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We are so very proud to welcome Gudrun Johnston to our design team! Gudrun has been an inspiring presence in the independent knitwear design community for many years and we are thrilled to be collaborating with her.

Gudrun was born in Shetland, where her mother ran a successful knitwear design company called The Shetland Trader. Gudrun revived the name to publish two collections kindled by love of her homeland. She now lives in the United States with her family, but returns frequently to Shetland to visit and lead knitting tours.

Gudrun’s heritage is prominent in her design work, whether she is creating lace-edged haps or Fair Isle-inspired colorwork. Her contemporary aesthetic and love of experimenting with new techniques make her designs both modern and timeless. She loves seamless construction and yoke patterning, whether in textured stitches or colorwork, and her designs are always eminently wearable and enduring.

We celebrate Gudrun’s arrival at BT with a special pattern release to launch our Summer of Lace knitalong. Brora is a distinctive shawl, printed all over with triangles of garter stitch and rimmed in an arrowhead lace motif that combines garter  and eyelets to achieve a flintknapped texture. The pattern includes directions for two weights: a breezy complement to summer dresses in Vale or a slightly larger triangle with comforting weight and warmth in Arbor. Brora uses a traditional Shetland construction, beginning at the base point of the main fabric with a single stitch and growing by means of yarnovers at each edge. These linked loops simplify the task of picking up stitches to begin the lace edging. The pattern teaches the Icelandic Bind Off technique to yield an elastic edge that partners effectively with garter stitch.

 

Brora is available as a limited-edition kit in our webstore. Choose any color of Vale or Arbor and we’ll wind the yarn for you so you can cast on right away or be ready to gift the kit to your favorite knitter (we can even ship the kit directly to him or her). Your handsomely packaged kit will include a coupon code for digital download of the Brora pattern.

For domestic orders, place your kit order by Friday, June 30 in order to receive your yarn and pattern in time to cast on for our Summer of Lace KAL beginning July 7. Read more about the KAL here.

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We are seeking a qualified Creative Coordinator in Portland, Oregon
for a full-time position beginning in Summer 2017.

The Creative Coordinator works closely with Brooklyn Tweed’s roster of designers and sample knitters, as well as the company’s Creative Director on a variety of creative, organizational and branding projects throughout the year.

This is a full-time, salaried position with benefits. The Creative Coordinator will work Monday through Friday from Brooklyn Tweed’s headquarters in NE Portland.

We are seeking candidates with a high level of organizational skills and strong work ethic who are highly communicative team players and interested in working for a growing small business in the handknitting industry. A strong understanding of Brooklyn Tweed’s ethos and brand aesthetic is required for this position. If you are a self-motivated person with experience in project management and art production with an interest in knitting, design, and fashion, this position will be a good fit. Ideal candidates will exhibit a friendly spirit and enjoy working with a wide network of diverse collaborators as well as their fellow team members.

See the application form for a full list of essential job responsibilities and requirements. We look forward to hearing from you!

If you wish to apply, please click above to download the application form. Materials must be submitted via e-mail to jobs@brooklyntweed.com. Candidates who are being seriously considered for the position will be contacted by e-mail or telephone regarding an in-person interview. 

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As we rev our engines for Brooklyn Tweed’s first official knitalong, we’re happily anticipating the participation of seasoned lace veterans and knitters who are new to lace knitting. Laceweight garments and open-work patterns are a great way to keep your knitting needles in action once things begin to heat up at the start of summer. Along with the recent launch of our newest laceweight yarn, Vale, we thought this season to be the perfect time to jump into knitting lace feet (and hands) first!

In the spirit of sharing knowledge about this special facet of our craft and cheering everyone on to success, we want to use our blog to offer tips and techniques during the KAL and begin a conversation on how to successfully knit lace. Remember, we love questions and we welcome experienced folks chiming in to share what works for them, so please comment early and often during this series! Additionally, we will go into greater depth on the topic of knitting lace over the course of two blog posts (scheduled for July 14 and August 4), which will include answers to common questions asked throughout the KAL.

