Archives for category: Hats

Dear Knitters,

September! It’s always been one of my favorite months. While summer may be psychologically over when the school bells ring, the season just seems all the more golden as the fair weather lingers, mellows, and starts to offer that refreshing autumn crispness in the mornings. While the lazy liberty of vacation may be over, falling back into the year’s routine has its own productive pleasures, too. (There’s still the possibility of weekend camping trips, after all!)

Fisherman-inspired knits for Autumn

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Most importantly, as we well know, Knitting Season is officially open. It’s no longer too hot to contemplate taking up that big cardigan you didn’t finish last winter. Or even if it is, you start to think how good that pile of pieces in your workbasket is going to look at your favorite autumn wool festival (if you can just knit a second sleeve and a collar and sew them all together…). Motivation kicks in.

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BT Fall 14

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I can never resist the call to cast on new projects in September, and that’s why I’m excited to share our BT Fall 14 collection today: a whole fleet of garments and accessories inspired by the rich traditions of nautical knitwear. Our design team set out to reinterpret fishermen’s sweaters in ways we hope will surprise and delight you. From cables to geometric textural patterns to brioche, you’ll see classic elements enlivening completely modern shapes. Whether you like your sweaters generous or fitted, A-line or fashionably oversized, you’re likely to find something in the lookbook that will make your needles sing.

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BT Fall 14

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Construction details and design features for each garment are highlighted directly within the new lookbook and give a great at-a-glance summary of what kind of knitting is in store for any given pattern. We’ve also included a new kind of written feature in this lookbook. Shooting the collection in Red Hook, Brooklyn got me thinking about our roots and mission as a company. Rather than just using Red Hook as an evocative backdrop, we felt compelled to share with you something of its history and its present. Feeling the energy that’s being generated there as community leaders try creative solutions to put their town’s unique resources and people back to work inspired all of us. It affirmed my own resolve to grow Brooklyn Tweed in a way that fuels local industry and helps keep American manufacturing traditions alive. I hope you’ll enjoy thinking about that aspect of our craft as you read our Red Hook essay and share your own reactions and ideas with us!

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BT Fall 14

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I’m also looking forward to showing some of our Red Hook footage in a new BT Vignette video next week, and to turning the spotlight on some of the designs in BT Fall 14, so stay tuned for more to come. If there’s a garment you particularly want to see featured, please let us know!

For the moment, I hope you’ve got a few moments to settle in with the lookbook, enjoy the new collection, and dream up possibilities for your own wardrobe.

.Happy fall!

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Amirisu released their fourth issue last week, which highlights Brooklyn Tweed as the magazine’s featured brand. We had a lot of fun working with Amirisu, contributing both design and written content throughout the issue. If you aren’t familiar with this online publication, it is the passion project of a Tokyo-based knitting/editing duo whose shared goal is furthering the online knitting culture in Japan. The magazine’s content is presented in both Japanese and English.

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Amirisu 4

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Last Fall, editor Meri Tanaka interviewed me about US-yarn production and my history as a designer. Within the article I talk a bit about how I got my start developing  and manufacturing yarns, as well as my start as a knitter. See pages 50-57 for the full article (excerpts shown below).

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I also contributed a short written piece for the magazine entitled “Elizabeth For Beginners”. Though Elizabeth Zimmermann is a national icon to us American knitters, Amirisu informed me that her work is not well-known in Japan and requested I contribute a piece that would act as a sort of gateway to EZ’s work. Within the article I give a very brief version of Elizabeth’s story and suggest some of her most beloved patterns for folks who are just discovering her work (pages 68-71).

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Last but not least – patterns and yarn! Brooklyn Tweed’s own Michele Wang and Leila Raabe contributed designs to the collection using BT yarns. Michele’s Tsubasa Top is a fun, spring-ready pullover worked in Shelter (color Blanket Fort) with arrowhead lace panels and dolman-style cap sleeves. Leila’s Preble Hat is worked in Shelter (color Snowbound) and features a woven texture pattern and twisted-stitch cable insertion. Both patterns can be downloaded directly from Amirisu (pattern info is also available on Ravelry).

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Tsubasa by Michele Wang | Preble by Leila Raabe.

A big thank you to the editors of Amirisu for featuring our work throughout the issue!

– Jared

JF: Good morning, Leila! So good to have you on the “public” side of the blog today, rather than helping me proof my writing behind the scenes at BT! 

