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On this final day of our Winter of Colorwork KAL, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been knitting along with us. With each project uploaded to Ravelry or shared on Instagram, our minds expand with inspiration and the creative potential of this venerable craft we all deeply cherish.

If you have been following along with our KAL blog posts over these past few weeks, your Pascal cardigan, or other colorwork project,  should be finished or nearly complete – but if you still have some knitting to do don’t fret, it’s all a part of the process of hand making!

Though our KAL is ending, we’d love to continue hearing all about your experiences knitting colorwork as well as answer any remaining questions you may still have about colorwork techniques and best practices.

Join us on Ravelry, Instagram, and Facebook for the next few weeks as we continue knitting and exploring colorwork all while sharing the wonderful things created by you.

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Hello knitters, and welcome to the penultimate week of our Winter of Colorwork KAL. Today we are talking about finishing tips and tricks for colorwork cardigans to ensure that each aspect of your knitted garment will wear well over time.

After steeking a cardigan you will need to add some much needed structure to the freshly cut edge by picking up and knitting the collar and button band. Your pattern will indicate how many stitches to pick up for each section of your cardigan, typically along the right front edge, right front neck, top of sleeves & back neck, left front neck, and left front edge. 

If you struggle with picking up the correct amount of stitches for a button band and collar, here is a trick you may find helpful; say your size in the pattern calls for you to pick up 67 stitches over 13 inches on your front edges, or about 5.1 stitches per inch (67 divided by 13). If your front edges measure 14.5 inches instead, for example, multiply your measurement times the stitches per inch (5.1) for a total of 74 stitches (rounded up) to pick up along each front edge.

TIP: Lay your sweater out flat and measure the front edges. If your front edges measure shorter or longer than the pattern schematic, adjust the number of stitches you are picking up in those sections. If your measurement matches the schematic for a different size, you can pick up the number of front edge stitches indicated for that size. 

Once your button band and collar are completed, you’ll next need to fasten down the edge of your steek stitches. This can be accomplished by either by tacking them down with a length of yarn and a darning needle to the inside of the cardigan, or by hand-sewing a length of Petersham or Grosgrain ribbon down each inside front edge after you’ve washed & blocked your sweater. We prefer to use Petersham ribbon, which can be found at most local yarn or fabric stores, as it resembles grosgrain ribbon but has a scalloped, flexible edge that allows it to lay smoothly around curves.

Finally, soak your cardigan and block it to the measurements outlined in the pattern schematic. A bath and a rest will let your yarn bloom, even out your colorwork, and let your sweater show off its true beauty. If you need a quick review of blocking, check out our Foundations: Blocking 101 post in our Resource Library.

When your sweater is nice and dry, sew on your buttons and wear with pride!

TIP: If using a flat button with holes instead of a toggle, sew your buttons on with a thread shank to allow room for the layer of fabric that you are buttoning through to fit comfortably under the button. Use a toothpick or darning needle as a spacer on top of your button as you sew. There are lots of great videos online to guide you!

Next week we will be wrapping up the Winter of Colorwork KAL and hope to see your finished garments! Be sure to share your work online with the hashtags below, and leave a comment here to let us know how your project went.

#BTWinterofColorwork #BTWinterofColorworkKAL

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Welcome back knitters! For those of you who have been knitting Pascal cardigans along with us, you should now be done knitting the body of your cardigan. If you are still working on your sweater, don’t fret! We’ll be here for you when you’re ready.

Before we secure and cut the steek, we’ll be grafting together our underarm stitches using a tapestry needle and the Kitchener Stitch.

The Kitchener Stitch is used to sew live stitches together in a way that mimics a row of knitting. Pieces to be joined are live on needles, with right sides facing out and both needle tips pointing to the right. Use a length of yarn approximately four times the length of the finished seam, attached to the right edge of the fabric on the Back Needle (use the yarn the piece was knitted with, or attach a new length of yarn), and follow the directions in your pattern to work the steps.

TipIf you’re grafting stitches with Quarry or another lightly-spun yarn, twist your working yarn a few times in the direction in which it’s plied (counterclockwise, in the case of Quarry) to add a bit of extra tensile strength to the yarn before you thread your tapestry needle and start seaming.

