Archives for category: Men

Like Timberline, Fort was another sweater design that I’d been thinking about for some time before I actually began working on the garment in any tangible way. I wanted to create a piece that was inspired by military clothing, but could be easily styled into an every day wardrobe. While I chose a pretty basic set-in pullover shape, the fit became a big focus for me, as well as finding a special detail or two to set this design apart. Combining a rich green and charcoal grey was also a nod to the military inspiration.

The sweater itself is worked in Shelter, a worsted weight wool, while the constrasting elbow patches are worked in a finer yarn (Loft). I  find that knitted elbow patches can often be too bulky in worsted weight and create a thick, awkward area on the sleeve, especially after the garment endures regular use. I liked the idea of using a lighter fabric, but knitting it at a dense gauge (get out your size 1 needles!) in garter stitch.

The garment is knit circularly with no seams from hem to underarm (on both body and sleeves), then split and worked flat for the remainder of the yoke. Finishing involves setting in the sleeves and sewing the shoulder seams. I like this construction method because it allows for both the ease and convenience of circular knitting as well as the structure of seams in areas where they are very much needed (shoulder tops and armholes; both regular stress points for the fabric).

Though not easily seen in the photo above, there is a ribbed side detail that flows directly from the hems/cuffs along the side “seams” of the body and sleeve. This adds a little elasticity to the overall fit and creates a sort of visual frame for the wide expanses of checkerboard stitch.

Finally, the wide crew neck is trimmed with a doubled 1×1 rib collar: stitches are picked up from the finished neckline and knit circularly to twice the height of the finished neckband, while being subtly shaped with changes in needle size. Live stitches are tacked down on the inside of the garment for a neckband that has a little extra thickness and character to it, but still remains elastic.

While obviously “a classic”, I can see this sweater equally at home in conservative or funky closets alike. I look forward to wearing mine this Fall!

 

Slade is for the guy who appreciates the coziness and charm of a deep shawl collar. The set-in sleeve cardigan is worked in pieces with a stockinette body and deep 2×2 ribbing at the hem and cuffs. The wide shawl collar, which creates a double-breasted front when buttoned, means that the stockinette fronts of the garment are rather skinny and can be knit quickly.

After assembling the finished sweater pieces, the ribbed collar/fronts are picked up onto one long circular needle – beginning at the lower edge of right front, up one side of the cardigan opening, around the back neck and back down the other side.

The deep ribbed band is worked in one piece to completion. Three buttonholes are worked at the halfway point and correspond to sewn-on buttons on the other side. For a more casual, relaxed look, buttons/buttonholes can be omitted altogether if the wearer prefer the cardigan open.

A good wet-blocking upon finishing will allow the front band to be blocked flat to reduce some of the natural elasticity of the ribbing. 100% wool yarns work beautifully in this process and create the well-behaved ribbed front shown above.

 

Redford draws its inspiration from well-loved vintage tee shirts – the kind that get better with each wash and wear. Though the sweater doesn’t announce them loudly, it features some subtle details that elevate it above the average everyday pullover.

Side panels are worked in reverse stockinette stitch and assembled with exposed seam lines to highlight their slightly angled shape. The change in fabric offers a subtle yet graphic detail along the sides of the garment (see a detail photo here).

The stockinette portion of the sleeves are worked from the bottom up, beginning just above the cuff line. After completion, cuff stitches are picked up from the wrong side – creating another exposed seam detail – and worked down in a 1×1 rib, finishing with a clean tubular bind off.

Finally, an inverted triangle is worked in reverse stockinette and nestled just below the ribbed collar at center front, adding a finishing touch to that “favorite tee” vibe.

Worked in Loft, the sweater’s fabric is lightweight and easy to layer (it looks great whether worn with a denim jacket or a sport coat) and is particularly useful for hot-blooded men who overheat in heavier sweaters. The garment is worked flat in pieces and seamed together for added structure and strength.

The hardest decision of all: which color to choose?

One of the best parts about putting this collection together was being allowed to indulge my selfish side in creating a garment that I’ve been daydreaming about for quite some time. I’ve had visions of Timberline dancing in my head for years (really), and it seemed like the right time to finally make this garment a reality.

My favorite type of sweaters are the ones you just want to live in, whether dressed up or dressed down. This is the kind of sweater that I like to crawl into and hibernate; I guess I consider it my own grown-up version of a security blanket.

The cables on this cardigan are sculptural – the fabric feels substantial and protective. In the beginning, the main “Timberline” cable motif began as something completely different – a smaller cable that went through 4 or 5 total iterations before arriving at its final state. I became quite fond of it in the end. It references traditional staghorn cables, but with a more organic flow. It also paired nicely with the traditional 9-stitch braid that flanks it on either side.

