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On this final day of our Winter of Colorwork KAL, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been knitting along with us. With each project uploaded to Ravelry or shared on Instagram, our minds expand with inspiration and the creative potential of this venerable craft we all deeply cherish.

If you have been following along with our KAL blog posts over these past few weeks, your Pascal cardigan, or other colorwork project,  should be finished or nearly complete – but if you still have some knitting to do don’t fret, it’s all a part of the process of hand making!

Though our KAL is ending, we’d love to continue hearing all about your experiences knitting colorwork as well as answer any remaining questions you may still have about colorwork techniques and best practices.

Join us on Ravelry, Instagram, and Facebook for the next few weeks as we continue knitting and exploring colorwork all while sharing the wonderful things created by you.

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Hello knitters, and welcome to the penultimate week of our Winter of Colorwork KAL. Today we are talking about finishing tips and tricks for colorwork cardigans to ensure that each aspect of your knitted garment will wear well over time.

After steeking a cardigan you will need to add some much needed structure to the freshly cut edge by picking up and knitting the collar and button band. Your pattern will indicate how many stitches to pick up for each section of your cardigan, typically along the right front edge, right front neck, top of sleeves & back neck, left front neck, and left front edge. 

If you struggle with picking up the correct amount of stitches for a button band and collar, here is a trick you may find helpful; say your size in the pattern calls for you to pick up 67 stitches over 13 inches on your front edges, or about 5.1 stitches per inch (67 divided by 13). If your front edges measure 14.5 inches instead, for example, multiply your measurement times the stitches per inch (5.1) for a total of 74 stitches (rounded up) to pick up along each front edge.

TIP: Lay your sweater out flat and measure the front edges. If your front edges measure shorter or longer than the pattern schematic, adjust the number of stitches you are picking up in those sections. If your measurement matches the schematic for a different size, you can pick up the number of front edge stitches indicated for that size. 

Once your button band and collar are completed, you’ll next need to fasten down the edge of your steek stitches. This can be accomplished by either by tacking them down with a length of yarn and a darning needle to the inside of the cardigan, or by hand-sewing a length of Petersham or Grosgrain ribbon down each inside front edge after you’ve washed & blocked your sweater. We prefer to use Petersham ribbon, which can be found at most local yarn or fabric stores, as it resembles grosgrain ribbon but has a scalloped, flexible edge that allows it to lay smoothly around curves.

Finally, soak your cardigan and block it to the measurements outlined in the pattern schematic. A bath and a rest will let your yarn bloom, even out your colorwork, and let your sweater show off its true beauty. If you need a quick review of blocking, check out our Foundations: Blocking 101 post in our Resource Library.

When your sweater is nice and dry, sew on your buttons and wear with pride!

TIP: If using a flat button with holes instead of a toggle, sew your buttons on with a thread shank to allow room for the layer of fabric that you are buttoning through to fit comfortably under the button. Use a toothpick or darning needle as a spacer on top of your button as you sew. There are lots of great videos online to guide you!

Next week we will be wrapping up the Winter of Colorwork KAL and hope to see your finished garments! Be sure to share your work online with the hashtags below, and leave a comment here to let us know how your project went.

#BTWinterofColorwork #BTWinterofColorworkKAL

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Let’s Knit Along!

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We’re so excited to finally start our Pascal Cardigans with you for our Winter of Colorwork KAL — are you?! Let’s get to it…

Cast On & Sleeves

This week we’re starting with the sleeves. They’re knit in the round, starting with a garter stitch band, so the Long Tail Cast On is a great choice to create a tidy edge.

But first — have you swatched in garter stitch, stockinette, and colorwork to determine the needle sizes you’ll need?

14 stitches & 22 rounds = 4″ in stockinette stitch with Size A needle(s), after blocking | Suggested Size: 6 mm (US 10)
14 stitches & 20 rounds = 4″ in colorwork chart patterns with Size B needle(s), after blocking | Suggested Size: 6.5 mm (US 10½)
14 stitches & 32 rows = 4″ in garter stitch with Size C needle(s), after blocking | Suggested Size: 5.5 mm (US 9)

(Your colorwork fabric should be swatched, wet-blocked, and measured when dry to determine whether Size B should be larger, smaller, or equal to Size A. We recommend Speed-Swatching for Circular Knitting, described in the Special Techniques section of your Pascal pattern and in our Swatching 101 article.)

Check your pattern schematic before casting on to see if you’ll need to lengthen or shorten your sleeves. Remember to take yoke depth into account – the deeper the yoke, the farther down your body the armholes reach, so the wrist-to-armhole length of your sleeves will be shorter. (Pascal’s yoke and armholes are a few inches deeper than you’d find on a slim fitted pullover, for example.)

Tip: You’ll need to make any length adjustments before reaching the colorwork section of your sleeves, so that the colorwork will line up on the sleeves and body of your sweater. Don’t worry – if you finish your sweater and discover your sleeve length isn’t quite right, it’s easy to fix!

Cast on your sleeve with your Size C needle for the garter stitch cuff, switch to your Size A needle to knit the main portion of your sleeve in stockinette, then switch again to your Size B needle for the colorwork section.

Colorwork Tips

Before starting your colorwork section, read about color dominance and maintaining even float tension in our Stranded Colorwork 101 article.

The column to the side of each of the colorwork charts in Pascal illustrates which colors should be held in which position so that the colorwork motif will stand out from the background.