Once the underarms are grafted, our sweaters are now ready to become cardigans! If this is your first time steeking, we recommend reading through the Special Techniques section of your pattern and our Foundations: Steeking post before proceeding, both of which explain in detail how to complete the following steps.

First, locate your 5 steek stitches and mark the center stitch by sewing a row of basting stitches through the center column of the stitch. The basting stitches will act as a guide to make sure you stay on course as you secure your stitches in the next step.

Before you begin cutting, you must secure your stitches; this is what prevents your knitting from unraveling.

To secure your steek with a crochet hook:
Start on the left lower side of your steek and crochet from bottom to top, working through the left side of the first stitch to the left of center and the right leg of the next stitch to the left, followed by a slip stitch.  Repeat all the way up and fasten off your yarn.

Rejoin your yarn on the right upper side of the steek and work from top to bottom, working through the right leg of the first stitch to the right of center and the left leg of the next stitch to the right, followed by a slip stitch. Repeat all the way down and fasten off your yarn.

Tip: Crochet with a non-superwash wool yarn (Shelter leftovers work great!) so that it sticks securely to your steek stitches!

To secure your steek by hand sewing or with a machine:
Sew two lines of closely spaced stitches to each side of the center stitch from neckline to hem (or hem to neckline).

If using a sewing machine, be careful that you don’t catch your colorwork floats in the feed dogs or on the presser foot. Work slowly and place a sheet of tissue or tracing paper under your fabric to stitch through — you can tear it away once you’ve finished sewing.

[[Video 317107559]]

Once your steek is secure, simply cut through the center column of stitches from hem to neckline to create the front opening of your cardigan. 

Congratulations! Now that you’ve cut your steek, the hardest part is over! Next week we’ll finish up our cardigans by picking up and knitting the band stitches, and tack down the steek stitches.

We hope you’ll share your progress this week in the comments below or in the KAL forum on Ravelry!

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Welcome back knitters, this week we’ll be talking all about the steps needed to join your Pascal sleeves to your sweater body and then begin working through the yoke – the final steps before steeking!

At this point you will have three knitted tubes to work with: two sleeve tubes, a right and a left, on waste yarn or stitch holders and a sweater body tube still live on your needles. To join these three pieces together first locate the “Union Round” section of your pattern, for the digital version of Pascal that will be page 10.

TIP: Lay your three knitted tubes out in front of you to make sure that you’re starting with the right sleeve and not the left – since you’re beginning your round on the front of your sweater, your right sleeve will be the first sleeve that you knit to.

After orienting yourself and your knitted tubes, pick up the sweater body and knit across the right front, your pattern will tell you exactly where to stop before you reach your stitch marker.

To form the right underarm, transfer the indicated number of body stitches to waste yarn or a stitch holder and remove the side marker – these live stitches will be grafted together later with live stitches from your right sleeve as a part of the finishing process. Next, place a new marker to indicate where your raglan shaping will be worked.

Now to join your first sleeve! Place your right sleeve stitches on a spare set of needles and remove the waste yarn or stitch holder that was keeping them in place, a short circular needle or set of DPNs work great for this task. Be sure to keep the separately held live stitches, those that will form the underarm, still on waste yarn or on a stitch holder to be grafted later.

To join these right sleeve stitches to your sweater body, simply knit across them taking care to maintain even tension on the strand of yarn that will now be connecting the sleeve and body together. Once you have worked across your sleeve stitches, place another raglan marker and knit across the back of your sweater body until the point in which your pattern instructs you to stop.

The left sleeve will be worked the same as the right sleeve; first you will transfer underarm stitches to waste yarn or a stitch holder, place a raglan marker, knit across the left sleeve stitches, place another raglan marker, and knit across the left front body stitches to complete the round.

And just like that, you’ve successfully joined your sleeves!

From the sleeve joining round to the final neck bind-off you will continue to work your sleeves and body stitches all on the same longer circular needle. This can feel like slow going at first since you’ll be working over more stitches now than you had before when working three smaller tubes, but rest assured that once you begin your raglan shaping things will begin to speed up again.

