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Patch, our third Outpost pattern, pays homage to many a knitter’s first project — the humble garter stitch scarf. Lisa Carney-Fenton elevates this tried-and-true formula with four striping options and a clever method for a polished edge: her Elegant I-Cord Edge technique, which involves concealing the non-working yarn inside the edging, keeping it tidy and eliminating the need to weave in multiple yarn tails during finishing. These thoughtfully-considered details make Patch a delightfully versatile pattern to knit and an effortlessly cool scarf to wear.

Handknitting kits — ready to cast on or gift — for the Broad Stripe version of Patch in Arbor are available now in our webstore through the end of December. We thought up eight playful color combinations to give you an idea of the myriad possibilities our Arbor palette provides!

If you’d like to try your hand at assembling your own unique color combinations for the multiple versions of Patch, why not try experimenting with the schematic provided in the pattern? We’ve found it to be quite a useful visual tool when planning our alternate color combinations. Plus, there are few things more fun than a knitterly coloring page (download here)!

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The Scandinavian-inspired Galloway cardigan is the perfect blank canvas for knitters wanting to explore “painting with yarn.” Stranded garments that use four colors, like this one, offer a staggering range of possibilities for how your finished sweater looks; the colorway shown in our photos is just one of hundreds of ways you could interpret the design.

When Jared was creating this garment, he tested many color combinations and came up with a total of eight color combinations to get your gears turning. We’re also providing some resources about hue and value to help you make informed color decisions for your own project.

Understanding Color

Generally speaking, the goal of selecting a color palette for colorwork knitting is to ensure the pattern will be easily discernible in the finished fabric, and not muddied or lost among neighboring colors.

Both the hue and value of a color are essential considerations in determining how successful your chosen colorway will be. Simply put, value refers to a color’s relative degree of lightness or darkness (picture a greyscale) and hue is the noticeable attribute of a color (redness, greenness, etc.)

If these terms or concepts are new to you, check out an in-depth explanation about hue and value in Jared’s post about color theory.

Color Values in the Shelter Palette

Above we’ve shown the Shelter palette broken down into three value categories: dark, medium, and light.

In the Galloway pattern, four colors are used to knit the cardigan. Selecting the background color first (C1 in Galloway) will allow you to make better decisions about the rest of your palette, so we recommend you start there.

Selecting colors from all three categories (light, medium, and dark) is always the best approach to stranded colorwork, especially with smaller motifs. When yarns from all three categories are represented, the pattern will have visual “pop.” Alternatively, if multiple colors of very similar values are used, pattern motifs will be difficult to discern.

To give you a sense of the different values used in our samples, we’ve written them down for you here. Use the value categories, corresponding colorways, and the samples listed below as a guide to mix and match your own combinations.

As you can see, some of the mid-values may be used as darks because their hue is so strong/bright that they will hold their own against dark neutrals. With color, everything depends on relative combinations — meaning rules can often be broken — but using the dark/medium/light value approach is a great starting point for color planning, especially if these concepts are new for you.

Compare Colors on Our Website

 

Our yarn product pages feature a useful “Compare Colors” feature aimed to help knitters in color selection. On the Shelter yarn page, select the Compare Colors button just above the color selection box. Once open you can select the colors in the palette and reorganize or remove them to view colors side-by-side.

Additional Color Palette Inspiration

The Grettir pullover also requires four colors of Shelter to knit. For additional color palette inspiration on a similar-style project to Galloway, check out the Grettir projects knit with Shelter on Ravelry.

Speed Swatching for Circular Knitting

Once you’ve made a decision about a final colorway using the above information, it’s time to swatch and test your choices! In knitting, there is simply no substitution for knitting a swatch to see how the finished fabric will appear, and this has never been more true with colorwork. Even experienced colorwork knitters sometimes are surprised by their results with a given color combination after swatching, and it’s always better to be surprised — whether positively or otherwise — on a swatch than on your finished garment!

The Galloway pattern includes instructions on how to speed swatch in the round for colorwork patterns. After swatching, you may find that you need to swap the position of two or more of your colors to achieve a more visually interesting fabric, or even replace one or more of your initial choices to finesse a fabric that needs a touch more contrast.

(And even if you’re using one of our pre-selected color palettes, speed swatching is still important in order to ensure you’re getting gauge!)

We’re Here to Help

Although the Galloway pattern is considered advanced, the required techniques are described at length in the pattern and we’re always here to help. You can reach us on Ravelry in the Brooklyn Tweed Fan Club group or email our pattern support specialist directly at support@brooklyntweed.com. Perhaps you’ll challenge yourself to knit this eye-catching colorwork cardigan during the BT Fall 17 KAL. If so, we’ll be right there with you every step of the way.

