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The season of twinkly lights, eggnog, and snowball fights is the most wonderful time of the year — for woolens!  Some of us are trying to calculate how many hours of sleep we can exchange for crafting time to eke out a few more handmade gifts; others are blissfully escaping the chaos by casting on a long-term project that has nothing to do with the holidays and stresses of the wider world. If you’re in either of these camps, or simply dreaming of your next adventure in knitting, we have a surprise for you today: BT Winter 17, dropping early this year!

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Our house designers have decked the halls with twelve new garments and four accessories that use all four of Brooklyn Tweed’s core yarn lines. This collection includes our very first garment designs for Arbor, our worsted-spun DK Targhee wool. We’re so excited to show you what this new yarn can do on a larger canvas! Jared Flood’s masculine Svenson pullover, Norah Gaughan’s Shoji cocoon cardigan, and Véronik Avery’s Nila lap-front pullover were designed to make the most of Arbor’s vivid stitch definition and drape.

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If you need gift-knitting inspiration, Winter 17 offers up several unisex accessories. The Lancet hat can be worked in chunky Quarry for soft, tweedy, practically instant results or in Arbor for crisply defined chevrons and a full, nuanced palette. The Proof hat and Proof scarf can be paired for perfectly matched winter warmth.

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If your world needs a meditative still point, the soothing stockinette of Julie Hoover’s Rivage coat or the hypnotic shifting textures of Michele Wang’s Binary scarf may do the trick.

This collection is all about cozy comfort trimmed with distinctive details and innovative textures. We hope you’ll find something in the new lookbook to brighten the season for yourself and your loved ones. Happy knitting!

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We were so pleased to finally reveal the his and hers collection for Fall 16; the designs had been in development for almost a year and we eagerly anticipated their release into the wild. We love designing menswear and we’ve been gratified to hear your requests for more of it!

Producing a dual collection like this required some new thinking about how to offer the patterns for sale. We ultimately decided to bundle the patterns for which the two versions are similar enough not to require double effort on the part of the designer and editing team, but to sell the others separately. We’ve gotten some questions about why we didn’t bundle the two patterns for designs like Carver or Tamarack, which don’t differ markedly at first glance. We realize the details in the guts of a pattern that complicate the production effort may not be readily discernible when you’re viewing the modeled garment. So, since we love to geek out over construction and fit at any opportunity, we’ll turn the spotlight on Julie Hoover’s Cricket to talk about the planning that goes into ensuring a great fit and a longer garment life. (We’ll spare you the trigonometry. Promise.)

Cricket is a sporty crewneck with set-in sleeves and waist shaping for a tailored fit. Both versions have waist shaping — the women’s has the carefully weighted hourglass curve you’re used to seeing, while the men’s is narrower at the hips than at the chest to create a trim silhouette that’s more flattering on most gents. But even when you’re looking closely, the two Crickets look awfully similar. So why didn’t we package them together? The secret is in the shoulders.

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The human shoulder needs a lot of freedom to move, both up and down and fore and aft. When a sweater is designed to fit loosely, the shoulder doesn’t require any special treatment. You can knit a traditional drop shoulder with the sleeve projecting at a right angle, you can work a basic raglan with double decreases at each joining point every other round, you can decrease concentrically for a round yoke, and the ample ease will allow comfortable movement without distorting the sweater fabric. But a slimmer fit complicates the situation. You can’t join a narrow sleeve to a narrow body at 90 degrees, because when you lower your arm the fabric will bind over your shoulder and bunch at your underarm. You can get away with a basic raglan scheme to an extent, relying on the elasticity of knitted fabric to give you the extra ease when and where you need it, but it’s hard to achieve an anatomical fit and you put strain on the fabric. A round yoke worked with minimal ease will often look good across the back, but leave a pooch of extra fabric near each underarm in the front as the shoulders naturally round forward. So when designers who really understand human anatomy create a tailored sweater, they often choose to modify the raglan shape, changing the rate of decrease to make the lines more sinuous. They might hybridize a raglan style with a round yoke. But quite often they turn to the set-in sleeve.

