Archives for category: Scarves


I love a good cabled scarf in the winter. If I had it my way, I’d wear them year-round, though I no longer live in a climate where that is possible.

Frieze is my newest scarf design from the BT Winter 14 collection. Named for it’s relief-like texture and staggered motifs, the fabric reminded me of the ornate marble friezes I studied as a young art student living in Rome. I remember being drawn to these decorative, patterned entablatures that adorned Roman and Greek temples, with their curved lines and repeating motifs. I was struck by how such delicacy and lightness could be achieved in carvings using a material as unforgiving and solid as marble.

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When I wear scarves, I prefer a bit of volume. When it’s really cold, I like being able to burrow into a scarf, and use it as a sort of face mask to block the windchill when necessary. To me the perfect scarf looks good worn alone (simply, over a shirt, blouse, dress, etc. as shown) or paired with outerwear. The addition of buttons and buttonholes along the top and bottom edges is a fun detail that adds versatility to the item. When buttoned, the scarf becomes a loop that can be worn in multiple ways. By playing around with how many buttons are used, or which button-to-buttonhole pairing you choose, a wide array of styling options becomes available. Why not have a little fun with it?

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Frieze incorporates three large medallion cables – each nested with smaller, wrapped eyelet crosses (commonly seen in Japanese stitch dictionaries) – which are staggered over the length of the piece. Traditional 4-stitch “rope” cables are used as separators between the larger motifs as well as trimming the selvedge edges; these four cables are also mirrored over the center line of the scarf (cable crosses lean away from each other for perfect symmetry).

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In terms of knitting geekery: the reinforced buttonhole method used within the pattern is relatively new to me, and an incredibly exciting technique that I learned from my friend Catherine Lowe. I’ve never seen this method anywhere else before, and am not sure if there is an official name for it. After working the buttonhole bind-off row, the return row has you cast on the number of buttonhole stitches + 4 to a spare DPN (or cable needle), then work the pair of scarf stitches preceding and following the buttonhole together with the first and last two stitches of the cast-on row by way of directional double decreasing. Difficult to summarize here, but not at all difficult to execute, and the results are so worth it! Finished buttonholes remain both flexible and stable (more deftly avoiding the common problem of stretching out of shape after continued use).

It’s a fun knit for cable lovers, and one that I look forward to wearing myself!

– JF

 

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Resources:

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Jared

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Resources:

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

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Scarves can often seem like glorified swatches, and really that’s what they are in the beginning. You fall in love with a specific stitch pattern (in this case a beautiful combination of lace and cables) and want to let it shine on the blank canvas of a scarf or wrap. That being said, I don’t think scarves need to be relegated to the simple or boring category. To me, there are always subtle ways to elevate them beyond their “deluxe swatch” status: a thoughtful selvedge, a polished tubular cast-on, mirrored/symmetrical composition, and so on.

For Afton, each half of the scarf is worked from a ribbed hem towards the centerline of the piece, where it is grafted using Kitchener stitch. By creating the piece in this way, the pattern motifs (which have a clearly visible vertical orientation) are mirrored on either side when the scarf is worn. A tailor-made tubular cast on at the hem edges flows directly into a broken rib pattern as well as the corded selvedge, which continues throughout the remainder of the scarf creating a clean, flat finish at each side edge.

I also enjoy playing with arrangements of a stitch pattern to create multiple sizes for pieces like this. After all, each of us has our own opinion about how much fabric is too much or too little when draped around the neck and shoulders, and having options is great. Afton’s patterning lent itself beautifully to three sizes – an oversized scarf (at left, in “Fossil”), a standard scarf (at center, in “Homemade Jam”), and a more dramatic wrap (at right, in “Soot”) – all of which are included in the pattern.

Both scarves were knit with two strands of Loft held together. By working with doubled strands of a fingering weight yarn, stitch definition is more crisply pronounced and texture is highlighted beautifully; the slightly denser fabric is also a great at handling even the coldest days of winter. For the wrap version, however,  a single strand of Shelter was used for a softer, more gentle fabric that had drape and warmth, and kept the larger dimensions of the wrap from feeling heavy in any way.

