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In the second and third installments of our Foundations series, we covered the basics of swatching and seaming to aid you in tackling your knitting projects skillfully and confidently. Today, we’ll show you a quick and easy way to further practice these foundational techniques: by repurposing and seaming swatches to make lavender sachets!

These sachets are a delight to make for a number of reasons. First, they hit the sweet spot for both process knitters and project knitters — they’re truly approachable and suitable for practice because of their size and they make lovely, sweet-smelling finished objects that you can keep in a knitting bag or use in your knitwear care routine.

Second, they can be a great way to keep inspiration around you at all times. Perhaps you have a swatch for a visually-appealing intricate colorwork motif, or for a tactile-pleasing textured stitch pattern, or even for a simple stockinette fabric in a memorable yarn. Zip them up into a sachet that you can take with you for moments when you need a boost of creativity, or use to decorate your living or work space. (This project was inspired by the many development swatches we have strewn about the Brooklyn Tweed office!)

Third, they also make charming holiday gifts, either on their own or as a companion to another handknit.

What you’ll need

1) Two swatches of the same size

You can repurpose swatches that you already have or knit up two squares following our instructions in Swatching 101. Alternatively, you can use or knit up one large swatch that you can then fold in half to create your sachet (this method leaves fewer edges to seam).

2) A darning or tapestry needle

3) A few yards of firmly-spun seaming yarn in a matching color and of equal or lighter weight than your swatch yarn

4) Locking stitch markers or coilless safety pins

5) A sharp pair of thread/yarn snips

6) Loose lavender (cedar chips or shavings work well, too)

7) Fiberfill for stuffing (you can use wool roving or polyfill)

Zip it up!

Stack your two swatches with wrong sides facing each other, then seam the bottom and the two sides following our instructions in Seaming 101.  You can play around by mixing and matching the swatches that you choose! We made the sachet pictured above using two swatches for Galloway, with one side using the main colorwork motif and the other side using the lice motif on the body of the cardigan.

Once the bottom and sides are seamed, stuff your sachet with fiberfill and a couple scoops of loose lavender using the top opening. You can sandwich your loose lavender in between the fiberfill to prevent them from coming out of your fabric or bunching at the bottom of the sachet. Finally, seam the top closed. To hide the end of your seaming yarn, snip it leaving a tail of a few inches, then bury the darning needle in the sachet from a corner while scrunching the sachet. Push the needle back out, snip the end, then let the tail retract back inside as you coax the sachet into its original shape.

Alternatively, you can fold one large swatch in half; the fold will eliminate one seam. You can then seam two more sides before stuffing and seaming the sachet closed. You can also play with swatches knit in the round. We made the sachet below with a colorwork “tube” swatch by simply seaming the bottom, stuffing the pouch, then finishing off the top.

The rectangular shape makes this particular sachet work well as an eye pillow or as a wrist rest, so you can experiment with sizing too! For example, if you enjoy knitting large swatches, you can certainly repurpose them into a luxurious lavender-stuffed cushion.

However you choose to customize your sachets, we hope you’ll delight in the opportunity to practice foundational techniques on a small but gratifying project!

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

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

Understanding Color

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

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

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

Color Values in the Shelter Palette

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

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

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

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

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

Compare Colors on Our Website


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

Additional Color Palette Inspiration

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

Speed Swatching for Circular Knitting

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

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

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

We’re Here to Help

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

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Our design spotlight today is on Bradbury, Julie Hoover’s classic striped raglan with a contemporary twist. We’ll yield the floor to Julie to tell you all about the genesis and special details of this design. (She just might sell you on seaming a sweater if you’ve never tried this construction method before!)


When it came time to begin concepts for our second men’s collection, I knew I wanted to design a striped pullover—an updated classic that would feel sexy and sophisticated but could still be versatile enough to dress up or down.


I almost always start with the fabric for a design, but for Bradbury the sketch came first. I already had a strong mental image of thin stripes with a solid block of color at the top of the yoke. As you can see from my sketch above, originally I drew single-row stripes. It wasn’t until later, when I was making a gauge swatch, that I played around with pairs of single-row stripes, and that combination ended up being the winner. I’ll confess, another thing you can see from my sketch is that I always gravitate toward the neutral tones in my concepts (Fossil + Sweatshirt in this case). The sample ended up being worked with a bold contrast (FossilPumpernickel) in order to balance out the color choices for the entire collection. I love both versions equally well. The color options are really limitless according to individual tastes, and I’ve since worked up four different color options that I think would each make beautiful variations from the photographed sample:

4 color variations from our Loft palette (color names listed below corresponding swatch)

One thing to keep in mind as you’re playing with color is that light areas will appear to come forward, while dark areas recede. I worked a block of the pale color at the top of the yoke because the appearance of extra breadth across the shoulders is flattering to most male bodies. If you want to reverse lights and darks, make sure you like the effect on your intended recipient before you commit to the knitting.

