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Well worn and worn well.

Our Deep Fall 18 release welcomes the crisp fall air with garments and accessories that merge classic, minimalist style with casual utility.

Crafted by our Design Team with a focus on purposeful fit, proportion, and shaping details, the pieces here invite easy styling. We curated fitted silhouettes (Blume and Svenson for Her) that make for polished, standalone pieces;

relaxed pullovers (Aldous, Solenn, and Berenice) that inspire fun layering;

and an exquisitely textured roomy cardigan and bold accessories (Haskell, High Pines Hat, and Leander) to throw on and tie a complete look together.

These pieces are happy to play with beloved closet staples, or to form a foundation for a capsule wardrobe intended to be well worn and worn well.

Here is understated sophistication to reach for through the seasons — we hope you find a piece that makes your eyes and hands sing!

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What began as Jared Flood’s personal blog has evolved over the years into Brooklyn Tweed, a company guided by its core team members’ collective passion for wool, knitting, and design. This passion continues to be nurtured, shaped, and made more nuanced by the unique perspectives that these team members — we — each bring to the table. Staying true to our voices has always been the hallmark of our strength as a company, and as we grow forward together, we always keep in mind that magic happens during the journey, not just upon arriving at a final destination.

Each day at Brooklyn Tweed is filled with the beautifully mundane and the ordinarily amazing. To shed some light on how we work behind the scenes, how we think about the products we make, and how we approach the craft of making clothing as a whole, Jamie Maccarthy, our Customer and Community Relations Specialist, will be sitting down with members of our team, sharing with you why we deeply care about the work that we do, as well as more about our quirks, our humanness, where we are now, and where we’re heading.

Say hello to Christina Rondepierre, the Marketing Manager here at Brooklyn Tweed.

Christina — whose thoughts are never far from slow fashion conversations taking place in our making community at large — began building her slow fashion wardrobe nearly a decade ago. What started as a bubbling urge to knit and knit and make and make has, with time, simmered to a steady focus on sourcing, sustainability, and cohesion in her craft. 

Sourcing

Of paramount importance in Christina’s slow fashion wardrobe is sourcing, both in where a garment is sourced and where the materials to make that garment are sourced. If a slow fashion wardrobe means making a conscious decision about what enters one’s closet based on the ethics of its production, it would follow that the choices around what is included should take into account where those things are coming from.

During her first few years as a knitter, Christina didn’t have the context to question the roots of the materials she was working with. Instead, the desire to fill her closet with me-made garments drove her parallel desire to accumulate yarn.

Christina’s exposure to Brooklyn Tweed early on in her knitting journey played a large role in her realization of the importance of known-sources wool. Each skein of Brooklyn Tweed’s woolen-spun yarn passing through her fingers encouraged a new thoughtfulness — where are the sheep who made the fiber that would become this yarn? Who are the ranchers, the millworkers, the dyers? As she learned about “new techniques, fibers, and tools, [there came] a natural response to want to dive deeper, to elevate [her] craft and to learn as much as [she could].”

Given the pervasiveness of mass production, to be able to point a finger at a map and name the ranch, mill, or dyehouse where a yarn is made is truly something special. Knowing the where of a garment and its materials affords a unique ability to support the communities that continue to keep our domestic textile supply chain alive. As many of us wool lovers know, “it’s really difficult to keep a sheep’s fleece clean, and the quality of the wool is dependent on the living conditions of these majestic animals. Purchasing quality fine-wool ensures a market share for the ranchers who spend their time and effort and pour their hearts into tending to their flocks.” Christina consciously, and actively, seeks out yarns that contribute to the growth of the deeper economies inhabited by ranchers and other domestic supply chain partners.

Christina sporting Carol Feller’s Carpino Pullover from Wool People 6 (left; Loft in Wool Socks) and Jared Flood’s Skiff Hat (right; Shelter in Soot). Cameo role: her lovely pup, Riley!

Sustainability

In looking at the where and how of a garment or material, inevitably the question of resources comes into play. If we can point to the location of production, as well as to the people and animals producing, we also need to consider how often the production is happening and at what costs. Succinctly put, “the goal of sustainability is to make sure that the resources you’re using are able to be replenished instead of being depleted.”