I wanted to knit this design in Shelter so the lightness of the yarn would keep the garment from being overly heavy. The result is just what I was after (you have to savor those moments when they happen!): it feels substantial, but there is no worry that the fabric will stretch vertically under its own weight.

Full disclosure: this pattern is not for the faint of heart. All told it spans 24 pages and spares no detail. But if you want a special knit that you can pour your soul into, this is the one! The garment features tubular cast ons, completely integrated ribbing-to-cable transitions, corded selvedges, a shawl collar with integrated rib shaping, and partially seamless construction (body and sleeves worked seamlessly from hem to underarm; upper body and sleeve caps worked flat). The ribbed button bands are worked on a much smaller needle to create a strong, structured fabric, then seamed onto their respective garment fronts for a beautiful, polished finish.

I hope you enjoy this one! In the meantime, I’ll be counting down the days until the weather once again allows for the wearing of such woolly clothing.

 

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.

Every so often a photoshoot location comes along that just blows me away – either for its history, its beauty, or in the best-case scenario its combination of both. We were lucky enough to find a truly stunning one for our BT Men shoot, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share a little bit of history about this place with you here.

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The space shown in these photos  is situated on the top floor of one of what was originally 16 industrial buildings dotting the waterfront along the East River in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. Originally called the “Greenpoint Terminal Market”, this complex of 19th century buildings was once an industrial juggernaut, housing multiple maritime warehouse operations, including the American Manufacturing Company – then the largest manufacturer of maritime rope in the entire country.

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At its peak, the Market employeed over 2,500 workers and spanned 6 city blocks. Walking through some of the now-abandoned spaces really got my mind wandering. I love imagining the sights, sounds, and lives that occupied this space during that period.

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In 2006, the complex was engulfed in one of the worst fires in NYC’s recent history – the “five alarm” blaze required 350 firefighters and 70 individual units to extinguish. Much of the complex that stretches along sleepy West Street was destroyed in the fire and soon after demolished. Those few buildings that did survive, however, have been given new life through the help of artists and entrepeneuers who have repurposed many of the spaces as studios or business start-up locations.

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Shooting in this space was a true pleasure and gave my nerdy, NYC-historian side some serious research material to geek out over.

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If you’d like to read more about the history of the Greenpoint Terminal Market (or some of its more recent real estate scandals) – check out this wonderful article from Atlas Obscura.

 

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.

One of my favorite parts about developing yarns is seeing how they inspire other designers – what textures and color combinations other people are inspired by always gets me thinking about the yarns that I use every day in new and different ways. Last year, Stephen West approached me to say he was interested in doing a full design collection using Shelter and Loft – I was flattered, and very excited by the idea of seeing what he would cook up. As we further discussed the project,  we decided we’d also collaborate on a special photoshoot of the finished work the following summer.

Last July, after Stephen had finished designing and knitting his pieces, we met in Iceland for the shoot. It was my first time visiting this beautiful country, and I was completely intoxicated by the dramatic, natural beauty that the country is literally bursting at the seams with. Surrounded by such a visual feast of nature, I barely made it through the exit doors of the airport before my camera was out and firing away.

Stephen has been releasing his designs from this collection over the past few weeks on Ravelry, and I wanted to take a moment to share some of the images from the shoot that I particularly like. Summer light in Iceland (as was the case in Shetland, the year before) is almost too good to be true. Soft, ambient, sometimes dramatic, other times ethereal. Suitable shooting conditions also last about 20 hours a day! It was such a joy to explore and work in this place.

It was amazing to see how the colors of the yarns melded so well with the surrounding colors in the landscape – like the blue-green waves of the ocean on a black sand beach (pictured above). In my mind, mother nature is the very best inspiration for color!

We had fun styling and shooting several of the samples on both the male and female model.

The Hófsos Pullover (also showed at the top of the post on our male model, Diddi) combines large stripes and marl effects in some of my favorite colors of Loft.

Stephen has a great color sense – I loved some of his playful, unexpected combinations, like Nest, Sap, Button Jar and Woodsmoke (in the Kex Scarf, seen below in Shelter).

Looking over these images again has been really enjoyable and reminds me of what a great experience we had there. I often daydream about a return to the Icelandic countryside for future photography work. I’d love to go at a totally different time of year to do some night photography during the “dark season” as well…

All the patterns pictured above are available for purchase here on Ravelry. Each pattern’s page includes extended yardage and color information. Stephen also did a great write-up about our shoot, with several behind-the-scenes pictures that give readers a glimpse of what a shoot looks like on the other side of the camera!

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.