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Today is the big day! With the launch of our Winter 19 collection, the Winter of Colorwork KAL has officially begun.

If you haven’t decided which pattern you’re going to knit along with, you still have time — the Cast On Date is next Wednesday, January 23. Browse our Winter 19 collection for some new colorwork patterns, or search our pattern archive. There are also thousands of wonderful patterns to choose from on Ravelry.

Then, read our previous post for tips on selecting your colors — whether or not you knit Gudrun Johnston’s Pascal Cardigan with us, the same tips apply!

Selecting a Sweater Size

Let’s start planning our Pascal Cardigans by deciding which size, shape, and length to knit. Pascal can be made with or without waist shaping, allowing for variation depending on how you’d like your sweater to fit. In the pattern, the finished chest sizes are the same for both the “women’s” and “men’s” versions. The body and sleeve length are longer in the “men’s” version of the pattern.

If you’d like your finished sweater to be snugger or looser, this is an easy pattern to adjust for gauge. Simply go down or up a needle size, being sure to check your gauge with a swatch to calculate your final measurements first!

Keep in mind that chunky weight yarns, such as Quarry, have special “rules” to consider when selecting size. The bulkier the yarn you’re using, the bigger the difference between the garment’s circumference on the outside (public-facing side) and the circumference on the inside (where your body is). Because bulky yarns create very thick fabrics, the inside measurement of a bulky sweater is tighter than the outside measurement, much like the lanes on the inside of a race-track are a shorter distance than the lanes on the outside.

Remember to take the thickness of your yarn and knitted fabric into account when choosing ease for sweaters that require heavier yarns. For more reading on the topic of fit and ease, (re)visit our article on Selecting a Sweater Size below!

Swatching for Stranded Colorwork

As with any project, don’t skip the swatching step! Chances are, the colorwork pattern you select will be knit in the round. As such, we recommend the Speed Swatching method for checking your gauge and color choices.

Circular knitting, in which every round is worked from the Right Side, can produce a different gauge than flat knitting due to a subtle variation in tension between knitting and purling that many knitters experience. Swatching is all about simulating the fabric of your final garment, so when preparing for a circular project, swatching in the round is the best approach. You can find our instructions on how to do so in our Swatching 101 article below!

Join us next week for Cast On Day, and in the meantime, let us know which pattern you’ll be knitting!

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We wrote plenty of resources last year leading up to our Winter of Colorwork KAL, so we’ll use this time before and during the KAL as opportunities to share our tips and techniques for working each part of your colorwork project — choosing colors, swatching for stranded colorwork, and sweater construction (if you’re working on a sweater), to name just a few.

Members of the Brooklyn Tweed Team are also knitting along with Gudrun Johnston’s Pascal Cardigan in Quarry (to be released next week with our Winter 19 collection), so our posts each week will be focused on working the parts of this project in particular. However, many of our tips, tricks, and suggested resources can still apply to whatever project you may be knitting — so feel free to participate with any pattern of your choice. (Tip: If you choose a project that involves steeking, such as the Pascal Cardigan, you can participate in Fringe Association’s Steekalong, as well!)

This week, we’re covering choosing colors for stranded colorwork knitting, the best part after choosing your pattern. It’s a wonderful opportunity to play — you can produce such a wide range of visual results from a single colorwork chart, depending on how you interact with your colors and especially when you have an eye toward the concepts of hue and value. We wrote a crash course on a few fundamental rules about color theory for stranded colorwork and how you can use this knowledge as a springboard in crafting your color palettes — click below to (re)read!

We knit our Pascal samples in the following colorways, and as you can see, you can produce such a wide range of color stories — whether bold or muted, dark or light.

And if you’re in need of more inspiration — Christina of the BT Team is knitting her Pascal in Slate (MC), Sandstone (C1), and Lazulite (C2). We used her swatches for our Steeking article — the motifs look quite a bit like a flock of sheep in this color combination!

Jamie, on the other hand, is knitting her Pascal in Sandstone (MC), Flint (C1), and Garnet (C2). The bright and rich red of Garnet pops beautifully against Sandstone and Flint’s neutral brown tones.

So, now that you’re armed with some color theory and (hopefully) plenty of inspiration — go forth and plan! If you’re knitting Pascal, don’t forget to download our Pascal Coloring Sheet to get your creative juices flowing. This is a great tool to test color placement before starting a swatch. As a supplement or alternative, you can also use the Compare Colors feature on all our yarn pages.

