Archives for category: Shawls

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If you’re familiar with my past design work, you know that the Shetland Hap Shawl is a genre that I come back to time and again. I think this is because I am generally interested in the intersection between utility and beauty in design – and this traditional shawl style was born directly from that crossing. Worn by working women in the Shetland islands, the Hap Shawls’ primary function was to keep the wearer warm in the harsh conditions of the Northern Scottish Isles.

Over time, however, Shetland knitters developed a signature style for these shawls. They were generally square in shape and worked in garter stitch, with a plain central section worked in a solid color. The outer border almost always uses some variation of an Old Shale lace pattern and very often employs multicolored striping sequences, which were the perfect use for assorted oddments of shetland wool left over from former projects. (If you are interested in learning more about the history of Haps, Sharon Miller’s book “Shetland Hap Shawls” is the definitive source on the topic – I highly recommend it!)

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When we began concept sketches for the Winter 14 collection, the urge to design a new Hap Shawl was welling up inside me yet again. With this design, though, I wanted to think more about what types of shawls and construction methods appeal to the modern hand knitter, and apply those ideas to the traditional look of the Hap.

The first and most obvious choice was to create a triangular shawl, rather than the traditional square format. Triangles are faster to knit, easier to wear and more versatile as a styling item – so that decision seemed to make sense. After that, I needed to decide upon a construction sequence that would keep the knitting both interesting and efficient. I knew I wanted to keep the entire project seamless, so that goal was my starting point.

The diagram below maps out the knitting sequence, which begins at the base of the inverted central triangle. The entire project begins with just a single stitch cast onto your needle; the rest of the shawl grows out of that lone loop (I love that). The central triangle is worked back and forth, increasing one stitch per row by way of a yarn over at the beginning of the row. This type of shaping allows the garter stitch ridges to travel straight across the inverted triangle, which makes for an attractive contrast to the diagonal direction of the undulating border.

 

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Additionally, the yarn over selvedge conveniently provides open loops along the shaped sides of the central triangle, creating the perfect pick-up edge when you return to work the colorful lace edge.

You’ll see a dashed line at the top of the central triangle in the diagram above. When this point is reached, live stitches are placed onto waste yarn to be held until you work a contiguous top border that incorporates both the central triangle and the diagonal side edges of the Old Shale lace portion of the shawl.

After securing these live stitches with the waste yarn holder, stitches for the lace border are picked up along the diagonal edges of the central triangle (effortlessly, from those yarn overs along each edge). Upon completion of pick-up, the lace border is worked back and forth, with mitered increases at the triangle tip and side edges of the border (to maintain the overall triangular shape of the piece).

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I played around a bit with ways to modify the traditional Old Shale lace motif, and found that I liked working a row of elongated “drop” stitches between the colored eyelet rows. The photo above shows these rows clearly. These elongated stitches are created by double-wrapping the yarn as you knit across the row, then dropping one of the double wraps as you work into the stitch on the following row. The eyelet rows (worked in alternate colors) gently distort the fabric into wavy lines, which in turn effects the shape of the elongated rows nicely.

The project is also a fun excuse to play with color! In my version I used 5 different shades of Green from the Loft palette – but there are so many different ways you can use color in this border. It’s a perfect use for small amounts of leftover wool that you might have lying around. You can also keep it simple by working the shawl with only two colors (a main “shawl color” and a contrasting stripe color). The pattern includes yardage amounts for both a 2-color version and the 6-color version (shown) so you won’t need to do the extra math.

Traditional Hap Shawls usually employ a fancy knitted-on lace edging to finish the piece. While these edgings are beautiful, they can also be a bit fussy. In an effort to modernize and streamline the design, I liked the idea of keeping a clean bind-off edge – both from the perspective of finished appearance and convenience during fabrication. It is certainly a more concise finish than the traditional method – just remember to keep your bind-off row very relaxed so you don’t run into elasticity problems when blocking.

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After completion of the striped lace border, return to the top edge of the project, pick up stitches along the side edges of the lace border, and incorporate them into the same row as your held live stitches from the center triangle. Once united into a single row, work back and forth in garter stitch for a few ridges and bind off to complete the top border (a relaxed elastic bind off is advisable here as well).

All in all, it makes for quite a fun knit that looks complicated but is easier to create than you might think upon first glance. It’s also the type of project that you finish and immediately start thinking about what changes you’ll employ for your second one!

The best part for me, though, comes now – as I get to witness the creative variations you knitters will make! If you do choose to embark upon this shawl, I hope you’ll enjoy the process of not only knitting, but playing with color and striping ideas too. Have fun!

– Jared

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Resources:

The Kelpie pattern is available for download at Brooklyn Tweed or on Ravelry. The Loft yarn used in the photographed sample is available here.

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Frida was designed by Tokyo-based knitter Hiroko Fukatsu, one of three Japanese designers that contributed to this installment of Wool People.

I admit I have a special place in my heart for Japanese knitting – it’s a big source of inspiration in my own work and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know a few great folks from Japan in the past year who share a deep passion for knitting.

Roko submitted this shawl design as a finished sample she had already made and I was so charmed by the unexpected use of loop stitch – a “striped” application I had never seen before on this type of project – that I asked if she’d be willing to see how the shawl worked up in Loft. The result has a fun, funky quality that I think would be fun to style in a variety of ways.

