Archives for category: BT Design Team

Yesterday was the first time in several months that I reached for a scarf on my way out the door. As I was walking down my city block I noticed that several long-buzzing air conditioners on a neighboring building lay silent, with apartment windows thrown open instead.

These subtle, almost imperceptible changes in my morning routine gave me a rush of deep satisfaction, knowing that the bewitching weather of autumn has finally begun creeping in. In just a few weeks, I’ll be deliberating between sweaters in my closet rather than the tired short-sleeve shirts I’ve been dutifully pulling from the shelves all summer.

At BT, the arrival of fall casts a spell over everyone in our office. It’s easy to observe a similar effect on the broader knitting community, too. It seems that a love of autumn is just in our blood.

Launching a new design collection to kick off the season is one of our very favorite tasks, and today we’re so glad to finally be able to share the BT Fall 13 collection with you, which features fourteen new knitting patterns from our in-house design team.

Last winter when I started putting together some rough ideas for this collection, imagery of the woods kept coming to mind. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, camping in the forest was always a favorite fall activity and that story seemed like the perfect inspiration for a new design challenge.

Within my vision of a woodland campsite I imagined a pile of wooly cable knits: classic, go-to garments and accessories that could be worn while cooking around a campfire or sloshing through the shallows in search of smooth river stones.

Later, I shared my idea of a fantasy camping trip with the design team, which seemed to almost instantly provoke a burst of ideas from each of us. After that, we were off and running.

The final collection has a sprinkling of everything (swingy, relaxed cardigans, a knockaround pullover with a cozy cowl neck, a dramatic and quick-to-knit cabled hat, an intricately textured wrap) and hopefully will get you into the spirit of autumn, if the weather preview hasn’t been enough already!

Our newest look book features colorful images of the collection alongside photos from our creative team’s woodland camping adventure in Saugerties, New York.  We really got into the spirit of the outdoors for this one…

 

Whether you’re a crazy fall fanatic like me or not, I hope you enjoy knitting your way through the season of changing leaves. – Jared

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Resources: The BT Fall 13 look book can be viewed on our website here, or download the free PDF for viewing on your tablet or device.

Each pattern is available for instant download here, or on Ravelry.com. Brooklyn Tweed yarns used in the collection are available for purchase online, or at one of our 16 flagship retail locations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

The hardest decision of all: which color to choose?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Julie’s seamless Chesterfield pullover strikes that great balance between being easy to knit and fashionable to wear. The body and sleeves are worked circularly from the hem/cuff to the underarm. At that point, all pieces are joined together and worked circularly to shape the raglan yoke (also worked circularly, with no seams). The squishable ribbed turtleneck is worked last – and for those guys who feel a little stifled with all that wool up around their necks, substituting a simple stockinette rolled edge, or a shallow 1×1 ribbed neckband is a snap.

If you look closely at the fabric, you’ll notice that the colors have a marled appearance – this is achieved by working with two different colors of Loft (our fingering weight wool yarn) held together and treated as a single strand. The resulting fabric is the same as a worsted weight yarn, but with a beautiful, mottled look.

Between the combination of the colorblocking at the base of the garment and the marled yarn, five separate colors are used in total to create the look shown above. Again, if the colorblocking isn’t your (or your guy’s) cup of tea, the entire garment can easily be knit in a single color for a more traditional look.

The basic shape and construction of this garment allows for all kinds of individual modifications to suit your own tastes – I love seeing how knitters experiment and modify our designs. Isn’t that one of the best reasons for making your own clothes, after all? As an added bonus, Julie included a “girlfriend” version of the sweater that incorporates waist shaping to decrease bulk in the body, while maintaining an overall cozy, oversized feel. See photos of the modeled girlfriend version on Chesterfield’s pattern page.

The Hugo pullover is a modern take on the traditional fisherman’s gansey – with its low-relief allover cable motifs paired with handsome moss stitch. The traditional layout of cables contrasts more modern elements like the slashed ribbed turtleneck and updated silhouette.

