Tag Archives: brooklyn tweed

The Reveal

30 Jul

My parents visited this past weekend, and I was finally able to give them their birthday gifts. Allow me to present Quill for my mom, and Caldwell for my dad.

Quill, designed by Jared Flood, was published in the 2011 Brooklyn Tweed Spring Thaw collection.

Caldwell, designed by Stephen West, was published in Brooklyn Tweed Wool People Volume 1.

Both of these projects were knit with Knit Picks simply organic cotton – Quill in sport weight, and Caldwell in worsted weight. The colors suit my parents’ wardrobes and personalities, and I feel the patterns complement each other well. I hope they have wonderful knitwear date nights when the weather gets chilly.

Both of these projects were challenging for me in their own ways. Quill is a simple pattern, but it’s huge and requires a lot of time, patience, and blocking with wires. Caldwell is seamed and finished with an i-cord bind off all around. This was a new technique for me and took a lot of time.

I was so pleased that my parents loved their gifts. Their reaction made all of the hard work and long nights worth it. I unfortunately forgot to pull the beautiful photo of both of them wearing their gifts off my mom’s camera before they left, but perhaps I can get it on the blog later.

Additionally, my dad added a wonderful treat to my mom’s gift and bought her a silver shawl pin that features oak leaves, one of my mom’s favorite motifs. All in all, I think she had a beautiful 50th birthday, and my dad will have a great 62nd next weekend.

But you know, my parents weren’t the only ones who received gifts this weekend. I got some new toys, too! Most notably, my mom brought me some gorgeous rosewood Knitter’s Pride Cubic DPNs. These square needles are ergonomic, strong, and create more uniform stitches.

The GNP socks are still in progress. I’ve missed the deadline for the competition, but hopefully they can still make it up to Whitefish in time for the auction.

Because I just started a new job (which I love!) and had family visit, my lofty goals of completing my GNP socks and competing in the Ravellenic Games (formerly the Ravelympics) were not realized. I did, however, cast on a sweater with the yarn I had set aside for the competition.

Great things start with small beginnings. That’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.

This little sleeve will eventually be the Agnes Pullover from the latest issue of Knitscene. I don’t normally purchase that magazine, but just about every pattern in the fall issue is gorgeous, especially Agnes.

I had hoped to have some more impressive in-progress projects to share right now, but I am so happy I took time to relax and enjoy my family’s visit. My parents and aunt don’t get to come out here often, and the Ravellenic Games aren’t a good reason to ignore my family.

Notes

  • Quill is a traditional Shetland hap shawl.
  • The buttons featured on the Caldwell vest are apple wood and purchased from Woods of Narnia on Etsy.
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Support designers, read charts!

5 Jun

You know that big project I’ve been working on recently? The one that is a secret until July 28 and is the reason I haven’t been posting much on here lately? Well, it’s not done, but it’s close.

This project, a 50th birthday present for my mom, has been challenging at times because it is so big. However, the pattern is beautifully written by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed, and it’s interesting and rewarding enough to keep me going.

This pattern, like most Brooklyn Tweed patterns, is written with charts. Charts, for those who don’t know, are the little graphs that feature different notations or colors in certain squares to denote what type of stitch you should use. It’s a great way to compactly communicate a pattern and cut down on confusion for colorwork and lace projects.

As I’ve been working on my mom’s present, I’ve been checking the pattern page on Ravelry a lot to see other people’s projects and read their notes and suggestions. It’s a relatively new pattern, but luckily no errors have cropped up yet! During my research, however, I’ve come across a lot of comments from knitters who are angry that Brooklyn Tweed exclusively uses charts for the lace, cable and color repeats in their patterns rather than writing out the instructions line by line, row by row.

Several of these knitters have expressed the sentiment that they will wait until someone steals the pattern, writes out the charts, and offers it under a different name, perhaps with slight changes to make it legal. This is essentially a bootleg pattern, which undercuts the time and effort that the original designer and publisher put into writing and testing the pattern.