Brooklyn Tweed’s ranch-specific yarn line opened up a new space for exploration in Christina’s personal making practice. In speaking with Rebecca Burgess of Fibershed, the realization that yarn can be the end product of a larger, sustainable practice was eye-opening and connected many threads that Christina had come across in her academic experience studying agriculture, permaculture, and globalization. She says, “When you start incorporating other ways that sheep can help increase the health of the land on which they are grown, those sheep add a whole new level to the sustained productivity of their landscape.”

There’s an additional layer that often goes without acknowledgement in larger conversations about sustainability — whether or not something is sustainable for an individual maker to produce. When considering sustainability in her own wardrobe, in addition to considering the environmental costs of the materials being used, Christina asks herself: “Do I have the ability and am I willing to care for this item for 5 years (or more)? How much do I need?” If she were to knit 12 sweaters each year for the next 5 years, that would be 60 sweaters to wash, mend, and wear — with a full time job, a family, and other obligations, it wouldn’t be sustainable to keep producing and tending to handmade garments at that rapid of a rate.

Now that Christina is at the point where she’s content with the foundations of her slow fashion wardrobe, she finds herself exploring ready-to-wear garments produced by companies and artisans that share her values. We live in a moment where many ready-to-wear garments are produced in the slow fashion spirit with varying degrees of success. These companies make rounding out a wardrobe that balances the handmade and the readymade possible, and something that Christina is happy and excited to be constantly working towards.

Christina in Joji Locatelli’s Manzanilla Pullover (Arbor in Dorado).

Cohesion

With the right ingredients, a capsule wardrobe hits all the right notes for Christina and invites a cohesion into her closet that would otherwise be wanting.

Instead of focusing on a seasonal capsule wardrobes, Christina incorporates a few different mini capsules into her rotation throughout the year. This approach to season-less capsules not only maintains Christina’s consistent aesthetic, but also increases the affordability of a slow fashion wardrobe. With fewer pieces of high quality that mix and match well, Christina can feel good about the slow fashion wardrobe that she is creating and nurturing. Before she begins a new project, she always asks herself how she can wear it with existing items in her wardrobe, and what color choices will allow her to wear the new-to-be item throughout the year.

“What I’m excited about most right now are designer specific capsules,” she says, as knitwear designers with strong points of view create garments that blend together harmoniously through the years. With a Jared Flood capsule wardrobe already in heavy rotation, Christina’s next focus is on Emily Greene‘s designs. In addition to her wardrobe picks below, she’s currently knitting the Kaare Cardigan in Quarry (Obsidian) and the Prism Hat in Shelter (Yellowstone)!

While many of us makers share common goals in regards to our making practices, Christina’s perspective welcomes us all to ponder more on sourcing, sustainability, and cohesion as we curate our own slow fashion wardrobes. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on slow fashion throughout the month of October, and can’t wait to share more perspectives from the BT team with you.

Freja Cardigan in Quarry (Moonstone), Fretwork Cowl in Quarry (Alabaster; discontinued color, but Sandstone is a lovely substitute!), and Skiff Hat in Shelter (Soot)

Tensile Pullover in Loft (Artifact), Divide Pullover in Arbor (Fleet), and Hatch Hat in Arbor (Humpback)

Follow Christina’s making journey on Instagram and Ravelry!

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The demand for finewool is soaring both at home and internationally, as consumers worldwide rediscover the benefits of wearing, crafting, and living with wool. In order to meet this demand sustainably, the cost of domestic finewool has risen multiple times this past year, as have the labor costs at other stages of the supply chain in textile manufacturing (shearing, baling, and scouring).

This is good news for our wool growers, who are now benefiting from a market in which the labor and care they devote to preserving and furthering the traditions of the American sheep industry are reflected in and compensated fairly by the higher prices they are able to receive for their domestically grown wool.

This is also good news for our partners at other stages of the textile supply chain. It enables more skilled workers to be employed in the wool industry, ensures that their skills are fairly compensated, and, at a larger scale, supports the viability of our remaining domestic textile infrastructure.

Of course, the rise in domestic wool prices also has an impact on companies who choose to create products with American-grown, breed-specific finewool. For example, the price per pound of the Targhee-Columbia fleece we use for Shelter, Loft, and Quarry has increased by more than 40% since we sourced our last clip. The prices of the Targhee, Rambouillet, and Merino fleeces we use for Arbor, Vale, and Peerie have also increased by an average of over 20%.

Sourcing 100% American and breed-specific wool, developing and producing close to home, and supporting and reinvesting in our domestic textile industry has always been and continues to be important to us a company. In order to stay true to this commitment and keep up with our rising production costs, we have increased the prices of our core yarns — Shelter, Loft, Quarry, Arbor, Vale, and Peerie, as of September 10, 2018.

