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A Tweed Story

Tweed fabrics are the soul of the Fall/Winter season. They possess a texture inextricably tied to cold weather. Perhaps tweed’s prismatic hues recall the multicolored fall leaves that festoon the walkways of Central Park. Or, when winter snow blanches Manhattan, we might rely on tweeds for necessary depth and dimension. Whatever the reason, the cold weather season guarantees tweed’s resurgence. This rich, storied fiber’s ineffable quality continues entrancing knitters and designers alike.

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Isabel Marant Pre-Fall 2016, Les Copains Fall 2016 RTW, Michael Kors Fall 2016, Bottega Veneta Fall 2016, Trussardi Fall 2016 RTW, Chanel Fall 2016 RTW

 

A sampling of the fabrics in the Chanel Fall/Winter 2016 collection
A sampling of the fabrics in the Chanel Fall/Winter 2016 collection

Chanel is well known for signature tweed fabrics, and I was especially thrilled to see tweed yarns incorporated into their knitwear this season (above, far right). Tweed has the exceptional ability to be both elegant and comfortable. As a yarn, it feels sophisticated and cozy, in equal measure timeless and current. Tweed harkens back to early, traditional knitting—fishermen in weatherproof gansey sweaters, and women wrapped in Bindetuch/Heidetuch shawls to keep warm while working at the docks or on the farm. But tweed also supports a chic narrative, as evinced by just a sampling of the high fashion designers shown above.

 

 

central-park-hoodie
Originally published in Knitscene Fall 2006, the Central Park Hoodie remains one of the most popular patterns in Tahki Yarns Donegal Tweed. It now has over 5,000 versions on Ravelry. Photo © Interweave

Nowadays, different fibers blend and varying weights contribute to all manner of tweed yarns. Some are true tweeds, while others are faux tweeds. The process of creating a true tweed is quite extraordinary. The kaleidoscopic colors of real tweed yarn result from mixing shades of wool with the tweedy “nebs,” or “flecks” of contrasting color. Knitwear designer Kate Davies featured some beautiful photos of the process on her blog many years ago.

Donegal TWeed
Tahki Yarns Donegal Tweed

Tahki Yarns Donegal Tweed is an authentic Irish homespun tweed. Tahki Yarns and Kilcarra in Donegal, Ireland, have collaborated for more than 30 years to bring knitters the beautiful and beloved Donegal Tweed. Rugged, durable, and historic, Donegal Tweed is milled on original carding machines dating back to the last century. The beauty of DT is that it only grows softer as you wear and wash it. Conversely, it’s also fantastic for felted projects! Like tweed fabrics, Donegal Tweed takes me back in time, but it’s also incredibly contemporary when paired with a modern design aesthetic.

Farmhouse Hoodie and Etro fall 2016
(L-R) The Farmhouse Hoodie in Donegal Tweed, Etro Fall 2016

Tahki Yarns Tara Tweed and Scotland are similar tweeds, but in different weights. Worsted weight Tara Tweed blends wool with nylon for a lightweight, soft finish. New DK-weight Scotland is a 100% extrafine merino wool with very subdued nebs of tweed. Both have excellent stitch definition, making them perfect for lace and cable work.

Fieldstone Wrap
Fieldstone Wrap in Tahki Yarns Scotland
Brook Pullover
(L-R) Brook Pullover & Hat in Tara Tweed, cabled cardigan via Pinterest

Tahki Yarns Donegal Tweed, Tara Tweed, and Scotland offer knitters three different weights and tweed finishes for all their knitting needs. As the winter deepens and we cloister ourselves against the dark, embrace the Nordic concept of Hygge and cast on a comforting Tahki Yarns tweed!

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