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The designers we selected to contribute to Wool People 11 were among the first knitters to sample our new Rambouillet laceweight, Vale. Today we share their impressions of the yarn as we feature their beautiful stoles.

Natalie Servant contributed Prism to this collection. Printed with diamonds and rhombuses, this geometric design can be a lace stole or a cowl. The charted shapes are filled with shifting textures — knit, purl, garter — so there’s more solid fabric than in many lace accessories, which puts Vale’s smooth and balanced preparation on display.

Natalie wrote, “I really enjoyed knitting with Vale. I found it easy to produce even stockinette and reverse stockinette. The surprise for me was when I washed and blocked the swatch: the drape was fantastic. The hardest part about working with Vale was having to send back the unused skeins!”

Sandhya Shadangi’s Ravine is patterned with rivulets of branching, shifting, straightening eyelets. A good stretch on blocking wires evens the long sides and opens the organic motifs to stand out against the stockinette background. Despite Vale’s elasticity, it’s a biddable yarn that accepts blocking to become fluid and drapey.

Sandhya’s impression of Vale was that it’s crisp, soft, and springy. Her fabric blocked beautifully to yield clean and even stitches with good definition, and it retained the crisp softness that had first struck her when handling it in the skein. “Overall, I think it’s perfect for lace. And I can imagine it being great for super-light garments that would also hold their shape nicely,” she concluded.

Amy van de Laar had this to say after creating Leadlight, a stole with a pattern of geometric tracery radiating from a pinhole cast-on:

“Vale is springy, light and soft, but substantial and full of personality. It’s next-to-the-skin soft, and it blocks easily and drapes beautifully — just perfect for lace knitting. The colour Heron is a calm, neutral, mid-toned grey with a subtle sheen to it.”

Fans of Plains, a limited edition yarn that we produced in collaboration with Mountain Meadow Mill in Wyoming, have been asking how Vale compares. Our customer service specialist, Jamie Maccarthy, describes the distinction between them this way:

“In spite of their commonalities (Vale and Plains are both two-ply, worsted spun, breed-specific laceweight yarns made from Rambouillet fleece grown on the plains of Wyoming), they do differ. Plains is a slightly rustic yarn, spun a bit thick-and-thin with a lot of spring in its step. While Vale maintains some of the bounce that Plains has, it is a polished yarn with an even weight and twist, which would be lovely knit up into a light top or sweater.” Read more about the development and characteristics of both Vale and Plains here.

What are you making with Vale? We’d love to know your impressions of it! Don’t forget to tag your project photos with #ValeYarn so we can follow your progress. We’ll be reposting some of our favorites on our Instagram account in the coming weeks.

@jess_schreibstein, @looplondonloves, @softsweater, @knitgraffiti, @minib, @jen_beeman

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Recently released, Vale is the first laceweight offering in our line of core yarns. Since we also currently have our small-batch laceweight Plains in stock, we thought we’d tell you a little more about their similarities as well as their unique qualities. 

Vale and Plains share many similar characteristics: they are both two-ply, worsted spun, breed-specific laceweight yarns made from Rambouillet fleece grown on the plains of Wyoming. Soft and crimpy, Rambouillet is prized for its loft and bounce and creates accessories and garments that are both durable and springy. Patterns made from either Vale or Plains will be warm, light and airy.

Despite these similarities, Vale and Plains also have nuanced differences that make for unique knitting hand and finished fabric characteristics. While both yarns are spun worsted for strength, Plains is a slightly rustic yarn, intentionally spun a bit thick-and-thin which lends a lot of spring to its step. Scoured and combed into buttery smooth top before spinning, the more polished Vale is spun with an even twist and weight, lending a balance and evenness to it while still maintaining some of the bounce of Plains.

When it comes to the micron count of wool, the smaller the number, the softer the fiber. The fleece used for Plains has a micron count of 22. Vale’s micron count is 21.5, making it the softest fiber we’ve sourced to date. Even this small decrease in micron count makes a noticeable difference in terms of the softness of hand of the finished fiber.

The color palettes for both yarns were designed in-house by Jared Flood. The Plains palette offers an assortment of colors, many of which have a counterpart in our worsted-spun, DK-weight Arbor palette. While Vale’s palette incorporates a few favorites from the Arbor yarn line as well, it was uniquely curated to showcase the softer and more sophisticated tones within the color wheel, and in particular was inspired by Jared’s nature photographs taken during his travels (see more of those in our new lookbook).

Working with Mountain Meadow Mill in Wyoming, the same location as the source of the fleece, Plains was Brooklyn Tweed’s first foray into limited-edition yarns. Since Plains is a small-batch, special release, when it’s gone, it’s gone. Conversely, Vale marks an expansion of our permanent offerings of worsted-spun yarns. As an addition to our core yarn line, you can count on Vale being around for years to come (although we do hope that you give it a try sooner than later!).