Thank you so very much for your support throughout these years — it is what allows us to do what we do: design and produce yarns that reflect our values in traceable, reproducible, and sustainable ways; support this industry of which we are a small part; and provide a meaningful experience to makers all over the world.

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This year we’re welcoming the highly-anticipated return of fall with two new pattern collections, the first of which is now ready for you to immerse yourself in today — Early Fall 18.

The conception of this collection began with a curious attraction to the quiet yet compelling colors, shapes, and textures found in the art of paper folding. Our Design Team took this inspiration to their drawing boards and created an exciting collection that embodies those first feelings of intrigue by challenging our perceptions of how a knitted garment can be constructed, assembled, and made.

In Early Fall 18, you’ll find garments that appear angular and sculptural, but maintain sinuous drape and fluidity. You’ll explore construction methods that coax you out of your comfort zone, all while remaining true to the intuitive joys of handmaking. You’ll also feel emboldened to follow paths that go sideways, perform maneuvers that tessellate, and traverse planes that fold.

Using our core worsted-spun yarns — Arbor, Peerie, and Vale — as your clay, you’ll sculpt beautifully clever pieces that will delight and serve you for years to come.

Join us in exploring and melding these two genres of handmaking — we’re so looking forward to seeing what you discover.

 

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Our recent Foundations installment on Reading Your Knitting has had us thinking about our own developments as knitters, the things we’ve learned, and the things we continue to learn as we progress in our craft. So, we asked members of the Brooklyn Tweed Team to look back and share the moments that helped expand their skills, what marked a significant development in their knitting careers, and what finally made them gasp and say, “Oh, now I’m a knitter!”

Read on, laugh, and feel empowered by stories of our aha! moments — and share your own in the comments below!

 

I still have revelatory moments even though I’ve been knitting for a few years. There is always something new to learn with knitting, but my first of these moments happened when I finally figured out how to count my stitches and distinguish between a knit and a purl. When I first started, I couldn’t figure out how to do seed stitch because it kept becoming 1×1 ribbing. I was so confused and frustrated but that’s really how I learned to understand and read knitting. — Sara Cade, Wholesale Specialist

What finally made me gasp and say, “Oh, now I’m a knitter!” was when I learned how to fix lace by trying to figure out what Laura Nelkin was doing with her pinned out dropped stitches! — Kel Moore, Wholesale Manager

One of the things I made in my first year of being a “real” knitter was a large lace shawl. At the time I was in between teaching jobs and had a lot of time on my hands, which fueled a desire to experiment with patterns well beyond my beginner skill set so that I could expedite my knitterly growth. I dove right into that lace shawl pattern knowing full and well that it was beyond my abilities — but from that one single project I learned so, so much! I learned how to read a chart and how to read my stitches; I learned how to fix a mistake in a working row and a few rows below; and perhaps, most importantly, I learned how to let go and move on when things weren’t coming out perfectly. With every stitch I thank past Jamie for taking that leap early on and trusting herself to undertake such an unfamiliar (and at times scary) project. I continue to reap the benefits of her bravery to this day! — Jamie Maccarthy, Customer & Community Relations Specialist

I’d say that a significant marker of development in my knitting career came upon reading Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann. A good friend handed me a copy when she learned I was ready to move beyond hats and scarves toward knitting garments. EZ’s recipes were eye-opening in that they gave both instruction and permission to move beyond the printed pattern, allowing the knitter to create a knitted item of her own creation. My path toward knitting independence was furthered upon attending Schoolhouse Press’s Knitting Camps, originated by EZ and now led by her daughter Meg Swansen. Over the years I attended camp, I learned additional ways to make my knitting my own as well as methods and techniques that improved my knitting skills. Experiencing gauge or rowing out issues with stockinette stitch? Try knitting-back-backwards. Want a tidier-looking ribbing? Use the Norwegian purl. Learning how to manipulate my stitches forwards and backwards, regardless of which side of the work is facing me, has improved my ability to read my stitches in a way that makes for smoother and more confident knitting. — Jen Hurley, Office Manager

 

