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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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We’re thrilled to unveil an all-new 100% American yarn today! It’s long been our goal to expand the range of Brooklyn Tweed offerings, but a great deal of planning, care, and time are required to build lasting partnerships, source everything domestically, and make sure our supply chain is robust enough to meet customer demand. Arbor has been in the works for more than a year — it’s entirely different from our woolen-spun core lines and its journey from sheep to skein is wholly new.

The fiber

Arbor comes from purebred Targhee sheep grazing the rangelands of Montana and South Dakota. The Targhee is an American breed, based on Rambouillet stock but augmented with Corriedale and Lincoln longwool for strength. Targhee yarn knits up as supple, long-wearing fabric that’s luxuriously soft but everyday durable.

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The Milling Process

We send our Targhee clip to the historic Jagger Brothers Spinning Mill in southern Maine for worsted processing. This yarn is not the rustic jumble of lightly twisted fibers you’ve come to expect from Brooklyn Tweed. Worsted spinning involves combing all the fibers into smooth alignment before spinning to produce a perfectly even roving. Arbor is a bouncy, round 3-ply yarn with a tight twist for superior stitch definition and strength.

The Palette

We wanted Arbor to be a celebration of color with a deep, nuanced range of hues. From the velvety depths of Nightfall and Dorado to the blaze of Firebrush and the tang of Tincture, our custom-dyed solids span the spectrum. The neutrals offer unexpected twists — the faded black denim of Porter, the subtle warm tones of Humpback, the lichen green of Gale, the barely-there blush of pink in Degas. A few of our favorites from the Plains palette — Morandi, Rainier, and Treehouse — now have a permanent home in the Arbor line. These colors are created with minimal impact on the environment by the master dyers at Saco River Dyehouse, the country’s only organically certified yarn dyeing operation.

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The Collection

To introduce this new yarn, Jared Flood has created a tasting menu of accessories that will let you sample Arbor in bite-size projects or wrap yourself in rich color at a larger scale. Some of the patterns are familiar favorites from the Brooklyn Tweed archives reworked for Arbor’s gauge and unique characteristics; others are fresh offerings. The Arbor Collection includes nine patterns for hats, scarves, shawls, and cowls that sing the yarn’s praises in cables, twisted stitches, and textural motifs. With gift knitting season upon us, we hope you’ll find inspiration in our new lookbook for treating your knitworthy loved ones.

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We’re so excited about our new partnerships in the U.S. textile industry that have allowed us to bring you Arbor, and we hope it will find a home in your workbasket. We can’t wait to hear what you think and to see what you’ll make.

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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.

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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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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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Nothing says fall knitting quite like cables. Many of us have spent the summer knitting airy shawls or linen pullovers, perhaps putting in a few rows on a woolly sleeve for that Rhinebeck sweater when the weather isn’t too oppressive. But once there’s a nip in the air, we can celebrate by diving straight into a pile of good wool and reveling in all the possibilities. This feels like the time of year to take on serious projects—big garments, new techniques, challenging designs that will make us better knitters. Cables offer up endless ways to produce visually appealing and extra-cozy garments, perfect for cold-weather wear and for satisfying our cravings for truly hearty knitting.

In that spirit, here’s a round-up of some of the cabled projects in our new Fall collection. We’re hoping a little extra information about each one might help you evaluate these options for your own autumn knitting. (Click on any of the images in the post to read full specs about each pattern.)

 

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Take a closer look if you… love textured, geometric fabrics and timeless style—and can’t get enough cables in your knitting.

Willamette’s stitches cross on every row to form a deeply textured, deeply cozy fabric. You’ll work from two different charts, one for each face of the scarf, and it’s more than a little addictive to watch two separate but harmonious patterns forming on each side. The cables are almost always two stitches crossing over one, so you’ll probably find you can ditch the cable needle and trust your stitches not to try any funny business while you slide them off and rearrange them. The motifs are easy to track and you may be able to abandon the charts completely after a few repetitions.

Things to know before you cast on: This isn’t a speedy knit, but it’s a handsome gift that may succeed with recipients who don’t normally wear handknits—and it’s definitely the kind of present you’ll want to steal back from time to time.

Skill Level: 3 out of 5 (intermediate)

 

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Take a closer look if you… long to work up some truly glorious chunky cables but tend to overheat in bulky sweaters. It will look stunning draped over your favorite armchair when you’re not wearing it.

This plush wrap is a cable-lover’s dream, and the large-scale motifs bring out Quarry’s very best. Every right-side row involves crossing stitches, but the motifs interact rhythmically and predictably, so you won’t have to peer at the charts every moment once you’ve established the pattern and can refer to the work you’ve already done. On wrong-side rows you’ll just knit or purl the stitches as they lie. The largest crossings are three over three, so depending on your comfort level and trust in your wool, you may be able to work largely without a cable needle. And you’ll learn a beautiful extension of I-cord that produces a flat vertical edge you may want to apply to future scarves, blankets, or cardigan fronts.

Things to know before you cast on: This pattern is worked from large charts.

Skill Level: 3 out of 5 (intermediate)

 

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Take a closer look if you… like dramatic texture but prefer tailored shapes.

