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Winter is lingering long in Portland this year, but we’re choosing to see these days of near-freezing drizzle as a prompt to make the most of our knitwear. Warm weather still feels so far away that we’re more than happy to contemplate casting on another sweater, especially with the lure of a just-right portion of decorative stitchwork. That’s what we love about yoke designs: their perfect balance of carefree stockinette seasoned with a dash of colorwork or textural patterning. They’re fun to knit, easy to integrate into any wardrobe, and endlessly inviting when we want to experiment with color or cables. To share our enthusiasm, we’re releasing our themed collection for 2017 today: BT Yokes.

We drew inspiration from the sweaters of Iceland, Shetland, and Scandinavia — a history we enjoyed researching for a feature in our lookbook. Jared Flood’s Atlas (now sized for the whole family) nods to the lopapeysa; Véronik Avery elevates her Frostpeak colorwork with cunningly placed purl stitches, an idea pioneered by the Bohus Stickning designers of Sweden; Michele Wang’s Morse cowl stacks bands of small geometric motifs common to Shetland and Norway.

The beauty of yokes has always been their versatility as a canvas for anything a designer can dream up, so we haven’t been too faithful in our interpretations of the form. Some garments apply inventive shaping principles (wait till you see Julie Hoover’s newest take on raglan decreases) and motifs that owe more to Charlie Brown than to anything ever knit in the North Atlantic regions. Norah Gaughan’s flights of cabled fancy are iconic in and of themselves, and her full powers are on display in Tundra and Pyry.

A surprise storm system meant we had to be creative about staging our photoshoot for BT Yokes, but is there a more perfect backdrop for a collection of cozy woolens than a fresh blanket of snow? We hope you’ll enjoy browsing the new lookbook and making the most of the knitting weather.

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2 responses to “BT’s Homage to Yoke Sweaters”

  1. Hi Wool People,

    I’m starting to swatch for my Frostpeak sweater and the pattern suggests knitting Loft on #’s 5 & 6 needles for a gauge of 26 stitches to 4″. I have knit on 5’s, 4’s and now 3’s and it looks like I’m going to have to go down to a 2 to get 6 1/2 stitches to the inch for gauge. The yarn label for loft says it knits up 6 – 8 stitches per inch on US 0 – 4 needles. Is the pattern in error or am I supposed to be knitting the yarn doubled? I can’t see any way anyone would get 26 stitches to 4 ” on size 5 and 6 needles.

    Hope you respond while I still have hair left! Kidding!

    Thank you,

    Leslie Faris

  2. I wonder if you have considered providing the instructions for the yoke pullovers to convert to a steeked cardigan. I really like cardigans, easy to throw on and comfortable while driving a car and in and out for errands. I have never done a steek so really need the support of a pattern to help me work through it.

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