Archives for category: Baby

This morning we’d like to introduce you to three of the colorwork designs in BT Kids: Jared Flood’s Atlas, Véronik Avery’s Magnus, and Julie Hoover’s Carson. These very different garments offer a chance to sink your teeth into techniques you may not have tried, so we’re glad to have the chance to talk about them in more detail. We thought you might also like to learn about the designers’ inspiration for these pieces.

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BT Kids: Colorwork Spotlight

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A visit to Iceland two summers ago cemented Jared’s love for the lopapeysa, the quintessentially Icelandic patterned yoke sweater, and led him to design Atlas. The lopapeysa tradition isn’t as old as you might imagine—it was invented in the 1950’s as a vehicle to bring the distinctive Icelandic wool and bold design sense of Icelandic artisans to an international market. The sweaters are so beautiful and useful that they quickly became iconic. Viewed from above, the yoke creates a sunburst effect that lets the designer play with simple combinations of shape and color. Jared loves how effortlessly lopapeysa sweaters come together—they’re seamless, with a lot of meditative stockinette, and just when you start feeling you could really handle something a little more interesting, along comes the glorious colorwork yoke, which is neatly finished before you feel overwhelmed by it. The lopapeysa is traditionally worked with bulky-weight wool, though Jared has always wanted to try one in a fingering weight. BT Kids seemed like the perfect opportunity, especially because the yoke motif could then be scaled back up for larger sizes just by substituting heavier yarns.

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Atlas by Jared Flood

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Atlas is offered as a pullover for knitters who want a seamless garment that’s quickly finished, but Jared added a cardigan variant for those who prefer more versatile styling options. The knitting process doesn’t change, but if you’re working the Atlas cardigan, you’ll cast on extra stitches to form a steek at the center front and then cut the fabric open when the sweater is complete. This clever shortcut is part of the knitting tradition across Scandinavia, the Shetland Islands, and Iceland, and it lets knitters create stranded color patterns while always looking at the right side of the work and never having to carry floats in front while purling—a slower and more awkward process for most of us.

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Magnus by Véronik Avery

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Steeks can be used to open the whole front of a sweater, as in Atlas, but they can also be used for shorter spans like armholes and neck openings. That’s how Véronik employed them in Magnus, her handsome interpretation of traditional Scandinavian handknits. If you’ve never tried a steek before, Véronik recommends cutting a swatch of your project yarn—it doesn’t even have to be a stranded swatch. If you’re nervous about the cut edge unraveling or if you’re using a non-wool fiber, a line of machine stitching ensures that nothing will come undone. (Tip: Place a piece of tissue paper under the knitted fabric for stability so the machine’s feed dogs won’t stretch out the seam.)

Véronik thinks the design quality of Scandinavian knits is particularly well suited to children, being both modern and traditional. Magnus is intended to be truly unisex, perfect for handing down through the family. The hood is a modern touch, added for the simple reason that kids love hoods!

Carson by Julie Hoover

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And if you’re too impatient to wait until the yoke for your colorwork, try Carson. Julie had been playing with this diamond motif for a long time, auditioning it for at least two different collections before it found the perfect home in BT Kids. She cleverly placed the colorwork at the hems and cuffs of the pullover so knitters can work it in the round without worrying about steeks, and all that eye-catching detail in the lower portion of the piece invited some special treatment at the top for balance. Julie’s answer was to expose the seams where the sleeves are set in, which makes the seam visually prominent, and that drove her decision to work some unusual shaping through the yoke as well. She used a combination of full-fashioned decreases and a sloped bind-off to create a saddle shoulder in the front and an innovative hybrid shape in the back. She says it does take extra care to ease the sleeve into the front yoke correctly—you may want to use safety pins or split-ring stitch markers to secure at least the seam ends and the point of the shoulder before you start to sew. Julie also advises wet-blocking both the individual pieces and then the finished pullover for the most successful result.

Thanks for stopping by today to meet Carson, Magnus, and Atlas! Jared will be back next week with a post on choosing colors to help you take the next step if you’re considering any of these designs.

Today, guest author Sarah Pope shares some special tips on making the most of knitting for little ones – we hope you enjoy!