Next came the fun part: construction details. I absorb a lot of inspiration from sewn garments. Although I rarely have time for it now, sewing was my first skill (way before I learned to knit). Any time I come across an interesting piece, I will turn it inside out to look at shaping, construction, and finishing details. I do this out of curiosity about the design as well as for a quality check before I consider purchasing any ready-to-wear item. It’s those little details that make all the difference in determining how long the garment will last. In hand knitting, so many things are possible with a little extra time and attention to technique, so applying lessons from sewn-garment construction is an obvious path for me. My design aesthetic leans toward simplicity in patterning of the fabric, so structural details become really important.


For Bradbury, sewn-garment influences are immediately apparent in the full-fashioned decreases, 2-stitch purl “ditches,” and exposed seams that really celebrate the raglan line. Why knit a raglan any way but seamless, you might be wondering? After all, it’s one of the easiest ways to make a sweater. The main reason Bradbury isn’t worked in the round is the stripes. The spiral architecture of circularly knitted fabric means you’re going to have a trouble spot at the beginning of the round where the stripes will “jog,” forming a small but visually prominent stairstep. There are many clever techniques for minimizing the effect, but minimizing is the best you can do. There’s no way to get perfectly even stripes without knitting flat pieces and seaming them. Bradbury’s seams are straight, so there’s no guesswork about how to ease together two curved pieces — if you haven’t ever tried sewn construction, this is a good first project. If details like this seem a chore to you, I would urge you to reconsider. It’s worth every minute in the end, and certainly takes less time the more familiar you are with doing it. Give it a try! Sewn seams add stability to the fabric, which is beneficial when you’ve got the weight of a whole sweater trying to stretch your yoke out of shape. But a bit of sewing also allows you to turn the seam itself into a design element that can’t be replicated with “fake seams.”


Exposed seams are a favorite detail of mine. If you incorporate a precise selvedge stitch as you work, it keeps the edge stitches neatly finished and worthy of exposure to the public side of the garment. I typically use an exposed seam along only one or two areas as a design detail, which keeps it from looking like you simply turned your sweater inside out. Of course, if exposed seams aren’t to your taste, you could omit the purl stitches (working them as knit stitches) and seam to the inside.

On Bradbury, something that might not be apparent in the photos is the subtle difference in shaping of the back and front raglan lines. The back of the yoke is worked wider than the front, hugging the natural forward curve of the shoulders and creating a better overall fit. I might not have chosen to write the pattern this way had it been worked seamlessly, since it’s not a dramatic fit difference and would have been a technical nightmare for our pattern editor. But since the pieces are worked separately above the underarms, it became a perfect opportunity to tailor the garment more precisely.


I hope you’ll love knitting and wearing Bradbury. I’m looking forward to seeing this one out in the wild!


Quick Links:

View Bradbury Pattern Specs   |  View Loft Yarn & Color Palette

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It’s been quite an extreme winter seemingly everywhere, and the city here has been no exception. Several blizzards and ice storms have walloped us, leaving large snow deposits virtually everywhere the eye can see. From an observer’s perspective, I’ve really enjoyed witnessing the different types of snow as it falls, as well as how it behaves on the ground in the days (or weeks) following. There are currently glassy layers of ice covering oddly shaped mounds. Some are still white, thankfully.

The inevitable Quieting Of Things that snow heralds has been really great for me. I’ve been slowly but surely finding my way back to balance after a a very crazy period following Shelter’s launch, and feel my creativity restoring as a result.  I’ve used a good deal of this snowed-in interlude to work on new projects and get back to basics with a healthy amount of swatching – one of my favorite pastimes.

I’ve also been spending some serious time reading (or, re-reading) Sharon Miller’s work, and continue to marvel at the amazing tradition of Shetland Lace. Her new bookLove Darg Shetland Shawls – is fantastic.  Above is a swatch of one of my very favorite Shetland Edgings that I’ve been playing with.  I’m so taken by soft, wool garter stitch lace and have a few pieces on my needles.  Knitted lace worked in garter with fine-gauge wool creates fabric with such vitality.

Color has been a focus as well.  I think it’s a good idea to seek color inspiration outside of my yarn stash every so often. Last week I dumped the whole of my thread collection out and organized it in palette order to get the creative juices flowing. All this color creates a welcome contrast to the grey days.

Speaking of Shetland, I’ve been deeply enjoying the use of one of my most treasured souvenirs from the islands.  I brought back this large woven blanket from my trip and really adore it.  Jamieson & Smith sells these beauties in a number of different designs, all woven from hand-sorted, undyed Shetland fleece. For me, this is pure luxury. I could’ve taken the whole pile home! Each limited edition blanket comes complete with a tag identifying the specific Croft from which the sheep were sourced — mine originated at the Kirkhouse Voe Croft.

I’m sure the weather is helping you remember and enjoy your own special luxuries too.  Stay warm and keep the wool coming!

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