We are eager to hear about your experience knitting with our newest core yarn Vale, and encourage you to knit with Plains while you still can!

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Today we’re excited to announce a new addition to Brooklyn Tweed’s permanent stable of yarns: an airy Rambouillet laceweight from the softest fleece we’ve ever offered. Vale has been in development since last year and it’s been hard to keep it under our hats! Like all its BT cousins, this breed-specific yarn is 100% American made, from sheep to dyepot. Vale will be available for purchase on May 17. Ready for a sneak peek?

The Fiber

Rambouillet sheep are also known as French Merinos; two hundred years of careful breeding developed a fleece with even more crimp and bounce than the merino that’s widely available today. In the United States, Rambouillets are a favorite finewool breed on the western plains. The growers we work with in Wyoming achieve wool with a micron count of 21.5, the softest fiber we’ve used to date.

The Process

The same partners who help us produce Arbor bring our Rambouillet bales from raw fleece to finished skein. Chargeurs, based in South Carolina, scours it clean and combs it into the smooth and consistent top that’s required for worsted spinning. The fiber is shipped on to Maine for worsted spinning at the Jagger Brothers mill, and then travels a short distance to the Saco River Dyehouse for eco-friendly skein dyeing.

The Colors

Vale’s 14 custom shades augment some touchstone colors from the Arbor line with sophisticated softer tones. Dusty rose shades, glacial blues, and lichen yellows form a focused palette that offers both neutrals and brights.

The Knitting

We’ve handpicked a selection of favorite lace pieces designed by Jared Flood from the BT archives to re-knit in Vale. (Any guesses which they are?) We love the polished, even spin of this yarn, which shows off stitch motifs to maximum effect.

Mull over the palette and the pattern options and get ready to join us for a summer of lace! We’ll be hosting our first-ever knitalong starting in early July and posting our favorite tips and tricks for lace success. If you’re lace-curious but haven’t tried this beautiful form of knitting yet, it will be the perfect opportunity to get your feet wet.

Join us this week while we discuss Vale and all of its project possibilities on the BT Ravelry forum.

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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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When we think about summer knitting, lace shawls are always high on our list. We like to knit wool all year, but switching to laceweight during the hottest months keeps our core temperature within reason as well as satisfying our fingers. So we’re delighted to have six new patterns written for Plains amongst our options since the release of Wool People 10. This limited-edition laceweight Rambouillet is really a house favorite at BT, and we thought we’d spotlight those new lace designs on the blog today. We’ve sorted them by challenge level to help you pick a project that suits your summer knitting ambitions.

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Feeling Mellow

Are you new to lace knitting? Or maybe just in the mood for a relaxing project you can knit in a friend’s backyard with a summery drink in hand? Try Scalene or Loess. These patterns are the knitting equivalent of grabbing an inner tube to float the river with a bunch of friends on a hot day.

Scalene
Nadia Crétin-Léchenne

An asymmetrical garter triangle enlivened by just a hint of lace patterning. As you’re knitting the body of the shawl, there’s only a single panel of the motif to think about. The chart is predictable and easy to memorize. By the time you get to the long edge, your fingers will know what to do and you’ll be ready for the little bump in difficulty that a repeating motif represents. If you can work a k2tog and an ssk, you can knit this shawl. If you’re uncertain about working from charts, this is a good practice piece.

Loess
Christine de Castelbajac

Sssh…don’t tell, but Indian Cross Stitch isn’t actually lace knitting at all: it’s a cable variation! The openwork effect comes from wrapping the needle with the yarn before you work the next stitch, dropping the wraps, and then passing the resulting elongated stitches over their neighbors to knit them out of order. The intricate woven texture of this stitch looks far more complicated than it really is. And in Loess, the bands of Indian Cross Stitch appear with organic spacing to punctuate swathes of soothing stockinette, so there’s no pressure to watch your pattern like a hawk. No one will ever know if you accidentally work a few extra rows in one pattern or the other. In short, this is perfect social knitting.

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Feeling Energized

If you’ve developed an appetite for a little more lace action but still want to ease in gradually, we suggest Haro.

Haro
Sarah Pope

This small crescent begins with good old garter stitch. It’s shaped with short rows so you can get comfortable with the wrap and turn technique, but there’s no need for a follow-up maneuver to hide the wraps—the garter bumps do that for you. The shawl breaks into Fir Cone Lace, one of the simplest lace motifs ever devised, and there’s no shaping to distract you while you’re building your confidence. The spicy part is the edging, where you’ll work yarnovers and decreases on the right and wrong sides to form little trees.

