Frida was designed by Tokyo-based knitter Hiroko Fukatsu, one of three Japanese designers that contributed to this installment of Wool People.
I admit I have a special place in my heart for Japanese knitting – it’s a big source of inspiration in my own work and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know a few great folks from Japan in the past year who share a deep passion for knitting.
Roko submitted this shawl design as a finished sample she had already made and I was so charmed by the unexpected use of loop stitch – a “striped” application I had never seen before on this type of project – that I asked if she’d be willing to see how the shawl worked up in Loft. The result has a fun, funky quality that I think would be fun to style in a variety of ways.
Frida has a wider, shallower proportion than your average lace triangle, due to the non-traditional shaping sequence Roko deployed in the design. Bands of lace, stockinette and loop-stitch texture create stripes over the body of the shawl, which is worked from the top down. The scalloped lace edge is worked as a part of the main shawl – no additional edging is needed. Score another one for non-fussy construction!
Resources:Frida is available as a PDF download at Brooklyn Tweed or Ravelry. The pattern is knit withLoftyarn, shown here in color Homemade Jam.
Hitch was designed by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark in Alabama and has a great casual elegance about it. The dolman shape means that the garment is made with two pieces (front and back, with sleeves integrated). If you look closely at the direction of the garter stitch on the cuffs, you’ll see that the sleeves are worked sideways as a result.
While swatching at the beginning of the design process, Mercedes fell hard for this cable – which she said reminded her of thick links of chain (our inspiration for naming the design) – and built the rest of the sweater as a suitable “frame” for it.
I think the proportions are great – the deep garter hem, the front-only panel of chain cables, three-quarter sleeves and a wide boat neck. The fabric is lightweight – worked in Loft at a relaxed gauge – which means it has that “easy to throw on” thing going for it, too.
Resources:Hitch is available as a PDF download at Brooklyn Tweed or Ravelry. The pattern is knit withLoftyarn, shown here in color Tent.
The Tilt shawl comes from our very own Leila Raabe – an original member of our in-house design team at BT, Leila now runs operations at our Portland, Maine, location and is known for her thoughtful and detailed shawl designs (a few examplesfromourarchive).
As you can see from the photo above Tilt is a a play on geometry, with radiating diagonals and directional mesh. It’s hard to see from the photos, but the center section contrasts diagonal stripes of stockinette and moss stitch between sets of eyelet “rays”.
The shawl rates high on our “knitability” scale. Knit circularly from the center out, the shawl is always worked from the RS (always a plus) and requires no additional knitted-on edging.
The outer motif incorporates a subtly integrated lace motif before working the bind off, though Leila has also provided a mesh-only alternative for that section of the pattern, for those wanting to keep their 45 degree angles as an absolute.
Resources:Tilt is available as a PDF download at Brooklyn Tweed or Ravelry. The pattern is knit with Loftyarn, shown here in color Truffle Hunt.
The beautiful Moon & Stars crescent shawl was also created up north – designer Shui Kuen Kozinski lives in the Boreal Forest of Canada and gave me the impression of being something of a sage as we walked through her design process together.
When Shui Kuen submitted her design proposal, she shared that she is often inspired by poems & stories. In this case, “The Moon, the Stars” by poet Sully Prudhomme who won the first Nobel Prize in literature in 1901 ”in special recognition of his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect”.
The shawl is worked from the top down using a gentle rate of increasing to create a wide, semi-circle shape. The welted section at top-center symbolizes the moon, while the two bands of gathered lace stitches that follow represent stars, large and small.
A very charming story of inspiration, don’t you think?
Resources:Moon & Stars is available as a PDF download at Brooklyn Tweed or Ravelry. The pattern is knit with Loft yarn, shown here in color Old World.
Is it May already? This time of year always seems to fly right by – before you know it winter has slipped through the cracks and summer is right around the corner. The past few weeks have been positively delightful weather-wise; a late spring, but one that was definitely worth the wait!
Today I’m happy to announce our newest collaborative effort – the fifth (!) installment in our ongoing Wool People series is all polished up and ready for spring and summer knitting!
