The other BT Fall ’14 photos

The other BT Fall ’14 photos

As much as I love the Brooklyn Tweed lookbooks that herald the release of each new pattern collection, lately my favorite thing to do is to wait for the other photos to appear. Instead of strictly dividing the looks amongst the models, Jared Flood and team have been doubling up — in many cases shooting the samples on a second model in the other of the two settings used for the lookbook. And in some of those cases, it’s even a second sample. What’s great about these alternate images is not just more beautiful Jared Flood photos of beautiful BT designs to linger over, but the fact that they’re often styled very differently, giving a different impression of the garments. For instance, I didn’t love the lookbook shots of the Channel Cardigan last winter (the mustard version with the dungarees and … those shoes), but when I saw the second sample on the blonde model — even though red is not my favorite color — I fell in love with it.

The first part of the BT Fall ’14 lookbook is very all-American ’80s to me, right down to the Carol Alt-lookalike model. It’s well done, don’t get me wrong. But seeing those same garments (namely Backbay, Docklight, Skiff and Rowe) styled in this softer, dreamier way — with the gauzy tops on the more ethereal model — well, what can I say. It makes me like them even more.

Still can’t pick a favorite, though.

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TOTALLY UNRELATED: If you missed out on the first batch of Taproot 11 with the awesome Barn Sweater pattern from Carrie Bostick Hoge, you’re in luck: there’s another stack up for grabs in the webshop.

Someday vs. Right Away: small-scale Amanda alternatives

Someday vs Right Away: small-scale Amanda alternatives

So the Brooklyn Tweed Fall ’14 Collection is out, and it’s a doozy. I don’t think there’s a single piece that won’t factor into some future post of mine, and a least a couple I can see myself knitting. (The one I most want in my closet right this minute is Docklight.) There’s nothing that quite meets the Amanda parameters, construction-wise, but if you just want to knit a cable sweater along with us,  there are lots of lovely choices there. However, it’s possible you’ve been wishing to participate in the Amanda knitalong (aka #fringeandfriendsknitalong) but feel like a densely cabled cardigan sweater is beyond your skill set and/or your availability. If that’s true, and you’d like to join in by knitting a smaller-scale piece with all the cable goodness, the BT collection contains two good Amanda alternatives:

LEFT: the Shackleton scarf by Michele Wang has a lot in common with Amanda, combining honeycomb and (softened) diamond cables

RIGHT: on an even smaller scale, there’s Jared Flood’s Skiff hat, which, like Amanda, has moss-filled diamonds as its main motif

Both would be great if you’re a cable addict itching to knit some lush cables, or if you’re newer to cables and up for the challenge of expanding those cabling skills and knitting from a moderately complex cable chart. All of which will factor into the knitalong discussion. Something for everyone!

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PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: Cables and lace

New Favorites: In my size, please

New Favorites: In my size, please

Brooklyn Tweed published their first collection of knitting patterns for kidwear this week, BT Kids, and it’s predictably adorable, right down to the sweater-wearing teddy bear. The hats and scarves go up to adult sizes. (I love Spore — predictable me.) The blankets are universally useful. And there’s a somewhat cryptic note in the lookbook on Julie Hoover’s sweet Berenice pullover about how “full-grown girls will triple-flip at the chance to scale this up in Shelter,” which seemed to suggest that such instructions might be included, but apparently they just meant that the dolman construction would be easy to adapt. Regardless, there are four sweaters in there I want in my size:

TOP LEFT: Atlas by Jared Flood, the colorwork chart for which one might be able to impose upon Grettir?

TOP RIGHT: Arlo by Michele Wang, which has me pondering adding some of its cables to Slade

BOTTOM LEFT: Vika by Veronik Avery, which they really should go ahead and grade up!

BOTTOM RIGHT: Sock Monkey Sweater by Jared Flood, which shouldn’t be too hard to adapt from Brownstone

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Alicia Plummer’s clever summer cowl

New Favorites: the Wool People wraps

New Favorites: the Wool People wraps

I’m tardy with today’s post because I wanted to wait and see what treasures the new Brooklyn Tweed Wool People 7 collection might hold. Of the fifteen patterns, eleven are sweaters, but it’s these shawls that are lighting me up this morning — and not just because I’m still on a quest for the perfect wrap for my mom. The triangular Shetland shawl, Halligarth, is by Gudrun Johnston in two sizes, and it’s the one I’m most itching to cast on right this minute. I love the look of the geometric tree motif lace, and it looks like fun to knit. One of you used the phrase “granny’s dresser scarf” in a comment recently, which is a concept I hadn’t thought of for ages, and Dawn Catanzaro’s Nimbus has that kind of heirloom character about it. But I find it so pretty and current somehow. It’s just lengthwise garter stitch with that very traditional lace border, knitted on in a smartly seamless way. Could I stand knitting all those long rows of garter? If my mom loves this as much as I think she might, I’d do it for her.

I also love the wrap-sized version of Tanis Lavallee’s diagonal striped Vector. And a couple of the sweaters may make it into my queue at some point. I’m particularly intrigued by the construction (and enamored with the details) of Bristol Ivy’s Devlan, although I would have to change the neckline. But honestly, my favorite thing about the whole lookbook is this gorgeous model and her silver braid, my dream hair of the future:

Perfect silver braid

(That’s Joji Locatelli’s Seacoast sweater she’s wearing.)

