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Patch, our third Outpost pattern, pays homage to many a knitter’s first project — the humble garter stitch scarf. Lisa Carney-Fenton elevates this tried-and-true formula with four striping options and a clever method for a polished edge: her Elegant I-Cord Edge technique, which involves concealing the non-working yarn inside the edging, keeping it tidy and eliminating the need to weave in multiple yarn tails during finishing. These thoughtfully-considered details make Patch a delightfully versatile pattern to knit and an effortlessly cool scarf to wear.

Handknitting kits — ready to cast on or gift — for the Broad Stripe version of Patch in Arbor are available now in our webstore through the end of December. We thought up eight playful color combinations to give you an idea of the myriad possibilities our Arbor palette provides!

If you’d like to try your hand at assembling your own unique color combinations for the multiple versions of Patch, why not try experimenting with the schematic provided in the pattern? We’ve found it to be quite a useful visual tool when planning our alternate color combinations. Plus, there are few things more fun than a knitterly coloring page (download here)!

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In the second and third installments of our Foundations series, we covered the basics of swatching and seaming to aid you in tackling your knitting projects skillfully and confidently. Today, we’ll show you a quick and easy way to further practice these foundational techniques: by repurposing and seaming swatches to make lavender sachets!

These sachets are a delight to make for a number of reasons. First, they hit the sweet spot for both process knitters and project knitters — they’re truly approachable and suitable for practice because of their size and they make lovely, sweet-smelling finished objects that you can keep in a knitting bag or use in your knitwear care routine.

Second, they can be a great way to keep inspiration around you at all times. Perhaps you have a swatch for a visually-appealing intricate colorwork motif, or for a tactile-pleasing textured stitch pattern, or even for a simple stockinette fabric in a memorable yarn. Zip them up into a sachet that you can take with you for moments when you need a boost of creativity, or use to decorate your living or work space. (This project was inspired by the many development swatches we have strewn about the Brooklyn Tweed office!)

Third, they also make charming holiday gifts, either on their own or as a companion to another handknit.

What you’ll need

1) Two swatches of the same size

You can repurpose swatches that you already have or knit up two squares following our instructions in Swatching 101. Alternatively, you can use or knit up one large swatch that you can then fold in half to create your sachet (this method leaves fewer edges to seam).

2) A darning or tapestry needle

3) A few yards of firmly-spun seaming yarn in a matching color and of equal or lighter weight than your swatch yarn

4) Locking stitch markers or coilless safety pins

5) A sharp pair of thread/yarn snips

6) Loose lavender (cedar chips or shavings work well, too)

7) Fiberfill for stuffing (you can use wool roving or polyfill)

Zip it up!

Stack your two swatches with wrong sides facing each other, then seam the bottom and the two sides following our instructions in Seaming 101.  You can play around by mixing and matching the swatches that you choose! We made the sachet pictured above using two swatches for Galloway, with one side using the main colorwork motif and the other side using the lice motif on the body of the cardigan.

Once the bottom and sides are seamed, stuff your sachet with fiberfill and a couple scoops of loose lavender using the top opening. You can sandwich your loose lavender in between the fiberfill to prevent them from coming out of your fabric or bunching at the bottom of the sachet. Finally, seam the top closed. To hide the end of your seaming yarn, snip it leaving a tail of a few inches, then bury the darning needle in the sachet from a corner while scrunching the sachet. Push the needle back out, snip the end, then let the tail retract back inside as you coax the sachet into its original shape.

Alternatively, you can fold one large swatch in half; the fold will eliminate one seam. You can then seam two more sides before stuffing and seaming the sachet closed. You can also play with swatches knit in the round. We made the sachet below with a colorwork “tube” swatch by simply seaming the bottom, stuffing the pouch, then finishing off the top.

The rectangular shape makes this particular sachet work well as an eye pillow or as a wrist rest, so you can experiment with sizing too! For example, if you enjoy knitting large swatches, you can certainly repurpose them into a luxurious lavender-stuffed cushion.