Hugo‘s proportions sit closer to the body than a traditional pullover for a slimming effect; the long sleeves cover the full wrist while the body falls just below the belt line. This stylish silhouette creates an eye-catching update to the historic ganseys we all know and love.

Véronik chose to work up her design in Shelter‘s “Stormcloud” colorway – a rich, warm grey that features undertones of both brown and blue. A surprisingly versatile color, it pairs with both warm tones (as photographed), or cooler blue and grey shades (any shade of denim).

The slashed ribbed turtleneck has a garter stitch placket with snap closures, though it can be easily modified to feature traditional buttons/buttonholes, or knit circularly as a more traditional stand-up collar.

Today feels like a very “full-circle” experience for me as we release our very first collection of knitting patterns exclusively for men.

It doesn’t feel like so long ago that I was a new knitter, searching for male sweater patterns that suited my own tastes, needs, and abilities. Though the absence of such patterns was perhaps the single most influential factor in my path towards knitwear design, I’ve always remembered the frustration I felt as a result of my limited options.

Knitting has taken me on quite an unexpected and wonderful journey since then, and all along the way I’ve daydreamed about creating patterns for men that might help those knitters who find themselves in the same place that I was then – be you a male knitter yourself, or any knitter with a husband, brother, son, partner or friend who has at one time or another made that sacred request for a handknit sweater or accessory.

Last year, when I pitched the idea of a men’s collection to the design team, an immediate excitement engulfed. That fervor stayed strong all throughout the process – we’ve had a great time putting all the puzzle pieces of this collection together. In designing, we set out to create knits that were understated and easy to wear, but maintained details that made them special (and enjoyable to make by hand).

Selfishly, I loved having the excuse to design and create some of the pieces that I’ve been been wishing were in my own closet for quite some time!

The look book features the entire collection – 8 garments and 5 accessories – that cover a range of skill (and commitment) levels, from beginner to advanced.

 

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We hope you enjoy our first small contribution to the genre of men’s knits!

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Resources: The BT Men look book can be viewed on our website here, or download the free PDF for viewing on your tablet or device.

Each pattern is available for instant download here, or on Ravelry.com. Brooklyn Tweed yarns used in the collection are available for purchase online, or at one of our 16 flagship retail locations.

Our Design Team just wrapped up a couple of wonderfully creative days in the design studio, planning for future collections. This is what our collections look like at their earliest stage of development.

This is one of my favorite stages in the process – ideas are fluid, mix easily and often combine to create even better ones. The piles and piles of swatches aren’t bad either…

This week we’re heading out west for Madrona Fiber Arts in Tacoma, Washington. Madrona is a special show that is well-loved by so many, and for good reason! Several aspects make this one of my own personal favorites among knitting events: the intimate and friendly vibe, the glass-art-filled hotel, a strong communal love of natural fibers, and a line-up of standout instructors and vendors to name a few. (Admittedly, I’m also biased by the fact that the event is held in my home town.)

We will be staked out in the marketplace all weekend – sharing a large booth with our friends at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. We’ve got the booth packed to the gills with all 32 colors of both Shelter and Loft, so if you’re in the need of some quality US-grown wool, stop on by!

We’ll also be featuring the trunk show from our brand new BT Winter 13 collection throughout the weekend in the booth – all 24 samples that were featured in the look book will be available for visitors to try on.

Finally, I’ll be joined by three of our in-house designers (Julie Hoover, Leila Raabe, & Michele Wang) on Saturday from 10-2 for a meet-and-greet/pattern signing in the rotunda. We’ve prepared some visual displays that  illustrate our team’s design process so that knitters can get a taste of how things look behind the scenes when we’re putting together a new design collection.

It’s certainly shaping up to be a fun and busy weekend; for those attending, we hope to see you there!