Back in August when I began mapping out the concepts and art direction for this collection, I thought it would be fun to do a sort of “shawl challenge” – since spring always seems to be the time when my own lace bug reawakens, hungry for a new project. Lace is perfect for outdoor knitting and travel, two things that many of us will do often in the coming months. I love how something as lightweight and portable as an in-progress shawl packs so much value in terms of both knitting time and mental satisfaction.
Standing on this end of the collection timeline, it’s rewarding to see finished design work from the 7 “lace whisperers” featured in this spread. A nice variety of both lace & textured stitch patterns, simple to more involved techniques, and essential shapes to knit and wear – all worked in soft and airy Loft.
Of course at the core, we are sweater people – no matter what the season – and this collection has more than just lace to offer. I received some beautiful garment and accessory design submissions in this group: great looks for layering during the evenings in chillier summer climates (you lucky people) or in anticipation of next fall. Both the Reverb cardigan and the Bolt scarf (shown below) just scream for autumn, and there’s plenty of knitting time to get them done!
The look book introduces the collection in its entirety with full page photography spreads showcasing the new designs along with blueprints that are intended to introduce the architectural/technical elements of each pattern. When considering a new knitting project, I always like knowing what I’m getting into with a schematic “road map” and some notes on construction, shape and assembly.
Between the aesthetic and technical components of the look book, I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know this new collection of work. Happy spring to each of you!
One of my favorite parts about developing yarns is seeing how they inspire other designers – what textures and color combinations other people are inspired by always gets me thinking about the yarns that I use every day in new and different ways. Last year, Stephen West approached me to say he was interested in doing a full design collection using Shelter and Loft – I was flattered, and very excited by the idea of seeing what he would cook up. As we further discussed the project, we decided we’d also collaborate on a special photoshoot of the finished work the following summer.
Last July, after Stephen had finished designing and knitting his pieces, we met in Iceland for the shoot. It was my first time visiting this beautiful country, and I was completely intoxicated by the dramatic, natural beauty that the country is literally bursting at the seams with. Surrounded by such a visual feast of nature, I barely made it through the exit doors of the airport before my camera was out and firing away.
Stephen has been releasing his designs from this collection over the past few weeks on Ravelry, and I wanted to take a moment to share some of the images from the shoot that I particularly like. Summer light in Iceland (as was the case in Shetland, the year before) is almost too good to be true. Soft, ambient, sometimes dramatic, other times ethereal. Suitable shooting conditions also last about 20 hours a day! It was such a joy to explore and work in this place.
It was amazing to see how the colors of the yarns melded so well with the surrounding colors in the landscape – like the blue-green waves of the ocean on a black sand beach (pictured above). In my mind, mother nature is the very best inspiration for color!
We had fun styling and shooting several of the samples on both the male and female model.
The Hófsos Pullover (also showed at the top of the post on our male model, Diddi) combines large stripes and marl effects in some of my favorite colors of Loft.
Stephen has a great color sense – I loved some of his playful, unexpected combinations, like Nest, Sap, ButtonJar and Woodsmoke (in the Kex Scarf, seen below in Shelter).
Looking over these images again has been really enjoyable and reminds me of what a great experience we had there. I often daydream about a return to the Icelandic countryside for future photography work. I’d love to go at a totally different time of year to do some night photography during the “dark season” as well…
All the patterns pictured above are available for purchase here on Ravelry. Each pattern’s page includes extended yardage and color information. Stephen also did a great write-up about our shoot, with several behind-the-scenes pictures that give readers a glimpse of what a shoot looks like on the other side of the camera!
2013 has been quite a hectic year around here so far! On top of the regular day-to-day operations that make BT tick, we spent January moving into a fresh new space – a much needed move, but definitely disruptive! – as well as putting the finishing touches on our design team’s new winter collection.
This release feels particularly timely today, as we endure another week of below-freezing temps here in the Northeast. An assortment of cozy wool knits sounds like just the ticket, to me!
