Archives for category: Scarves

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.

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!

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

My Cinder Scarf pattern, which appeared last year in a Classic Elite pattern publication, is now available for individual PDF download. If you wanted to knit it but couldn’t justify a whole booklet purchase, the PDF is available now via Ravelry or Brooklyn Tweed.

This is a quick knit (great for last minute gifts), and looks much more involved than it actually is.  If you can knit 2×2 ribbing, you’ll be able to crank one of these out in no time. The pattern calls for bulky yarn, but can easily be worked in other weights as well.

Happy weekend to all.

Resources: Cinder originally appeared here. The PDF version is available via BT or Ravelry. Yarn used for this sample is Classic Elite Ariosa.

We’ve gotten tons of nice requests for an official pattern to be made up for my Romney Kerchief that was posted here in April. The pattern has been through the gauntlet and come out on the other side all polished and shiny for you.

We’ve worked up another sample version of the pattern in Shelter (“Nest”) to provide an alternative to the handspun used in the original pattern.  The Shelter version is soft, squishy and lovely – it’s already a wardrobe favorite at BT Headquarters.

Shelter & Handspun Versions

This is my favorite type of project: two skeins, easy knitting and a chic result.  Just the type of knitting I like to take on long trips when a portable form of solace is required.  It’s also the type of project you find yourself knitting multiple times without a second thought. Rather addictive, really.

The pattern is written as a standard kerchief size whose blocked dimensions measure 41″ at wingspan & 20″ at central spine of triangle.  I’ve included instructions in the pattern for extending the finished dimensions to best suit your own vision. The size is very easily modified.  Instructions are provided in both written and charted form.

PATTERN LINKS

Ravelry |  Brooklyn Tweed

The pattern as written requires about 245 yards of yarn — the Shelter version uses well under 2 skeins. I hope those of you who have been wanting to knit this one enjoy it! Thanks for all your requests – we love to be able to give knitters what they want!

Back in September when I sent my first ever shop-bound shipment of Shelter, it was headed for Austin, TX. When I heard back from Suzanne, the owner of Hill Country Weavers, a few weeks later that she wanted to commission an Austin-inspired knitwear collection with the wool I was surprised and delighted, and more than thrilled to give them the green light.

I had the pleasure of making my first trip to Austin two years ago and was immediately charmed by the city and found an incredible amount of style inspiration there myself. I was excited to see what some Austin handknitters (and weavers!) would do when given the task of using their city as a muse.

On Christmas night, HCW debuted their collection to the world and I’m thrilled to be able to share some of the images with you here, all of which were shot on-site in Austin this winter by Meg Rice.

This hand woven blanket is a stunner!

This hat is knit in one piece, seamlessly — I love it.

You’ll find full details on the collection in its entirety on HCW’s web site — some of the designs are also available on Ravelry.

A big thank you to HCW and their design team for putting this all together!

The Iconic Red Scarf is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot this year.  A little splash of red is a great way to class up so many different wardrobe choices — especially if, like me, your clothing tends towards all things grey. The Red Scarf has been hanging around on my short list of design projects for a long time and when I first saw the Long Johns colorway of Shelter, it seemed that its time had finally come.

Pavement is a textured scarf that addresses the nagging issue of reversibility.  It can become a worrisome chore, constantly adjusting a scarf so that the Right Side is always facing the public, and knitters seem to be especially attuned to this conundrum.

The textured cable featured in this pattern is completely reversible, which gives a nice peace of mind to those of us who find the Wrong Side of our work bothersome when worn (the photo above shows both sides of the work). Lately I’ve been loving cables that draw from the purl ‘ditches’ that flank them — I love the additional texture and interest it gives to otherwise traditional cables.  And the reversibility element it brings makes it that much sweeter.

The blocked width of the scarf is 7.25″ with the pattern providing three different length options for a Short, Medium, or Long Version.  The pattern is available now here at BT or through Ravelry.

