Wool Talks: A Year in the Life of a Brooklyn Tweed Pattern, Pre-Publication
Last month you heard Stephanie, Brooklyn Tweed’s Yarn Production Director, speak to the intricacies and challenges of working within a completely domestic (American) textile supply chain.
Just as Brooklyn Tweed takes a conscientious route in its yarn development, we employ equal care in how we develop our knitting patterns, with multiple team players involved along our patterns’ path to publication. While the designers are rightfully recognized as the star talent behind Brooklyn Tweed’s patterns, I’d like to take time to recognize our technical editing team — the unsung heroes — involved in the creation of a Brooklyn Tweed-published pattern and call out the thought and attention that goes into bringing a pattern from its initial design stage to your needles.
It might surprise some folks — it certainly surprised me, when I first came to BT — to learn that work on a pattern collection can begin over a year in advance of its launch. As an example, we’re about to release our Fall 19 collection on September 12 (do check it out!) and it was initiated way back in May of 2018.
Once designers have submitted their written patterns to our team, our tech editors sharpen their pencils, warm up their calculators, and dig in. One tech editor takes ownership of a set of particular patterns, following them through their complete development path. The tech editors revise their respective patterns according to Brooklyn Tweed format and style, review grading and numbers, and otherwise create each pattern’s final draft that will continue to be honed toward perfection.
Once our tech editors have created the final drafts, the designers review their patterns, chiming in if they see anything to be updated. Upon approval by the designers, the patterns then travel on to our graphic designers, headed by Caitlin, for graphic layout. Caitlin also creates all of our patterns’ schematics and charts.
Also happening during this time period is sample photography, both with models and without, for inclusion in the final patterns. We use a mix of professional and non-professional models. “Flats” refers to taking photographs of the garment or accessory flat — not on a person — to more clearly show its shape. Jared, Brooklyn Tweed’s founder and Creative Director, continues to serve as BT’s in-house photographer, and as Knitwear Coordinator, Lis manages all things sample-related and oversees our photoshoots, including working with our models and coordinating styling. We want you, our customers, to have an idea of how our knitwear can be worn and styled, so conveying a collection’s theme and mood via photography is an important component of our patterns.
Once we have an initial draft of the pattern in its graphical form, our counter-editors get to work reviewing the pattern for accuracy. From confirming that stitch counts are correct for every size to vetting centimeter conversions on schematics and ensuring that the written directions accurately reflect every stage of knitting the design, our counter-editors work through a multi-page checklist of tasks to confirm each pattern’s coherence, validity and accuracy.
After our tech editors review the counter-editors’ comments, our graphic designer revises the pattern PDFs in readiness for pattern proofing. We use two in-house proofers, typically myself and Allison, Brooklyn Tweed’s Customer Service & Pattern Support Specialist, so that each pattern has two sets of eyes on it during this stage. While the counter-editors are looking at the patterns through a technical lens, we proofers are looking for overall readability, ensuring that the directions will make sense to the knitter and scanning for any final copy edits to be made before the patterns’ launch.
Once proofed, the tech editors review the proofing comments and make final remarks for graphic design, who update the patterns’ PDFs to their final, v1.0 publishable version. We aim to have our patterns ready eight weeks before their launch date, so that our stockists have time to work up store samples and to allow for pre-launch, preview knitting. Once ready, we eagerly wait for launch day when we can finally share our collective hard work with you, our worldwide knitting community.
While we are a small team of people at BT HQ, I find it fascinating how many players are involved in the creation of a BT pattern, everyone playing their part in concert to create a unique masterpiece. From our designers to our off-site tech team to our in-house production team members, I feel fortunate to work alongside folks who are both knowledgeable and dedicated to bringing forward the best product possible from our hands to yours.
I hope this overview has given you a sense of how Brooklyn Tweed patterns come to fruition as well as the level of care with which they are treated along their path to publication. As we strive to publish knitwear designs with the same commitment to timeless quality that we apply to our yarns, we go to great effort to produce patterns that are precise, thorough and thoughtfully considered. In turn, by knitting a Brooklyn Tweed pattern your support allows us to continue to do the work we love to do — create knitting patterns that showcase our yarns and wrap you and yours in the fabric of knitted love.