The dominant color should always be stranded below the background color. If you hold one color in each hand, the easiest way to manage color dominance is to hold the dominant color in your left hand and bring it from it below the background color (held in your right hand) on the WS of the fabric. If you hold both colors in the same hand, be sure that your dominant color yarn is always coming from below your background color yarn.

In the example above, the light colored motif will stand out against the dark colored background. If you have a dark motif on a light background, be extra careful to maintain color dominance so that your dark color doesn’t visually recede. Following the color dominance guide in your pattern will ensure that your colorwork pops!

Note that there is a separate colorwork chart for each Pascal sleeve – mark each sleeve as you finish it so you can tell the left sleeve from the right.

Once each sleeve is complete, transfer your stitches to a holder or to waste yarn – then you’re ready to knit the body!

Happy knitting!

How to Knit Along

For our Winter of Colorwork KAL, we’ll be knitting the Pascal cardigan from our Winter 19 collection – but you can choose any pattern you like! We’ll share our tips and techniques for working each part of the cardigan — choosing colors, swatching for stranded colorwork, sweater construction, and steeking, to name a few.

Choose your favorite yarn and knitting project that features stranded colorwork. (The project should be knit using Brooklyn Tweed yarn, worked from a Brooklyn Tweed 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.

• Check with your local yarn store to see if they have classes or meet ups scheduled for the KAL.
• Follow the Winter of Colorwork KAL thread in the Brooklyn Tweed Fan Club forum on Ravelry.
• Read our weekly blog posts for each week’s tips and techniques — no matter your knitting pace!

Next week: Part 4 — Begin the Body!

#BTWinter19

#BTWinterofColorworkKAL

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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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Since Quarry first joined our family of woolen-spun yarns in 2015, we’ve found ourselves continually drawn to its unique charm and character. With its signature mix of lightness and strength, and an ever-growing color palette, now more than ever we find ourselves reaching for a few skeins of Quarry when our fingers are itching to cast on a new project.

Lightness of Hand

Quarry is uniquely lightweight and a joy to work with. Being carded instead of combed, the lofty jumble of fibers that make up Quarry’s chunky plies trap heat leaving you feeling bundled and warm. These same pockets of air that help retain heat also contribute to Quarry’s airy and buoyant nature once knit up. Being extra lofty, less “structured,” and more squishable, garments knit in Quarry, like our Ginsberg shrug from Fall 17, wear delicately, as if wearing a cloud.

Construction & Strength

To balance Quarry’s exceptional lightness of hand while also ensuring a bit more strength than a traditional unspun yarn, we collaborated with Harrisville during the development stages and decided to spin Quarry with a technique called a “mock twist.” This method of construction produces a yarn with a roving-style look by way of gently twisting together separate plies of unspun wool fiber. With its three plies nestled together, Quarry’s round structure and surprising tensile strength lends itself well to all sorts of fabrics, especially cables and brioche.

A Playful Palette

Quarry’s 15 hues are blended from the same pool of 17 core dyed-in-the-wool colors as Shelter and Loft, which translates to a beautiful and complimentary woolen-spun wardrobe. When creating colors, such as our new Garnet, Lapis and Granite colorways, Jared works closely with Harrisville to realize his vision by detailing specific new combinations of the core colors. Harrisville then fabricates “color pads” — carded fleece showcasing each proposed recipe — which are sent to BT headquarters for review.

Much like the striated rock formations of the Grand Canyon or the Painted Hills here in Oregon, Quarry reveals a variety of color effects when viewed in different light and at varying distances. With such beautiful texture and tonal colors, Quarry adds painterly grace to our 100% breed-specific and American produced core yarn line.

Share your adventures knitting with Quarry online using hashtag #QuarryYarn, and explore our pattern library to view the wide range of fabrics that can be knit with this expressive yarn.

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Introducing three new Quarry colors, just in time for winter knitting. Garnet and Lapis add brightness to the existing mineral-based hues, and Granite rounds out our grey and black palette, complementing Moonstone, Slate, and Obsidian.

To see these new colors knit up, we’ve re-knit Burnaby, Lancet, and Halus (shown above from right to left). Each hat can be knit with just one skein of Quarry — pick your new favorite color and knit away!

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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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Greetings from wintry Portland! As we get ready to leaf over to 2017, we’ve enjoyed looking back on our work from the past year and remembering our favorite BT knitwear. All of our office staff have weighed in with their picks of 2016, and a Top Ten have emerged.

 

The striking poncho shape of the women’s version captured our hearts in particular — not to mention those luscious cables.

Originally knit in Quarry as part of our Ganseys collection, this hat got a whole new look when we released our worsted-spun DK Arbor last fall. Those cables really pop in a yarn built for stitch definition.

Melissa Wehrle knocked it out of the park with her modern interpretation of the Aran pullover in Wool People 10. We love the traditional cables updated with the vented hem and slim sleeves.

We all agree: classic cabled shawl-collar cardigans forever. Especially when they’re warm but light in quick-knitting Quarry.

Oh, those elegant lines! This beautiful cardigan is flattering on everyone.

This quick and satisfying knit uses Arbor to render the Tree of Life — one of our favorite traditional motifs — in stunning high definition. If you can part with it, this cowl makes a great gift.

We love the tailored fit and the bold, simple patterning against a background of reverse stockinette.

This layering piece is perfect for three-season wear, and the shawl collar really sets it apart.

The intriguing fabric of this scarf is such a delightful opportunity to play with color and yarn weight combinations.

 

Maximum coziness, beautiful cables. We love the oversized fit cleverly adapted to eliminate bulk under the arms.

What were your favorite Brooklyn Tweed patterns this year? Let us know in the comments!

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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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