We’ll respond to questions in the BT Fan Club Forum on Ravelry, as well as admire your shared projects. In addition to joining us on Ravelry, please use the KAL hashtags listed below on any and all social media posts you make that share your project and progress. We’ll be re-posting images from participating knitters throughout the KAL.

The official cast-on day for the KAL is July 7. We look forward to knitting, and learning, alongside you!

Hashtags#BTLaceKAL17 #BrooklynTweedKAL

How to Join the Summer of Lace KAL:
First, choose your favorite yarn and knitting project that has a lace stitch pattern. The project should be knit with BT yarn and/or a BT pattern. If you already have a WIP, feel free to join the KAL to finish your project or ask us questions if you’re stuck.

New to lace? We recommend knitting with a heavier weight yarn, such as Arbor or Shelter, for your first lace project.

Then, head over to the Summer of Lace KAL Pre-Chatter thread on Ravelry where you can introduce yourself and share your plan for what you’re going to knit. Feel free to include any questions or topics you’d like the KAL to address.

Blog Schedule:

June 28: Special Pattern Release
June 30: Project Planning, Part 1: Getting to know your pattern
July 3: Project Planning, Part 2: Tools and Swatching
July 7: Cast-On Day
July 14: Lace Knitting Q & A, Part 1
July 21: Heirloom Stitches
July 28: Lace Blocking
August 4: Lace Knitting Q & A, Part 2
August 11: KAL Wrap-Up

On Wednesday, we will reveal the newest member of the BT Design Team. In celebration of the lace KAL, this person has designed a new lace pattern which will be available as a limited-edition knitting kit on our webstore as well as a PDF download. Stay tuned!

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The designers we selected to contribute to Wool People 11 were among the first knitters to sample our new Rambouillet laceweight, Vale. Today we share their impressions of the yarn as we feature their beautiful stoles.

Natalie Servant contributed Prism to this collection. Printed with diamonds and rhombuses, this geometric design can be a lace stole or a cowl. The charted shapes are filled with shifting textures — knit, purl, garter — so there’s more solid fabric than in many lace accessories, which puts Vale’s smooth and balanced preparation on display.

Natalie wrote, “I really enjoyed knitting with Vale. I found it easy to produce even stockinette and reverse stockinette. The surprise for me was when I washed and blocked the swatch: the drape was fantastic. The hardest part about working with Vale was having to send back the unused skeins!”

Sandhya Shadangi’s Ravine is patterned with rivulets of branching, shifting, straightening eyelets. A good stretch on blocking wires evens the long sides and opens the organic motifs to stand out against the stockinette background. Despite Vale’s elasticity, it’s a biddable yarn that accepts blocking to become fluid and drapey.

Sandhya’s impression of Vale was that it’s crisp, soft, and springy. Her fabric blocked beautifully to yield clean and even stitches with good definition, and it retained the crisp softness that had first struck her when handling it in the skein. “Overall, I think it’s perfect for lace. And I can imagine it being great for super-light garments that would also hold their shape nicely,” she concluded.

Amy van de Laar had this to say after creating Leadlight, a stole with a pattern of geometric tracery radiating from a pinhole cast-on:

“Vale is springy, light and soft, but substantial and full of personality. It’s next-to-the-skin soft, and it blocks easily and drapes beautifully — just perfect for lace knitting. The colour Heron is a calm, neutral, mid-toned grey with a subtle sheen to it.”

Fans of Plains, a limited edition yarn that we produced in collaboration with Mountain Meadow Mill in Wyoming, have been asking how Vale compares. Our customer service specialist, Jamie Maccarthy, describes the distinction between them this way:

“In spite of their commonalities (Vale and Plains are both two-ply, worsted spun, breed-specific laceweight yarns made from Rambouillet fleece grown on the plains of Wyoming), they do differ. Plains is a slightly rustic yarn, spun a bit thick-and-thin with a lot of spring in its step. While Vale maintains some of the bounce that Plains has, it is a polished yarn with an even weight and twist, which would be lovely knit up into a light top or sweater.” Read more about the development and characteristics of both Vale and Plains here.

