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Twist Collective Blog

Twinings

Amy Herzog

Amy Herzog is the talented designer of this issue's Twinings, and has given us other gorgeous designs including Twinflower and Greenaway. Today's post takes us to the drawing board (and the swatching board), behind the scenes of the design. You can find out more about Amy's work at her website, from which this is cross-posted.



As I mentioned in my last post, I’m just so thrilled to be included in this fall’s issue of Twist Collective. My sweater, Twinings, is a pullover with detailing designed to evoke the look of a wrap sweater.

sweater image

You can find all the tech specs either on the Twist Collective page linked above or on the design page here.

Twinings started out with a comment someone made about how wrap sweaters looked so flattering, but tended to feel really bulky over the stomach. My initial ideas involved trying to use a row of snaps to allow for just an inch or two of overlap, but I quickly realized such a sweater would simply be an asymmetrical cardigan. The nice thing about a true wrap sweater vs. a cardigan is that the fabric doesn’t pull open at many tension points down the front of the sweater.

So I started thinking about how I could spread the tension evenly, and sketching, and would up with the idea of a single cable panel traveling across the front of a sweater:

sketch

I knew I wouldn’t be able to make the cable panel move quite as severely as the sketch without some serious biasing in the fabric, but I started swatching to play around with the maximum movement rate:

swatch

And I was able to move a cable every other RS row without things getting too nasty. So when Kate told me she liked the sweater and wanted to include it the Fall issue, I calculated the different required cable positions at three points of the sweater and worked out the rate of decrease within each section.

I had lots of fun working with the other details of Twinings, too. The hem of the sweater body is trimmed with the same cables present in the panel; the sleeves are deeply cuffed with the same cables.

cuff

The back neck gave me a little bit of trouble: I started out wanting a wide, curved cable band on the back. But I quickly realized that working short rows on a back neck cable, combined with the complicated front of the sweater, would intimidate a lot of knitters. So instead, I charted out some attractive diminishing cables from the front neckline, moving into 1×1 rib. These extensions of the front cable panels are then sewn onto the back neckline. I wound up liking the effect far more than my original idea:

neck

The merino-silk blend from Catherine Lowe Yarns was just great. I’d never worked with a yarn like this before (the individual plies are laid out parallel to one another and wound into a cake like that; CL says that they’re sprayed with sizing to keep them together but although they did stay together fine I couldn’t detect any stiffness or anything), and I don’t necessarily understand why it makes such a difference–but it does! The stitch definition is utterly fabulous and I have to say that the yarn produced the single best fabric that has ever come off my needles. It manages both a dense-looking, opaque fabric and an incredible lightness–the sample weighs far less than you’d expect. The silk adds a lovely drape and shine. And the ex-goth in me definitely appreciated the color, which was a lovely dark violet that looked black in some lights, stunning purple in others.

All in all, I’m really pleased with the way the sweater turned out, and hope you are too! If you’d like to knit Twinings, we’re having a knit-a-long for the sweater in my ravelry group and would love to have you join us.