For Pascal, both single and double decreases are used for shaping the raglans: Knit 2 Together (K2tog) paired with a modified Slip Slip Knit (SSK), and Knit 3 Together (K3tog) paired with a modified Slip Slip Slip Knit (SSSK). You may be asking yourself, why use two different kinds of decreases? Well, K2tog and K3tog decreases lean to the right / while SSK and SSSK decreases lean to the left \ . In the illustration above, you can see that the right raglan shaping and left neckline both lean to the right, while the left raglan shaping and right neckline both lean to the left. We’ll use decreases that lean the same way to visually complement the slope of each section.

DID YOU KNOW: A raglan sleeve extends in one piece from the underarm to the collar, creating a diagonal seam. It is named after FitzRoy James Henry Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan, who after the loss of his right arm in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 wore this style of sleeve to allow extra range of motion for his remaining arm. In later knitting-related history, Baron Raglan was responsible for ordering James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan (for whom the sweater was named) to lead the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava (for which the headwear was named) in 1854.

Join us next week when we’ll dive into the world of steeking, and be another step closer to a wonderful wearable heirloom. Share your progress this week in the comments below or in the KAL forum on Ravelry!

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Hello again Winter of Colorwork KAL friends! We’re approaching the end of the first month of 2019 — can you believe it? — and have been making ample progress on our Pascal sweaters. Last week, we talked about the importance of swatching, things to keep in mind when casting on, and knitting up the sleeves for your Pascal. Once both of your sleeves are complete, it’s time to knit the sweater body.

Pascal’s body begins with a garter stitch welt hem. Although the body of the sweater is knit in the round, the hem is knit flat to eliminate the need to cut through any additional stitches, and reduces any bulk that would be created at the hem when tacking down the cut edge of your cardigan.

Once the hem is complete, steek stitches are cast on before joining the work in the round. The Backward Loop Cast On is often used for the purpose of casting on stitches for steeks because it’s an easy way to add stitches to fabric that is already established, and it is a loose cast on that is easy to cut through. Follow the instructions in the pattern (or below) to cast on the stitches called for in the pattern.

Make a slip knot on R needle to begin, now holding the needle with the slip knot in your right hand, *use the working yarn to make a loop around your left thumb, then place this loop onto the R needle; repeat from * until you have the required number of stitches on your needle.
If using this method to cast on stitches to a piece in progress, omit slip knot and begin at *.

Note: Alternating colors in the steek stitches, as called for in the pattern, will make it easier to identify which stitch will be the center of your steek when it comes time to secure and cut through the fabric.

Once you have your steek stitches established and begin to knit the sweater body in the round, continue working the pattern as written for your desired fit. Please note, the body and sleeves must end on the same chart round so that the pattern will be aligned correctly on the yoke. Keep this in mind as you complete the body of the sweater.

Next week we’ll be joining the sleeves and the body together to knit the yoke. This bottom-to-top method of construction is often used in colorwork patterns that are knit seamlessly in the round, and we think you’ll find our tutorial useful if you haven’t experienced this method of construction before.

Share your progress with us in the comments below or in the KAL forum on Ravelry, and do let us know if you have any questions about colorwork knitting or helpful tips you’d like to share.

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Let’s Knit Along!

[[Video {312990578}]]

We’re so excited to finally start our Pascal Cardigans with you for our Winter of Colorwork KAL — are you?! Let’s get to it…

Cast On & Sleeves

This week we’re starting with the sleeves. They’re knit in the round, starting with a garter stitch band, so the Long Tail Cast On is a great choice to create a tidy edge.

But first — have you swatched in garter stitch, stockinette, and colorwork to determine the needle sizes you’ll need?

14 stitches & 22 rounds = 4″ in stockinette stitch with Size A needle(s), after blocking | Suggested Size: 6 mm (US 10)
14 stitches & 20 rounds = 4″ in colorwork chart patterns with Size B needle(s), after blocking | Suggested Size: 6.5 mm (US 10½)
14 stitches & 32 rows = 4″ in garter stitch with Size C needle(s), after blocking | Suggested Size: 5.5 mm (US 9)

(Your colorwork fabric should be swatched, wet-blocked, and measured when dry to determine whether Size B should be larger, smaller, or equal to Size A. We recommend Speed-Swatching for Circular Knitting, described in the Special Techniques section of your Pascal pattern and in our Swatching 101 article.)