I learned how to knit from a friend in high school. We used a booklet that we bought at a craft store and I happened upon a plain text website that had some basic knitting instructions that helped me cobble together enough guidance to knit garter stitch scarves. I exclusively used the Backwards Loop Cast-On for about six years or so, diligently knitting my scarves and other basic projects. I wasn’t aware at the time that there are many, many ways to cast on. I would cast on my stitches very loosely and as I’d knit, my gauge would inevitably tighten, resulting in a bell-shaped fabric on the cast-on edge of my project. Eventually, I heard about the Long-Tail Cast-On method. By this time there were YouTube videos with instructional tutorials, so I watched a video of this technique over and over until I figured out how to do it — it took me a lot of time and patience to master. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the feeling that I had when it finally clicked. I remember thinking that I could now knit anything and it would actually look how I wanted it to. For me, it marked the transition from homemade to handmade in my knitting journey and it opened the world of knitting wide open. — Christina Rondepierre, Marketing Manager

 

When I learned how to knit four years ago (while stuck in the dorms during the Portland Snowpocalypse of 2014), YouTube was my best friend. As a (shy) full-time student, I didn’t quite have many opportunities to seek out knitting groups or sign up for knitting classes at local yarn stores, so many of the resources that helped me gain my skills I had to find online. Now that I think about it, I’m actually quite lucky to have picked up the craft at a time when so many resources are easily accessible from the comfort of my electronic devices!

More recently however, I’ve found myself in a space and occupation where I get to talk and write about knitting all the timewhether via e-correspondences or with a team member a mere couple feet away from my desk. It’s amazing how trying to put into words how to perform a complicated knitting technique, how to perform a simple knitting technique, or even just expressing wonder at a pattern design can encourage one to think more deeply about what happens when you pick up two sticks and a string. So, by making these connections — in the mind and with fellow makers — the current (less shy) me has become very emboldened and eager to keep growing in this making journey. — Korina Yoo, Marketing Coordinator

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The transition from spring to summer invites us to consider our knitting in new ways, and with this in mind we are elated to be releasing our Wool People 12 collection today with its array of easy to wear sweaters and accessories that are perfect for this seasonal shift.

Inspired by the organic subtleties of coastal formations, Wool People 12 elevates simplicity of shape with intricate details and engaging techniques. Each designer featured in this collection has made the most of our Loft, Peerie, Arbor, and Vale yarns — finding the sweet spot where lightness of hand meets structure and drape.

From budding talents to seasoned experts, we have been fortunate to collaborate with designers from around the world for our Wool People series, and treasure each opportunity to witness a melding of BT’s contemporary style with each individual designer’s aesthetic. 

Join us in celebrating the talents of our guest Wool People designers, and feel inspired by the serenity of the Oregon Coast while perusing the collection lookbook, where you’ll surely find your next summer knitting project.

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Today we have the thrill and pleasure to share our newest core yarn with knitters around the world. Peerie is four worsted-spun plies of all-American Merino wool, soft and sleek and springy, perfectly suited for stranded colorwork and so much more. It comes in our largest palette yet — 45 sumptuous solids — to support the tonal shifts, complementary notes, and zings of contrast necessary for Fair Isle-inspired knits.

Any yarn we add to our permanent stable needs to be a true workhorse, so we made sure Peerie would shine in all kinds of projects, from textural stitchwork to cables to lace. You can see the results of our ardent swatching in our new lookbook.

 

Four patterns from our archives are now available with directions for knitting in Peerie as well as the original yarn. You’ll find the fresh versions in the lookbook, and if you already own the pattern you’ll see a free update posted to your library on our website and/or Ravelry.

Most of all, we hope Peerie inspires you to play with color. As a tasting project to introduce the new yarn and the possibilities of the palette Jared Flood’s Lucerne hat pattern is ideal for knitters new to colorwork, with short carries and simple three-and-one color exchanges. Download a Lucerne hat coloring page and start exploring the possibilities of Peerie’s 45 colorway palette. Kits are available in six different combinations of two to four hues to get you started. If you’d like to join us for a speedy knit along with the Lucerne hat, join us in the BT Fan Club on Ravelry today!

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Colorwork traditions have steadily been on our minds since we began the development of Peerie, our first fingering-weight, worsted-spun yarn. Deeply rooted in knitting traditions from around the world, we have always had a fond place in our knitterly hearts for the use of color to transform knit fabric into a work of art representative of the region from which the chosen technique originated. The Shetland Isles are well known for their colorwork traditions, and the name “Peerie” comes from the Shetland vernacular meaning “small” — it felt apropos to name our newest core yarn as such, especially given that peerie bands played a large role in the development of Peerie’s color palette. 