However you choose to customize your sachets, we hope you’ll delight in the opportunity to practice foundational techniques on a small but gratifying project!

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In this season of gratitude and giving thanks, we at Brooklyn Tweed would like to extend our sincerest appreciation for your continued support and friendship. It’s because of all of you sharing in our passion for wool, knitting, and design that we can continue doing what we do.

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This holiday season, we’ve thoughtfully curated a selection of hand knitting patterns as well as kits, books, and stationery to warm the hearts of you and yours. Whether you have knitters in your life or are a knitter yourself, give the gift of inspiration and a woolly embrace!

Handknitting Kits

Our knitting kits are hand-assembled with care and ship ready to gift in a handsome, black Kraft paper box sealed with our Brooklyn Tweed label. Tucked inside, you’ll find enough pre-wound skeins of yarn for the kit project in the colorway of your choice nestled among recyclable decorative fill. The kits also include a coupon code for the kit pattern and a yarn care card, all slipped into a black envelope you can reuse for holiday correspondence. Additionally, at your request, we will happily include a handwritten note for your loved one for a personalized touch.

This holiday season, we’re offering seasonal handknitting kits for the Breckenridge Scarf, Fretwork Cowl, Skiff Watchcap, Skiff Beanie, and Voe Hat.

As a special gift, we’re also including a Notebook for Knitters in each kit through the holiday season. Available in three different designs, our notebooks are printed locally and are the perfect size for on-the-go writing, sketching, and recording progress on current projects — or planning future ones. Organize your thoughts using the index page, and flip to the back of the book for quick Needle Size conversions or measuring progress with the printed ruler!

Books

A happy addition to any knitter’s library are our pattern books: Woolens by Jared Flood, CAPSULE: Michele Wang, and CAPSULE: Olga Buraya-Kefelian. These are available in print form or e-book form and are the perfect gifts of inspiration for your knitter (or yourself!) as they plan projects for the coming year.

Sweater Cards

Send the warmest wishes to your dear ones with our Sweater Cards, a pack of 15 blank greeting cards featuring watercolor paintings of some of our most beloved designs from the Design Team’s archive. (Funnily enough, we’ve found that they can also serve as handy IOUs for a sweater gift-knit!)

Digital Gift Card

If you’re stuck on what to give the knitters in your life, gift the gift of choice with our digital gift cards! Completely stress-free, they’re a great way to ensure that your knitter finds the yarn and/or pattern they love.

Holiday Wishlist

Our Holiday Wishlist is a great way to take the guesswork out of holiday gift planning. Simply ask your knitter to download it here and fill in with their hand knitting kit, book, yarn, and/or pattern of choice — or fill it in yourself with your woolly wishes. (Don’t forget to check it twice!)

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We continue to feel inspired by the many beautiful garments that were knit over the course of our Fall 17 KAL and want to thank you all for joining us! Each day we have been met with lovely photos and have had the opportunity to share in kind conversations with knitters from around the world.

Though our Fall 17 knitalong is coming to an end, we hope you enjoy looking back on the #BTFall17KAL and #BrooklynTweedKAL tags as well as the BT Fan Club thread to relive the joy of knitting along. We encourage you to continue to share your photos of your Fall 17 knits with us — we would love to see your progress.

From left to right, top to bottom: jennaleeashburn, 0bev0, Elleinadxc, buddhasocks, Djour48, KettleYarnCo, carab3678

 

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Since Quarry first joined our family of woolen-spun yarns in 2015, we’ve found ourselves continually drawn to its unique charm and character. With its signature mix of lightness and strength, and an ever-growing color palette, now more than ever we find ourselves reaching for a few skeins of Quarry when our fingers are itching to cast on a new project.

