Archives for category: Loft

When I first began knitting sweater patterns, I never felt completely sure of myself when choosing which size to work. Quite a disconcerting feeling to experience at the very beginning of a marathon knitting project – when choosing the wrong size can mean the success or failure of all your hard work.

Over the years – mostly from trial and error – I learned about the importance of ease when making (and more importantly, wearing) garments. Ease refers to the difference between a given measurement on a finished garment and that same measurement on the wearer’s body. Most commonly ease is discussed in reference to the chest/bust, since this is the measurement that most patterns are built upon – at least for traditional shapes and construction types.

True, there are “rules” about how much ease is recommended for a given style and fabric weight (a very important factor to remember), but I’ve also found that individual ease preferences significantly vary from person to person, depending on their own personal style and what they are comfortable wearing.

In our garment patterns at BT, we like to list a recommended ease amount – given by the designer – but also share how much ease is shown on the model in the photograph as a reference point for knitters to consider when making the fateful decision about which size to knit.

This week on our Facebook page, we’ve been sharing side-by-side images of a selection of the garments from Wool People 3 photographed on both of our models. Aside from having very different personal styles, Tessa and Hannah have different body shapes and sizes as well, so I thought it might be fun (and instructive) to share these images with specific fitting information, to help give knitters a better idea of how these small changes in size and fit effect the overall look of a garment. Below is a recap of those posts with this information – I hope you find this helpful!

Reine Cardigan by Alexis Winslow: shown here dressed up on Hannah (left) with 1″ of negative ease, worn over a light, summery dress. Tessa (right) dresses it down with a sleeveless top and jeans, with 2″ of positive ease. Because the fabric is knit with Loft, a fingering weight yarn, designs with negative ease are more wearable than when worked with a heavier fabric/yarn (worsted weight, etc.) Cardigans are often easier to wear with negative ease as well, since the open front allows fluid movement and versatile styling.

Breckon Cardigan by Amy Christoffers: Tessa (left) wears it relaxed over a light shirt dress with 3″ of positive ease. This comfortable fit is casual but not messy. Hannah (right) wears a more fitted style with zero ease (wearer and garment bust measurement is the same) over a collared shirt and pencil skirt.

Boardwalk Shell by Heidi Kirrmaier: This cap-sleeve garment is a versatile wardrobe item. We styled Tessa (left) with a denim shirt and skinny jeans. Tessa’s bust measurement is 2½” smaller than the garment. Remember that the addition of the shirt effects the final ease amount slightly. Hannah (right) wears Boardwalk alone with ½” of negative ease (her bust measures just slightly larger than the blocked garment).

Öljett Hat by Jenny Gordy: Hats are generally worn with 1-2 inches of negative ease at the brim measurement. Tessa’s head circumference is 1½” smaller than Hannah’s, so the hat fits in a “slouchier” way. Hat sizing is less of a mystery than garment sizing, but I threw this one into the mix, just for fun.

I’m off to Iceland for 10 days – one of my knitting “bucket list” destinations – for a much needed vacation, and to give my camera a workout. The best part is that it’s definitely sweater weather up there, so I can rouse my wool garments from their summer hibernation. See you in a couple of weeks!  –Jared

At Brooklyn Tweed HQ we always laugh to ourselves a bit about summer knitting. When all the seasonal publications are touting cotton and linen yarns and beach-appropriate knitwear designs, we find ourselves still knitting away with our wool, year in and year out. Since we know we aren’t alone in this religious use of wool, we figured why let fall and winter have all the fun? Why not do something for the devout wool-lovers of summer?

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It’s hard to believe that our third issue of Wool People is already here. Ever since launching our first issue last August we have had such a great time working with knitwear designers from around the globe for this series. While design work from our in-house design team is constantly under way, it’s fun and refreshing to get a chance to exchange input and ideas from a broader range of creative folks. The finished collections always feel like a secret that slowly reveals itself over the months from concept to production. You never know exactly how everything will come together until the end, which keeps the anticipation and excitement strong even from this side of the curtain.