The set-in sleeve, with its bell-shaped sleeve cap and armscye shaped like an exponential equation graph, gives the designer total control over the amount of fabric assigned to the body and to the sleeve. But deploying it correctly requires quite a bit of know-how. A slim-fitting garment needs a taller, narrower sleeve cap, while one with more ease should have a shorter, broader curve. For Cricket, Julie designed the women’s version for a small amount of ease — 2-4 inches — but gave the guys a more relaxed fit with 4-6 inches. Men typically have proportionally larger shoulders and more mass through the sleeve cap area, which also affects how much fabric Julie allows there.

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Grading the curves of the armscye and the sleeve cap for a full range of well-fitting sizes requires a lot of careful math on the part of our tech editors. When we double the number of sizes and change the geometry of those curves, we’re giving Robin and Sue the workload of two separate patterns — hence the decision to offer the two versions of Cricket separately.

Where there’s a salient detail that differs between the unbundled his and hers patterns, we’ve given you options to mix and match features. The women’s Tamarack includes directions for the shawl collar shown on the men’s sample, for instance. Both Carvers have instructions for the turtleneck option or the crew neck, and the yardage estimate includes the extra yarn you’ll need to extend the ribbing.

Wondering about further modifications to customize one of these patterns? Contribute to the collection thread in the Brooklyn Tweed Fan Club Ravelry group, where there’s an active community ready to discuss all kinds of pattern adaptations. And if you’re curious to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes at Brooklyn Tweed to bring these collections to life, watch this space for an interview with Robin Melanson about her work as a tech editor.

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The tailoring trade is a bottomless well of inspiration. Attention to detail, canny consideration of each fabric’s properties, pursuit of a perfect fit — at Brooklyn Tweed we hew to the same principles in our design work. Knowing we’d shoot this collection on the premises of Wildwood & Company, a bespoke tailoring studio in downtown Portland, we took our inspiration from fine examples of classic menswear.

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Our mission for Fall 2016 was to create pairs of designs — one for him and one for her — that spring from a single concept. In some instances, small adjustments to the fit distinguish the two versions; in other cases a shift in scale or a major alteration to the garment’s shape achieves distinct but related looks.

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Three of the collection’s patterns — SpearheadsPavo, and Vika — bundle both versions as they are variations on the same pattern model. Since each version of the remainder of the collection was written independently in order to account for the nuances of tailoring to fit bodies of differing proportions, each version of these patterns is sold separately. Whether you’re in the mood to knit an understated pullover or a chunky statement piece, we’ve put together a collection that suits a wide range of fit and styling preferences. Cables, texture, a splash of colorwork — it’s all here.

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All Fall 16 patterns are now available for download on our website and on Ravelry. You’ll notice we’ve updated our pattern layout, too — we hope you’ll find the new format clear and supportive as you knit your next BT garment.

 

We invite you to leaf through our new lookbook and stay awhile in the cool and tranquil atmosphere of Wildwood & Company. Welcome, all, and welcome, fall!

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Opener

 

Thank you all for your warm reception of our Ganseys collection last week. We’ve been so excited to launch our first batch of designs inspired by a specific knitting tradition, and today we’d like to share a little more about the gansey-style details our designers chose to incorporate in these garments.

When Jared proposed the gansey idea to our Design Team, he wasn’t necessarily looking for fully traditional construction. While BT’s aesthetic has deep roots into knitting history, we aim to create garments that feel totally contemporary. The goal, then, was to keep the characteristic features of historical ganseys in mind, but execute them playfully and in service of each designer’s own creative vision.

 

Fairweather

 

Véronik wanted to incorporate the triangular gusset shaping somehow, but not at the traditional place under the arms. Her choice to position gussets at the sides of the boat neckline creates a delightful visual detail that’s also completely functional, improving the fit of the garment and adding a bit of shoulder coverage that makes Fairweather easier to wear. She also wanted to knit in the traditional construction: a seamless body worked from the bottom up and divided at the armholes. She joined her shoulder seams with a visible 3-needle bind-off (which forms a tidy chain on the right side of the garment, another classic gansey detail) then picked up stitches for the sleeves around the armhole and worked circularly to the cuff. This directional shift in the knitting—upward on the body, downward on the sleeves—adds visual interest to the garment, as the lace and cable panels flow in opposing directions.

