Dude Knitting: Brooklyn Tweed Bradbury!

Hi, guys! Ever have an unfinished project that just haunts you? Every time you get the itch to start something new, you feel a twinge of guilt? Well, this sweater was one of those, so I’m really excited to finally be done with it!

Now, I love to knit, but I haven’t done much of it for Blake. He has very particular taste and if something doesn’t meet his specifications, he just won’t wear it (see: the scarf I crocheted for him right after college… I don’t think he wore it even once!). But when I saw the Bradbury pullover in the Brooklyn Tweed Men’s Volume 2 collection, I knew that he would like it. No cables, no collars, no textures- just plain stripes! That’s his jam. 🙂

Brooklyn Tweed Bradbury Pullover | Ginger Makes

Bradbury is designed by Julie Hoover, and the suggested yarn is Brooklyn Tweed LOFT. I had never used a Brooklyn Tweed yarn before, but I decided to splurge on it for Blake’s sweater since I’d heard that it was very light and airy. I saved up my pennies and got Man Friend approval for a colorway combo of Almanac/Sweatshirt.

The thing that I like most about Brooklyn Tweed patterns is that I always feel like I’ve learned something new by the time I’ve finished. In this case, I learned the tubular cast-on and bind-off, the sloped bind-off, and a different way to knit stripes in the flat. I have to admit, though, that when I first downloaded the PDF, it took me a few weeks to dive into the pattern because it seemed like a much more complicated project than I’d originally thought and I just didn’t want to get started!

Brooklyn Tweed Bradbury Pullover | Ginger Makes

This raglan pullover is knit flat from the bottom up and seamed, with visible raglan seams. It took me 5 months to knit it, although I didn’t knit very aggressively, just here and there as I felt like it (I cast on last May and I’ve never been much of a summer knitter, but I’d hoped to finish in time for cold weather). Then I spent a month procrastinating on seaming things up, tried a few times, failed a few times, then let it sit on my work table for, ohhhh, six months. I felt terrible every time I laid eyes on it, but I just didn’t want to try seaming it again! For some reason I couldn’t get things to line up right (I think I was picking up the wrong bar between the stitches on one side, so I kept having a different number of bars on one side than the other, if that makes sense) and that was really visible in a striped garment. Finally I decided that I HAD to finish it for Blake’s birthday at the end of May, so I gritted my teeth and just stuck with it until I was done.

Here’s where I should mention, like other knitters have, that it’s just not possible to seam with LOFT. It broke over and over, even when I twisted it to add tensile strength, so I had to buy different yarn in as close of a color match as I could (I ended up using Cascade 220 Fingering because it was the cheapest thing I could find). Honestly, this annoyed me, because I’d already spent so much on LOFT that the last thing I wanted to do was buy MORE yarn, plus, now I have an entire skein (minus a couple of yards) each of two different colors taking up room in my stash, neither of which I’m particularly excited to use for another project. Ugh!

Brooklyn Tweed Bradbury Pullover | Ginger Makes

Because I was making this for Blake and he is really picky about fit, I was really careful about checking the finished chest and sleeve measurements, and about both swatching and blocking accurately. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me to check the finished garment length (from neck to hem), and it was really too short for Blake. I shouldn’t have assumed that the designer’s hem length would be what we wanted… ugh! When he tried it on, it looked really stupid (actually, the length was great for me!). So, I reblocked the entire sweater aggressively and was able to gain about an inch of extra length, which isn’t perfect, but at least it’s wearable now. It annoys me a bit, though, after spending a small mint and countless hours of my life knitting a men’s sweater in flat stockinette in a fingering-weight yarn!! But I’m not about to frog the whole sweater just to make it longer so it’s going to stay as it is (that’s the downside to knitting bottom-up… trying it on as you go just isn’t an option). I also feel like I see some pulling at the armscyes in these photos, but I didn’t notice it when he was wearing it so maybe I’m just being paranoid!

At the end of the day, Blake is really happy with the sweater and not miserable and sad as these photos might suggest (at one point in the photo session I asked him if he thought he was smiling, ha!). Frankly, I’m just happy to have this project off my work table and in his closet!

Brooklyn Tweed Bradbury Pullover | Ginger Makes

So tell me, have you ever knit something for any of the men in your lives? How did it go? Any success stories or project recommendations?

Finally, one last order of business- the winner of the Wool and the Gang giveaway, as chosen by random.org, is… Lee! Give me a shout and I’ll get the kit off to you!

Cascades Pullover!

Hi guys! How the heck are you? I’m pretty pumped to show you my new sweater today, yay! I know that if you follow me on Instagram, it seems like I only knit hats, but, after resolving to finish up some projects in February, now I have a sweater!