McLoughlin looks complex but makes for a mellower knit than you might expect—large sections of the torso require cabling only every sixth row, and since it’s worked in the round with the motif only on the front, there’s quite a lot of knitting that won’t require your full attention. In chunky Quarry, this slightly cropped pullover will work up quickly despite the intricate patterning. And there’s no seaming apart from the underarm grafts.

Things to know before you cast on: There’s waist shaping to keep track of, and you’ll need to embrace the purl stitch to work in reverse stockinette. You’ll also have to be comfortable working from large charts.

Skill Level: 4 out of 5 (adventurous intermediate)

 

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Take a closer look if you… love the comfort and style of an extra-wide pullover but crave knitterly details to hold your interest while you’re making all that fabric.

If you enjoy knitting cables but don’t like the bulk large ones produce, consider fashion-forward Birch Bay. The traveling stitches that form the delicate leaf outlines are all single crosses, so you won’t ever need a cable needle. The simplicity of the garment’s shape makes this an intermediate-level knit, and there won’t be any fiddly modifications necessary to achieve the intended fit.

Things to know before you cast on: Birch Bay is meant to drape like a poncho, so don’t shy away from the generous ease the designer has indicated.

Skill Level: 3 out of 5 (intermediate)

And if none of these seems quite your style, here are a few more of our picks from the BT Archive that have become fan favorites:

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What’s your favorite detail about your WP9 design contribution? 
Historically, the delicate Estonian motifs I’ve used for Rakke have been worked in white lace-weight yarns, but the thicker, rustic Brooklyn Tweed yarns in brilliant colors give this traditional lace a modern sensibility, which I love.

Any interesting techniques in the design you’d like to tell knitters about? 
Both Rakke designs, the shawl and the scarf, are shaped with garter stitch short rows. The texture of garter stitch allows the knitter to skip the step of concealing the short row wraps, which hide themselves amid the garter bumps.

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What’s the most beloved (and well-worn) hand knit in your closet?
I have a confession to make: I have never made even a single sock! My local knitting friends know this about me and over the years they’ve made me some beautiful pairs. I don’t walk around in these special socks; I wear them only when I sit and knit at home. And since I’m always knitting at home, these are the most well-worn knits in my closet.

Three things that are inspiring you right now? 
Changing nature is a great source of inspiration to me; as seasons shift there are always new details, colors, and textures to inspire ideas.

 


 

This interview is part of our Take 5 series—a collection of bite-sized interviews with designers about the inspirations behind our newest collection—Wool People 9 .

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What’s your favorite detail about your WP9 design contribution?
I really like Mirepoix’s lace border; looking back through my sketches I see it’s one I’ve wanted to work into a design for years now. It would also be fitting with a completely plain stockinette or garter stitch body. During swatching I realized the border also looks great in garter stitch (replacing knit for purl on the wrong-side rows) instead. Can you tell I have a hard time picking a direction to take each of these basic elements? The versatility of a motif like this one can be a blessing and a curse.

Any interesting techniques in the design you’d like to tell knitters about?
One of the things I enjoyed most about knitting Mirepoix is that the lace borders on the long sides of the rectangle are worked together with the body. Many stoles require you to pick up stitches around the entire body and work circularly with very long rounds. As useful a technique as this can be, I don’t really care too much for picking up stitches along a side edge—stitch-to-row ratios can be tricky, even in a forgiving lace pattern. Completing two of the edges as you knit the stole simplifies the border work quite a bit—the only knitted-on sections are at the short edges.

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What’s the most beloved (and well-worn) hand knit in your closet?

That would be my Birch shawl, designed by Sharon Miller, in a soft grey cashmere/silk. I reach for it three seasons out of the year, every year. It still looks as it did the day I unpinned it from the blocking board despite frequent and sometimes careless use. The yarn—Filatura di Crosa Superior—lives up to its name.

Three things that are inspiring you right now?
Drawing, writing, and filling up my Hobonichi Techo.

 


 

This interview is part of our Take 5 series—a collection of bite-sized interviews with designers about the inspirations behind our newest collection—Wool People 9 .

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What’s your favorite detail about your WP9 design contribution?
I love the way the increases and decreases in the lace edging affect the garter stitch background. They pull the rows upwards and downwards, creating diagonal ridges that make the edging very feather-like. Lace is magical!

Any interesting techniques in the design you’d like to tell knitters about?
A neat stitch I’ve used in Kea is the raised centred double decrease, which appears in the edging. It helps the stockinette ribs really stand out above the garter stitch, and it keeps the decreases invisible, too.

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What’s the most beloved (and well-worn) hand knit in your closet?
I have a rainbow-striped wool jumper which I wear a lot when it’s cold enough. I found it in an op-shop and adopted it. It’s quite simple, mostly in stockinette with garter ridges at each colour change, and it’s obviously been made with love and care.

Three things that are inspiring you right now?
The first thing is a very simple one: yarn-overs! I’m having a real lace phase at the moment, and it’s a lot of fun coming up with new stitches that look like leaves or honeycomb or stars. The second is speckled yarn, either speckle-dyed or tweedy—I love the tiny pops of colour. And the third thing that’s inspiring me is my favourite art gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria. Their historical embroidery exhibition blew my mind. Next I’m going to visit their Pre-Raphaelite collection and bask in the colours.

 


 

This interview is part of our Take 5 series—a collection of bite-sized interviews with designers about the inspirations behind our newest collection—Wool People 9 .

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