Archives for category: SHELTER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Shelter in “Embers”

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

Loft in “Birdbook”

 

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

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

I’ve gotten several questions about the Inversion Cardigan from our Spring Thaw collection and thought it would be a great topic to chat about today – both the specifics of the garment’s shape as well as the design process.

Inversion is a 2-way garment, meaning it can be worn right side up or upside down, depending on the fit preference of the wearer or the specific wardrobe context. The photos below show the cardigan on the dress form in both styles. The actual shape of the garment pieces couldn’t be simpler, as you’ll see below. I find the garment appealing both conceptually and stylistically, which is oftentimes a rare combination!

I’m always inspired by Japanese garment design and Origami – the Japanese art of paper folding – both of which were obvious influences as I composed this pattern.


When I’m working with a new-to-me shape, or wanting to experiment with a garment idea before committing to the full-size version of the design, I sometimes knit a half-scale model. Think of it as a dress rehearsal for a performance, or the trial meal you make the night before a dinner party to test out a new recipe (am I the only person who does this?). In the photos below you’ll see the original half-scale version on my half-scale dress form.

I knit the miniature with Shelter in Nest. (Generally it’s a better idea to work a half-scale garment in a yarn approximately half the weight as your target working yarn, but I started this little baby on the road and only had Shelter on hand.)

I’ve included a schematic diagram below to illustrate how the cardigan comes together as 2-dimensional shapes – you might be surprised to note that it’s merely two rectangles of differing lengths attached along their sides. The black circles and curved dotted lines indicate the parts of each piece that are joined to form the armholes. The small hash marks indicate areas that are mattress stitched during finishing.

 

 

You’ll notice that, though the garment is constructed as two rectangles, my pattern is written for three pieces (A, B and C). I wanted Pieces A and B to be perfect mirror images of each other so that the ribbed band that runs up either side (and the ribbed trims at the base) were perfectly symmetrical as the garment is worn. After completion of each piece, A and B are joined along the Graft Line, then Piece A/B and Piece C are blocked separately, to confirm their exact dimensions, before seaming all pieces together. To finish, ribbed bands are worked around each armhole.

The main portion of the garment fabric is simple stockinette, but the rib-like trim pattern is a motif that I’m presently enamored with. It’s a 2×2 garter rib where all knit columns are slipped every other row. The resulting motif is both firm and squishy and makes a great frame for the cardigan. It also lies completely flat, unlike true ribbing, so as not to distort the shape of the garment in any way while worn. (The half-scale version was trimmed with regular rib, which causes some subtle curves to the shapes as a result.)

Due to the slipped stitches within the garter rib pattern, the row gauge of the fabric is substantially different than the row gauge of the Stockinette areas. To reconcile these differences, the wide front bands of Pieces A and B are knit separately from the Stockinette sections (more rows must be worked to get fabric of the same length). These portions of A and B are seamed with Mattress Stitch during finishing (also shown with hash marks in the schematic above.)

It’s a fun design that very much pleases my grid-loving brain and may offer a nice change of pace from more traditional garment knitting, if that’s what your knitter’s heart is craving. The garment’s versatility gives it a throw-it-on-and-go nature that I value whenever buying or making clothing. For those of you who knit this one, I hope you enjoy it!  –Jared

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

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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. 

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.

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.

I have new hat designs in a couple of Fall publications that were recently released. Designing for books has such a long timeline – both of these hats were designed over a year ago – so it’s always a funny thing ‘releasing’ them to you, when they feel like such distant memories already!

The Wanderer Cap is part of a new hat collection that was curated by my friends Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre called Weekend Hats. Interweave hasn’t officially released this title yet, but it is available for pre-order.

The hat was knit with Shelter in our Hayloft heather. It’s funny looking back on this after having just released Rosebud… I never seem to tire of using Garter Stitch as a backdrop for smaller, cabled details. The base of the ribbing utilized a crisp 1×1 tubular cast-on. A good tubular cast-on always delights me with its charm – such a clean, perfect way to start a new piece of fabric.

The second design is in the same color family. I guess I was really feeling the pull of golden, heathered yarns, eh? Tilden is a stranded hat for children, worked with 2 colors of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift. (I think every child should have a colorwork hat made with real Shetland wool!)

This hat design is included in a wonderful new book by Larissa Brown called My Grandmother’s Knitting. I’m always so excited when I see a knitting book that thinks outside of the box and brings something really unique to the crowded bookshelf. Larissa’s books always have that quality, and this one is no exception.

Larissa is interested in stories. With this work, she set about interviewing well-known designers in our industry to learn more about their family histories, and who it was that deeply effected their early growth and development as a Creative. Many designers share sweet stories about who it was that shaped their appreciation for our craft, and/or their artistic practice in general.

I speak a little about the creative influence that both my father and mother had on me while growing up.

Aside from some great handknitting patterns, the reading material is fantastic. (Side Bonus: baby photos of some of your favorite designers!)

The Tilden hat has a simple 2×2 ribbed brim and is constructed with 6 wedge-shapes that are staggered as they are shaped for the crown. It’s a non-traditional type of shaping that creates the subtlest bit of pointiness at the top of the crown (easily steamed flat, if desired). It’s a bit of geometric whimsy, playing with vertical lines and 45-degree angles throughout.

I hope you’ll enjoy either design, if you do choose to add either of these books to your libraries. For more info about either title, click the cover images below.

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Resources: The Wanderer Cap pattern can be found on Ravelry here; Tilden’s Ravelry page can be found here. Yarn for Wanderer is available here. Yarn for Tilden is available here. For links to either book mentioned in this post, please click the cover images above. The first four images in this post are original photographs and not featured in either publication.

Yesterday I walked out the front door of my apartment building and got about five steps before I stopped suddenly and realized…. I needed a scarf! For the first time since early Spring, I had an urge to don knits out of necessity. What a wonderful day it was! The second time I walked out the front door I savored the chill and ended up spending much more time out in the city than I have in quite some time.

The arrival of Fall this week (not on the calendar, but in feel) seemed like the perfect timing too, since we’ve been working hard behind the curtain to bring you a collection of designs inspired by this time of year. I’m happy to share with you BT FALL 11, a collection of 16 handknitting patterns.

This season I’m joined by designers Leila Raabe and Michele Wang (you’ve seen work from both of them in our first issue of Wool People). About 6 months ago, I approached each of these women to see if they’d be interested in coming together with me to form an official In-House Design Team at BT. To my great delight, they each accepted and the three of us have been happily collaborating on knitwear ever since!

Though we’ve been at it for a while now, we’re thrilled to be releasing our first group of designs as a team, just in time for the changing of the leaves. As with Wool People, we’ve put together a Look Book for the collection in hopes of giving you a pleasurable aesthetic introduction to the work. You can view it in the space below (click “expand” to view the full-screen version) or on our web site. If you’d like to download a free PDF copy to take along with you on your laptop, tablet, or device, you can get that here.

We were wooed by all sorts of surface texture as we were designing these patterns. We also wanted to make use of Shelter’s rich palette of Autumn, and create projects of all sizes and time-commitments. We hope there’s something in it for everyone to enjoy – happy Fall!

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RESOURCES: All the patterns in BT FALL 11 are available now for digital download here. Shelter US wool yarn is available here.