Lightness of Hand

Quarry is uniquely lightweight and a joy to work with. Being carded instead of combed, the lofty jumble of fibers that make up Quarry’s chunky plies trap heat leaving you feeling bundled and warm. These same pockets of air that help retain heat also contribute to Quarry’s airy and buoyant nature once knit up. Being extra lofty, less “structured,” and more squishable, garments knit in Quarry, like our Ginsberg shrug from Fall 17, wear delicately, as if wearing a cloud.

Construction & Strength

To balance Quarry’s exceptional lightness of hand while also ensuring a bit more strength than a traditional unspun yarn, we collaborated with Harrisville during the development stages and decided to spin Quarry with a technique called a “mock twist.” This method of construction produces a yarn with a roving-style look by way of gently twisting together separate plies of unspun wool fiber. With its three plies nestled together, Quarry’s round structure and surprising tensile strength lends itself well to all sorts of fabrics, especially cables and brioche.

A Playful Palette

Quarry’s 15 hues are blended from the same pool of 17 core dyed-in-the-wool colors as Shelter and Loft, which translates to a beautiful and complimentary woolen-spun wardrobe. When creating colors, such as our new Garnet, Lapis and Granite colorways, Jared works closely with Harrisville to realize his vision by detailing specific new combinations of the core colors. Harrisville then fabricates “color pads” — carded fleece showcasing each proposed recipe — which are sent to BT headquarters for review.

Much like the striated rock formations of the Grand Canyon or the Painted Hills here in Oregon, Quarry reveals a variety of color effects when viewed in different light and at varying distances. With such beautiful texture and tonal colors, Quarry adds painterly grace to our 100% breed-specific and American produced core yarn line.

Share your adventures knitting with Quarry online using hashtag #QuarryYarn, and explore our pattern library to view the wide range of fabrics that can be knit with this expressive yarn.

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With a blaze of color about the shoulders and a vintage feel, it’s hard to resist the charm of the Voe pullover. Being fans of colorwork knitting, we leap at any opportunity to explore Loft’s 37 shades and Voe doesn’t disappoint in offering the potential for many exciting combinations.

Take a closer look at Voe’s yoke, however, and you’ll discover that it’s not just its prospect of color exploration that we love so much. Punctuating the motif’s peaks and valleys are tiny dashes of woven color. Let’s explore how they got there.

Generally speaking, when working a colorwork yoke the contrasting yarn needs to be “floated” along on the wrong side of your knitting when not in use in order to prevent puckering on the fabric’s right side and snagging on the wrong side. With Voe, instead of trapping these floats on the wrong side, select stitches are slipped with the contrast color floated in front of the slipped stitch, a design element that is simultaneously textural and practical. Of course, weaving a contrast color on the right side of the fabric paired with colorful, geometric motifs are by no means a new coupling. Our Voe pullover gives an aesthetic nod to the Swedish Bohus Stickning design movement of the mid-20th century.

The Bohus Stickning movement was quite an interesting moment in knitting history. It came about when a collective of women in Bohuslän, Sweden approached Emma Jacobsson in the late 1930’s with an idea. These women were looking for ways to support themselves, their families, and their communities in a time of economic depression and decided that knitting would be their means.

Since knitting was an accessible craft that many women in rural Bohuslän were already familiar with, their cooperative found great success in making and selling their wares. But as their group grew and their collective talents were joined with other artists and makers in their community, the simply-designed sock and mitt patterns grew into the more complex and couture sweater designs that Bohus Stickning is best known for.

Though Emma Jacobsson and the women of Bohuslän closed their doors in 1969, we can continue to admire the digital archives of their designs online and acknowledge the artistic and industrious work of these amazing women in our knitting histories.

If you’re interested in learning more about this vivid moment in the history of knitting, we recommend Wendy Keele’s book Poems of Color (1995, Interweave Press) as well as the article “A Bohus Revival” by Sarah Pope in the Winter 2015/16 issue of Vogue Knitting.

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Slow fashion encourages the careful consideration of what we bring into our closets, the deep satisfaction of making or owning garments of quality, and extending the life of what we have already loved to pieces. It offers the opportunity to creatively express yourself which is at the heart of making itself.