Frida has a wider, shallower proportion than your average lace triangle, due to the non-traditional shaping sequence Roko deployed in the design. Bands of lace, stockinette and loop-stitch texture create stripes over the body of the shawl, which is worked from the top down. The scalloped lace edge is worked as a part of the main shawl – no additional edging is needed. Score another one for non-fussy construction!

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

The Tilt shawl comes from our very own Leila Raabe – an original member of our in-house design team at BT, Leila now runs operations at our Portland, Maine, location and is known for her thoughtful and detailed shawl designs (a few examples from our archive).

As you can see from the photo above Tilt is a a play on geometry, with radiating diagonals and directional mesh. It’s hard to see from the photos, but the center section contrasts diagonal stripes of stockinette and moss stitch between sets of eyelet “rays”.

The shawl rates high on our “knitability” scale. Knit circularly from the center out, the shawl is always worked from the RS (always a plus) and requires no additional knitted-on edging.

The outer motif incorporates a subtly integrated lace motif before working the bind off, though Leila has also provided a mesh-only alternative for that section of the pattern, for those wanting to keep their 45 degree angles as an absolute.

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

The beautiful Moon & Stars crescent shawl was also created up north – designer Shui Kuen Kozinski lives in the Boreal Forest of Canada and gave me the impression of being something of a sage as we walked through her design process together.

When Shui Kuen submitted her design proposal, she shared that she is often inspired by poems & stories. In this case, “The Moon, the Stars”  by poet Sully Prudhomme who won the first Nobel Prize in literature in 1901 ”in special recognition of his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect”.

The shawl is worked from the top down using a gentle rate of increasing to create a wide, semi-circle shape. The welted section at top-center symbolizes the moon, while the two bands of gathered lace stitches that follow represent stars, large and small.

A very charming story of inspiration, don’t you think?

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Resources: Moon & Stars is available as a PDF download at Brooklyn Tweed or Ravelry. The pattern is knit with Loft yarn, shown here in color Old World.

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.

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.

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’m happy to get to share a new design with you that I created earlier this year for Tanis Fiber Arts – the Guernsey Triangle. This pattern is a special design for TFA’s Year In Color Club, and has now been released for that project.

Ever since designing the Guernsey Wrap in 2010, I’ve wanted to work up a triangular companion piece, so when Tanis and I first began discussing this project I thought it was the perfect opportunity.

The task was to create an enjoyable-to-knit and easy-to-wear handknitting design that was suitable for a single skein of yarn – in this case TFA’s Red Label Cashmere Silk Fingering (75 cashmere, 15 merino, 10 silk; 420 yards). Because club members would be getting a limited amount of hand-dyed yarn, I was sure to include detailed swatching instructions in the pattern and accounted for swatching yardage as well, so that no one is left hanging!

The triangular shawl is worked from the top down and features knit-purl patterning from traditional guernsey fisherman sweaters (I never tire of them). The pattern also gives instructions on blocking the finished piece with wires to get the clean, crisp edge that suits the geometric nature of the whole. The slanting ribs of patterning are mirrored over the center spine of the shawl.

Tanis and I collaborated on the development of the custom colorway “Smoke” – a beautiful silvery grey that features the subtlest of variegation in tone. Just enough to attest that the yarn has seen the careful hands of a talented dyer, but not enough to distract or mask the delicate patterning of the fabric. Just right.

Currently the pattern is only available as a club exclusive – click here if you are interested in joining or would like more details – and I will be making the pattern available as a Brooklyn Tweed PDF at the beginning of 2013. So if you’re not a club member but want to knit this, you’ll have access to the pattern at that time.

The wrap is pictured with our Bedford Pullover by Michele Wang – I thought the pieces looked great together. Then again, grey layers are my fashion “happy place”. For those of you wishing to queue the pattern on Ravelry for later, click here.

Hope you enjoy!

 

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.

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.

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

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Pardon our silence… we’ve been busy this Winter! Our design studio has been a flurry of activity in recent months and we are happy to finally bring you some proof of that this morning!

Spring Thaw from the BT Design Team

Today we’re happy to introduce Spring Thaw: a collection of 17 designs for knitting from Winter to Spring.

When the three of us first started knocking around ideas for this group of patterns, colorwork was a unanimous source of inspiration for all. This was also our first chance to create a collection while having access to the full BT yarn palette from day one. Our initial run of Loft was in production in Harrisville as we completed most of the work for The Loft Collection (November ’11), so our color choices were limited, particularly for any multiple-color designing.

This time, though, we were free to explore and combine colors at will. And so we did.

Colorwork knitters, you’ll find plenty of projects here – both small and large – to keep your stranding fingers busy. That being said, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include a decent dose of cables, lace and stockinette too…

It was quite a mild Winter, especially here in the city. I think most of us are giving up hope for any 11th hour snowfall, especially now that the Spring blooms are beginning to peak through the soil. We thought a collection for this transitional time of year would be a fun idea, and while that was certainly a factor in our design process, we think many of these designs are great for year-round knitting!

We’ve created another of our digital Look Books to indulge you with extended photography of the designs – we hope you’ll steal a couple of minutes today to give it a look! Click “Expand” below to view full-screen in your browser, or click here to view on our web site. (Or maybe a PDF file to take along with you? That’s here.)

Though it’s warming outdoors a bit, we’re definitely still enjoying our evening knitting. A very happy Spring to everyone, with all our best!

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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.

The patterns in this collection were created by the members of our in-house Design Team: Jared Flood, Leila Raabe & Michele Wang.