 

Larus

 

Norah also wanted to use the exposed 3-needle bind-off, but she chose to place hers at the back of the collar. Larus is perhaps the least traditional garment of the collection, but like the gansey it balances the proportions of patterned and plain fabric to beautiful effect. By putting the patterned section on the vertical instead of horizontally across the upper torso, Norah created a garment that’s more flattering to many body shapes without sacrificing roomy comfort. She also incorporated a unique knitterly detail by reversing the chevron cable motif along the wearer’s left neckline, as shown in the photo above left.

 

Vanora

 

Like Norah, Michele played with incorporating neckline shaping in an interesting way that maintains vertical patterns established in the lower portion of the body. She elaborated on a traditional flag motif of purl triangles on a stockinette ground to create parallelogram blocks that slant attractively to draw the eye across the fabric. She applied this subtle texture all over the body, punctuating it with delicate cables, but left her sleeves plain to let the eye rest. Vanora’s bracelet-length sleeves nod to the cropped sleeves on many historical feminine ganseys, which bared the wearers’ wrists and forearms for work.

 

Breslin

 

Both Julie and Jared opted for a more classic placement of textured stitches and cables on the upper yoke of the body. Despite the traditional positioning, each garment’s motifs are distinctly modern. Julie’s Breslin uses an original combination of purl stitches and cables to create an industrial effect. She chose to work the lower body and sleeves in reverse stockinette, dialing down the contrast between textured and plain fabric. Breslin’s tailored fit and set-in sleeves are non-traditional, but honor the gansey’s origins as good-looking workwear for those of us who aren’t employed in the fisheries.

 

Caspian

 

Jared liked the idea of using oversized chains, which seemed appropriate for a nautical garment. Caspian nods to several other historical gansey features as well. The ribbed saddle shoulders that extend vertically from the sleeve cap were meant to mimic the knit-and-purl welts that often adorn gansey shoulders. Another detail he incorporated from traditional ganseys is the seamless flow of the side seam details through the underarm gusset and down the sleeve. Since he wasn’t working gussets, he created a variation on that theme by working a side seam detail on the body that flows into the armhole selvedge of the yoke. He also cribbed a common split hem detail from the traditional gansey, beginning the seam at the stockinette portion of the torso to leave a small vent at each side.

The marriage of beauty and purpose that distinguishes gansey knitting is endlessly inspiring to all of us here. We hope you’ll enjoy exploring BT’s unique take on the gansey tradition, savoring these details as much as we have.

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Last year the Brooklyn Tweed design team hatched the idea of setting a regular design challenge for ourselves — a chance for all five of us to throw down our best ideas interpreting a particular historical genre in knitwear. First up? Ganseys!

 

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These historical seaman’s sweaters of the British Isles were not only practical garments, worked densely to guard the wearer against the North Sea elements; they also featured ingenious construction to improve comfort and durability. Frequently embellished with bold textural motifs, they were canvases for knitters’ skill and artistry, and as a whole gave rise to a cottage industry that helped to support families.

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In seeking inspiration from this rich tradition, we sought to incorporate the elements that most fascinate us—striking stitch motifs, the sense of balance between patterned and plain fabric, the innovative adjustments to fit—while updating garment shapes and bending to modern knitterly realities. (Few of us nowadays want to knit adult-size sweaters in black wool at 8 stitches to the inch!)

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Today we launch five new sweater patterns in Loft and Shelter, plus a quick-knitting cap in Quarry. Each design riffs on different points of gansey styling; we look forward to highlighting some of those special details when we blog about our approach to this collection next week. BT Ganseys offer a variety of silhouettes, so whether you prefer a trim fit, a cozy oversize shape, or a dash of funky flare, we hope you’ll find a sweater that appeals.