Christina is particularly keen on helping people choose colors for their knitting, so if you have any questions or would like a recommendation for any colorwork project, leave a comment below with the pattern name and color family you prefer, and she’ll be happy to help. (Tip: It’ll make her day!)

All right friends, it’s time to hone your colorwork knitting skills! Next week we’ll be talking about selecting a sweater size and swatching for colorwork, but until then you can read more about the Winter of Colorwork KAL and join the conversation in our Ravelry pre-chatter thread.

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One of the perks of working here in the Brooklyn Tweed office is getting to see and try on samples for upcoming collections well in advance of their releases — though, for our queues, this can be as much a curse as it is a blessing! We know a pattern is special when we all flock to the same design. While we have a special spot in our hearts for every item in our upcoming Winter 19 collection, we were especially drawn to Gudrun Johnston’s Pascal Cardigan. Garter stitch, colorwork, and plush Quarry — surely few can beat it in feats of coziness! Plus, its woodsy three-color motif struck us as being enjoyable for stranded colorwork knitters of all levels, and just the right thing to get us out of the winter doldrums.

With all this in mind, we figured — two summers ago was our Summer of Lace; why not make this winter our Winter of Colorwork? Won’t you knitalong with us?

For our Winter of Colorwork KAL, we’ll be knitting the Pascal Cardigan and sharing our tips and techniques for working each part of the cardigan — choosing colors, swatching for stranded colorwork, sweater construction, and (yes!) steeking, to name a few. However, you’re also welcome to join us by knitting any colorwork pattern in our archive or any colorwork pattern using Brooklyn Tweed yarn.

The pattern for the Pascal Cardigan will be available on January 16 with the release of our Winter 19 collection, but if you’d like to start planning your project, you can download and print our Pascal Coloring Sheet to get started with choosing your colors. Many of our Retail Stockists will be joining in on the Pascal fun as well, so don’t forget to get connected with a BT stockist near you!

For those of you interested in purchasing yarn to knit Pascal ahead of the pattern launch, this is the yarn, yardage and sizing information:

34¾ (39½, 44, 48½, 53¼, 57¾)” [88 (100.5, 112, 123, 135, 147) cm] circumference at chest (buttoned)
The finished chest measurements are the same for both the Women’s and Men’s version.

Quarry Yarn:  (WOMEN’S) [MEN’S] (6, 6, 7, 7*, 8, 9) [6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9] skeins of Main Color (MC); (1) [1] skein of Color 1 (C1); (1)[1] skein of Color 2 (C2)
*Note: Women’s fourth size uses almost all of seven skeins. You may wish to consider purchasing an extra skein

Chunky weight wool yarn: (1025, 1135, 1275, 1400, 1550, 1675) [1060, 1195, 1335, 1470, 1615, 1740] yards MC; (90, 100, 110, 115, 125, 130) [90, 100, 110, 115, 125, 130] yards C1; (105, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160) [105, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160] yards C2

How to Join the Winter of Colorwork KAL

First, choose your favorite yarn and knitting project that features stranded colorwork (yoke motif or allover motif — as long as it’s stranded, anything is fair game!). The project should be knit using BT yarn, worked from a BT pattern, or both. If you already have a WIP, feel free to join the KAL to finish your project or ask us questions if you’re stuck.

If you choose a stranded colorwork pattern that specifically involves steeking, you can also participate in the Fringe and Friends Steekalong, run by Karen Templer of Fringe Association. (Knit one, KAL two!)

Then, head over to the Winter of Colorwork KAL Chatter thread on Ravelry to introduce yourself and share your plan for what you’re going to knit. Feel free to include any questions or topics you’d like the KAL to address.

Blog Schedule

January 9 — Selecting Colors for Stranded Colorwork Knitting
January 16 — Pattern Selection, Fit and Swatching with Your Colors
January 23 — Cast-On and Knitting Pascal: Beginning the Sleeves
January 30 — Knitting Pascal: Beginning the Body
February 6 — Knitting Pascal: Joining the Sleeves to the Body
February 13 — Knitting Pascal: Steeking
February 20 — Knitting Pascal: Finishing
February 27 — Winter of Colorwork KAL Wrap-Up*

* We’ll be posting each week to the blog, but do know that you can continue working on your project after the last blog post. We’ll continue to respond to questions in the BT Fan Club Forum on Ravelry, as well as admire your shared projects and participate in group discussions!

In addition to joining us on Ravelry, please use the KAL hashtags listed below on any and all social media posts you make that share your project and progress. We’ll be re-posting images from participating knitters throughout the KAL.