With a mix of familiar colors from Vale and Arbor as well as new colorways unique to Peerie, its palette is our most expansive to date, with 45 colors that offer a rainbow of options for discerning and playful makers alike. The joyful interplay of color that can be captured by simply alternating between shades is a source of endless inspiration to us, and one that we never tire of. If you’ve ever worked a Fair Isle, stranded, or any other kind of colorwork motif, you likely know how important it is to have a range of hues and values to choose from. You may recall our recent post about creating a color story for a Galloway cardigan. These tips can be applied to any colorwork project and help with the selection of a Peerie palette, which includes 11 light values, 13 medium values, and 21 dark values. This range of colors provides a variety of tonal variations within each color family — enough choices and combinations to keep a knitter busy for quite a while!*

Though designed with colorwork in mind, Peerie is equally beautiful when used to showcase other stitchwork. Our lookbook, available on May 30, will feature an exploration of the textures, cables, and lace fabrics that can be created with Peerie and will serve as a source of inspiration to guide you through your wardrobe planning. 

Seeing Peerie in the hands of makers marks a new chapter in our yarn family. Its production strengthens our bond with our domestic supply chain partners, namely Jagger Brothers where the yarn is spun and Maine Dye and Textiles where the yarn is skein-dyed. Peerie is a continuation of our intention to expand upon our breed-specific yarn offerings, this time with a new fiber source: 100% Merino wool humanely sheared from sheep raised in the American West.

Peerie will be available for purchase on May 30 — we can’t wait for you to join us in celebrating the arrival of this beautiful yarn!

*Never knit colorwork before? That’s okay! Our upcoming Foundations series will be covering this topic so be sure to sign up for our Outpost newsletter if you haven’t yet.

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In the wool world, there is perhaps no other fiber more ubiquitous than merino. From our fiber and making community to the ready-to-wear industry, merino has become interchangeable with wool, regardless of the specific fiber content of the wool. However, beyond fabric, yarn and other textiles, Merino itself is its own breed of sheep, with a rich history dating back to 12th century Spain and distinct fleece characteristics that make our breed-specific-loving hearts sing. How is it that this one word — merino — can refer to two quite different things?

As we discussed in our Foundations installment on Breed Specificity, most commercial wool yarn manufacturers who produce yarns for both handknitting and ready-to-wear garments, focus on blending wool from different breeds of sheep into a homogenous fiber with the aim of amplifying softness.

This quality of softness is often expressed via micron count. A micron is a unit of measurement used for the diameter, and therefore fineness, of a fiber — the lower the micron count, the finer the fiber; the higher the micron count, the hardier or “coarser” the fiber.

For a finewool, commercial wool yarn manufacturers aim for an average micron range of 19–21.5 microns. In the process of blending wool from various breeds of sheep, only fibers that fall within this range are added to the blend. The resulting fiber is then a carefully calculated amalgamation of finewools from various breeds. Over time, the term merino, associated with unrivaled softness, has become an epithet for this blended (though not necessarily Merino) wool. In other words, merino used in this way references the micron count of the (blended) wool and not the breed.

What, then, sets apart Merino the breed?

Merino sheep, after having undergone centuries of breed refinement, are known for producing fleeces of remarkable fineness. However, as shown above, Merino fleeces come in a wider micron range (11–25 microns) that extends far beyond the typical commercial finewool range (19–21.5 microns). In other words, even within the Merino family, there is notable variation in softness levels from fleece to fleece, depending on the sub-breed. There are ultrafine Merino fibers at one end of the spectrum and strong, more durable Merino fibers at the other end.

There are other qualities special to Merino the breed that may be dampened in a blend that only focuses on softness. Our passion for breed-specific wool invites us to highlight all of those qualities equally and so it was exciting for us to find Merino ranchers in Nevada and Utah able to produce enough fleece to support our new core yarn — Peerie.

The fleeces we sourced average at 20.5 microns — still within the typical finewool range, but retaining the Merino-specific quirks of supreme density, high tensile strength, high crimp, and delightful springiness. Worsted-spun into a smooth, 4-ply fingering-weight yarn, Peerie hits the sweet spot of being both next-to-skin soft and durable.

Peerie arrives on May 30th — we hope you’ll join us in welcoming and getting to know this newest companion on our breed-specific journey.

In writing this piece, we consulted Clara Parkes’s The Knitter’s Book of Wool and Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius’s The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook. We highly recommend these titles to those of you interested in further reading!

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