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We also took the opportunity to restyle two hats from the BT archive to accompany this collection. We knit up Forge (shown above), a folded-brim watch cap marked by OXO cables and an elfin peak (shown above), in Fauna. Crag (shown in Artifact with the Vanora pullover), has been worked to a beanie length slightly shorter than the original, a modification that’s now been added to the pattern. (If you’ve previously purchased Crag electronically, you’ll receive a free update.)

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As always, we look forward to seeing how you’ll make these new designs your own! If you’re already a gansey connoisseur, maybe we’ll see you adding initials to the fabric of your sweater or deploying a Channel Island cast-on. If you’re new to the history of ganseys, we hope you’ll enjoy learning more about this rich knitting tradition. Happy knitting!

 

 


Quick Links:

View all the patterns   |   View the Lookbook  |  View Collection on Ravelry

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We’ve been looking forward to the clean slate of January, which brings with it a fresh year and a sense of calm after the hectic holidays. Our gift knitting is done and dusted and we can’t wait to cast on ambitious new projects for ourselves. So in the spirit of new beginnings, it’s with great excitement that we announce our Winter 16 collection.

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Whether you’re in the mood for a lace shawl or a long coat, a quick hat or a chunky pullover, you just might find your next project among these eleven garments and five accessories. Inspired by modern minimalism and everyday wearability, this collection celebrates the stark beauty of the season with clean lines and simple shapes.

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Winter 16 features all three of our core yarns — Shelter, Loft, and Quarry — and we’re also unveiling a very special surprise: a brand new, single-batch laceweight wool we call Plains. It’s our first foray into collaboration with new partners to offer intensely local, limited edition batches. We worked with the team at Mountain Meadow Wool Mill in Buffalo, Wyoming to develop this lively two-ply laceweight that celebrates the unique qualities of the American Rambouillet fleece. Worsted-spun for strength and stitch definition, this downy soft wool is perfect for next-to-skin wear and takes blocking beautifully despite its elasticity. (Read the full story on this exciting new project in the lookbook.)

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Plains is available for purchase on our website, along with all the new patterns. This small-batch yarn won’t be carried in stores and once it’s gone there won’t be anymore. Since the put-up is a generous 440 yards, you can knit a project in just one or two skeins. If you’d like to try this bouncy, slightly rustic yarn, it’s available online for as long as our supply lasts!

We hope the New Year brings you good knitting. We can’t wait to see what you’ll make of our new collection and with our newest yarn!

 

 


Quick Links:

View all the patterns   |   View the Lookbook  |  View Collection on Ravelry

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This week we’re looking back on some of BT’s greatest garments of the year, polling our staff on their most-loved designs. Narrowing down our favorite sweaters to a Top 5 was incredibly difficult. From instant classics like Michele Wang’s Cordova (Winter ’15) to the big drama of Jared Flood’s Carpeaux (Winter ’15) to sharp modern shapes like Melissa Wehrle’s Truss (Wool People 9), there were so many more great designs we wanted to include. But the votes were finally tallied and five intriguingly different garments emerged.

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Few knitters can resist a classic gansey, and Jared’s feminine version was just what many of us had been looking for. Alvy’s set-in sleeves and waist shaping keep the silhouette trim, while the graphic coin cables on a ground of double moss stitch and welt details at the hems, cuffs, and shoulders add nautical flair.

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A bomber jacket worked in soft, doughy brioche stitch? Yes, please! We fell hard for Shield’s handsome distinctive charm. The swirling faux cables and pockets are perfect details for menswear, subtle but intriguing. Brioche fabrics get their cozy double thickness from some knitting maneuvers that may be unfamiliar, but we find the rhythm quickly becomes natural.

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Marshal was one of Norah’s first designs for BT, and we adored her stylish, edgy take on the military cardigan. This piece is all about shifts in texture: the brioche accents are worked in Shelter for extra heft against a light, tailored body in Loft. The effect is tough, smart, and totally wearable.

