New Favorites: Welcome basics, part 1

New Favorites: Welcome basics, part 1

In a world of 235,147 knitting patterns — and that’s just the ones listed on Ravelry at the moment! — it can be shockingly difficult to find good basics. I mutter about this to myself all the time when doing Knit the Look or fielding pattern recommendation requests, where classic shapes and styles are routinely called for and I can’t just say “make it up” all the time! Maybe basic doesn’t stand out enough to sell patterns, who knows, but I’m thrilled that there are a couple of new collections this winter featuring some very good, timeless, hardworking sweaters. The first being yesterday’s Brooklyn Tweed Winter ’16 collection, where among an assortment of lace and such appeared these new classics:

TOP: Cadence by Michele Wang is a mix-and-match pattern for a super basic raglan sweater with textured body and stockinette sleeves that can be done as a crewneck, V or turtleneck, with varying sleeve and body lengths

MIDDLE LEFT: League by Veronik Avery is a great take on the always-popular sporty look that sounds like it involves some fun construction

MIDDLE RIGHT: Tallis by Michele Wang is a nicely-shaped drop-shoulder pullover with a little bit of not-too-decorative stitchwork along the seams (that could also be omitted)

BOTTOM: and Snoqualmie Cardigan, also by Michele Wang, is an iconic cabled shawl-collar cardigan (a worthy follow-up to Bellows)

By the way, for everyone who lamented the difficulty in getting ahold of that Naxos pattern I posted about last spring, Snoqualmie is a great alternative — you could easily knit it with or without the shawl collar.


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Favorite New Favorites of 2015

New Favorites: the chevrons of BT Winter ’15

New Favorites: the chevrons of BT Winter '15

Yesterday Brooklyn Tweed released what must be their most sweater-heavy collection to date, BT Winter ’15. (One hat, one scarf and fifteen sweaters!) I couldn’t help noticing that my favorites all happen to feature chevrons of one kind or another:

TOP: Sanford by Julie Hoover has a small-scale allover chevron pattern on the body, combined with plain sleeves

MIDDLE: Cordova by Michele Wang has columns of staghorn cables that have the effect of chevrons, mixed with swaths of trinity stitch

BOTTOM: Midway by Veronik Avery has a larger-scale chevron and textured mix

But my actual favorite sweater from the batch — because omg I am so predictable — is by the illustrious Norah Gaughan who has just joined the BT design team. Marshal, below, doesn’t have a chevron anywhere on it, but on a cardigan this military, the chevron patches are implied—

New Favorites: the chevrons of BT Winter '15

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: the other Lene Holme Samsoe sweaters

New Favorites: BT’s best shawl collars

New Favorites: Brooklyn Tweed's best shawl-collar cardigans

When I was talking to someone recently (can’t remember who/where) about putting a shawl collar on my Amanda cardigan for the #fringeandfriendsknitalong, they said something about how on-trend that will be. And I suppose it will, but it got me thinking. There are definitely lots of shawl collars in the stores right now, but aren’t there always? I genuinely don’t think there’s ever been a year when there haven’t been amazing shawl-collar cardigans I’m dying to own. Certainly the shapes and details vary, and they may be more “in” one year than the next, but a shawl-collar cardigan is never out of style. And I think that timelessness is a big part of why I keep casting them on! It seems perfectly reasonable to me to invest large chunks of knitting time on a garment that cozy, and that I believe has a greater chance of wearing out than falling out of fashion. So that train of thought and yesterday’s Wool People release got me looking at the Best of Brooklyn Tweed shawl collars:

TOP: Field by Kazekobo, the newest entry, from Wool People 8. Honeycomb on the body, reverse stockinette sleeves, and compound raglan shaping — a total classic. Plus based on the gauge, it appears to be the perfect pattern from which to borrow the neck shaping and collar method for a shawlified Amanda. (Was there anyone at BT reading these posts thinking “Hold on! We have the perfect candidate!”?)

ROW 2 LEFT: Channel Cardigan by Jared Flood, from BT Winter ’14, knit-purl splendor already on my needles. Even though I’m planning to leave out some of the details that make it so exceptional, I think this is the Sweater of the Year.

ROW 2 RIGHT: Timberline by Jared Flood, from BT Men. I could stare at those intricately branching cables all day, and think the collar on this one is perfection.

MIDDLE: Little Wave by Gudrun Johnston, from Wool People 6, textured stitch panels with garter-stitch accents. And pockets! This one didn’t make that huge of an impression on me until I tried on the sample and fell in love. (I’ve also been taking a second, third and fourth look at Persimmon lately.)

BOTTOM LEFT: Burr by Veronik Avery, from BT Fall ’12, in stockinette with stylized shaping. Looks like such a simple sweater, and then you start to notice all the amazing, subtle details.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Bellows by Michele Wang, from BT Fall ’14, allover texture with cable accents. Seriously, it’s all I can do to not cast this on before finishing Amanda and Channel. And actually, my all-time favorite BT shawl collar might be another Michele design: the Arlo kids cardigan.

I wish I had every one of them in my closet right now and forever.


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Offshore

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.


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!


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


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.)


PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Bobble hats