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Reveling in the delights of the new BT Kids’ collection, my mind went right to casting on—Berenice for my daughter in Blanket Fort or Postcard! Arlo in Hayloft or Button Jar for my son!—I expect many of us dove straight into fantasies of seeing our own little ones at play in those beautiful garments. Some of us may even have experienced an alarming itch to produce or “borrow” a child just for the pleasure of knitting these designs. But even though I have a pair of recipients at the ready, I’m going to take a moment for some savvy planning, because knitting for kids is an investment of time and capital and also something of a gamble.

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Saavy Knitting for Kids

 

Children are notoriously fickle giftees. The garment may be too hot. It may be too scratchy. It may be the wrong color—some kids let their favorites box the compass, while others remain faithful to purple or green for years at a time. The older they get, the more many children tend to fall in line with trends amongst peer groups. A child’s willingness to wear handknits may be utterly squelched for a few years if popular fashions have strayed in another direction.

The fact is, gifting a handmade item always means letting it go. It may be cherished or abandoned to the thrift shop. You’ve had the pleasure of the crafting it; this must be enough. But there are some clever moves you can make to position your handknits for a happy ending.

The best tactic I know is to involve the child herself in the planning and execution of the knitting. Let her hold the hank of yarn to her neck and judge the itch factor. A worsted-weight sweater may simply prove too warm for an active child in a temperate climate, so talk with her about the garments she likes to wear and make notes on their properties. She’ll probably be frank about style preferences.

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Savvy Knitting for Kids

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You’ll need to accept that a kid may not want to wear what you’d most like to knit. If your youngster lives in hooded sweatshirts, you’ll probably have to make him a plain zippered cardigan with a hood. It may bore you to tears, and your reward will be to see it dropped at the muddy sideline of the soccer pitch. But if your sweater receives this shockingly offhand treatment, you can pat yourself on the back. It has passed muster; the child has adopted it into his wardrobe and made it his own.

If the child is close by and old enough to learn, why not let him actually knit on his sweater during a plain stockinette section? Most children become deeply invested in things they’ve had a hand in making and will be proud to point to their wool-clad tummies and announce, “I knitted this part right here.” If they’re too young to knit, let them help wind the yarn, or give them a none-too-precious ball from your stash and some blunt needles to stab at it as they make believe they’re knitting alongside you.

Knitting for children—like pretty much every other aspect of life with them—involves ceding a certain amount of creative control. That can be hard for those of us with strong creative visions. (If I can’t sell my almost-four-year-old on the idea of Berenice, I’m just going to quietly cast it on for myself, in Shelter rather than Loft.) But seeing what strikes her in the collection, watching her form her own taste, is part of the fun of knitting for her. If I can produce something she really loves, my happy ending will be to listen to her bragging at preschool, “My mama made this for me!”

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Our photoshoot for BT Kids has to rank as one of our most entertaining times on set, ever. We shot the collection with 6 beautiful (and hilarious) children – ranging in ages from 2 to 8 – in a Cobble Hill (Brooklyn) brownstone, as well as the surrounding neighborhood blocks.

Shooting a collection is always a wild experience. Despite the epic amount of planning that happens beforehand, variables like weather, location idiosyncrasies, models and collection size make each shoot unique and different in its own way. One thing is always a definite – it’s a process that consistently keeps you on your toes!

We have a lot of fun on set bringing a vision to reality; watching the magical process of a pattern coming to life in front of the camera after months of work is gratifying, indeed. Knowing this shoot was going to be particularly entertaining, we brought a couple video cameras along to document the process and have edited the footage into a fun behind-the-scenes video to share the story of our weekend.

Working with these kids was an unexpected reward (not having children of my own, I was slightly nervous about the idea of shooting with 6 of them!) – in the end, though, I really loved it.

So pull up a chair, and enjoy this glimpse into the action!

– Jared

School’s out in North America, and for many families that means a long summer stretches clear to the horizon. Summer can be languid or packed with adventure, but even for those of us grown-ups who still have to work, the pace usually feels gentler and more elastic this season. With any luck it’s even punctuated by vacations and free time to cast on new projects. We always like to release a design series in June to give you some fresh ideas for your summer knitting as you take advantage of a “lazier” timeline.

Knitters have been asking me for years if Brooklyn Tweed would ever do a children’s collection. Kids’ garments can be especially satisfying knitting, accomplished with small quantities of yarn and in less time, but with all the pleasurable details of adult-size projects. They make great gift knitting. And who can resist the aesthetic double whammy of a beautiful handknit sweater on a cute child?