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Feeling Confident

Comfortable with lace knitting and ready for a substantial project? Saiph and Amarilli are both intermediate-level knits, dressy enough to wear to weddings or to sweeten any summer look.

Amarilli
Amy van de Laar

This ornate triangle can be worked from charted or written instructions—knitter’s choice. There’s a lot going on as the floral bouquets take shape, but once you’ve worked a few repetitions they’ll begin to seem intuitive. Wrong-side rows require switching between knit and purl to maintain transitions between stockinette and reverse stockinette during the body of the shawl. Since the knitting begins at the center top with a garter tab cast-on, you can cement your understanding of the pattern over a small number of stitches.

Saiph
Irina Dmitrieva

Geometric motifs flow in both directions down the wings of this stole. The techniques aren’t difficult, but you’ll need to track your progress over multiple large charts and master the provisional cast-on to begin at the center. There are “resting” rows on the wrong side throughout, except for the resolution of double yarn overs. Saiph is the kind of knitting you’ll want to do at peaceful moments, though you may find that you can easily read the lace once you get into the rhythm of the motifs.

 

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Feeling Unstoppable

Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than tackling a challenge. If you’re in the mood for an engrossing knit, look no further than Lily Go’s crescent of ethereal lace butterflies.

Lunette
Lily Go

This shawl is worked from the trailing edge upward, so the first hurdle is the large cast-on. (We recommend placing stitch markers at regular intervals so you can count easily!) With four different sizes included in the pattern, you can choose just how dramatic you’d like to go. The butterflies take shape through a four-step process clearly explained in the directions. Lunette requires you to work from charts, and you’ll need to watch three charts at once when you reach the upper portion.

As ever, we’re all looking forward to seeing your projects take shape! Please do tag them with #BTinthewild or #WoolPeople if you’re sharing online so we’ll be sure to spot them.

Happy knitting!

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Wool People 10 Cover

 

Welcome, Wool People! We’re thrilled to introduce a tenth collection of garments and accessories conceived by independent designers and curated by Brooklyn Tweed. This edition was the first opportunity for Wool People to make full use of our current stable of yarns, and we were particularly excited to see what the creative minds of the knitting world would imagine in Plains, our limited-edition laceweight Rambouillet.

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With half the collection being floaty lace accessories, it only seemed right to balance things out with the pleasing structure and heft of cables, so you’ll find chunky coats and mid-weight sweaters aplenty in this well-rounded collection. As the seasons are turning all around the globe, we love the thought of a knitter in New Zealand casting on a cozy cardi like Marylebone while another here in Portland is starting a lace crescent like Haro or Lunette to wear over tees and sundresses (or getting a jumpstart on a new cableknit wardrobe staple for next fall!).

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Our contributors are a wonderful mix of new and familiar faces from around the planet. One of our favorite aspects of Wool People is the open submission call that puts budding design talent on the same stage with established luminaries. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting brief interviews with the designers whose work is appearing in Wool People for the first time, and we hope you’ll enjoy getting to know them.

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We also look forward to sharing some scenes from Saco River Dyehouse, one of our partners in producing Plains, to show you more about this yarn’s journey to your needles.

Enjoy the collection!

 


Quick Links:

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

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Plains is our first foray into intensely local, limited-edition yarns. We teamed up with Mountain Meadow Wool Mill in Buffalo, Wyoming to develop a 2-ply laceweight yarn that celebrates the exceptional bounce and liveliness of the American Rambouillet fleece. This downy soft wool, perfect for next-to-skin wear, takes blocking beautifully despite its elasticity. Spun worsted for strength and stitch definition, Plains retains a hint of thick-and-thin rusticity that shows the breed’s particular character and reminds you that you’re knitting close to the source.

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Mountain Meadow is a woman-owned and family-operated spinning mill dedicated to supporting neighboring ranchers and raising awareness about ranching culture in the American West. Their commitment to eco-friendly operation and fair prices for farmers resonates strongly with our own desire to contribute to the revitalization of the American wool industry.

 

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Plains was organically skein-dyed in a focused palette of ten serene colors at Saco River Dyehouse in Biddeford, Maine. Saco River is a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified dyeworks and operates with the keenest possible focus on ecological and sustainable practices.

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Because Plains represents a special collaboration on a limited batch, when it’s gone, it’s gone. Since there isn’t enough to supply all of our flagship retail stores, the yarn is available only on our website. Each skein contains a generous 440 yards, so you can knit a whole project with just one or two hanks.

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Our design team created three lace shawl patterns (shown above: Bauhin, Selune and Lucca) especially to put Plains through its paces; you can also use Plains in place of Loft for any of the lace accessories in our archive to achieve an even lighter effect.

We look forward to seeing what you’ll make with Plains!

 

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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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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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