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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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Join us in welcoming the holiday season with childlike cheer and caroling color to weather the winter dark!

We’ve curated a collection of patterns both old and new, and traditional and modern to bundle up in celebration, whether warming up in the comfort of the indoors or adventuring hand in hand in the stillness of the outdoors.

Immerse yourself in deep, festively earthy hues — berry reds, butternut oranges, forest greens — and remember the brightness, light, and even play, that can come from times of regeneration and slowing down — that shines through togetherness, gratitude, and love.

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As we hunker down for the knitting season, we’ve taken a moment to share our thoughts on the beloved tools that carry us through our making — from the repair hooks that lend their helping hands, to the measuring tapes that mark our humble triumphs, and to the heirlooms that remind us of our roots and strengthen our branches.

We invite you to reflect on and share stories about your own essential and sentimental tools as you read on below!

While utilitarian by nature, some tools embody more than just the suggestion of a helping hand. A special bag purchased to both support an independent maker and commemorate a fiber event; a needle sizer that’s used less for its practical purpose and kept more for its inherent beauty; a stitch marker tin, and stitch makers inside, gifted by friends and loved ones; coilless pins in constant and myriad use ever since recommended by a knitting guru; simple thread and waste yarn at the ready to mend or assist with a provisional cast on — these simple objects embody not only their private, respective purposes but also their projected, future potential for participating in the crafting and making of something other, something rich and warm and woolly, something greater and bigger than the mere sum of its parts. — Jen Hurley, Office Manager

The brown puppy pouch was a sweet gift from a friend, and it’s housed all of my tools for quite some time now. Inside of that pouch are many useful treasures given to me over the years — some washi tape, a pair folding scissors, darning and cable needles, repair hooks, chapstick, and an assortment of measuring gadgets. The little red pouch was sent to me by my youngest brother while he was living in South Korea; that’s where I store my mish-mash of stitch markers, at least when I remember to put them away. My tool kit perfectly represents my “sentimental utilitarian” maker identity; each thing has a purpose, a place, and a story (though, I’m not so sure how the bobby pin made it in there). — Jamie Maccarthy, Customer & Community Relations Specialist

I inherited my grandmother’s scissors almost a decade after she passed. I like to think that they were waiting for me and that there’s some maternal magic in them, encouraging me to keep working with my hands as she did and her mother before her. — Christina Rondepierre, Marketing Manager

I’m a firm believer in always having the right tools. In knitting we focus foremost on the yarn, what it feels in our hands while we are knitting with it and thinking about what it will be like to wear. It could be a special skein from a trip or maybe we even spun it ourselves. But I think the tools we use to bring our projects to life should be equally considered and carefully collected, they often spend just as much time in our hands as the yarn does and they play many important roles.

My notions pouch itself was a gift, and is a perfectly sized waxed canvas carry-all made in Colorado. Cable needles and stitch fixers, in a range of sizes. Always pencils and erasers, as I’m a print-copy-with-tons-of-notes type of knitter. Multiple ways to measure, multiple ways to cut and snip. There are a few special items — a rosewood stitch marker case, fragrant skin salve, and scissors that belonged to my mother. But mostly it’s just the basics, every item making it’s way into the pouch for a reason and staying because it’s proven itself useful time and time again. — Lis Smith, Design Coordinator

Sentiment and I are good friends indeed, but I also like to travel light! Nowadays, I leave my tender things at home and walk out the door with only my bare essentials and just-in-case items (see: one Eucalan stain wipe). I will say though, that I have a strong, perhaps unreasonable attachment to those tiny hinged cases (found at The Container Store) wherein my stitch markers now live. — Korina Yoo, Marketing Coordinator

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There is often a sense in our knitting community that each of us fits neatly in one of two boxes — the process-oriented or the product-oriented. While there are indeed knitters who knit for tactile joy and those who knit to fulfill a certain vision for a finished product, there are also many knitters who fall somewhere else on the spectrum. One of these knitters is Korina Yoo, the Marketing Coordinator here at Brooklyn Tweed. Korina sees value in both process- and product-oriented perspectives and applies a balanced approach of both to her making practices. In this balancing act, Korina has created her own internal creative space wherein she works toward honing her skills through process, while enjoying the curatorial powers afforded by the production of a slow fashion wardrobe.

Korina happened upon knitting quite by accident during her first winter here in Portland, Oregon. At the time, the crafty renaissance was well underway, with online knitting resources, patterns, and yarns easily within a beginner’s reach. Having come from a family of generational makers, it was only a matter of time before the world of fiber arts would draw her in. “I find a lot of strength in making with my hands,” Korina says after reflecting on her introduction to the world of handmaking as a child — which comes as no surprise considering the legacy of talent that exists in her family.