LR:  Thanks, Jared! I’m guessing this is what it might feel like when you find yourself on the lens side of the camera. And I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for any typos that have slipped past me.  ;)

JF: Bough is a really sweet hat and cowl set – I started my own Bough hat immediately after you submitted the pattern because I wanted one for myself! I love the mix of traditional motifs with modern shapes and styling – would you say that this mixing of new and old is a steady feature in your work?

LR:  It really is. I can (and will, often) just sit and pore over old knitting books and stitch dictionaries for hours. It’s cliché, but they’re my go-to source of inspiration and I return to them again and again. There’s something to be said for stitch patterns that stand the test of time and can be seen in designs from ten years ago, twenty, and even further back.

JF: I completely agree.

LR: Japanese stitch dictionaries and pattern books are also particularly fascinating, in large part because my favorite authors (Yoko Hatta, Toshiyuki Shimada, Michiyo, to name a few) seem to have as much of an obsession with the classic motifs as I do. And they’re masters at turning stitch patterns we’ve all seen over and over into something completely new.

JF: The Arbor Vitae (Tree of Life) motif is one of my favorite traditional cable motifs – I know you love it too. Was this stitch the “seed” that grew into the rest of the design? Or did you start from a different inspiration point? 

LR:  It was! I’ve come across different variations of it and have been wanting to include it in a design for years. I also wanted to change up the repetitive structure of the traditional motif a little bit —  making the progression slightly less stamp-like over the course of the knitter’s project –  and eventually, many swatches later, ended up with a shapely little tree. I  tend to start with one primary element or idea, and then have a lot of experimentation to figure out how to best support that element. The tricky part is balancing it all without going overboard with too many random details. I’m learning that restraint can make the difference between an okay design and a really strong one.

JF: It’s so true. Bringing an editing eye to your own work is essential. I think when we are creating knitwear by hand, because it takes a significant amount of time and effort, it is easy to try to pack too many ideas or details into a single design.

LR:  Taking a balanced set of motifs from one type of project (a hat) to its complement (a scarf) is an interesting exercise, too. Proportion and scale against the shape and dimensions of the finished piece is an important thing to keep in mind. I cheered when I read your blog post about striving for harmony in the details of your Bray pullover — music to my ears. We could probably talk about this for weeks.

JF: Because I work with you every day, I get the pleasure of witnessing the evolution of your design work in real time. I know you’ll often create prototypes, or multiple versions of something as you work towards a completed idea. Can you talk a little bit about this process? Do you feel that there is a sort of “searching” aspect that you require to bring out your best work?

LR:  Whenever I complete a project I think about all the million different things I’d change about it, if I were to knit it again. Bough started with a hat I made for a gift last year – that one featured the Tree of Life along with a few gansey patterns and small, squiggly cables. Still obsessed with the Tree pattern, I then cast on for a cowl, ditching the gansey and squiggles in favor of simpler seed-stitch columns and framing. I never finished that one, because I started another hat, which eventually became the final version of Bough. After completing the hat I decided to revisit the cowl to see how I could make the trees and cables work in a long, circular loop.

JF: It feels kinda like stumbling down a pathway in the dark, eh? You know you are headed in the right direction, but aren’t sure how many steps it will take to arrive. And once there, it also leaves you wondering “Could I take this further? Should I take it further?”

LR: If I showed you the number of Illustrator files of different chart “mock-ups” I have for this hat, you would probably laugh.

JF: It would be a laugh of solidarity, for sure! 

LR: And there are probably twice as many for the cowl. I’m grateful that we have tools like these at our disposal to help with the design process; otherwise, I’d have a bigger pile of unfinished prototypes than I already have, and meeting deadlines would be much more challenging.

JF: Yes, technology is so incredibly helpful for design. Do you work primarily in Illustrator when developing knitwear? Do you use any other programs?

LR: I have a strong preference for charts over written instructions in a knitting pattern, so Illustrator (which, as you already know, is my default program for creating charts) is always open during development of a design. I’ve also found spreadsheets useful, though I like to keep things on the simpler side—a lot of what I do builds off of pretty basic shapes and construction methods that don’t require a lot of number-crunching. I focus mainly on playing around with stitch patterns and motifs, and what I hope are pleasing combinations. I will sometimes use Photoshop to cobble images of my swatches together to help get a visual for how something would look over a larger area of fabric.

JF: This has been fun – thank you, Leila! 

LR: Thanks so much for sharing your space with me, and for including my design in this volume of Wool People! I hope knitters find their projects enjoyable to make and wear.

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).

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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.

 

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.

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. 

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.)

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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. 

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.