What perfect scarf wearing weather we are having — it’s been cold and & bright here, following the holiday blizzard.  Plenty of beautiful winter light for photography, despite daylight’s short hours.  It really is my favorite time of year. Time to get a little perspective on things that have happened, and focus on things to come.  2010 was a whirlwind for me personally and professionally with many major tectonic shifts — it was probably one of the most exciting years of my life.  I’ve been working with my BT team to put together projects for 2011 that I hope will be equally exciting and meaningful.

I hope that you are looking forward to what might be coming next in your own life, with knitting always as our common punctuation.

On a snowy evening, there’s nothing quite like knitting through the long hours.  I’ve been sitting by my window marveling at just how quiet the city can be on the first calm day to follow a 30-hour blizzard. The timing seemed so perfect too — a blanket of silence to end a bustling week of holiday activity.

Behind the scenes here, we’ve been having some fun using Shelter to revive some old favorites in the BT design archive.  I love knitting old patterns in new yarns to see how they behave differently from a previous version.  Today I present you with A Winter Juneberry, worked in the Wool Socks colorway.

I originally published this pattern last Spring for Veronik Avery, using a firmly spun sport-weight wool.  It was fun seeing the triangle unfold this time with a woolen-spun yarn at a different gauge. The finished triangle blocked to a wingspan of 61″ across, with a height of 30″ at center back.  This upsized version is perfect for snowy afternoons!

Aside from being available through St. Denis magazine, the pattern is also available online as a PDF. For the digital version, I’ve added yarn requirements and gauge/dimension information for a worsted-weight version. This one took 4 skeins of Shelter.

I haven’t strayed far from my knitting spot by the window in the last two days, watching rather violent snow last night, and a whole lot of quiet today. I hope everyone is staying warm and safe, whether or not you find yourself stitching through The Thaw.

Wayfarer came from a simple desire to play with balance through the use of contrasting vertical and horizontal lines.  The scarf is a blend of two stitch families: Garter Stitch (seen on the right side of the piece), which creates horizontal ridges that directly contrast to the vertical element of slipped-stitch ridges (seen on the left side of the scarf).

The ridge-like vertical columns wander and play across a field of Garter Stitch creating geometric motifs that move and change at varying intervals over the piece’s length.  The scarf measures approximately 78″ after blocking, a generous length that invites a good number of wraps for volume around the neck.

The interesting thing about the asymmetrical motifs is that, depending on which way you wear Wayfarer (how many wraps, and where these wraps fall) you’ll see different parts of the pattern at different times.  It’s a simple concept but very pleasing to the eye (and the mind!).

I chose “Sap” for this project — one of the brightest and boldest members of Shelter’s palette – because I think it creates great visual ‘pop’ while drawing attention to the unique texture the scarf features. It also looks great with a classic brown leather trench coat, which in my book is always good enough reason for a color choice!

The photos above show the two main motifs that transform the balance between the horizontal and vertical ridges through gently curved, angular shapes. These shapes are achieved simply with different combinations of increases and decreases throughout the pattern.

This design has really become a personal favorite – then again, I’m a lover of simple geometric play so I guess that makes sense!  I blocked mine with blocking wires stretching it ever so slightly to create a flat and fluid fabric that shows off the motifs in a slightly more formal manner.  Less precise blocking will allow a more squishable texture, which is also fantastic.  Hey, you might just need two.

To say that Shetland inspired me would be a total understatement.  When I got back, I had visions of lace and colorwork swimming in my head, even more so than I usually do.  For days afterwards I was engaged in swatching with endless color combinations from my wool closet and thinking about how I could translate just a bit of all that Beauty to a little piece of my own reality.  While feeling desperate for some traditional lace work, I came across a design I had begun in the Spring but time constraints and other distractions had gotten in the way.  It was like it had been waiting for me to come home for it.

Celes is my first attempt at bringing a little piece of Shetland home.  The motifs for both the Center panel and knitted-on lace edging are traditional Shetland stitch patterns that I find both arrestingly beautiful.  The center panel is a Tree & Diamond pattern, which is funny since trees are basically non-existent in Shetland.  The construction, too, is a nod to tradition, although updated slightly for ease of knitting and proper mirroring of vertical motifs.