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We’re so glad we pushed Julie to design a stranded colorwork sweater! Filtering Fair Isle through her minimalist aesthetic produced a refined pullover with graphic peerie bands. The simple palette of Fossil, Hayloft, and Truffle Hunt is unexpected and so effective, bringing out the heathered depth of the colors. We love Ashland as an introduction to steeks, which allow us to knit both the body and the set-in sleeves in the round.

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It’s not hard to see why Rift garnered the most votes in our poll. We can’t tear our eyes from those gorgeous ribbed epaulets, which give the appearance of raglan shaping to sleeves that are actually set in. This staple sweater gets everything right, and the big charts for the shoulders give us something to chew on during the knitting as well as creating a fetching masculine detail.

We want to thank all of you for your adventurousness in embracing such a wide variety of designs, allowing us to flex our creative muscles and to push ourselves to work outside our own comfort zones! Don’t forget to chime in with your own 2015 favorites in the comments or on social media by using #BTfaves15. We love hearing your opinions and spreading the love to all the hardworking designers who contributed to Brooklyn Tweed this year!

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What a year it’s been for Brooklyn Tweed! A cross-country move, new team members, a new yarn, new print books… As we settle in with plenty of wool and tea to weather a week of chilly rain, it seems like the perfect time to look back on some of our favorite things from 2015. We asked the BT staff to vote on their favorite accessories from BT Winter 15, Wool People 9, BT Men 2, BT Fall 15, and of course Olga’s new Capsule Collection, and we’ve been counting down our staff picks on social media all week. From cabled hats to delicate lace pi shawls, our designers produced a lot to love!

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Jared’s densely cabled hat from BT Men 2 won our hearts with its timeless, unisex style. All those cables make it fun to knit and warm to wear, and Crag has such broad appeal that it’s a perfect gift knit for either men or women. Some knitters have been going down a needle size to achieve a snug beanie style with a shorter crown; if your recipient prefers this look you may want to try this modification.

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Olga made such fine use of the interlocking Swiss crosses motif in this cowl for her CAPSULE Collection—the effect is bold, graphic, and modern. We love imagining color combinations (have you played with our new color comparison feature yet?) and think Jujika would also be an excellent way to use up our Loft leftovers, shifting through multiple contrast colors. Wear this doubled and you’ve got a whopping eight layers of Loft wrapped around your neck, which sounds just about right for enjoying the outdoors this winter.

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Easy to knit and versatile to wear, Harper’s unusual fabric of twisted rib worked over gauge makes us want to knit more than one. The single-row stripes create an interplay of colors that’s intriguing in closely related shades or eye-catching in high contrast. Either way, we love this design from BT Winter 15 as the perfect light beanie or easy-going slouch to throw on for a bit of extra warmth or fashion.

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We love the classic elegance of Andrea’s pi shawl from Wool People 9, which would also make a beautiful accent as a throw in the living room or a special gift for a new baby. The concentric shifts in pattern keep the knitting interesting, and the finished piece is a true heirloom. The lace motifs are deceptively simple with easily repeatable stitch patterns, and the finished results look masterful. We also love the idea of sinking into a meditative project like Arbre as an antidote to the frenzy of the holidays.

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Our top vote-getter was Jared’s clever cap from BT Fall 15. Lolo is quick enough to knit up for last-minute gifting, but doesn’t skimp on engaging details. We love the aviator-inspired shape and the pure fun of knitting short-row garter segments sideways to form a cap. And there are so many options for personalizing this design: our own Jen knit one in stripes of Embers and Wool Socks, while Sarah is dreaming of a marled version in two colors of Loft… We love seeing all the Lolos cropping up on Instagram and Ravelry!

Please do play along — it wasn’t easy for any of us to pick just five, and we’d love to see your own favorites from the past year tagged #BTfaves15!

Next week we feature the second half of our “Top 10” for the year: Garments! Stay tuned on Instagram throughout the week and here on the blog for another wrap up next weekend.