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Bobble hats

New Favorites: Shawl-collar cardigans

New Favorites: Shawl-collar cardigans

Yes, I have been knitting Slade, but I’ve got grandpa cardigans on the brain lately, in a general way, and think they’re such a great investment of one’s knitting time and money. Are they ever out of style? Is there anywhere they don’t go? There seems to be a steady stream of good patterns, too — most recently these two:

LEFT: Channel Cardigan is classic Jared Flood; it’s like the sweater version of his Guernsey Wrap and Guernsey Triangle. I like the idea of  a more fitted grandpa sweater like this, although I’d give it full-length sleeves.

RIGHT: Earl by Amy Miller is more of a classic oversized grandpa — yay for pockets! — but I love the simple overall texture and the really generous shawl collar. I would just give it some buttons.

Speaking of shawl-collar cardigans, have you seen the movie Summer in February? Not a great movie, but visually beautiful and worth watching just for the knits. The lead female character has an exquisite grey hat and two shawl-collars — one oatmeal and one charcoal — that she wears throughout the movie. And they are heaven. Heaven!

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Acer: the final chapter in an epic tale of a girl and her cardigan

Acer cardigan as knitted by Karen Templer / Fringe Association

Raise your hand if you thought I’d never finish knitting this Acer. (It’s ok — even my hand is half-raised.) Now keep it up if you formed the impression I wasn’t enjoying it. Anyone? It’s perfectly understandable, what with my having spent most of eleven months neglecting it, but really, nothing could be further from the truth.

I first chose this pattern in part because I wanted to make myself seam something, and this has a body that’s knitted in one piece with separate sleeves seamed on at the end. It didn’t seem like a daunting project at all — I’d knitted more complicated lace patterns than this, although not worked flat; had picked up stitches for enough collars that nailing this one was no problem at all. (Would you pause for a second on that last pic and look at how perfectly symmetrical this neck is?) I was well-versed in figuring out the right ratio when picking up stitches along a selvedge, as for the button bands, and had read and imagined various buttonholes, without having actually knitted one. But somehow, despite all that, doing it all in concert for this particular outcome was like taking a really enjoyable master class. I loved every step of it: the portability of those standalone sleeves, working the very simple and pleasurable (easily memorized) charted stitches, becoming an ace at laddering back to fix mistakes, blocking the body and seeing the lace spread out, steaming the button bands and collar as each one got added. Even seaming on those sleeves! It seemingly didn’t teach me much that was new, but because it’s not a hand-holdy pattern — it assumes you know what you’re doing —  it put my skills to the test in a progressive manner. And passing that test — especially solving the fun little puzzle of the exact right neck decreases, row by row, based on where I happened to be in the chart — increased my confidence as a knitter tenfold.

But screw all that — have you seen the sweater I got out of it?! At one point, I was posting a progress shot in Instagram and I got a little self-conscious about everyone applauding my efforts. One very kind person complimented me on my determination to finish, and I said it was sad that I’d made it seem like some epic thing simply by not working on it for months on end. But once the sleeves were on, I held it up to show my friend Leigh and her eyes got huge, and she gulped, and she said to me: “It’s EPIC.” And I realized she’s right. It IS epic! And I’m super proud of it.

Acer cardigan as knitted by Karen Templer / Fringe Association

This is my fifth or sixth (finished) sweater, but it’s the first one that feels like a Real Sweater, somehow. I am completely smitten with it, even though I wish I’d done the button bands differently. I’m super judgy about button bands, not gonna lie, and this isn’t my favorite kind. I like the look of them, but think horizontal ribbing like this is often too flimsy, and to me nothing ruins a sweater like a gaping button band, all pulled into scallops. I’m not sure why I wound up doing it this way, after swearing all along I was going to do a 1×1 vertical band. But I did, and because I was concerned about the stability of it (even though most or all of the Acers I have bookmarked look perfectly fine!) I used seven buttons instead of six, which doesn’t quite quell my neurosis. So I might back the bands with ribbon at some point. Regardless, I’m wearing this forever, and can hardly wait for the first time someone asks me if I made it.

Yes!

Pattern: Acer by Amy Christoffers
Yarn: Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed, in Nest
Buttons: from Fringe Supply Co.

For gory details, minor modifications and additional pics check it out at Ravelry. And thank you to every single person who cheered me on, and to Amy for creating such a fantastic pattern.

Acer cardigan as knitted by Karen Templer / Fringe Association

New Favorites: Ebony and ivory

New Favorites: Ebony and ivory knitting patterns

There have been two new knitting pattern photos this week that have made my eyes widen and my mouth fall open. Both happen to be near-black and off-white, which is a combo I find irresistible. And in both cases, used to exquisite effect. First came Joelle’s Diagonal Pinstripe Scarf, a simple garter-stitch scarf (free pattern at the Purl Bee) knit on the diagonal with randomly placed single-row stripes, which creates a sort of ticking effect due to the garter stitch. Or as she says, “in Heirloom White with fine lines of Dark Loam, the effect is like a graphite drawing on cotton rag paper, loose and mysterious.” Then came Michele Wang’s Alloy, part of the latest Brooklyn Tweed collection, BT Winter 14. It’s classic Michele — an impeccable set-in-sleeve pullover with contrasting textures — but in this case she’s added color-blocked panels in the sleeves and sides. Had it been knitted in anything other than Fossil and Cast Iron, it wouldn’t have been the same. As is? Want.

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By the way, I know there are several of you who’ve been studying my Pullovers for First-Timers post, trying to decide what you want your first sweater to be. If you’re leaning toward a drop-sleeve pattern (i.e, no sleeve-cap or armscye shaping) there are two great options in that new BT collection: Abbott by Michele Wang and Benton by Julie Hoover. Both manage the proportions well.