The official cast on date for the KAL is January 23. We look forward to knitting, and learning, alongside you!

#BTWinterofColorwork

#BTWinterofColorworkKAL

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We continue to feel inspired by the many beautiful garments that were knit over the course of our Fall 17 KAL and want to thank you all for joining us! Each day we have been met with lovely photos and have had the opportunity to share in kind conversations with knitters from around the world.

Though our Fall 17 knitalong is coming to an end, we hope you enjoy looking back on the #BTFall17KAL and #BrooklynTweedKAL tags as well as the BT Fan Club thread to relive the joy of knitting along. We encourage you to continue to share your photos of your Fall 17 knits with us — we would love to see your progress.

From left to right, top to bottom: jennaleeashburn, 0bev0, Elleinadxc, buddhasocks, Djour48, KettleYarnCo, carab3678

 

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With a blaze of color about the shoulders and a vintage feel, it’s hard to resist the charm of the Voe pullover. Being fans of colorwork knitting, we leap at any opportunity to explore Loft’s 37 shades and Voe doesn’t disappoint in offering the potential for many exciting combinations.

Take a closer look at Voe’s yoke, however, and you’ll discover that it’s not just its prospect of color exploration that we love so much. Punctuating the motif’s peaks and valleys are tiny dashes of woven color. Let’s explore how they got there.

Generally speaking, when working a colorwork yoke the contrasting yarn needs to be “floated” along on the wrong side of your knitting when not in use in order to prevent puckering on the fabric’s right side and snagging on the wrong side. With Voe, instead of trapping these floats on the wrong side, select stitches are slipped with the contrast color floated in front of the slipped stitch, a design element that is simultaneously textural and practical. Of course, weaving a contrast color on the right side of the fabric paired with colorful, geometric motifs are by no means a new coupling. Our Voe pullover gives an aesthetic nod to the Swedish Bohus Stickning design movement of the mid-20th century.

The Bohus Stickning movement was quite an interesting moment in knitting history. It came about when a collective of women in Bohuslän, Sweden approached Emma Jacobsson in the late 1930’s with an idea. These women were looking for ways to support themselves, their families, and their communities in a time of economic depression and decided that knitting would be their means.

Since knitting was an accessible craft that many women in rural Bohuslän were already familiar with, their cooperative found great success in making and selling their wares. But as their group grew and their collective talents were joined with other artists and makers in their community, the simply-designed sock and mitt patterns grew into the more complex and couture sweater designs that Bohus Stickning is best known for.

Though Emma Jacobsson and the women of Bohuslän closed their doors in 1969, we can continue to admire the digital archives of their designs online and acknowledge the artistic and industrious work of these amazing women in our knitting histories.

If you’re interested in learning more about this vivid moment in the history of knitting, we recommend Wendy Keele’s book Poems of Color (1995, Interweave Press) as well as the article “A Bohus Revival” by Sarah Pope in the Winter 2015/16 issue of Vogue Knitting.

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Here at BT headquarters, we’re always on the lookout for accessory pairings to keep us covered from head to toe in wool. Since the launch of our Fall 17 collection, we’ve been queuing up all of the accessory patterns in the collection. First up on our collective needles are the Wallace wrap and the Huck beanie.

While some may hesitate to mix such rich motifs, we think that the textured patterning of Wallace coupled with the high-relief cables of Huck creates the perfect partnership of visual and tactile interest. Additionally, pairing Quarry and Arbor gives ample opportunity to play with fabric, drape, and color, adding another layer of visible interest to your wardrobe — not to mention, you’ll be plenty warm bundled up in all of that wool!

With color stories still fresh on our minds since our recent post about hue and value, we thought it’d be fun to play with some color combinations featuring our three new Quarry colorways for a Wallace wrap matched with some of the deep and nuanced hues of Arbor for a Huck beanie. Whether you color-coordinate your accessories with your wardrobe or prefer to knit contrasting accent pieces, we’ve compiled some curated palettes to suit many tastes.

Granite — Described as a steady, enduring, medium grey, we think that a Wallace wrap knit in Granite would pair wonderfully with a neutral Huck beanie knit up in either Parka, Degas, Cobbler, or Fleet.

Lapis — If you’re a knitter who prefers clear summer skies, a Wallace wrap knit with Lapis will surely keep the winter chill away. Brighten up your Wallace by pairing it with a Huck beanie knit with Tincture or Thaw. Alternatively, a dark-neutral version in the Porter or Dorado colorways would look equally stunning.