In Part I of this series, you heard members of the Brooklyn Tweed team talk about their personal thoughts on the subject. Expanding upon those ideas, we compiled the following practical tips for anyone who is interested in slow fashion and is curious about how or where to begin.

Identify your personal style: Having a clear idea of what types of clothing you want to wear, including its fiber content and color palette, will help you identify your personal style and inform your choices on what to knit and how to assemble your wardrobe. Taking time to identify your personal style will make it easier to build a long-lasting wardrobe and avoid impulse purchases that won’t get much wear.

Create a vision for your wardrobe as a whole: Perhaps the most powerful way to take control of your wardrobe is to think of it holistically. When you plan your wardrobe as a whole, you can intentionally decide what your next project will be based on what type of garment will complement your existing, or ideal, wardrobe. Building a wardrobe with your personal style in mind will also help ensure you’re making garments that will flatter your body and inspire you to wear them with confidence.

To help plan your wardrobe, take the gauge swatches from sweaters and accessories you’ve made with you while shopping to help select yarn or fabrics in colors or prints that will coordinate across those knit garments. (If you’re new to swatching, read our Swatching 101 post here.) If you are shopping for ready-to-wear, look for pieces you can expect to wear a minimum of 30, 40, or even 50 times. (Raise your hand if you’ve joined the KonMari bandwagon!) By being intentional about what we bring into our homes, whether ready-made clothing or what’s being cast onto our needles, we can simultaneously eliminate waste and ensure we will find both joy and usefulness in what we create and wear.

Make “capsule” items you’ll wear for years to come: When pondering what to knit next, consider functional, classic garments that never go out of style. Think Aran cabling, Gansey pullovers, shawl-collar cardigans, and accessories such as watchcaps and go-with-anything cowls and scarves. When knitting or sewing wardrobe staples, make the most of your time and resources by creating items of clothing that you know will see years of use.

Consider the source of your materials: Take time to know the origins of your fiber. By working with sustainable materials, you can ensure you are supporting the environment as well as the people who work to bring the fiber to your hands. Wool sorted by breed — aka breed-specific wool — provides farmers with a higher wage than fibers that are sold to be jumbled together across breeds, and preserves the breeding stock of sheep that will continue to provide fiber for years to come.

Reclaim yarn from sweaters you already have: Your next project need not require the purchase of new yarn. Sweaters that you either already have in your closet or find secondhand offer the opportunity to give fibers another life. Perhaps you have wool languishing away in a UFO at the bottom of your knitting basket that you can unravel, wash, and recast as another garment that will give you greater joy while knitting and wearing. If you have a handknit sweater that doesn’t fit quite right or that no longer suits your style, but you can’t bear to part with it, reclaim the yarn for a new project.  

Start Small: Slow fashion, and the idea of making your own clothing, may seem overwhelming at first but it need not feel insurmountable. By following some or all of the steps above, we can each engage with the movement in ways that work for us as individuals, all the while adding enjoyment to our lives. There’s no need to knit or sew your entire wardrobe or go to great expense in order to participate in slow fashion. Start small by wearing one thing you have made every day. Accessories can be key here — a good, classic hat or scarf can carry you through the seasons. If you enjoy the process of making, you can slowly add to your handknit wardrobe one piece at a time and simultaneously express your creativity each and every day.

Join a community of crafters to learn and share knowledge about hand making clothing. Share your knowledge with one another through knitting groups or meet-ups designed to encourage learning more about your craft and making clothing. Local yarn stores, fabric stores, and crafting guilds are great sources for such gatherings. There are also robust communities online where you can connect with people with similar interests, such as Ravelry for knitters.

In closing, always keep in mind that the slow fashion movement comes from the desire to take control over how we clothe our bodies and is a non-judgmental process that originates with the individual, not from external forces. Just as the slow food movement taught us to take time to savor both the process and the product, slow fashion offers us makers the opportunity to thoughtfully consider how we wish to express ourselves through our creations. By being mindful about the materials we work with as well as the products we create, we can have a literal hand in how we both move through and impact our world day by day.