What are you making with Vale? We’d love to know your impressions of it! Don’t forget to tag your project photos with #ValeYarn so we can follow your progress. We’ll be reposting some of our favorites on our Instagram account in the coming weeks.

@jess_schreibstein, @looplondonloves, @softsweater, @knitgraffiti, @minib, @jen_beeman

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We’re celebrating independence and collaboration with the release of Wool People 11 today! We always enjoy the chance our Wool People project offers to work alongside independent designers, both new and established — there’s a sense of fresh energy and perspective in combing through the hundreds of submissions we receive for these collections and in bringing the selected designs to life.

This issue feels extra special because it incorporates our two newest yarns, Arbor and Vale. Next week we’ll do a feature on the Vale accessories and share the designers’ thoughts about working with our new laceweight. But before we delve into the wonderful world of lace and kick off our Summer of Lace KAL, we want to talk about the Wool People 11 garments. There are eight gorgeous sweaters in three different yarns, and what really stands out to us is the diversity of fabrics the designers have achieved in these wearable, flattering pieces.

For cozy bundling in the light but warm stockinette that Shelter creates, Ann Klimpert and Andrea Mowry present Rivet and Ronan. Both of these long-length cardigans rely on Shelter’s airy, woolen-spun nature to stay versatile and hold their shape despite their large swathes of fabric. Rivet has a vintage feel, while Ronan’s is a totally modern silhouette with a collar in fluffy brioche.

For those who like a trim and classic pullover, Mossbank and Bell give a twist to timeless layering pieces by using mostly reverse stockinette fabric. The pebbly texture of the purl side is a great way to set off softly rounded cables in a woolen-spun yarn, as Ann McCauley chose to do with Bell. Kerry Robb was inspired by the back side of her swatch in our Newsprint marl, realizing that the bumps blend the contrasting colors into an inviting heathery haze.

Loft in garter stitch is total comfort fabric, and triangular shawls like Nancy Whitman’s Level are comfort wear. For cool summer evenings when you want to linger outdoors, this graphic layer is the remedy. Level’s inventive construction and a dab of intarsia make the knitting sprightlier than usual for a garter triangle. If you’ve got a summer road trip planned, we think light and packable Loft shawls make good travel companions as knitting projects and as finished pieces.

One reason we’ve been so excited to add Arbor to our core yarn line is that it’s entirely different from our woolen-spun yarns. Besides being stronger, denser, and smoother, Arbor is rounder. Its third ply makes the yarn cylindrical rather than helical, and its tighter twist keeps those three plies completely engaged in a happy ménage. Arbor’s stitches don’t blend in amongst their neighbors; they stand proud and individual. And that means we can knit fabrics with more dimension and more vivid texture.

Four of our Wool People designers put Arbor through its paces with very different approaches. Melissa Wehrle uses a simple all-over texture of knits and purls to create a waffly fabric for Harlowe, and a relaxed gauge allows the sweater to drape beautifully. Yoko Hatta’s sculptural Akiko cardigan shows the yarn’s affinity for cables and contrasts moss stitch fronts with a clean plane of fluid stockinette on the back. Olga Buraya-Kefelian opts for a modern, high-impact ribbing treatment to elevate her Boundary mock turtleneck. And Emily Greene pulls out all the stops with panels of directional half-twisted rib in her Divide pullover.

Are you ready to swatch some new fabrics to add to your closet? We hope you find inspiration in the talent and vision of the Wool People designers. Take some time with the new lookbook and let us know what’s calling your name!

 

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Recently released, Vale is the first laceweight offering in our line of core yarns. Since we also currently have our small-batch laceweight Plains in stock, we thought we’d tell you a little more about their similarities as well as their unique qualities. 