Garnet — A deep red flecked with pops of several bright colors including purple, rust, and gold, a Wallace wrap knit with this colorway is sure to excite your senses. A Huck beanie knit with either Klimt, Kettle, Nightfall, or Potion would complement your wrap quite nicely. 

It’s not too late to cast on your first, or maybe second, project for the #BTFall17KAL. Join in on the fun and start your accessory pairing today!

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We’re ready as ever to start knitting for our fall and winter wardrobes, and are eager to have you cast on with us for Brooklyn Tweed’s Fall 17 Knitalong! From now through November 10th we’ll be knitting away at our favorite patterns from the Fall 17 collection.

In the Brooklyn Tweed Ravelry group there has been talk of knitting Hucks, Galloways, and Ginsbergs. Those of us here at BT Headquarters also have plans to knit a few Wallace wraps and Hunter vests. How about you?

Visit our Ravelry group KAL thread to share photos of your project as well as cheer your fellow knitters along. Feel free to use hashtags #BrooklynTweedKAL and #BTFall17KAL on Ravelry, Facebook, and Instagram to join in on the fun and so that we can see what you are making.

We can’t wait to knit along with you!

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Every year we find ourselves eagerly awaiting the end of summer and the transition to fall. We’re especially excited to share with you this year’s BT Fall collection because it reminds us of all the things we love about the season. We’re looking forward to settling down to work in earnest on our cold-weather wardrobes and for any excuse to wear our knitwear in the meantime.

Join us on Ravelry for our BT Fall 17 KAL to kickstart this transitional knitting season. Choose your favorite pattern (or two!) from the BT Fall 17 collection and join in the fun — the official cast-on day is September 29 so there’s plenty of time to mull over your ideas. We invite you to share what you’re planning to knit in the BT Fan Club forum as the kick-off approaches.

In celebration of the KAL, the Wallace wrap pattern is available to purchase as a limited-edition kit with Quarry yarn. This quick-to-knit and easy-to-memorize pattern will keep you busy throughout the KAL, and you’ll be sure to cross the KAL finish line with a wrap large enough for keeping warm through the rest of the season’s knitting. The Wallace kit ships for free domestically through September 22, just in time to reach you for cast-on day.

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Thank you all so much for joining us for our first official KAL! We hope you learned a lot this summer about the joy and satisfaction of lace knitting, while also adding a few tricks to your technical toolkit.

We’ve included a few highlights from your project shares below, though there’s so much more beautiful work to see on the #BTLaceKAL17 and #BrooklynTweedKAL tags, we hope you’ll go have a look. While our KAL is officially ending, if you haven’t finished your project yet, don’t fret! We’ll keep following along as more projects continue to flow from your needles throughout the rest of summer and into fall. Thanks again to everyone who participated and made this such a fun summer of knitting!

From left to right, top to bottom: Bohochicfiberco, Websterstreetknittery, Mllemichl, Natalieservant, Minib, The_other_emily

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Sometimes questions don’t arise until a project is well underway. Today we’ve selected a few different queries that have come up for folks during the course of their lace knitting journey. Our hope is that today’s final Q&A post answers will be helpful no matter where you’re at in your own lace project.

Q: I’m not ready to knit from a chart quite yet, but I want to knit a garment that only has charted instructions. Is there a way to write out the charted instructions?

A: Once you learn how to read a chart, you can translate the chart into written instructions. The example chart below is written for a piece that is knit flat (there is a right side and a wrong side of the fabric). We’ve described how to read a chart here, but the important things to remember are that charts are read from the bottom row, up and from Right to Left on the odd numbered rows (RS of fabric) and Left to Right on the even numbered rows (WS of fabric). If you are working on a chart in the round, all rows are read from Right to Left.

Each box in a chart accounts for 1 stitch. If there is a stretch of the same kind of stitch/symbol (i.e. 3 knit stitches in a row) you’d want to write them as one step. For example: Knit 3 (K3) versus writing out each individual stitch (Knit 1, Knit 1, Knit 1). This will make your knitting much faster as you won’t have to read instructions for each individual stitch. When knitting lace, you will complete increases and decreases in the same row to create the decorative pattern but maintain the same stitch count. (One benefit of reading charts is that you can see how stitches align vertically row over row, which makes it easier to catch a misplaced decrease or yarn over.)

To translate the chart below, review the Legend to familiarize yourself with the symbols and start with Row 1.