To take it a bit further, why stop at only three versions? What about a shawl version worked in laceweight? Or a blanket worked in a bulky yarn? Theme and variation definitely keeps knitting interesting, doesn’t it?

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.

 

Bolt comes to us from Finland, where designer Veera Välimäki loves playing with garter stitch, stripes and short rows. Having amassed quite the following for her creations, I was super excited to see what she would create for us!

I haven’t knit one myself (yet!), but can see this pattern being quite addictive. It has all the ingredients: an unusual item that is easy to wear and fun to style, use of two colors allowing for innumerable combinations, a fun rhythm while knitting, just enough shaping and variety to keep things interesting as you work while still qualifying as “mindless” knitting (perfect for almost any occasion), and a relatively quick timeline.

Choosing color is the hardest part for projects like this. Between Veera and I, it’s probably not a shocker that we chose a greyscale combination, but just think of all the different variations of color that are possible! I love the idea of Truffle Hunt + Hayloft,  Fossil + Sap,  Old World + Embers…. the possibilities are really endless.

The shawl is worked flat and includes no purling whatsoever (hooray!). The triangle on the right in the photo above is worked first, with a 6-ridge striping sequence. Upon completion, the short row section is picked up directly from Triangle 1 and worked in the opposing direction. The short rows create visible wedge shapes in the lighter color and add a slight curve to the overall shape. A short section of the 6-row striping sequence is worked again, then the piece is finished with a length of solid (darker) color.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of Bolt variations are already being created by our readers – have fun!

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Resources: Bolt is available as a PDF download at Brooklyn Tweed or Ravelry. The pattern is knit with two colors of Loft yarn, shown here in colors Soot and Sweatshirt.

Is it May already? This time of year always seems to fly right by – before you know it winter has slipped through the cracks and summer is right around the corner. The past few weeks have been positively delightful weather-wise; a late spring, but one that was definitely worth the wait!

Today I’m happy to announce our newest collaborative effort – the fifth (!) installment in our ongoing Wool People series is all polished up and ready for spring and summer knitting!

Back in August when I began mapping out the concepts and art direction for this collection, I thought it would be fun to do a sort of “shawl challenge” – since spring always seems to be the time when my own lace bug reawakens, hungry for a new project. Lace is perfect for outdoor knitting and travel, two things that many of us will do often in the coming months. I love how something as lightweight and portable as an in-progress shawl packs so much value in terms of both knitting time and mental satisfaction.

Standing on this end of the collection timeline, it’s rewarding to see finished design work from the 7 “lace whisperers” featured in this spread. A nice variety of both lace & textured stitch patterns, simple to more involved techniques, and essential shapes to knit and wear – all worked in soft and airy Loft.

Of course at the core, we are sweater people – no matter what the season – and this collection has more than just lace to offer. I received some beautiful garment and accessory design submissions in this group: great looks for layering during the evenings in chillier summer climates (you lucky people) or in anticipation of next fall. Both the Reverb cardigan and the Bolt scarf (shown below) just scream for autumn, and there’s plenty of knitting time to get them done!

The look book introduces the collection in its entirety with full page photography spreads showcasing the new designs along with blueprints that are intended to introduce the architectural/technical elements of each pattern. When considering a new knitting project, I always like knowing what I’m getting into with a schematic “road map” and some notes on construction, shape and assembly.

Between the aesthetic and technical components of the look book, I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know this new collection of work. Happy spring to each of you!

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Resources: The Wool People 5 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 flagship retail locations.

2013 has been quite a hectic year around here so far! On top of the regular day-to-day operations that make BT tick, we spent January moving into a fresh new space – a much needed move, but definitely disruptive! – as well as putting the finishing touches on our design team’s new winter collection.