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BT Kids // Lookbook

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Today I’m excited to answer a resounding yes(!) with the release of the first ever BT collection for kids. Our design team has spent just under a year planning and knitting the samples for this collection, so it feels especially gratifying to see things going public this morning.

We began with the notion of drawing on iconic knitwear from around the globe, styled for modern kids in the city or the country. Inspired by the Icelandic lopapeysa, Scandinavian stranded colorwork with steeks, cabled fishermen’s sweaters, delicate vintage cardigans of lace and cables, and more, we started sketching and swatching. We even added nods to classic stuffed toys and to the current intarsia animal trend as well.

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Berenice | Magnus | Atlas

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Our hope is that there is something for every knitter in this collection—sweaters worked in the round, sweaters worked in pieces and sewn together, hybrids of the two, innovative shoulder shaping, cables, lace, stranded colorwork, intarsia colorwork, home accent pieces, blankets, accessories, even hats sized up to adult dimensions if you don’t have any children to knit for. (We think you might even be tempted to scale up some of the designs for yourself, too!)

Essentially, we can’t wait to see what you all do with BT Kids.

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Bairn | Humphrey | Spore

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The garments in the collection are sized for young ones aged two to ten years. The new lookbook pairs each pattern with descriptive text that calls attention to construction details you might wonder about or possibilities that might get your creative gears spinning. You’ll also find some advice on choosing sizes and musings on the potency of crafting for your family from our house writer.

In the next few weeks we’ll use our social media avenues to visit clusters of designs from the collection—those with cables, those with colorwork, etc.—for a closer look, as well as delve into some of the practical aspects of knitting for children.

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Our whole team is excited about this new dimension for Brooklyn Tweed, and we hope you’ll thoroughly enjoy leafing through the lookbook.

Happy summer!
– Jared

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Resources: The BT Kids lookbook is now available for viewing on our website here, or download the free PDF for viewing on your tablet or device.

Each pattern in the collection 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.

At this point I’m starting to accept that being stranded in an airport due to cancelled flights/blizzards is fast becoming my new holiday tradition. That said, I guess I should also say that off-the-cuff, knitting-is-my-only-sanity gift projects are also becoming a customary form of combat when faced with this unfortunate and mind-numbing fate.

Wool Leaves

This year, I willed myself to knit through the stress with something simple that would take care of one of the many handknit gifts I had planned on getting done by December 25th but, well, never quite got around to. In need of simple, mindless, therapy knitting, a giant swatch seemed just the ticket. After all, that’s all a baby blanket really is, right?

Wool Leaves

I’ve been binging on a generous diet of wool lace recently so this was naturally already where my brain was. Since fine yarns and detailed patterns were out of the question under such duress, I grabbed a leftover skein of Ecological Wool, conveniently pre-wound into a center pull ball (always travel prepared), took one end from each side and started knitting a chunky and fast project on 13′s with yarn held double.

Instant stress relief.

Wool Leaves

The result isn’t the most heart-stopping piece of knitting I’ve ever seen, but it served it’s purpose, both for me and its little recipient, very well. The center rectangle is a simple Shetland Leaf pattern, trimmed with double-seed stitch on all sides. I really meant it when I said Giant Swatch.

And by the time we finally landed on the other side of the country… it was blocking time.

Wool Leaves

There’s definitely more interesting lace knitting on my needles at the moment, (including a color that I’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with and must photograph for your viewing pleasure) but sometimes keeping it simple makes for such welcome company.

I’ve been doing a fair bit of traveling in the last two weeks and have committed to finishing a gaggle of small projects that I have lying around the house half-done. Knowing that I’ll want to tackle lots of large, woolly projects in the very near future (hello, Fall weather!), I feel the need to do a little bit of project-house-cleaning. Consider yourself warned – you may see a few baby knits and old, forgotten accessories cropping up around here in the next couple of weeks. And today – the first one!

Baby Leggings

I put the finishing touches on the baby leggings last week and finally got around to shooting them this morning. Oh how I love those rich, golden colors! Seems fitting for those ghostly hints of Fall crispness that are taunting me these days.

Baby Leggings

Pattern: A modified version of Shibui Knits Baby Leggings by Heather Saal [Rav Link]

Size: 1 Year Old

Materials: Shibui Sock in “Honey”

Amount: 98g — skating in at just barely under 2 skeins (Pattern Size calls for 3)

Needles: US 3 Circulars

I made a small number of modifications to the pattern. The original is written to be knit flat and seamed up at center front during finishing. That wasn’t gonna fly around here, so the first item of business was to convert the pattern to in-the-round knitting, which wasn’t hard at all. I didn’t change any stitch counts, just ignored the back and forth instructions in favor of joining the end of the row to the beginning and working circularly.

