Yarn Review: Brooklyn Tweed Arbor

When Brooklyn Tweed took the plunge beyond pattern design and blog to become a yarn company in 2010, Shelter was a welcome addition, but not a surprise to the yarn community. Jared had long extolled the virtues of tweedy, highly-textured, woolen yarns, so his decision to create a yarn that embodied all three characteristics seemed like a natural choice. Loft followed suit, and Quarry did also, to some degree (although the structure is very different, the feel of the yarn in the skein seems familiar to those acquainted with the other two.)

Up until recently, the only yarn that marked a departure from the formula was Plains, a limited-edition lace weight run in Rambouillet wool. While Plains is a nice yarn, it didn’t exactly shake up the image that Jared has built for Brooklyn Tweed. Arbor, on the other hand, is an entirely different take on Targhee. This worsted spun wool reminds me of the early days I spent knitting with big brand yarns, in the very best way. While Loft and Shelter both require a bit of babying to prevent breakage, Arbor is a workhorse DK weight, available in a delightful range of colors.

I immediately ran out and bought a sweater quantity as soon as it arrived in my local store, and set about swatching. Coincidentally (or perhaps not - after all, the author is on the BT design team), Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook had released around the same time, so it seemed natural that a garment ready wool like Arbor simply had to be swatched in squishy cables.

I used the cable featured on page 49, “Fancy Double O.” I honestly can’t say enough good things about this book. Several designers I am acquainted with are already designing beautiful garments using it, and I can see why: Norah’s approach to cables has made her synonymous with interesting fabric textures, and she shares many of her tips throughout this volume. Additionally, this long-awaited stitch dictionary introduces a new concept, SSE: Stockinette Stitch Equivalent, that makes adding cables to patterns you already know and love a breeze. Honestly, this is a must-have reference for any knitter.

I can’t say that Arbor brought me any new surprises in the swatch. Just as anticipated, the slightly springy structure of the Targhee lent each rounded stitch a bit of oomph, and after being soaked a good long while (just a teensy tint of green in the wash), the swatch came out delightfully squishy. Like any superbly round yarn, Arbor looks beautiful in cables and in the reverse stockinette flanking it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sketch out a few pullovers. While I’m doing that, make sure you’ve got your name on our newsletter list, because one lucky winner will win three skeins of Arbor plus a digital version of High Pines, a cozy cowl designed by Jared Flood specifically for this yarn.