 

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Fall and winter in the Pacific Northwest are mild compared to the snow and ice of the Northeast. We do have our rainy skies, but they’re more likely to drizzle than to pour. In short, it’s often a perfect climate for an outerlayer of hearty wool. If you’re interested in adding a handknit coat to your closet this season, here’s a round-up of some possibilities from our pattern library. (Click on any of the images in the post to read full specs about each pattern.)

 

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Take a closer look if you… love volume and all-over texture that’s easy to work.

Norah Gaughan’s swing coat from BT Fall ‘15 features a circular yoke and a deeply textured original stitch motif. Worked with our new chunky wool, Quarry, this coat will knit up quickly despite the large amount of fabric. The lateral bands don’t require any tricky maneuvers; they’re formed by purling two stitches together and then purling the first of the pair again.

Things to know before you cast on: We chose to model Bannock with 9” of ease, but this design has classic proportions and doesn’t adhere to the current trend for width in the body and narrow sleeves. If you want to wear it oversized, don’t expect a snug fit through the armhole.

Skill level: 4 out of 5 (adventurous intermediate)

 

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Take a closer look if you… like tailored shapes with striking details.

Véronik’s raglan cardigan/jacket is shaped for ease of movement, with an A-line back, while slim sleeves and fitted shoulders balance the silhouette. The back offers plenty of challenge, while the straight fronts and sleeves allow you to relax a bit. Love handsome, functional pockets with decorative decreases? Trailhead’s got them, as well as a warm collar to turn up if it’s windy at the top of the mountain.

Things to know before you cast on: Trailhead is worked with two strands of Loft held together to create a dense fabric suitable for outerwear. Substituting Shelter will create a softer, suppler, slightly less weatherproof garment. This design requires close attention to keep track of short-row shaping and decreases while working from the large chart for the back.

Skill level: 5 out of 5 (advanced)

 

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Take a closer look if you… love intricate cables and comfortable but refined style.

Michele’s tour de force from BT Fall ’14 has been a favorite with knitters for its odyssey of traffic-stopping cables—the word “masterpiece” comes up a lot in the project notes on Ravelry—and the many techniques the pattern teaches. If open-front cardigans aren’t your style, perusing Ravelry will show you many clever modifications to the fronts and collar to allow for fastening, too.

Things to know before you cast on: Rowe is worked entirely from charts. Although the pattern directs you to start with the back, some knitters recommend beginning with the fronts and sleeves to familiarize yourself with the smaller cable motifs. This will allow you to concentrate on the complicated central motif when you knit the back.

Skill level: 4 out of 5 (adventurous intermediate)

 

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Take a closer look if you… want to wrap up in a snuggly long cardigan with rich texture.

Véronik’s Landfall (BT Winter ’14) is pure oversized coziness. Lots of ease through the body means you can overlap the fronts and belt them closed if you wish, or allow them to hang open for casual style. Perfectly placed pockets warm your hands and hold your keys while you stroll on the beach.

Things to know before you cast on: Landfall features traveling twisted stitches. Most knitters find these slow to work, but worth the effort for the beautifully defined motifs they produce.

Skill level: 5 out of 5 (advanced)

 

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Take a closer look if you’ve… caught the Cowichan bug!

This early pattern of Jared’s is begging to be knit in Quarry, and it’s right in line with the current craze for chunky Cowichan-inspired outerwear. Although it’s billed as a men’s pattern, plenty of women have knit it for themselves. The suggested ease is 6-7” and the smallest chest size is 39 ¼”, so even those with small frames should be able to knit Rockaway without adapting the pattern. Browse the many project pages on Ravelry to see clever substitutions like a shawl collar or a simple garter band in place of the hood.

Things to know before you cast on: Rockaway is worked in the round and opened with a steek. If you’ve never tried this technique before, make this the season you go for it! We recommend reinforcing the cut edge with a sewing machine so as not to add more bulk to the facings when you’re working with a chunky yarn.

Skill level: 4 out of 5 (adventurous intermediate)

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