JF's Notebook
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Notebook

Penned by Jared Flood

Hello and welcome! I'm a knitter, photographer, designer and the creative director at Brooklyn Tweed. I use this notebook as a space to record inspiration and write about my creative work both inside and outside of BT. Thanks for reading, and don't be a stranger—I love hearing from you!

Rift

19 Comments May 07, 2015

We’re in the throes of our big move(!), but today I was able to carve out a little time to sit and reflect a bit about one of my new sweater designs—the Rift pullover. This was a really fun piece to design (and had quite an entertaining evolution), so I thought I’d talk a little bit today about how it came to be.

01_rift

For some time I’ve been playing around with different ideas for shoulder epaulets—I think it started back when I was working on the Fort pullover for BT Men Volume 1 in late 2012. Originally that design had a single shaped shoulder patch on one side (see an old sketch below)—imagined as a little extra padding for a messenger bag (or any other type of shoulder strap) that might be worn regularly and protect that area of the garment from wear. After having added the garter patches to Fort’s elbows, however, I felt that another patch on the shoulder was overkill, so pulled that element from the design.

02_rift

Since I wasn’t able to get my epaulet fix then, I’ve been tossing various shoulder-detail ideas around in my sketchbook ever since. I liked the idea of an epaulet that was angled and followed the shape of the shoulder more anatomically, but didn’t love the extra bulk that resulted from affixing a separate knit piece as a patch. That made me start thinking about ways I could integrate the shoulder epaulet idea into the sweater fabric through a simple change in stitch patterning. This would also solve the excess bulk problem, especially when working on a design for worsted-weight yarn.

I burned through some of the more traditional ways of working a stitch-pattern epaulet pretty quickly (like horizontal welts seen on the shoulders of traditional ganseys—I love those details on classic fisherman sweaters) but still felt something was missing. I then began experimenting with getting more angled, shapely epaulets through a combination of short rows and welts, but it just felt too fussy. As I continued sketching one epaulet after another, they eventually began looking like raglan sleeve tops, as the slanting lines came down lower and lower on the yoke.

03_rift

My next thought was to work a traditional raglan and just change the stitch pattern to a rib or welt once I reached the sleeve cap. Before long though I realized I was sketching something very similar to one of Véronik’s pullovers (also from BT Men volume 1), Barrett. So again, the idea sailed onto the back burner to simmer some more.

Then one day I saw a woman on the subway wearing a sweater that looked like a raglan, but was actually a set-in sleeve with patterning that mimicked raglan shaping. The lightbulb moment I had been waiting for was here! I grabbed my sketchbook and made this sketch.

SKETCH_rift

The faux raglan allowed me to play with the depth of the raglan shape without actually affecting the neat fit of a set-in sleeve—something I hadn’t been willing to sacrifice. I started playing around with how deep the “raglan” lines would start, and how I could incorporate a full-fashioned rib pattern within the modified epaulet idea.

From that moment on my inspiration was really sparked. I made several charted variations, ultimately coming up with the version that you see in Rift. Once the shoulder detailing was decided, a nice opportunity for an integrated side detail to the body presented itself, too—a traveling rib that splits at the underarm and flows seamlessly into the detailing on the yoke. I love that a special detail like this brings something unexpected to what is otherwise a very classic silhouette. From a knitting perspective, I also felt like it arrived at that beautiful balance between lots of stockinette knitting and just enough stitch play to keep things fun and interesting throughout the process.

04_rift

Pattern writing and grading on this piece was definitely a hard nut to crack! Since the shoulder details would have specific idiosyncrasies based on the size of the finished garment, no specific set of rules or written instructions worked very well. So I opted for the more “bespoke” route of charting out the front and back yokes for each individual size. The end result included 6 total sizes with finished chest measurements ranging from 39.25” to 59.25”. (A big thanks to our tech editor Robin for being a great sport and indulging my charting neuroses!) The pattern is quite long as a result, but don’t be fooled—most of the pages are charts for additional sizes and you’ll only need to print the two that pertain to yours.

