Swatchbook – Swatch No. 2

Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed

Originally, I ordered a skein of Shelter with a specific design idea in mind but had to realise more or less when casting on that it wasn’t going to work the way I had imagined it. This was mainly because Shelter was unlike any yarn I had worked with before.

Even as a skein it felt different. It wasn’t smooth or defined like other yarns. It was squishy and a bit delicate but with a rustic look. It combined so many attributes that seem contradictory to me that I was a little at a loss about what to do with the yarn and how to handle it. However, I was a bit too in love with the colour (Tartan) to not work with it.

What do you do in these situations? Swatch of course. I knitted a plain stockinette stitch swatch first. Due to the way it is spun the yarn is not as sturdy as others and you have to be a bit more careful not to hold it too tightly or it might break. When I cast on I wasn’t too sure about the fabric it was creating but after blocking it the yarn really bloomed and the fabric became really lovely. I was amazing! It felt really nice and also the definition of the stitches was much better than I had expected from the yarn. Knitted on 5 mm I got a gauge of 20 sts and 32 rows.

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Next I knitted a mock cable pattern swatch and I really fell in love with it. The cables are defined but look a bit softer than with other yarn. I liked working this pattern a lot and eventually decided to use it for a shawl. The Quilo shawl is currently being test knitted and I am hoping to publish the pattern in early November. I love the warmth the shawl provides and because the yarn is so special I find the simple design of Quilo, combining garter stitch with a mock cable centre panel, works really well.

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The wool used for this yarn is Targhee-Columbia and it is woolen spun. This means the fibres aren’t aligned and as a result more air is trapped which creates nice and warm fabric when knitted. Another interesting thing about this yarn is that it can be knit on a variety of needle sizes and the fibre will adapt when blocked. It is a 2-ply and has a bit of a rustic look with not super even strands of yarn.You can also still find some vegetable matter in the yarn when you work with it which I like because it means the yarn hasn’t been handled too much or treated with super harsh chemicals.

It is available in 40 colours and is sold as 50g skeins with approx. 140 yards each.

What I really like about Brooklyn Tweed is not only that they are passionate about creating and using American yarn but also that they keep coming up with stunning pattern collections that show of their yarn range. Brooklyn Tweed works with well-known designers and has as Julie Hoover and Michele Wang as team members. It is always super exciting when a new pattern collection is published and I often wish I had more time for knitting. Quite a few of their designs are on my wish list.

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Just one example of many beautiful patterns: Migration by Stacey Gerbman from Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People Vol. 10

Brooklyn Tweed started as a blog that Jared Flood, who is now the Creative Director, started when he moved to New York City in 2005. If you have a look at the original blog you can see how the aesthetics of Brooklyn Tweed developed and also find quite a number of valuable pieces of knitting knowledge. I enjoy reading old entries every now and then. As a company that sells yarn and patterns Brooklyn Tweed was established in 2010.

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Dyed Fibre for Brooklyn Tweed (Source: brooklyntweed.com)

The wool they use is sourced in Wyoming and comes from an American cross bread the Targhee-Columbian sheep. A characteristic of the wool these sheep produce is that it is soft yet sturdy. The yarn is then cleaned in Texas and afterwards shipped to Pennsylvania for dyeing. It then moves to its next stop in New Hampshire for spinning.  The wool travels quite a bit but compare to other yarns it is fairly short and more notably all within the same country. As a consumer I very much appreciate knowing where exactly the wool is produced and what steps are taken. Therefore, I like Brooklyn Tweed and hope to work with it again at some point.

What is your experience with Brooklyn Tweed Yarn? I love to hear about your experience.

 

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