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For this collection, we envisioned something clean and airy that focused on lightweight layering pieces and a summery palette of neutral heathers. We asked designers to think about soft, clean and wearable garments that would utilize Loft’s airy fabrics and tonal color range. The designers rose to the occasion and brought together a collection that is both diverse and cohesive. We really love what everyone came up with!

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As has become customary for the launch of a new collection, we’ve indulged ourselves a bit with a lusciously photographed Look Book – it’s the best way to get a feel for the range of the collection which features a total of 17 designs. You can view the Look ook in fullscreen mode by clicking “Expand” below. Remember that when viewing full screen, you can click anywhere on a page to zoom in further to read text or have a closer look at design details. If you’d like to download a free copy of the Look Book PDF for viewing on your tablet or smart phone, just click here.

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While the collection focuses primarily on garments – there are a handful of smaller-dose projects as well: hats, shawls, wraps and scarves. We like variety in our own knitting basket, so bring that same mentality to the table when putting together a collection roster.

Thanks to everyone for supporting our last two issues of Wool People and making #3 a possibility. We feel fortunate to continue exploring and refining our designer-friendly model of publishing, which hasn’t changed since our first round – Wool People designers receive a portion of every sale for the lifetime of their pattern, no matter what. We think this is important and allows designers to be compensated fairly for this highly specialized type of work. Don’t forget to check out our “Meet the Designers” section at the back of the Look Book to read about our talented contributors!

Happy summer knitting to all and enjoy the patterns!

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Resources: All 17 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 Look Book here.

Busy days, but simple pleasures.

 

We are really fawning over classic cables around here lately. What else would we be doing during a heat wave?

Simple pleasures.

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!

I’ve had several late nights of swatching recently… searching searching searching for the perfect balance of cables for some new design work. Composing with cables is always easier said than done – balance is everything.

Shelter in “Embers”

I’m still on the path with these, but the jewel-like colors glowing in the lamplight were too seductive – you know I’m a sucker for a good yarn halo.

Loft in “Birdbook”

 

This early Spring has inspired many a new lace idea (and exploration of our more “flowery” colorways). One benefit from this unseasonable warmth? Swatches dry about twice as fast.

Loft in “Blanket Fort” 

Have a great weekend!

Our home-grown yarns have made their first big trip across the ocean! We are so excited to announce our very first international stockist – Loop UK in London is now carrying the full palette of both Shelter and Loft. (We’ve also shipped plenty of printed patterns, so you’ll have something to knit with them.)

For knitters in the London area, feel free to stop by the lovely Islington shop to see and pet our wools in person.

When we launched Spring Thaw last month, we also launched our inaugural BT knitting kit – the Seasons Hat. We waited to mention this on the blog, since we weren’t sure what to expect in terms of demand right out of the gate. Though we sold through our first limited run of these kits pretty quickly, we’ve been busy working on Batch Two so that we could make a formal announcement here. For those of you who wanted a kit but weren’t able to snag one when we launched, all four colorways are back in stock as of today! (Though how long they last is yet to be seen…)

The kits include five hand-wound mini-skeins of Loft in colors and amounts corresponding to your chosen colorway. We’ve also included a physical copy of the Seasons pattern – an 8-page folio printed on saddle-stitched card stock. Kits ship in our signature BT packaging.

I remember falling in love with this banded colorwork motif when I visited Shetland in the Summer of 2010 and saw it on a pair of hand knit gloves that I purchased from one of the regional knitters there. I’ve since swatched it several times for different design ideas, and it finally found its home with this one.

I used this motif in much of my early experimenting with multi-colored stranded knitting from the Loft palette. When it was time to decide which colorway to use for the final sample – I just couldn’t pick one. It was there that the idea of the “Seasons” were born. The four final versions were inspired by color families from each season.

We hope to expand our kit offerings later this year with more colors and more projects – it’s a fun variation on yarn ordering, not to mention a great gift idea for those die-hard knitters in our lives. (We’ve even had some of our own staff members clamoring for them…)

We hope you like them – happy kitting!

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Resources: Seasons Hat kits are available for purchase on our web site here. Hat design by Jared Flood. Packaging and printed pattern are printed/produced in the US. 

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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