The four of us (Véronik Avery, Julie Hoover, Michele Wang, and myself) had an absolute blast working on this collection. Probably no surprise there – winter is one season where our yarns feel right at home.
For this collection, we set out to tell three distinct stories. The first – my personal favorite – is a modern take on traditional colorwork. (My trip to Iceland last summer certainly influenced my own designs. I just couldn’t get those beautiful colorwork yokes out of my head until I tried creating one myself!) The second story features knitted loungewear in shades of grey and cream – a tonal, romantic story inspired by cozy afternoons at home. The final story – classic winterwear – is rife with cables, colors and textures that are perfect for snow days.
The full collection features 18 original knitting patterns – all of which are now available for instant download. The designs in this group truly cover a diverse range, from thoughtful accessories that can be knit over a casual weekend, to deeper, more significant undertakings that will keep you company through several long winter evenings.
You can view photographs of each new design, as well as pattern-specific information, schematic diagrams, and a photo essay about our shoot location (Hudson, NY) in the look book below (click “full screen” for enhanced viewing). Free copies of the look book PDF are also available for download here.
On behalf of the entire design team – we hope you enjoy seeing what we’ve cooked up for snow season!
We’ve been dropping teasers for a few days over on our Facebook page, and this morning our newest creation is all ready to leave the nest! Today I’m very happy to introduce the fourth installment in our ongoing Wool People series! This issue features 15 new patterns from some of our favorite independent designers in the industry and offers a satisfying variety of sweaters, shawls and accessories.
Since the weeks and months leading up to the holidays tend to be consumed by (sometimes stressful) gift knitting, we thought launching in late December would offer some much needed incentive for getting those gifts finished. We all know the prospect of new patterns are often an essential component to finishing your WIPs, just in case the looming holidays weren’t enough!
Each year when winter comes around, the urge for cable knits always wells up inside of me. It never fails. When I was organizing the mood boards and art direction for this collection I had that thought on my mind, so you’ll find several beautiful cable projects tucked into the pages of the Look Book.
We also love our shawls at Brooklyn Tweed – can’t get enough of ‘em – so we’ve got three new ones here. Its difficult to pick a favorite!
We shot the collection earlier this month at the very inspirational Old American Can Factory on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. The maze-like industrial complex was constructed between the years of 1865 and 1901 and has recently been reclaimed/repurposed by artists and craftspeople as a studio community. What was once a 130,000 sq. foot industrial canning complex is now an inspiring enclave of creative minds who have breathed new life into this bewitching place.
A dear friend of mine has a studio there and on a recent visit I was completely besotted with the giant steel doorways, long brick corridors, cavernous elevator shafts, and texture-filled courtyard. It seemed like the perfect place to bring our woolens on photoshoot day!
It’s such a rewarding moment when the finished samples start arriving into our offices, and even more-so when it comes time to photograph them all together. It’s one of those “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” kind of moments, and truly magical seeing each designer’s concepts spring off the page and come to life.
The new Look Book is filled with photo spreads of the each garment and accessory in the collection. We’ve also included schematic diagrams, design specs and pertinent pattern information in the “Pattern Blueprints” section, so you can get to know the designs from a technical standpoint as well. Feel free to view directly in your browser below, or download a PDF for viewing on your devices.
All 15 patterns from the collection are available today as instant PDF downloads both on Ravelry and brooklyntweed.net. We hope to offer some inspiration for the final days of 2012 – happy knitting to all!
At BT Headquarters we’ve been busy preparing some special woolly treats for the holiday season. When we started thinking about good gift ideas for knitters, handknitting kits seemed like a great option since they are so versatile! They of course make great gifts for knitters, but are equally useful as a way of treating yourself to something special, or even gifting the finished project on its own (two birds with one stone).
We’ve put together a selection of four handknitting kits from the BT pattern archive and assembled them in brown paper packages (tied up with string… we couldn’t resist) so they’re directly gift-able, with no additional wrapping or assembly required.