The treatment of the neckband was kept very minimal, letting a ridge of purl stitches set off a simple rolled stockinette edge with a sewn bind-off. This integrates well with the busier epaulet ribs.

05_rift

I love how this simple sweater turns out to be just enough of a head-turner to seem fresh but not showy, which is a balance I think a lot of guys like to strike in their attire. Something as comfortable and easy to wear as a sweatshirt but just fancy enough to work when dressed up for the office, too.

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19 responses to “Rift”

  1. I’m making this sweater for my husband. It’s the first item I’ve ever made for him. I’m not a great knitter but I’m going to have a go, as its lovely. A great design and I’m looking forward to making it!

  2. I have become such a fan of Jared’s designs! All of the BT designers are marvelous–I will be making this one for my husband.

  3. I love this sweater and really love hearing the design process. I’m hoping to jump in and make this for my hubby for Christmas! Thanks for the design.

  4. Soooooooooo happy to have you post. Lovely sweater, as are all your designs. I come back regularly to find the same old post waiting for me. I, for one, will be happy when all your boxes are unpacked and you are in “regular” communication with your devoted fans!

  5. Such a pleasure to knit. Your last paragraph couldn’t ring more true! Thanks, Jared.

  6. I love your work. Its classy. Only wished I have seen your work BEFORE I bought my yarn. I have not knit for a couple of decades and now wonderful surprised to see how much the art has moved. I need help . I bought Paton’s Gigante col 1406 which recommends 12mm needles to knit my son a jumper. He is 14, nearly 1.8m. I still want to hug him and that’s why the colourful, big knits. Can you please point me to a jumper/pullover instruction that might work with the yarn. I have half mind to trade my yarn and buy something else that might work your instructions but I thought, the big needles will give me the satisfaction of finishing one project quicker and to work out the general skill-sets needed. I should have two decades in front of me to try your patterns 🙂 Thank you.

  7. It’s glorious. As soon as I can be trusted with a sweater, I’m making it for my husband.
    I’ve just discovered your designs and this site – I think you all just became my new favorite designers. ;}

  8. I can’t wait to start this sweater! I have 4 sons and when I finish this, they will all boast a Jarrod Flood sweater. I think FORT is my favorite so far. Delighted A GOOD YARN in Sarasota Florida is carrying your designs and yarn. Purchased SHELTER in LONG JOHN.
    Thanks for sharing your amazing talent!

  9. Wow, lucky sons! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words and continued support, Susie! All the best, Jen | BT Customer Service

  10. I love the wide ribbing on the side. It reminds me of a cardigan you knit and posted in December 2007 called “Big Blue.” It had a shirt yoke and wide ribbing on the side. Is there a pattern for Big Blue? (I know I am not alone in this request.) I absolutely love that cardigan and wouldn’t mind the guidance of one of your patterns rather than trying to figure it out a la Elizabeth Zimmermann!! Your creative work is stupendous! Thank you!!

  11. Hello Kary, Thanks for sharing the love for Jared’s Big Blue cardigan, a sweater he knit for a friend. The yoke shaping is indeed based on Elizabeth Zimmermann’s seamless shirt yoke pattern, so if you are looking to make something similar, I would recommend starting there. All the best, Jen | BT Customer Service

  12. I love the Rift pattern but I am having trouble understanding the shaping sides section. When it says “work as established to marker” what marker is it? There are the two side markers and then the 4 pattern markers on the side. I am confused and not sure where to do the increases.

    I hope to hear from you soon!! I want to keep knitting!

    Thanks,
    Carol

  13. I have the same question as Carol about the ‘shape sides’ section. I think clarification in the pattern would be helpful.

  14. Hello Matt, Please contact our Pattern Support Specialist at support@brooklyntweed.com for support with the shape sides section in the pattern. She will be able to walk you through the process, and if there are ways to clarify the instructions, we’d be happy to update the pattern. All the best, Christina | BT Customer Service

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