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Our latest collection, BT Yokes, offers even the most seasoned colorwork knitter lots of opportunity for experimentation. We had fun playing with color options for Schulz, a unisex pullover designed by Michele Wang. Try Cinnabar or Thistle for a bright pop of vintage nostalgia, or a neutral like Cast Iron or Pumpernickel for a slightly more subdued effect. These are just a few ideas — we can’t wait to see what you come up with!

The colorways as shown in the photo above:

1 — Almanac (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

2 — Tent (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

3 — Thistle (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

4 — Cast Iron (C1 & C3), Fossil (C2)

5 — Pumpernickel (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

6 — Embers (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

7 — Hayloft (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

8 — Cinnabar (C1), Fossil (C2) & Cast Iron (C3)

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Sunbursts, trees and stars, reindeer and snowflakes, mutable landscapes of blended color. In vivid hues or in natural sheep shades, figural or geometric in design, the yoke sweaters of the North Atlantic are distinctive and enduring. The story of their creation in the 20th century is one of enterprise and canny marketing as knitters leveraged traditional skills to make ends meet in a rapidly changing and newly global economy.

The Icelandic lopapeysa, the Scandinavian and Shetland yokes, and the sweaters of the Bohus Stickning cooperative in Sweden may all have their roots in a Greenlandic ornamental accessory called the nuilarmiut that has nothing to do with knitting — it’s an element of traditional formalwear made of glass beads that cover the shoulders and bust in a large collar of brightly patterned geometric designs. The nuilarmiut’s appearance in a 1930 Danish film and, later, on members of the Danish royal family seems to have inspired several Scandinavian knitwear designers to imitate the effect in wool. Three of the earliest known circular yoke patterns bore the name “Eskimo,” suggesting their common inspiration. In the 1940s, the Bohus Stickning company in Sweden made the yoke sweater a mid-century status symbol. The designers’ innovative and masterful color play broke entirely with traditional motifs and methods to create subtly shifting forms and juxtaposed hues, all rendered at extremely fine gauge in luxurious angora-blend yarns. Bohus sweaters were worn by royalty and cultural icons — and commanded prices to match. The knitters’ earnings supported many families during an economically difficult time. Cottage industries in Shetland and Iceland were also quick to capitalize on the international taste for yokes, channeling their potent knitting histories to create garments that became lucrative exports more accessible to the average pocket book.

The strategic position of the patterning on a circular yoke serves two purposes. The designs ring the throat and shoulders like jewelry, drawing attention to the face. The plain body and sleeves heighten this effect while slyly achieving a second end: all that unadorned fabric is easy and relatively speedy knitting. In the case of the famous Shetland yokes, many of which featured tree and star designs borrowed from neighboring Norway, the jumper bodies and sleeves were knit by machine and then passed to the handknitters for the colorwork portion. The sweaters could then be completed at a cracking pace to achieve a successful commercial scale, and the knitters could develop one beautiful variation after another by skillfully shading both the background and foreground colors. The Bohus sweaters were always knit entirely by hand, but even at 8 or 9 stitches to the inch, the plain bodies allowed the most accomplished knitters to complete a couture garment in just a few weeks. Icelandic production knitters still work by hand, but take advantage of their native sheep’s long-stapled fleeces to work at a loose large gauge that supports strong geometric motifs and rapid sweater completion.

Yokes have climbed to the height of fashion, plunged into outmoded fustiness, and ascended once again in recent decades. Across the North Atlantic, a resurgence of admiration for these powerful symbols of national identity has led younger generations to embrace them. Knitters around the world have been quick to appreciate the joy of crafting yokes; a basic circular yoke is one of the most foolproof sweaters to knit, and the possibilities for elaboration are endless.

Brooklyn Tweed pays homage to the bold beauty and variety of yoke designs in five sweaters and two accessories that tip the cap to history, but hew to modern fit principles and allow each designer to explore original ideas. In these pages you’ll find seamless construction (both bottom up and top down), stranded colorwork, cabled texture, and even a wink at classic cartoons. Welcome to BT Yokes.

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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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We’ve loved following along with the Slow Fashion October movement this month and thought we’d join in the fun with a group photo featuring our Portland office team in their handknits.

Regardless of whether or not you participated in Slow Fashion October, we appreciate that there is a time set aside to have these conversations, which can be continued throughout the year. Read more about Slow Fashion October on the Fringe Association blog.

And in case you’re wondering what we’re wearing(!), patterns from left to right are: Stasis (Loft), Rift (Shelter), Manzanilla (Arbor), Sous Sous (Arbor), Little Wave (Shelter), Timberline (Shelter), Hayward (Loft), Freeport (Shelter doubled), Grettir (Shelter).