Check your pattern schematic before casting on to see if you’ll need to lengthen or shorten your sleeves. Remember to take yoke depth into account – the deeper the yoke, the farther down your body the armholes reach, so the wrist-to-armhole length of your sleeves will be shorter. (Pascal’s yoke and armholes are a few inches deeper than you’d find on a slim fitted pullover, for example.)

Tip: You’ll need to make any length adjustments before reaching the colorwork section of your sleeves, so that the colorwork will line up on the sleeves and body of your sweater. Don’t worry – if you finish your sweater and discover your sleeve length isn’t quite right, it’s easy to fix!

Cast on your sleeve with your Size C needle for the garter stitch cuff, switch to your Size A needle to knit the main portion of your sleeve in stockinette, then switch again to your Size B needle for the colorwork section.

Colorwork Tips

Before starting your colorwork section, read about color dominance and maintaining even float tension in our Stranded Colorwork 101 article.

The column to the side of each of the colorwork charts in Pascal illustrates which colors should be held in which position so that the colorwork motif will stand out from the background.

The dominant color should always be stranded below the background color. If you hold one color in each hand, the easiest way to manage color dominance is to hold the dominant color in your left hand and bring it from it below the background color (held in your right hand) on the WS of the fabric. If you hold both colors in the same hand, be sure that your dominant color yarn is always coming from below your background color yarn.

In the example above, the light colored motif will stand out against the dark colored background. If you have a dark motif on a light background, be extra careful to maintain color dominance so that your dark color doesn’t visually recede. Following the color dominance guide in your pattern will ensure that your colorwork pops!

Note that there is a separate colorwork chart for each Pascal sleeve – mark each sleeve as you finish it so you can tell the left sleeve from the right.

Once each sleeve is complete, transfer your stitches to a holder or to waste yarn – then you’re ready to knit the body!

Happy knitting!

How to Knit Along

For our Winter of Colorwork KAL, we’ll be knitting the Pascal cardigan from our Winter 19 collection – but you can choose any pattern you like! We’ll share our tips and techniques for working each part of the cardigan — choosing colors, swatching for stranded colorwork, sweater construction, and steeking, to name a few.

Choose your favorite yarn and knitting project that features stranded colorwork. (The project should be knit using Brooklyn Tweed yarn, worked from a Brooklyn Tweed pattern, or both.) If you already have a WIP, feel free to join the KAL to finish your project or ask us questions if you’re stuck.

• Check with your local yarn store to see if they have classes or meet ups scheduled for the KAL.
• Follow the Winter of Colorwork KAL thread in the Brooklyn Tweed Fan Club forum on Ravelry.
• Read our weekly blog posts for each week’s tips and techniques — no matter your knitting pace!

Next week: Part 4 — Begin the Body!

#BTWinter19

#BTWinterofColorworkKAL

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Today is the big day! With the launch of our Winter 19 collection, the Winter of Colorwork KAL has officially begun.

If you haven’t decided which pattern you’re going to knit along with, you still have time — the Cast On Date is next Wednesday, January 23. Browse our Winter 19 collection for some new colorwork patterns, or search our pattern archive. There are also thousands of wonderful patterns to choose from on Ravelry.

Then, read our previous post for tips on selecting your colors — whether or not you knit Gudrun Johnston’s Pascal Cardigan with us, the same tips apply!

Selecting a Sweater Size

Let’s start planning our Pascal Cardigans by deciding which size, shape, and length to knit. Pascal can be made with or without waist shaping, allowing for variation depending on how you’d like your sweater to fit. In the pattern, the finished chest sizes are the same for both the “women’s” and “men’s” versions. The body and sleeve length are longer in the “men’s” version of the pattern.

If you’d like your finished sweater to be snugger or looser, this is an easy pattern to adjust for gauge. Simply go down or up a needle size, being sure to check your gauge with a swatch to calculate your final measurements first!