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This is the Cascades pattern, by Michele Wang. It’s a bottom-up raglan that’s knit in one piece to the armholes, then the sleeves are knit separately and joined to the yoke. I find that I always learn something new when I knit up a Brooklyn Tweed pattern. For example, I learned the rib cable cast-on for this, which was complicated at first, but really looks nicer than my typical long-tail cast-on.

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I really love the stitch patterns in this sweater. It feels like the perfect mix of modern and classic, something that I’ll have in my closet for years to come, hopefully. And, after spending months working on a seamed sweater for Blake in fingering-weight yarn, this came together so much quicker by comparison! It was a fun and straightforward project.

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This was my first time using Shelter, the Brooklyn Tweed worsted-weight yarn. I’d been thinking and dreaming about it for ages, but it’s pretty expensive, so I had to weight until I’d saved up some pennies. I read the color stories for all the different colorways and had finally settled on “Truffle Hunt”, a soft grey-brown, but when I went to pick it up at Gauge x Tension, “Cinnabar” grabbed my attention and I had to have it! So this isn’t the goes-with-everything basic that I’d planned, but I really, really love the color, so I’ll wear it all the time anyway.

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Shelter is kind of a magical yarn… it’s warm, but lofty and light, and the flecks of other colors really make it feel special. It’s also completely impossible to seam with. The only seaming I needed to do was at the underarms, and while I was doing that, the yarn broke about 7 times. There’s just no way you could use it to seam a whole garment!

I really love this sweater, although it’s definitely not “flattering”. I could go down a size in the sleeves, and I should have checked the finished length against a favorite sweater because this is a tad bit longer than I would like. But that’s my fault, not the fault of the pattern- everything turned out the way the pattern intended. Lesson learned about making sure that the finished measurements are what I actually want them to be! D’oh!

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I’m also wearing a new handmade hat here! This is Fidra by Gudrun Johnston. This is actually my second version of this pattern. The pattern was released shortly before Christmas, and I thought it would be really cute on my mom, so I knit one up for her in just a couple of days. When I saw the BT Winter 2016 collection, I was desperate to knit Snoqualmie, but I can’t afford that much yarn right now. I still wanted to try out Quarry, so I bought a single skein, enough to make another Fidra. I don’t usually like bulkier yarns, but it looks really attractive in this pattern. This was super fun to knit and only took a couple of days. I should probably trim the pompom down a bit as it’s reallllly huge, but I kinda like it. 🙂

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The color I used for the hat is “Lazulite”, a navy flecked with purple and blue. It’s super pretty! I chose this colorway to match my duffle coat, which has been cut out for a while but needs to be sewn, once I finish up some upholstery projects and have room in my workspace to actually sew again! 🙂 In the meantime, I’ll just be over here knitting. 🙂

Have you guys been knitting lately? Any new patterns or yarns that you’re digging? I’d love to hear what you’re up to!

Ondawa Sweater!

Hi, guys! Hope your weeks are all off to a great start! And I hope you had wonderful Easter and/or Passover celebrations, if you celebrate!

Michele Wang Ondawa | Ginger Makes

Today I’m ushering in spring with, well, a sweater! OK, OK, so this isn’t really spring apparel, but I should still be able to wear this for a few weeks before the summer heat sets in. 🙂

Ondawa | Ginger Makes

The pattern I used is Ondawa by Michele Wang. I’m a huge fan of her designs– they’re complex, unique, and absolutely beautiful. Obviously, Ondawa is no exception! I love cables, all cables, but these are extraordinarily pretty!

Ondawa | Ginger Makes

The construction of this sweater is a bit unusual. The front and back are knitted as flat panels and are identical. Once you’ve knit the first panel, the second goes by in a flash because you’ve already got the stitch patterns memorized! The sleeves are also knitted flat and set in after the sides are seamed up. The front and back are seamed at the shoulders so you can decide how wide you want the boatneck to be, which is nice. Now that I’ve worn this a bit, I think I may bring in the neckline a touch more… it’s cool that I can easily do that!

Ondawa | Ginger Makes

The pattern is fun to knit and kept me interested without being too complicated. I got confused a few times with the direction of the smaller cables and had to rip them back, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I also made a silly math mistake and knit an extra 12 rows on the first panel, so I repeated that on the second. As a result, the sweater is a few inches longer than the pattern intended, but I actually prefer it to be a bit longer (I just didn’t intentionally lengthen it because I was worried about running out of yarn). So I’m really happy with the finished length! I knit the second smallest size, which should have given me about 13″ of ease, in case that’s helpful to anyone.