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One of Jared’s intentions in creating his Woolens collection was to introduce a variety of knitting techniques in approachable projects. The book is meant to be accessible to new knitters, but also to coax veterans of the craft into expanding their skill sets. For today’s blog we’d like to highlight four projects that just might teach you something new.

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Seeds Hats

This basic stockinette cap was conceived as a gentle introduction to stranded colorwork. Only six rounds (eight, if you work the largest size) require both colors at once, and those rounds sport a pattern that alternates colors every stitch so you’ll never need to worry about tensioning longer floats. The pattern is written for tubular cast on, a beautiful technique that’s well worth learning, but a simpler method can be substituted if you’re just starting out or if you’re short on time. Seeds is also a great canvas for playing with color combinations — Jared has written blog posts about color theory that may help you pick the perfect trio, but there’s no better way to learn about hue and value than to pull some leftovers from your stash and audition them in a quick “swatch cap.”

 

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Byway

Ready to try cables? This wrap is worked end to end in easily memorized patterning; the simple six-stitch cables are mirrored, so you can practice crossing with stitches held to the front and to the back, and the blocks of garter stitch flanking the cables will help you keep track of your work and recognize when it’s time for another cabling row. You may even decide you’re ready to try cabling without a cable needle before the end — stitches in woolen-spun Shelter won’t easily run down and escape while they’re momentarily free. As a bonus, Byway will teach you a nifty flat-lying selvedge you’ll want to apply to other projects.

 

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Halo

Lace knitting can seem intimidating or too fussy for knitters who enjoy the meditative rhythm of just motoring through a basic stitch pattern. We encourage you to test the waters with Halo, a pi shawl with rings of eyelets that are easy to work and to memorize. There’s plain knitting aplenty in the sea of stockinette that flows out from the center cast-on, and a gentle step toward more difficulty in the edging chart. If charts make your knees knock, never fear: this one is small, clear, and simple — and the legend is printed right beneath it.

 

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Crosshatch

Brioche stitch is all the rage for good reasons: it’s addictively rhythmic to knit, delightfully squishy, and full of airy warmth. Working in two colors reveals its architecture and prints the fabric with a graphic herringbone pattern — and the two yarns are worked alternately, so it’s less difficult than it looks. Crosshatch exaggerates the brioche texture by combining yarns of different weights as well as different colors. And the pattern lets you dial in a comfortable level of challenge by choosing between a simple garter selvedge and a more complex edging that perfectly matches the fabric.

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We hope you’ll enjoy adding to your knitter’s toolkit with these projects and others from Woolens! Please share your projects with #BTWoolens so we can savor your interpretations of these accessories. And let us know in the comments what you’ve enjoyed learning lately or what skills you’re hoping to acquire next!

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Announcing Woolens, Jared’s first printed book and single-designer collection since Made In Brooklyn seven years ago! Most knitters cut their teeth on simple accessories like scarves and hats. And for most of us there’s comfort and satisfaction in returning to such projects even after we’ve expanded our skills to become garment knitters. Maybe we need something finite to whip up for a friend’s birthday, or maybe we just want an uncomplicated palate cleanser after a strenuous cabled coat or a colorwork sweater. In homage to soothing, approachable knits, Jared decided to design a whole collection of accessories in his thoughtful, timeless style.

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The eleven cowls, scarves, wraps and hats in Woolens introduce a variety of techniques and invite exploration of various design options, prompting choices that personalize the garments. Created with masculine and feminine wardrobes in mind, these pieces meld classic good looks and engaging knitting. Many are simple enough for the adventurous beginner; if you’re ready to expand your skill set, try a hat designed as the gentlest possible introduction to stranded colorwork. When you’re ready for another level of challenge, knit a striking bi-color shawl that’s worked in the round and opened with a steek. With a clear and thorough reference section that’s a valuable resource in itself, Woolens will teach you all the new techniques you need to knit these beautiful accessories.

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Throughout this 138-page book, Jared’s gorgeous photographs reveal every detail of the designs as well as glimpses of his creative process and inspiration from the natural beauty of Japan. We hope you’ll soak up of plenty of inspiration for your next project — accessories make great gifts, after all — and enjoy the tactile experience of a BT collection on paper!

Woolens is available as a printed book or as a print + e-book combo and can be purchased right here on our website or from Brooklyn Tweed stockists around the world. As a special treat, the first 250 copies of the book sold online will be signed by the author. We hope you enjoy this inspiring new publication!

 


Quick Links:

Purchase a Print Book   |   Purchase a Print+E-Book Combo  |  View Individual Pattern Information

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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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