Vale and Plains share many similar characteristics: they are both two-ply, worsted spun, breed-specific laceweight yarns made from Rambouillet fleece grown on the plains of Wyoming. Soft and crimpy, Rambouillet is prized for its loft and bounce and creates accessories and garments that are both durable and springy. Patterns made from either Vale or Plains will be warm, light and airy.

Despite these similarities, Vale and Plains also have nuanced differences that make for unique knitting hand and finished fabric characteristics. While both yarns are spun worsted for strength, Plains is a slightly rustic yarn, intentionally spun a bit thick-and-thin which lends a lot of spring to its step. Scoured and combed into buttery smooth top before spinning, the more polished Vale is spun with an even twist and weight, lending a balance and evenness to it while still maintaining some of the bounce of Plains.

When it comes to the micron count of wool, the smaller the number, the softer the fiber. The fleece used for Plains has a micron count of 22. Vale’s micron count is 21.5, making it the softest fiber we’ve sourced to date. Even this small decrease in micron count makes a noticeable difference in terms of the softness of hand of the finished fiber.

The color palettes for both yarns were designed in-house by Jared Flood. The Plains palette offers an assortment of colors, many of which have a counterpart in our worsted-spun, DK-weight Arbor palette. While Vale’s palette incorporates a few favorites from the Arbor yarn line as well, it was uniquely curated to showcase the softer and more sophisticated tones within the color wheel, and in particular was inspired by Jared’s nature photographs taken during his travels (see more of those in our new lookbook).

Working with Mountain Meadow Mill in Wyoming, the same location as the source of the fleece, Plains was Brooklyn Tweed’s first foray into limited-edition yarns. Since Plains is a small-batch, special release, when it’s gone, it’s gone. Conversely, Vale marks an expansion of our permanent offerings of worsted-spun yarns. As an addition to our core yarn line, you can count on Vale being around for years to come (although we do hope that you give it a try sooner than later!).

We are eager to hear about your experience knitting with our newest core yarn Vale, and encourage you to knit with Plains while you still can!

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Today we’re excited to announce a new addition to Brooklyn Tweed’s permanent stable of yarns: an airy Rambouillet laceweight from the softest fleece we’ve ever offered. Vale has been in development since last year and it’s been hard to keep it under our hats! Like all its BT cousins, this breed-specific yarn is 100% American made, from sheep to dyepot. Vale will be available for purchase on May 17. Ready for a sneak peek?

The Fiber

Rambouillet sheep are also known as French Merinos; two hundred years of careful breeding developed a fleece with even more crimp and bounce than the merino that’s widely available today. In the United States, Rambouillets are a favorite finewool breed on the western plains. The growers we work with in Wyoming achieve wool with a micron count of 21.5, the softest fiber we’ve used to date.

The Process

The same partners who help us produce Arbor bring our Rambouillet bales from raw fleece to finished skein. Chargeurs, based in South Carolina, scours it clean and combs it into the smooth and consistent top that’s required for worsted spinning. The fiber is shipped on to Maine for worsted spinning at the Jagger Brothers mill, and then travels a short distance to the Saco River Dyehouse for eco-friendly skein dyeing.

The Colors

Vale’s 14 custom shades augment some touchstone colors from the Arbor line with sophisticated softer tones. Dusty rose shades, glacial blues, and lichen yellows form a focused palette that offers both neutrals and brights.

The Knitting

We’ve handpicked a selection of favorite lace pieces designed by Jared Flood from the BT archives to re-knit in Vale. (Any guesses which they are?) We love the polished, even spin of this yarn, which shows off stitch motifs to maximum effect.

Mull over the palette and the pattern options and get ready to join us for a summer of lace! We’ll be hosting our first-ever knitalong starting in early July and posting our favorite tips and tricks for lace success. If you’re lace-curious but haven’t tried this beautiful form of knitting yet, it will be the perfect opportunity to get your feet wet.

Join us this week while we discuss Vale and all of its project possibilities on the BT Ravelry forum.