The design is worked in fingering weight yarn — last winter on a visit to Bainbridge Island I had fallen head over heels for this lot of Isager Alpaca 2 — a 50/50 wool alpaca blend with silvery heathers and incredibly drape (it’s color 2105). It was screaming to be made into lace fabric.  I’m a huge fan of Marianne Isager‘s designs and yarns (her fingering weight Scottish wool is crisp, clean and wonderful) and knitting with this was a pleasure from start to finish.

The construction of the piece hinges around mirrored directional stitch patterns.  In order to create a mirroring of vertical motifs in the center panel, each half is worked separately (starting with a Provisional Cast On at the outer edge) and grafted at the center line using Kitchener Stitch.  To finish, a knitted-on lace edging is applied to the entire perimeter in place of any kind of bind off, framing the center panel.  If you’ve never worked a knitted-on edging before, this is a great project for practice.

The stole is a rectangle with approximate blocked dimensions of 74″ x 17″ — a generous size for wearing as a luxurious scarf as shown and still wide enough to wear as a shoulder wrap. (Tessa wears it so beautifully, doesn’t she?)  This type of project is great for seasonal transition from Summer into (and through) Fall.  Worked in Alpaca 2, the thing is deceptively warm for its lightness and will definitely also serve as Winter wear! On the day of our photoshoot, we had also been shooting some pieces worked in heavier weight wool yarns.  Tessa immediately reported this as being the warmest piece of the afternoon.  Alpaca is warm like that — I personally prefer it diluted with a goodly amount of wool, as here.

The pattern is available now as a PDF download either through Brooklyn Tweed or over on Ravelry.

The click from season-to-season is upon us, and nothing makes me happier than feeling that crispness in the air announcing Fall’s long-awaited arrival.  This Fall will be a big one for me, so I hope you’ll stay tuned for more as we knit our way into the cooler months.

One of the new knitting books to hit the shelves this month is Brave New Knits by Julie Turjoman.  In her book Julie profiles 26 knitting bloggers, each of whom have submitted a design of their own to create a collection of patterns that has a lot of wonderful variety.  I was honored to not only be asked to be a participating blogger for this project, but also to be hired as the book’s photographer.  It was so much fun seeing so many pieces designed by many of my friends and colleagues and putting it all together into one cohesive collection of images.

We shot the project on a steamy September day last year in one of my favorite natural-light studios here in New York.  I’ve put together a quick sampling of some of my favorite images from the shoot, as well as sharing my own personal pattern contribution at the bottom of the post.  I hope you enjoy!

Knitted flowers by Kat Coyle

Shrug by Melissa Wehrle

Cardigan by Mari Muinonen

Mitts by Clara Parkes

Pullover by Stefanie Japel

Hat by Woolly Wormhead

Cardigan by Hilary Smith Callis

Pullover by Connie Chang Chinchio

Cloche by Norah Gaughan

There’s many more patterns and interviews contained in the book than shown above, so please feel free to check it out if these images have sparked your interest!

In putting together the book, Julie also worked to include smaller yarn companies that sell online and have their own ‘following’ in the way bloggers do.  When Julie asked me to design an accessory pattern for the book, of course I asked her if I could call dibs on Beaverslide Dry Goods — one of my favorite small American wool suppliers.  Armed with fingering weight American Merino, the Woodsmoke Scarf was born.

The scarf is a very simple concept — central garter stitch rectangle is knit length-wise (using a provisional cast-on) knit in one color and not bound off. The second color is used to work a knitted-on lace edging, also in garter stitch to frame the whole piece.  I chose a long, skinny proportion for a lighter, spring scarf that could be wrapped a generous number of times around the neck, but the pattern can be very simply adapted to make proportions you might find more suitable for your wardrobe (wider, shorter, etc.)

I had a lot of fun working with Julie on this project, and I think it’s a unique addition to the Knitting Section at the bookstore/library and helps promote the lives that go on behind the curtain in knitwear design.  Happy reading!