 

These written instructions correspond to the chart above:

Row 1: YO, K3, SSK, K4, P1.
Row 2: K1, P9
Row 3: K2, YO, K3, SSK, K2, P1
Row 4: K1, P9
Row 5: K4, YO, K3, SSK, P1
Row 6: K1, P9

 

Q: In addition to picking up stitches at a regular interval between ridges, are there any tricks for making sure you pickup stitches evenly along a long row of knit edging, such as with Bridgewater?

A: A technique that makes it easier to ensure your stitches have been picked up evenly and that you have the correct amount of stitches when you’re done is to measure the length of the piece and place stitch markers at even intervals along the fabrics edge. The interval will depend on how many stitches you have to pickup. Generally, it’s a good idea to place a marker every 1-2 inches. Divide the total number of stitches you need to pickup by the number of sections you’ve created. When you start to pickup the stitches, do so at a rate that will allow you to pickup that number by the time you reach the next stitch marker.

Q: Is there a difference between nupps and bobbles?

A: There is! Nupps are an Estonian technique that forms a small bump in the knitted fabric which is made by knitting into the same stitch repeatedly with yarnovers between each knit. Five- or seven-stitch nupps are usual; you could go higher, but bear in mind that on the subsequent row the nupp is closed by purling all of those stitches together. (The trick is to make those knits and yarnovers very loose, really pulling the right needle tip back from the fabric.) There’s more than one way to make a bobble, and they can be stockinette or garter based, but most methods have you knit into the front and back of the same stitch several times to create four or five stitches out of one. Then you turn and work multiple rows back and forth on only the bobble stitches to create a little pouch of fabric before binding off the extra stitches to return to your original stitch count and carry on knitting the row.

Nupps sometimes need to be coaxed to the right side of the fabric and give a subtler effect than bobbles – especially as they’re traditionally worked as a decorative element for cobweb-weight lace shawls.

 

Q: Is there a way to even out my decreases?

A: Typically tension will have the biggest effect on how the decrease lays on the finished fabric. After completing the decrease, insert your needle into the next stitch and gently pull the working yarn to tighten the decrease.  If you are experiencing this issue with a left leaning decrease, following our instructions for a modified SSK might help. To do so, Slip 1 stitch knitwise from L to R needle, replace stitch on L needle in new orientation then knit 2 stitches together through the back loops. Practicing the decreases on a swatch may also help you find the correct amount of tension before working on your garment. Also, keep in mind that knitting by hand can produce some imperfections and that’s quite alright — in fact, it’s part of the process and joy of making things by hand.

 

Q: How do you continue to pick up edge stitches if your blocking wire isn’t long enough?

A: Simply start picking up stitches with a new wire and you’ll be good to go! We recommend leaving at least a few inches of space on either end of your blocking wire in case you need to stretch out the fabric further while laying it out on the blocking mat. When pinning your wires to the blocking surface, be sure to place 1 or 2 pins at the point where two wires cross to keep them firmly in place.

 

Q: What type of surface should I block on? Where can I get the blocking board that BT uses?

A: Sadly the blocking boards that we use seem to no longer be in production, but there are many good alternatives available. The most frequently used product are called blocking mats. They are pieces of foam cut in a jigsaw formation that can be connected to accommodate the shape of your project. If the piece is very large, you can use your mattress or a clean carpeted floor. We’ve also heard of people using ironing boards for smaller projects.

If you knit a lot of hap, or pi shawls and like to build your own tools, you might consider making a stretching frame. These frames were traditionally used for blocking Shetland hap shawls. Kate Davies provides excellent instructions on how to make one at home on her blog.

 

Q: How do I weave in my ends invisibly in lace?

A: It’s best to leave long tails and weave in your ends after you have blocked your final piece. The best practice for lace is to weave in an end following the pattern as closely as you can on the wrong side of the fabric. Be sure to check your work on the right side frequently to make sure the yarn isn’t showing through the fabric. After the ends have been weaved in, gently stretch the fabric to ensure the woven in strand has the same tension as the knitted piece, and then cut the tail as close to the work as possible.

 

Q: I completed my first lace shawl and am feeling really confident, what’s a good second lace project?

A: After you have mastered the basics of lace knitting, you’ll have plenty of pattern choices available to you. Patterns that utilize multiple charts, or a larger repeat of a single chart, are a good option for a second lace pattern. We recommend Girasole, Quill and Ravine for your next project. You can also find our catalog of lace projects with an Intermediate skill level here.

Though our Summer of Lace KAL will soon be coming to an end, we continue to welcome questions about lace knitting at any time, feel free to also share with us what you’ve learned here in the comments. And don’t forget to share your projects with us on Ravelry and Instagram with #BrooklynTweedKAL and #BTLaceKAL17!

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