Baby Leggings

I also opted for twisted stitch ribbing at the waist band and ankle-cuffs – a choice made to achieve a bit more elasticity – a great little perk of knitting things through the back loops. Since babies have stumpy little limbs, I figured the more elasticity the better.

Baby Leggings

The rest of the pattern is sweet and simple — sizing for both 6 mos. and 1 year are given. I like to knit the larger sizes so the little growers can wear them longer. Plus, how cute is a 6 month-year-old in oversized baby pants?

The “diaper shaping” as I like to call it incorporates short rows and increases down center back to create an extra pouch-like space for baby ‘bulk’ (See Above Photo). The cord running through the eyelets at the waist band is crocheted (nice and firm but still elastic due to the nature of this bouncy, bouncy yarn) — I tied two small knots on either end to keep it from slipping out of the holes.

Baby Leggings

All in all, a simple pattern with a charming result. You know I’m not a huge fan of The Superwash, but sometimes you gotta do it for the kids (and the parents, too)! And they really do suck up those saturated colors brilliantly, so there’s plenty of hypnotic stitching to be had.

Baby Leggings

If you’re interested in knitting a pair, be sure to check out Shibui’s Pattern Page – lots of great patterns there to peruse if you have a few minutes! Now… time to send these babies back to Portland, from whence they came!

Is anyone else feeling the post-holiday-weekend-Monday blues? I escaped for a long weekend in the Catskills with friends – fireworks, bonfire, barbecue and knitting – lots of knitting! I thought about posting this pattern before the weekend and then thought it might be a fun pick-me-up for the aftermath. I hope it finds you feeling restored wherever you might be.

Tweed Baby Blanket Pattern Now Available
The pattern for the Tweed Baby Blanket (see my original post on this piece here) is now available for purchase in either my Ravelry Pattern Store or through PayPal.

The pattern — which I knit for my soon-to-be nephew (yes, it’s a boy!), arriving in October — was inspired by traditional Hap Shawls of Shetland. Here are the details:

 

Finished Measurements: Approx 38 x 38 inches square
Materials:
DK-Weight Wool in 2-colors — approx 585 yards of Main Color & 275 of Contrasting Color
Gauge: 4
sts and 4 ridges (8 rows) per inch in Garter Stitch after blocking (as for lace)
Needles: I used a US8/5mm 32″ circular for the whole project. I recommend one double pointed needle, one size larger for working the applied I-Cord edging
Notions: You’ll need 4 stitch markers – I recommend having one in an alternate color to be used to indicate the beg of round. Blocking wires or blocking pins – whatever suits your fancy for blocking lace-type pieces, and as always, a trusty, blunt tapestry needle.

Other notes: Pattern instructions for lace portion are charted clearly with corresponding legend. The pattern is written using 2 colors but I encourage you to experiment with more as you see fit. This is also a great stash-busting project for yarns you have lying around. If you want a larger blanket, work this up in a worsted weight yarn on larger needles. Price for the pattern is $5.75 USD

 

Tweed Baby Blanket Pattern Now Available

If you’re a
Ravelry member and prefer acquiring this pattern there, click on the Ravelry button. If you aren’t on Ravelry or prefer PayPal directly, click on the PayPal button.

Paypal Button Rav Pattern Button

I have plenty of knitting to show – it just needs to be
photographed. I’m closing in on my merino/cashmere pullover and having fun with new yarns and Shetland lace. Oh my!

The BT Design Guarantee: As always, this pattern has been test-knit and tech-edited in an effort to bring the most enjoyable and error-free process to you – the knitter! I have personally prepared all diagrams and charts as well as knit/photographed samples and designed pattern layouts – soliciting the opinions of knitters prior to publication in an effort to streamline this product. I have done my very best to bring you a pattern that I am proud to stand behind fully. I do my best to respond to concerns or comments as soon as possible and, as always, thank you for your support and encouragement. Happy knitting! -Jared

Ooh this was a fun one! Back in February when I heard of my impending uncle-dom, I began working on a garter stitch square with the intention of turning it into a baby blanket/shawl for the little one. I never tire of a good garter stitch square trimmed with a lacy edge – I think they’re simple, elegant and wonderful to knit. They never do you wrong. Ever.