This release feels particularly timely today, as we endure another week of below-freezing temps here in the Northeast. An assortment of cozy wool knits sounds like just the ticket, to me!

The four of us (Véronik Avery, Julie Hoover, Michele Wang, and myself) had an absolute blast working on this collection. Probably no surprise there – winter is one season where our yarns feel right at home.

For this collection, we set out to tell three distinct stories. The first – my personal favorite – is a modern take on traditional colorwork. (My trip to Iceland last summer certainly influenced my own designs. I just couldn’t get those beautiful colorwork yokes out of my head until I tried creating one myself!) The second story features knitted loungewear in shades of grey and cream – a tonal, romantic story inspired by cozy afternoons at home. The final story – classic winterwear – is rife with cables, colors and textures that are perfect for snow days.

The full collection features 18 original knitting patterns – all of which are now available for instant download. The designs in this group truly cover a diverse range, from thoughtful accessories that can be knit over a casual weekend, to deeper, more significant undertakings that will keep you company through several long winter evenings.

You can view photographs of each new design, as well as pattern-specific information, schematic diagrams, and a photo essay about our shoot location (Hudson, NY) in the look book below (click “full screen” for enhanced viewing). Free copies of the look book PDF are also available for download here.

On behalf of the entire design team  – we hope you enjoy seeing what we’ve cooked up for snow season!

Stay warm, and be well.

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Resources: The Winter 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 flagship retail locations.

 

We’ve been dropping teasers for a few days over on our Facebook page, and this morning our newest creation is all ready to leave the nest! Today I’m very happy to introduce the fourth installment in our ongoing Wool People series! This issue features 15 new patterns from some of our favorite independent designers in the industry and offers a satisfying variety of sweaters, shawls and accessories.

Since the weeks and months leading up to the holidays tend to be consumed by (sometimes stressful) gift knitting, we thought launching in late December would offer some much needed incentive for getting those gifts finished. We all know the prospect of new patterns are often an essential component to finishing your WIPs, just in case the looming holidays weren’t enough!

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Each year when winter comes around, the urge for cable knits always wells up inside of me. It never fails. When I was organizing the mood boards and art direction for this collection I had that thought on my mind, so you’ll find several beautiful cable projects tucked into the pages of the Look Book.

We also love our shawls at Brooklyn Tweed – can’t get enough of ‘em – so we’ve got three new ones here. Its difficult to pick a favorite!

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We shot the collection earlier this month at the very inspirational Old American Can Factory on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. The maze-like industrial complex was constructed between the years of 1865 and 1901 and has recently been reclaimed/repurposed by artists and craftspeople as a studio community. What was once a 130,000 sq. foot industrial canning complex is now an inspiring enclave of creative minds who have breathed new life into this bewitching place.

A dear friend of mine has a studio there and on a recent visit I was completely besotted with the giant steel doorways, long brick corridors, cavernous elevator shafts, and texture-filled courtyard. It seemed like the perfect place to bring our woolens on photoshoot day!

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It’s such a rewarding moment when the finished samples start arriving into our offices, and even more-so when it comes time to photograph them all together. It’s one of those “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” kind of moments, and truly magical seeing each designer’s concepts spring off the page and come to life.

The new Look Book is filled with photo spreads of the each garment and accessory in the collection. We’ve also included schematic diagrams, design specs and pertinent pattern information in the “Pattern Blueprints” section, so you can get to know the designs from a technical standpoint as well. Feel free to view directly in your browser below, or download a PDF for viewing on your devices.

All 15 patterns from the collection are available today as instant PDF downloads both on Ravelry and brooklyntweed.net. We hope to offer some inspiration for the final days of 2012 – happy knitting to all!

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Resources: The Look Book can be viewed on our website here, or download the free PDF for viewing on your tablet or device. Each pattern is available for instant download here, or on Ravelry. Brooklyn Tweed yarns used in the collection are available for purchase online or at one of our flagship retail locations.

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.