Keep in mind that chunky weight yarns, such as Quarry, have special “rules” to consider when selecting size. The bulkier the yarn you’re using, the bigger the difference between the garment’s circumference on the outside (public-facing side) and the circumference on the inside (where your body is). Because bulky yarns create very thick fabrics, the inside measurement of a bulky sweater is tighter than the outside measurement, much like the lanes on the inside of a race-track are a shorter distance than the lanes on the outside.

Remember to take the thickness of your yarn and knitted fabric into account when choosing ease for sweaters that require heavier yarns. For more reading on the topic of fit and ease, (re)visit our article on Selecting a Sweater Size below!

Swatching for Stranded Colorwork

As with any project, don’t skip the swatching step! Chances are, the colorwork pattern you select will be knit in the round. As such, we recommend the Speed Swatching method for checking your gauge and color choices.

Circular knitting, in which every round is worked from the Right Side, can produce a different gauge than flat knitting due to a subtle variation in tension between knitting and purling that many knitters experience. Swatching is all about simulating the fabric of your final garment, so when preparing for a circular project, swatching in the round is the best approach. You can find our instructions on how to do so in our Swatching 101 article below!

Join us next week for Cast On Day, and in the meantime, let us know which pattern you’ll be knitting!

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We wrote plenty of resources last year leading up to our Winter of Colorwork KAL, so we’ll use this time before and during the KAL as opportunities to share our tips and techniques for working each part of your colorwork project — choosing colors, swatching for stranded colorwork, and sweater construction (if you’re working on a sweater), to name just a few.

Members of the Brooklyn Tweed Team are also knitting along with Gudrun Johnston’s Pascal Cardigan in Quarry (to be released next week with our Winter 19 collection), so our posts each week will be focused on working the parts of this project in particular. However, many of our tips, tricks, and suggested resources can still apply to whatever project you may be knitting — so feel free to participate with any pattern of your choice. (Tip: If you choose a project that involves steeking, such as the Pascal Cardigan, you can participate in Fringe Association’s Steekalong, as well!)

This week, we’re covering choosing colors for stranded colorwork knitting, the best part after choosing your pattern. It’s a wonderful opportunity to play — you can produce such a wide range of visual results from a single colorwork chart, depending on how you interact with your colors and especially when you have an eye toward the concepts of hue and value. We wrote a crash course on a few fundamental rules about color theory for stranded colorwork and how you can use this knowledge as a springboard in crafting your color palettes — click below to (re)read!

We knit our Pascal samples in the following colorways, and as you can see, you can produce such a wide range of color stories — whether bold or muted, dark or light.

And if you’re in need of more inspiration — Christina of the BT Team is knitting her Pascal in Slate (MC), Sandstone (C1), and Lazulite (C2). We used her swatches for our Steeking article — the motifs look quite a bit like a flock of sheep in this color combination!

Jamie, on the other hand, is knitting her Pascal in Sandstone (MC), Flint (C1), and Garnet (C2). The bright and rich red of Garnet pops beautifully against Sandstone and Flint’s neutral brown tones.

So, now that you’re armed with some color theory and (hopefully) plenty of inspiration — go forth and plan! If you’re knitting Pascal, don’t forget to download our Pascal Coloring Sheet to get your creative juices flowing. This is a great tool to test color placement before starting a swatch. As a supplement or alternative, you can also use the Compare Colors feature on all our yarn pages.

Christina is particularly keen on helping people choose colors for their knitting, so if you have any questions or would like a recommendation for any colorwork project, leave a comment below with the pattern name and color family you prefer, and she’ll be happy to help. (Tip: It’ll make her day!)

All right friends, it’s time to hone your colorwork knitting skills! Next week we’ll be talking about selecting a sweater size and swatching for colorwork, but until then you can read more about the Winter of Colorwork KAL and join the conversation in our Ravelry pre-chatter thread.

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One of the perks of working here in the Brooklyn Tweed office is getting to see and try on samples for upcoming collections well in advance of their releases — though, for our queues, this can be as much a curse as it is a blessing! We know a pattern is special when we all flock to the same design. While we have a special spot in our hearts for every item in our upcoming Winter 19 collection, we were especially drawn to Gudrun Johnston’s Pascal Cardigan. Garter stitch, colorwork, and plush Quarry — surely few can beat it in feats of coziness! Plus, its woodsy three-color motif struck us as being enjoyable for stranded colorwork knitters of all levels, and just the right thing to get us out of the winter doldrums.

