One of the most intriguing garments from BT Winter 15 is Norah Gaughan’s Chainlink tunic. Today we’re giving her the floor to talk about the inspiration and construction of this unusual sweater. 150303_chainlink-0 I didn't join the Brooklyn Tweed design team until May, so sadly I missed the field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Luckily for me—and for anyone who wants to spend an afternoon down a rabbit hole admiring some of the best art humans have ever made—the Met generously offers images of its holdings online. Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 2.05.44 PM Chainlink is the union of a photograph in the Met collection—a very subtle, quiet photo of a chain link fence (shown above)—and an intriguing sweater shape I found on Pinterest. I embrace the idea that nothing creative comes out of thin air. We are all building on the work of artists and designers before us, so when I see a shape I like I let it spark my imagination to take it to the next level. I keep an extensive collection of shapes and structures I'm drawn to along with a collection of more esoteric influences, like photographs of nature or paintings that have nothing to do with clothing. 150303_chainlink-7 Chainlink looks, at first glance, as though it’s made up of non-traditional shapes for a sweater, but in truth it's a flat front and flat back with dropped sleeves. The front appears to be a diamond surrounded by rectangles, but these shapes are knit in one piece by increasing and decreasing. I did have to fill in some gaps to make the sides straight and to make it possible to knit multiple sizes. A mitered triangle fills in a space left near the waist and a small straight extension allowed us to vary the width of the garment. 150303_chainlink-2 Whenever I’m planning a complicated garment like this one, my aim is to make the design as easy as possible for the knitter. I want the increases to be spaced as logically as possible, so they are easy to remember. You'll notice that the front and the back are identical. Since there is so much going on with the patterning, I couldn’t bear for anyone (me, the tech editor, or the knitter) to have to deal with higher neck shaping in the back. Everything was so tightly fit together, I couldn’t think of an easy way to do it. And I think it’s sometimes important for the knitter’s experience to trump some conventions about how a garment should be shaped. If a pattern is so convoluted that it’s a circus act to keep all the different maneuvers correct, it’s no fun to knit. 150303_chainlink-4 Getting the center pattern right was my favorite part. I love playing around with twisted stitches and I was sure I could get them to look a lot like chainlink. I’m also pleased with the sleeves. I love narrow 3/4-length sleeves on a roomy garment. They really help provide balance and keep the piece from becoming overwhelming, and in this case they’re a welcome break from all the action on the front and back. I secretly may have a special passion for shorter sleeves—I am only 5' tall myself, and full-length sleeves have always hung down to my knuckles. This looks great if you are tall and lanky, but just like you are wearing your mom's sweater if you are short. 150303_chainlink-5 I’m excited to see my first work with Brooklyn Tweed out in the world and looking forward to watching knitters make this design their own. There are already several green and golden Chainlinks taking shape on Ravelry. Happy knitting to all! –Norah 150303_chainlink-6


  • This is an elegant pattern which my daughter chose as a gift from me. I have completed chart B and completed the first six rows of chart C (including adding the side panels and putting (19) rib stitches on stitch holder and casting on (18) rib stitches. I am at heading “Wedge Eyelet Row (RS)” and I am baffled about these directions. How can I get help.

    How can I get support?

    Karin on

  • Hello Karin, For the best pattern support we can provide, please email your question directly to All of our contact emails are listed here, should you need them in the future. All the best, Jen | BT Customer Service

    Jen Hurley on

  • As with all Norah patterns, this one just calls to me!!! Beautiful!!!

    Joanie on

  • Thank you Norah! Another stunning pattern I will knit mine out of Tent.

    Annmarie on

  • Thank you for sharing your inspiration & talent. It is so good to see. I’ve been wanting to knit a sweater for myself for a long time. This may be the catalyst I need . Sharing your talent is a beautiful thing.

    Lynne Samways Hiltz on

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