Thank you for joining us this month in our series focused on slow fashion. From hearing thoughts about slow fashion from members of the BT team to reading about how we incorporate slow fashion principles into our business to learning some tips about how to bring slow fashion aspects into your own daily practice, we hope you have found some nuggets of inspiration in these recent posts focused on the process and product of making.

We invite you to share with us below your own thoughts and comments about the slow fashion movement. We look forward to hearing what you have to say!

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There’s always extra room in our knitting bags for a hat that offers a relaxing knitting experience coupled with great style. With this in mind, we asked Brooklyn-based architect and knitwear designer Emily Greene to design our first Outpost pattern, and her wonderful unisex Hatch Hat really checks both boxes for us.

Requiring only the most basic of stitches (knit, purl, and simple decreases), Hatch is a fun and friendly pattern. Aside from a few transition rounds which might require your attention, the project’s ease and simplicity will allow you to knit while carrying on a conversation with friends or simply let your mind get into the meditative rhythm of the ribbing. Since the crown shaping can be worked from either the chart or written directions, we think everyone will be happy with this easy people-pleaser of a pattern.

Knit in texture-enhancing Arbor as either a beanie or classic watchcap, Hatch’s columned fabric opens up beautifully as it stretches slightly about the head. Its orderly progression through a scale of ribbings may make it the perfect topper for mathematical or engineering minds to knit (or receive)!

Intrigued? To tempt you further, for the month of October we’re offering Hatch with a little extra fanfare: as a kit in your choice of 30 timeless colors.

Should you, too decide to devote a little corner of your knitting bag to Hatch, we’d love to see your progress — you can share with the hashtag #HatchHat. We can’t wait to see your Hatches!

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Since clothing is an essential human necessity, an initial awareness of fast fashion’s pitfalls can be disheartening. Rather than becoming overwhelmed by the enormity of the scope of fast fashion and its range of issues, though, we choose to focus on things we can change by thoughtfully considering how our role as a business in the textile industry can support the burgeoning slow fashion movement.

In its present form, slow fashion has been steadily gaining a foothold in the crafting and making communities over the last decade. We find this movement and the conversations it inspires deeply significant, being firm believers in making intentional choices about the products we manufacture and design. By choosing to focus on quality over quantity, and striving to produce yarns and patterns that embody timeless style and lasting beauty, we can help to ensure our business practices are in line with the slow fashion principles.

As it is with slow fashion, traceability is also important to our work. By being able to identify the origins of a product and its production path at every step, we are able to ensure that our production processes are sound and our impact on the environment is as minimal as possible. Our breed-specific wool yarns are sourced from and support ranchers who are taking the time to care for their flocks of sheep (and their wooly coats). A breed-specific wool yarn preserves the natural character of each singular source of fiber, which in turn gives your finished garments unique personality.

Our domestic manufacturing efforts aim to bolster local communities and contribute a revenue source for domestic production facilities that are preserving textile traditions or changing the landscape of the textile industry in the United States. Working with mills and dye houses such as Harrisville Designs, Jagger Brothers, G.J. Littlewood and Sons, and Saco River Dyehouse gives us the opportunity to support companies that face the challenge of preserving and passing down their knowledge to the next generation.

In our knitwear design house, we strive to create patterns that are as thoroughly and thoughtfully considered as our breed-specific yarns. Patterns are developed over the course of a year and are designed to be wardrobe staples that will be of value for years, if not generations, to come. Each pattern undergoes a vigorous technical editing process before making its way to our talented sample knitters who knit each piece by hand. We aim to provide well-written and supported patterns that allow knitters to enjoy the process of creating garments by hand while simultaneously taking control of their wardrobe options.

Next week we’ll be continuing this discussion by providing some practical steps you can take with your own wardrobe in order to participate in slow fashion.

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