Tweed Baby Blanket

At the same time the garter stitch knitting was happening (academic de-tox) I was amassing a stack of Shetland Knitting History Books (pleasure reading) on the bedside table. Being exposed to pages and pages of the most unbelievable Shetland lace, the beautiful Hap Shawls put a spell on me (I think I’ll make an ‘official’ one this year) and, when it came time for choosing a suitable edge to incorporate my second-color, Feather-and-Fan struck back with a vengeance!

Tweed Baby Blanket
 

Pattern: A Shetland-Inspired Improvisation
Yarn: KnitPicks (new) “City Tweed DK” in Tahitian Pearl (MC) & Orca (CC)
Needles: US 8/5.0 mm circulars
Finished Dimensions: 38″ x 38″ square

Started: Late February 09
Finished: Mid-April 09


Tweed Baby Blanket

The nice folks over at KnitPicks sent me some of their new City Tweed yarn to play with. It’s super soft and allowed me to create a shawl that’s baby-skin-friendly while masquerading as something a bit more rustic (rustique?). I knit the (DK-weight) yarn up on an 8 and blocked the piece as for lace with blocking wires and a nice drumskin tension. I love how it came out – the softness and squishiness remains but with a drapey, shawl-like quality.

Tweed Baby Blanket

The garter stitch is worked on the bias, starting with one stitch and increasing one stitch on each row to create the square – at the halfway point, just replace a decrease for your increase and you end up shaping it back down to one stitch. Then it was just a matter of picking up stitches and Feather and Fanning myself into oblivion. I finished off with an applied I-Cord to keep simple, felxible edge and of course adhere to the ‘no-hard-bind-offs’ rule of lace blocking.

Tweed Baby Blanket

It’s a bit early for October, but I guess it just means we’ll have more woolens to chat about between now and then. Is there anything better than knitting for a Fall arrival?

Ooh, this is going to be a bit all-over-the-place, but there are so many little projects needing updating here that I figured I’d just cram them all in. Between baby knitting and de-stress knitting, The Piles (you know what I’m talking about) have been growing growing growing.

First, I finished my Shetland mittens and due to all this schizophrenic weather we’ve been having, they’ve gotten a lot of play in the last couple of weeks. I think they may now be officially retired for the warmer months, but hey, we could wake up (again) to hail tomorrow and biting winds. You never know these days.

Shetland Mittens

I have yet to give them a proper photoshoot or a more appropriate blog-post of their own, but they were so quietly sitting in the sunlight this morning that I figured they warranted a little show-and-tell time.

And speaking of finished projects yet-to-be-photographed-or-written-about, I’ve finished a few more little baby knits. (As an update for those who have been asking, I’m going to be an official uncle (not a father) and I’m VERY excited about it!) Below is a charming little vintage-style baby bonnet – a free pattern from Larissa at Stitch Marker – that is sweet sweet sweet. I knit this with a linen/wool blend (stashbustin’) and loved the crispness of the wavy ridges and soft-yet-sturdy quality of the fabric. The eyelets around the neck are for ribbon but I worked up a nice sturdy I-Cord instead.

More for baby

I blocked this using pins and a blocking wire (pictured) to open up the fabric. I could go on and on about how much I love blocking wires. I find I use them for all sorts of things and they just give finished garments that extra OCD punch.

The stashbusting continues in the baby knitting arena: I had one skein of super-silky SWTC Bamboo – this stuff has great yardage (the skein feels a bit like a hockey puck – so weighty and satisfying) and I thought I’d challenge the skein to a duel. Is a one skein baby sweater possible? I believe so! I’m done with the yoke and body and just have the sleeves left – according to the weight of the remaining yarn (40g!), we should be golden for a newborn-sized EZ classic.

Bamboozled

The pattern is the ever-popular and always-charming February Baby Sweater from EZ’s Knitter’s Almanac (I made one a couple years back in green).

Lastly: Remember my ‘Reward Cone’ of School Products Cashmere Merino? Well I couldn’t wait until proper reward-time came around and felt a mindless stockinette pullover was in desperate need of conjuring. So I started. And it’s making for some gooooood tactile gratification.

I Couldn't Resist

More details on many of these soon – apologies again for the random project purge session!