the Inversion Cardigan from our Spring Thaw collection and thought it would be a great topic to chat about today – both the specifics of the garment’s shape as well as the design process.

Inversion is a 2-way garment, meaning it can be worn right side up or upside down, depending on the fit preference of the wearer or the specific wardrobe context. The photos below show the cardigan on the dress form in both styles. The actual shape of the garment pieces couldn’t be simpler, as you’ll see below. I find the garment appealing both conceptually and stylistically, which is oftentimes a rare combination!

I’m always inspired by Japanese garment design and Origami – the Japanese art of paper folding – both of which were obvious influences as I composed this pattern.


When I’m working with a new-to-me shape, or wanting to experiment with a garment idea before committing to the full-size version of the design, I sometimes knit a half-scale model. Think of it as a dress rehearsal for a performance, or the trial meal you make the night before a dinner party to test out a new recipe (am I the only person who does this?). In the photos below you’ll see the original half-scale version on my half-scale dress form.

I knit the miniature with Shelter in Nest. (Generally it’s a better idea to work a half-scale garment in a yarn approximately half the weight as your target working yarn, but I started this little baby on the road and only had Shelter on hand.)

I’ve included a schematic diagram below to illustrate how the cardigan comes together as 2-dimensional shapes – you might be surprised to note that it’s merely two rectangles of differing lengths attached along their sides. The black circles and curved dotted lines indicate the parts of each piece that are joined to form the armholes. The small hash marks indicate areas that are mattress stitched during finishing.

 

 

You’ll notice that, though the garment is constructed as two rectangles, my pattern is written for three pieces (A, B and C). I wanted Pieces A and B to be perfect mirror images of each other so that the ribbed band that runs up either side (and the ribbed trims at the base) were perfectly symmetrical as the garment is worn. After completion of each piece, A and B are joined along the Graft Line, then Piece A/B and Piece C are blocked separately, to confirm their exact dimensions, before seaming all pieces together. To finish, ribbed bands are worked around each armhole.

The main portion of the garment fabric is simple stockinette, but the rib-like trim pattern is a motif that I’m presently enamored with. It’s a 2×2 garter rib where all knit columns are slipped every other row. The resulting motif is both firm and squishy and makes a great frame for the cardigan. It also lies completely flat, unlike true ribbing, so as not to distort the shape of the garment in any way while worn. (The half-scale version was trimmed with regular rib, which causes some subtle curves to the shapes as a result.)

Due to the slipped stitches within the garter rib pattern, the row gauge of the fabric is substantially different than the row gauge of the Stockinette areas. To reconcile these differences, the wide front bands of Pieces A and B are knit separately from the Stockinette sections (more rows must be worked to get fabric of the same length). These portions of A and B are seamed with Mattress Stitch during finishing (also shown with hash marks in the schematic above.)

It’s a fun design that very much pleases my grid-loving brain and may offer a nice change of pace from more traditional garment knitting, if that’s what your knitter’s heart is craving. The garment’s versatility gives it a throw-it-on-and-go nature that I value whenever buying or making clothing. For those of you who knit this one, I hope you enjoy it!  –Jared

Some classic black & white eye candy from Spring Thaw for you on this Thursday morning…

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