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Our latest collection, BT Yokes, offers even the most seasoned colorwork knitter lots of opportunity for experimentation. We had fun playing with color options for Schulz, a unisex pullover designed by Michele Wang. Try Cinnabar or Thistle for a bright pop of vintage nostalgia, or a neutral like Cast Iron or Pumpernickel for a slightly more subdued effect. These are just a few ideas — we can’t wait to see what you come up with!

The colorways as shown in the photo above:

1 — Almanac (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

2 — Tent (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

3 — Thistle (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

4 — Cast Iron (C1 & C3), Fossil (C2)

5 — Pumpernickel (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

6 — Embers (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

7 — Hayloft (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

8 — Cinnabar (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

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Sunbursts, trees and stars, reindeer and snowflakes, mutable landscapes of blended color. In vivid hues or in natural sheep shades, figural or geometric in design, the yoke sweaters of the North Atlantic are distinctive and enduring. The story of their creation in the 20th century is one of enterprise and canny marketing as knitters leveraged traditional skills to make ends meet in a rapidly changing and newly global economy.

The Icelandic lopapeysa, the Scandinavian and Shetland yokes, and the sweaters of the Bohus Stickning cooperative in Sweden may all have their roots in a Greenlandic ornamental accessory called the nuilarmiut that has nothing to do with knitting — it’s an element of traditional formalwear made of glass beads that cover the shoulders and bust in a large collar of brightly patterned geometric designs. The nuilarmiut’s appearance in a 1930 Danish film and, later, on members of the Danish royal family seems to have inspired several Scandinavian knitwear designers to imitate the effect in wool. Three of the earliest known circular yoke patterns bore the name “Eskimo,” suggesting their common inspiration. In the 1940s, the Bohus Stickning company in Sweden made the yoke sweater a mid-century status symbol. The designers’ innovative and masterful color play broke entirely with traditional motifs and methods to create subtly shifting forms and juxtaposed hues, all rendered at extremely fine gauge in luxurious angora-blend yarns. Bohus sweaters were worn by royalty and cultural icons — and commanded prices to match. The knitters’ earnings supported many families during an economically difficult time. Cottage industries in Shetland and Iceland were also quick to capitalize on the international taste for yokes, channeling their potent knitting histories to create garments that became lucrative exports more accessible to the average pocket book.

The strategic position of the patterning on a circular yoke serves two purposes. The designs ring the throat and shoulders like jewelry, drawing attention to the face. The plain body and sleeves heighten this effect while slyly achieving a second end: all that unadorned fabric is easy and relatively speedy knitting. In the case of the famous Shetland yokes, many of which featured tree and star designs borrowed from neighboring Norway, the jumper bodies and sleeves were knit by machine and then passed to the handknitters for the colorwork portion. The sweaters could then be completed at a cracking pace to achieve a successful commercial scale, and the knitters could develop one beautiful variation after another by skillfully shading both the background and foreground colors. The Bohus sweaters were always knit entirely by hand, but even at 8 or 9 stitches to the inch, the plain bodies allowed the most accomplished knitters to complete a couture garment in just a few weeks. Icelandic production knitters still work by hand, but take advantage of their native sheep’s long-stapled fleeces to work at a loose large gauge that supports strong geometric motifs and rapid sweater completion.

Yokes have climbed to the height of fashion, plunged into outmoded fustiness, and ascended once again in recent decades. Across the North Atlantic, a resurgence of admiration for these powerful symbols of national identity has led younger generations to embrace them. Knitters around the world have been quick to appreciate the joy of crafting yokes; a basic circular yoke is one of the most foolproof sweaters to knit, and the possibilities for elaboration are endless.

Brooklyn Tweed pays homage to the bold beauty and variety of yoke designs in five sweaters and two accessories that tip the cap to history, but hew to modern fit principles and allow each designer to explore original ideas. In these pages you’ll find seamless construction (both bottom up and top down), stranded colorwork, cabled texture, and even a wink at classic cartoons. Welcome to BT Yokes.

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