Ondawa | Ginger Makes

I tried a new yarn for this, O-Wool Balance in graphite. It’s a 50/50 blend of organic cotton and merino, which makes for a really soft and wearable yarn. I love 100% wool yarns, but I’m hoping that the cotton content will make the sweater a bit cooler for spring and fall so I can wear it to death! I really like this yarn and will definitely use it again. I’m so happy to use a brand that carefully sources its fibers so you can be sure that it’s cruelty-free. The price point is higher than what I usually pay for yarn, but it’s worth it (to me) for an organic, animal-friendly yarn that’s produced here on the east coast.

Ondawa | Ginger Makes

Now, the sweater is really boxy, so it may not be the most attractive garment I’ve ever worn, but I really like it and feel quite cozy in it. I’m not in love with the back view (the fabric sort of flaps out a bit, like a built-in cape!) but I don’t have to see myself from the back, so that’s fine! Overall I’m seriously into this sweater and am so pleased that I was able to finish it up in time to get some wear out of it! Now tell me, are you knitting anything right now? Are you into fitted sweaters, or are you a “wearable blanket” gal like me???

Ginger Made: Bough Hat + Guernsey Wrap!

What’s up, party dudes?!  This post is a bit out of the ordinary for me– finished knitted garments, what?!  I haven’t done much knitting in the last couple of years, but when I started taking the subway to work a few months ago, I had an itch to pick it up again!

Bough Hat + Guernsey Wrap-- Ginger Makes

A long time ago, I started up a sweater in Quince & Co.’s Lark in “Honey”.  I didn’t really like how it was turning out, so I frogged it and let it sit.  In my haste to start knitting again, I grabbed this yarn and cast on for Brooklyn Tweed‘s Guernsey Wrap without checking the gauge or anything (bad girl!).  As it turns out, I was knitting at about 20.5 stitches/4″ (instead of the recommended 14 stitches/4″), so my finished width is only 13″ after a serious blocking.  Since it was immediately clear that this would be more of a scarf than a wrap, I added an extra repeat of chart A and chart C for some additional length, making my final scarf 77″ long.  I toyed with the idea of seaming the ends to make a cowl, but it’s nice to be able to wear this as a scarf so I can wrap it tighter or looser depending on my mood (and the weather).  Maybe someday I’ll knit another one to the correct proportions, but I’m not at all disappointed in the outcome with this one.  I was just so excited to start knitting and didn’t want to waste any time with math and calculations!

Bough Hat + Guernsey Wrap-- Ginger Makes

The yarn was an internet purchase, and I was a little disappointed in the color when it arrived.  That was the main reason I frogged the sweater– I thought the olive-y color looked gross next to my skin tone.  So here I am, two years later, making a hat and scarf to wear right next to my face… go figure!  The only thing I can think of is that maybe it looks better on me now that I’ve started working indoors– I’m much paler than I used to be, and less green! It’s not the most flattering color in the world, but it looks nice with both my grey and my navy coats.  For more inspiration in this color, check out Gail‘s gorgeous sweater here!

Bough Hat + Guernsey Wrap-- Ginger Makes

Guernsey Wrap is a really nice pattern and was a great one for jumping back into knitting.  It’s a charted pattern, but it’s easy to follow.  It looks really lovely and complicated, but the stitch patterns consist of only knit and purl stitches (great for commuter knitting– no pesky cable needles to deal with!).  I didn’t realize it was so simple when I downloaded it, but I’m so glad I did.  It’s really pretty!

Brooklyn Tweed Guernsey Wrap-- Ginger Makes

After I finished the wrap, I wanted a matching hat, so I knit up Brooklyn Tweed‘s gorgeous Bough pattern.  This pattern is so cute and was really fun to make, so much so that I made a second version for my sister in Malabrigo worsted for a Christmas gift (forgot to take a picture of it on her, but it’s really nice in soft, fuzzy Malabrigo!).  I didn’t make any changes to the pattern at all and I really like it (although I might cast on fewer stitches for the ribbing next time around… it’s a tiny bit loose…).  The tree of life pattern is really cool– I’m hoping to make the matching cowl at some point.  I finished off both hats with pompoms made using a large Clover Pom Pom Maker.  I’d never made them before and heard that the pom pom maker was really fast and easy, so I picked one up.  I made huge, fluffy pom poms in just a couple of minutes!  So fun!  I kind of want to make 100 of them and tie them to the pugs!

Bough Hat + Guernsey Wrap-- Ginger Makes

Gah! Look at that bobble! I love it!

Now that I’ve started knitting again, I’m totally hooked!  I’m midway through a sweater and can’t stop thinking about future knitting projects!  What about you?  Knitting anything things days?  Want to learn, but not sure where to start?  If so, I recommend (again!) checking out Gail’s blog– she did a great series walking you through the (FREE!) Miette cardigan pattern from start to finish.

Bough Hat + Guernsey Wrap-- Ginger Makes

Major benefit of a 6.5′ scarf– you can go full ninja on the coldest days!