I’m angry about this. I understand that some people don’t know how to read charts. I understand that it can be inconvenient when a pattern is only written in a way you can’t decipher (you have no idea how many beautiful Icelandic and Finnish patterns evade my language skills). What I don’t understand is that nasty attitude and decision to acquire a bootleg pattern rather than take a few minutes to learn how to read a knitting chart!

There was a time when I couldn’t read charts. I read written instructions line by line, row by row, often losing my place or getting confused about the future of how my pattern was supposed to look. Without a visual reference like a chart, it’s also much more difficult to identify mistakes in patterns until after you’ve knit them in. I was also sad that a lot of beautiful patterns that I wanted to knit weren’t written out, but rather included charts.

Do you know how I handled that situation? I Googled “how to read knitting charts”. It worked like gangbusters. Knitting charts are simple to read once you know how, and there are so many benefits to using charts that I will often translate written instructions into a chart for myself if one isn’t included with the pattern. They are compact, convenient, and intuitive. That’s why so many great designers write them.

So, if anyone reading this doesn’t know how to read a knitting chart and would like to take an hour or so to learn, I’ve included some helpful links below. I know I won’t be making a difference to the people who don’t understand how disrespectful it is to steal a pattern rather than educate themselves about a fundamental knitting skill (reading charts), but this is a solidarity move.

I don’t buy bootleg movies, I don’t torrent music, and I buy knitting patterns if they aren’t legally offered for free. I know that in many ways the entertainment industry is set up to line the pockets of executives rather than artists, but knitting isn’t dominated by Sony and Fox Searchlight. There is a surge of innovative, high-quality knitting patterns coming into the market, largely from independent designers and companies. Let’s not discourage these hardworking artists by shrugging our shoulders when knitters would rather use a bootlegged pattern than learn to read a chart.

Learn how to read knitting charts, and tell your friends!

Rose Red

22 Jan

This hat is a bit slouchy, and the cable decreases to the center.

I’ve had garter stitch on my mind lately. Garter stitch is the most basic pattern in knitting, and is usually the first thing any fledgling knitter learns. The simplicity of knitting every row, front and back, to create a fabric with little horizontal bumpy ridges, is the equivalent of crawling when it comes to knitting techniques. I believe that because of this, many knitters are happy to leave garter stitch behind as their skills develop, and will go years choosing patterns with little or no garter stitch. Garter stitch is just for beginners, right?

Wrong.

After spending a few years leaving garter stitch in the dust, I can’t get it out of my mind. Because it’s so simple, it gives patterns a classic, almost retro feel. The texture is soft and stretchy, and the little ridges can feel delightful against your skin. Just about every pattern I’ve been interested in lately has at least a little garter stitch.

In this garter-stitch craze, I stumbled across the Rosebud hat pattern by Brooklyn Tweed designer Jared Flood, and is part of the Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2011 design line. I knit Jared Flood’s Cobblestone sweater pattern for my dad for Christmas (another pattern using garter stitch!), and was very impressed with the quality of the pattern’s publication. I was pleased again with the simple but detailed instructions included for the Rosebud hat.

From start to finish, my Rose Red hat (named for my favorite fairytale character from my childhood) took only two days and about 140 yds of the Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton my mom gave me for Christmas. The colorway is True Red, and I think it suits this pattern perfectly.

Rose Red is slouchy enough to be a stylish accessory, but fits perfectly to keep my ears warm.

I originally planned on knitting the longer, slouchy version of the hat, but my yarn ran out too early. However, I have a small head, and the smaller size fits me perfectly with a little bit of slouch in the back.

Next to my TARDIS socks, this is probably my favorite knitted item. I think the pattern, yarn and color are perfect, and I’m so excited to wear my new hat everywhere.

I would recommend any Brooklyn Tweed pattern. The quality of design is fantastic, and every item looks like a modern, stylish take on a classic theme – like a long, meandering cable braid in a sea of garter stitch.