After years of exploring a range of hobbies, Korina really didn’t expect much when she first took up knitting. The first few things she made after watching instructional videos on YouTube were scarves and cowls for other people, usually close friends. But this craft suddenly became so much more than a transitory activity when Korina realized that she could, like her grandmother, make nice clothes by hand. After having finished her first, actual garment, Korina thought, “Hey! I made a top and it actually looks pretty all right.” It was in this moment that she found the confidence to really dive into her knitting and begin making more garments for herself.

Korina’s go-to basics, from left to right: two of Julie Hoover’s Cline Pullover (Shelter in Cast Iron and Newsprint) and Junko Okamoto’s Yuri Pullover (Loft in Soot, Fossil, Fauna, and Sap).

Product by Process

When considering process- and product-oriented making habits, Korina is swift to point out that there is not any inherent value in prioritizing one or the other. “It depends on the kind of experience you want out of it,” Korina notes, acknowledging that some knit to soothe, some knit to fill holes in their wardrobes, and some knit for reasons that fall somewhere in between. At one point in Korina’s making process she was making to make, which is why many of her first projects were gifts for other people.

In the short few years Korina has continued on with her knitting practice, this focus on process-only knitting shifted to product-focused as her skillset grew. The things she enjoys making now are often garments that have clever details requiring a more thoughtful and skilled approach.

But this growth didn’t happen overnight, nor did it happen in isolation. The shared knowledge that circulates through our making community are ever present and ever valuable to new and veteran makers alike. Korina explains that “hearing other people’s stories was so influential to [her] growth,” since she “learns best by example.” Makers like Melody HoffmanEva of The Charm of It, and her fellow members of the BT Team introduced her to quality materials and a deeper understanding of how process- and product-oriented practices dovetail into the creation of a single handmade garment.

Korina sporting Jared Flood’s Mawson Hat (Shelter in Newsprint) and Sonobe Cardigan (Arbor in Porter), which she affectionately calls her Geiger!

There are many reasons why we make our own clothes. For Korina, the inherent value of making and the opportunities presented to hone her skills through practicing her craft are ever present when she sits down with a project. While external factors, like ethical and environmental reasons, ring true for Korina, the majority of her drive to make comes from the empowering internal knowledge that she can.

Skill-Building Wardrobes

Korina’s focus on both process (developing quality craftsmanship) and product (working towards quality garments) has naturally developed into a curatorial, slow fashion approach to her making and wardrobe. She has learned exactly how much time and work handmaking requires and often has clear ideas on what kinds of educational challenges she wants to take on next, and so, carefully plans how a project will fit into her life well before casting on. When asked about her feelings on the current state of her slow fashion wardrobe, after a little over a year of focused making and refining her tastes and preferences, she is happy to state, “I’ve reached a point where I’m really good with what I have and where I am.”

When thinking of newly-finished makes and future projects, now that “the basics are covered,” Korina finds herself wanting to incorporate projects that are still utilitarian, but more fun, with interesting stitch patterns, shapes, and clever construction that keeps her mind engaged — like Jared Flood’s Sonobe Cardigan and Scott Rohr’s Ellsworth Wrap. As a very recent convert to stranded colorwork, she’s also eagerly diving back into the world of colorful yokes.

Korina’s current project: a mash-up of Marie Wallin’s Raven Fairisle Yoke Pullover and Tin Can Knits’s Strange Brew Round Yoke Recipe, knit using six colors of Loft (Cast Iron, Soot, Pumice, Yellowstone, Sap, and Cinnabar).

Thanks to a clever ratio, Korina feels confident moving forward with her plans to incorporate these quirky items from project basket to closet. For Korina, the trick is to pick a neutral color to form the foundation of your wardrobe, and then select two or three other “pop” colors for variety: black, rust, and ochre are her choices. The same idea can be applied to garment types for outfit-building as well. For example, Korina has a profound love for clothes, but what she enjoys most are pants with interesting construction details like asymmetrical tie waistbands, voluminous pleats, or clever pin tucks (“I’m a pant connoisseur!”). So, her favorite recipe is “to pair an outlandish pant with a basic top and coat.” Regardless of how minimalist or adventurous the individual pieces in her closet may be, following a ratio of 2 neutral colors to 1 pop color, or 2 basic pieces to 1 adventurous piece keeps an outfit looking balanced and cohesive.

This summer, Korina refocused her efforts into sewing as well, and has enjoyed exploring ways to incorporate bold patchwork — which she loves (“It’s like knitting; you’re making your own fabric as you go!”) — into unassuming utilitarian garments. She put her 2:1 ratio to good use in the above project, a black-and-red patchwork kimono jacket.

All shades, except Newsprint, found in both Shelter (Korina’s favorite) and Loft; Newsprint available only in Shelter.

Solenn Pullover in Loft (Cast Iron), Ellsworth Wrap in Loft (Fossil, Cast Iron, and Soot), and Naos Hat in Shelter (Yellowstone)

Follow Korina’s making journey on Instagram and Ravelry!

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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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