With all this in mind, we figured — two summers ago was our Summer of Lace; why not make this winter our Winter of Colorwork? Won’t you knitalong with us?

For our Winter of Colorwork KAL, we’ll be knitting the Pascal Cardigan and sharing our tips and techniques for working each part of the cardigan — choosing colors, swatching for stranded colorwork, sweater construction, and (yes!) steeking, to name a few. However, you’re also welcome to join us by knitting any colorwork pattern in our archive or any colorwork pattern using Brooklyn Tweed yarn.

The pattern for the Pascal Cardigan will be available on January 16 with the release of our Winter 19 collection, but if you’d like to start planning your project, you can download and print our Pascal Coloring Sheet to get started with choosing your colors. Many of our Retail Stockists will be joining in on the Pascal fun as well, so don’t forget to get connected with a BT stockist near you!

For those of you interested in purchasing yarn to knit Pascal ahead of the pattern launch, this is the yarn, yardage and sizing information:

34¾ (39½, 44, 48½, 53¼, 57¾)” [88 (100.5, 112, 123, 135, 147) cm] circumference at chest (buttoned)
The finished chest measurements are the same for both the Women’s and Men’s version.

Quarry Yarn:  (WOMEN’S) [MEN’S] (6, 6, 7, 7*, 8, 9) [6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9] skeins of Main Color (MC); (1) [1] skein of Color 1 (C1); (1)[1] skein of Color 2 (C2)
*Note: Women’s fourth size uses almost all of seven skeins. You may wish to consider purchasing an extra skein

Chunky weight wool yarn: (1025, 1135, 1275, 1400, 1550, 1675) [1060, 1195, 1335, 1470, 1615, 1740] yards MC; (90, 100, 110, 115, 125, 130) [90, 100, 110, 115, 125, 130] yards C1; (105, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160) [105, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160] yards C2

How to Join the Winter of Colorwork KAL

First, choose your favorite yarn and knitting project that features stranded colorwork (yoke motif or allover motif — as long as it’s stranded, anything is fair game!). The project should be knit using BT yarn, worked from a BT pattern, or both. If you already have a WIP, feel free to join the KAL to finish your project or ask us questions if you’re stuck.

If you choose a stranded colorwork pattern that specifically involves steeking, you can also participate in the Fringe and Friends Steekalong, run by Karen Templer of Fringe Association. (Knit one, KAL two!)

Then, head over to the Winter of Colorwork KAL Chatter thread on Ravelry to 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

January 9 Selecting Colors for Stranded Colorwork Knitting
January 16 — Pattern Selection, Fit and Swatching with Your Colors
January 23 Cast-On and Knitting Pascal: Beginning the Sleeves
January 30 Knitting Pascal: Beginning the Body
February 6 Knitting Pascal: Joining the Sleeves to the Body
February 13 — Knitting Pascal: Steeking
February 20 — Knitting Pascal: Finishing
February 27 — Winter of Colorwork KAL Wrap-Up*

* We’ll be posting each week to the blog, but do know that you can continue working on your project after the last blog post. We’ll continue to respond to questions in the BT Fan Club Forum on Ravelry, as well as admire your shared projects and participate in group discussions!

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 date for the KAL is January 23. We look forward to knitting, and learning, alongside you!

#BTWinter19

#BTWinterofColorworkKAL

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A year of new yarns and patterns mean lots of swatches for us to play with here in the Brooklyn Tweed office. So we thought, what better way to repurpose our Peerie colorwork swatches than to refresh our Lavender Sachets tutorial and share the inspiration?

We love how cheerful, festive, and sweet-smelling this new batch of colorwork sachets turned out. They’re also delightfully quick and satisfying to make — so much so that we couldn’t help but zip up Svenson Pullover cabled swatches too. (Last-minute stocking stuffers, anyone?)

Eager to repurpose your own swatches? Revisit our tutorial below!

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!

Originally published on December 6, 2017.

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