Each kit ships in our BT monogrammed brown bag tied with baker’s twine. Inside, you’ll find tissue-wrapped skeins of yarn nestled together with a beautifully printed pattern folio – everything your knitter needs for a lovely hand-making experience. Each of the four kits is shown below – just click the text links or kit images to be taken to the product pages for each individual kit.
The Habitat Kit is a perfect, low-commitment project for cable lovers – and is available in 6 different colors of Shelter. This design has become a BT classic, and is one of my own go-to designs when I’m in need of a quick gift for a friend or family member that still feels unique and special. It’s also a great design for knitters wanting to sharpen their skills at cabling-without-a-cable-needle (in my book, it’s one of the most essential tricks for cable knitters) or just cabling in general. This design has plenty of simple cable crosses, but doesn’t require the same daunting commitment as an allover cabled garment, tempting as they are.
The Rosebud Kit offers knitters a choice between a beanie or slouchy silhouette – either style can be made with this kit. The hat features an oversized braided cable (a real beauty) on a garter stitch background – a cozy thing that looks great on just about everyone. With each kit we tried to choose a good mix of colors from both our neutral palette as well as our brighter, more colorful lineup – click through to the kit pages to see which colors are offered for each.
If you’re on the hunt for some knitting you can really sink your teeth into, the Sempervivum Shawl Kit might be just the ticket, especially if lace is your passion. We had such fun choosing colors for this one – I think the shawl would look amazing in any of the 7 shades available, choosing just one may be the biggest challenge of all. A triangular shawl wrapped up loosely around the neck is such a great way to get a little color pop into even the greyest of wardrobes… though we were sure to include a grey and brown option as well, naturally.
Finally – we kitted up one of our customer favorites from the pattern shop – the Guernsey Wrap. Though the shape couldn’t be simpler, it’s so easy to get lost in those hypnotic fisherman sweater textures, striping along as you go. This project is a great reminder that simple projects requiring only knits and purls don’t have to be boring. I remember knitting the very first sample during the summer of 2010 – it was such a comforting project to end up with at the end of the workday. The Guernsey Wrap Kit is stuffed with 5 skeins of Shelter for hours of wool love in every bag.
For those of you with knitters in your life, we hope these offer some good gift ideas (or something to add to your own wish list)! The kits are currently available in limited supply, but we’ll be doing our best to keep them stocked through the holidays, so enjoy and happy knitting/kitting!
The minute September arrives it’s like an internal alarm goes off in my head. I think it must be a knitter thing, because most of the knitters in my life have the same impulse. Despite the lagging humidity of summer, the first month of Fall is here and it’s a change you can feel. We are ready to knit again in a serious way, and savor the perfect mix of color, temperature and light that Fall brings.
Today we celebrate the arrival of Autumn with a brand new design collection: BT Fall 12. This collection marks the one-year anniversary of the formation of our in-house design team at BT and the introduction of two talented new members to that team. I’m very excited to introduce the work of Véronik Avery and Julie Hoover – two seriously talented women who have been a blast to collaborate with. Together with Michele Wang, we’ve been working on this (and future) collections for months, but are thrilled to finally show you our first collaboration as a foursome.
We also bid a fond farewell to one of our original design team members Leila Raabe, who has gone on to to work full time as Operations Manager at BT (don’t worry, we still plan to bug her for a design here and there as her schedule allows!).
BT Fall 12 features wool sweaters aplenty, as well as a handful of accessories that are perfect for Fall knitting. We shot our 18-piece collection on the grounds of a beautiful sugar shack just outside of Montreal, Quebec – quite a fitting backdrop for classic wool knits!
Alongside the pattern collection, we also have exciting yarn news! The mill in Harrisville has been busy this summer, spinning up 15 new colors of Shelter; the expanded 32-color palette of custom-blended heathers now matches that of our Loft line. The new shades are shown below – oh, the possibilities!
I hope you’ll each have a great Fall – and that you find something here to enjoy. We’ve certainly had fun putting it together.
All my best,
Resources: All 18 patterns in the collection are available now as digital downloads on our web site here. Our Wyoming-grown wool yarns are available for purchase here. Download a free PDF version of the Fall 12 Look Book here.