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Twist Collective Blog

Twist Style Friday: Cliona

Every Friday we feature one of the garments from the magazine in a post about styling. We suggest different ways to wear the garment in question using mock-ups from Polyvore. We encourage readers to tell us what they think about these outfits via our Facebook page or Twitter, and if folks want to make their own outfits, please tweet them at us with the hashtag #twiststyle. You can find all of the Style Friday posts here.



Carly is currently without internet access (I know! How does that even work? Does she have to ride a dinosaur to work too?) So she sent me a message by carrier pigeon and asked if I'd do another Style Friday until she's back online.


If you are on our mailing list, you know that we just released a new pattern, Cliona. And if you are not on our mailing list, you can sign up over there to the left.



I don't know about you guys, but I think this design is really worth the wait. Let's give it a look.


Front view of Clionaback view of Cliona


Check out those beautiful cables climbing up the center front and joining, perfectly, at the center back. I've always loved v-necks and this cardigan doesn't just have the one in front, it has another one in back, that perfectly mirrors the shape of the cables. The rest of the piece is worked in seed stitch, which gives just a bit of texture without competing for attention.


cliona button detail


The first outfit I put together pays homage to my 90s-era teen years. I was channeling my inner Daria and pairing Cliona with some plaid, black tights and, of course, some clunky boots. Where are you all going? Wait, no, come back!


Ok, so if you aren't stuck back in the 90s like *ahem* some of us, then maybe you'd be more comfortable in a cotton tank, jeans and some seriously cute accessories. Red and green are complimentary colors but they can read a little Christmasy, so shifting to a pinker shade, still gives a bit of pop, but feels less jolly, more chic. And if you're looking to get your pretty on, throw this cardigan over a dress with a similar shape neck, pair it with a few accessories and you can pretty much go anywhere.


Styling Smartie


As I said last time, while the cat's away, the mouse will put together some sort of unapologetically over-the-top outfit and this week's version was inspired by those shoes.

Styling Smartie

Those shoes! I'm not even a shoe person but I'm oddly drawn to them. And let's be honest, if I wore those, I'd probably snap my achilles and face plant before I got to my front door, but were I a person who could wear shoes like this, I'd pair them with leather pants and gold and black accessories and probably look like a real housewife of somewhereville in the process. And you know what? I would strut it, or face plant. Maybe sitting would be best.


So what do you think? How will you wear Cliona

Twist Style Friday: Smarty

Every Friday we feature one of the garments from the magazine in a post about styling. We suggest different ways to wear the garment in question using mock-ups from Polyvore. We encourage readers to tell us what they think about these outfits via our Facebook page or Twitter, and if folks want to make their own outfits, please tweet them at us with the hashtag #twiststyle. You can find all of the Style Friday posts here.



Marnie here, trying to fill Carly's always-fashionable shoes. This week, I want to take a look at Alison Green's Smarty. The name was inspired by the candy (either the chalky American version or the superior coated chocolate variety many other countries know). Those clever cables intertwine in the sweetest way and bring to mind colorful candy pieces. But the name, Smarty, suits the piece in other ways. Worked, as the sample was, in a soft neutral shade, with two of your favorite accent colors, this could really be a wardrobe staple. That's what I call, smart. I love that the two shades used in this piece, are fairly close in color and saturation, but this would be pretty striking in two colors with more contrast, too. 


Front view of Smartyback view of Smarty


And did you see that sleeve detail? Sometimes a little goes a long way. Alison has an eye for just enough to be bold without being busy.


smarty sleeve detail


I really think this sweater has versatility. Worn with a pencil skirt and a button-up top, this is perfect office wear, and back when I spent a lot more time in an office, this could be in regular rotation. I've always been fond of a lot of black or gray and a pop of color, and boy, does this sweater deliver on that. In the middle and on the right, I wanted to play up the use of analogous colors. With the red and orange in the sweater, we can add one more color to the right or left of the color wheel (yellow and purple respectively) and get a whole new look. Either of these outfits would be suitable for day events and casual get-togethers with friends.


Styling Smartie


I've decided that any time Carly leaves these style posts in my hands, I'm going to post at least one absolutely ridiculous outfit, just to remind you all why we leave this sort of thing to the professionals (i.e. the fashionable), so tell me what you think? Could you take Smarty out for a hot date?

Styling Smartie

I don't know about you, but when the night chill comes on, I would love to throw something soft and pretty over my dress. Of course, these days, a hot date night is generally over by 9, but 27 year-old Marnie would have been all over that asymmetrical hemline and sparkles everywhere.



What say you? How will you wear Smarty

Designer Post: Heyday

headshot of designer Marnie MacLean. she is wearing an apron and holding a rolling pin. Today's post is brought to you by Marnie MacLean, who is kind of a superstar. She has published a whopping 20 designs with us (21 if you count the men's and women's Doppler sweaters as two separate designs). Her style is effortless elegance; classic shapes with just the right amount of detail. Her pieces are fun to make, and gorgeous to wear, and her top from this most recent issue is no exception. You can also find this post on Marnie's blog, here




The new edition of Twist Collective came out, recently. Did you get a chance to see it? If not, grab a cup of your favorite warm or cold beverage, and take a few minutes to flip through its virtual pages, because there are so many fantastic pieces. I feel like I can't even pick favorites because I like so many of them for so many different reasons. The shawls, in particular, are really inspiring. Every last one is a winner and they look like they'd be a heck of a lot of fun to knit, too. And if you are a mitten person, especially if you are a colorwork mitten person, I really think you'll love what the designers have come up with. And of course, there are tons of garments, some socks, hats, mitts and cowls. So go take a look.


My piece is called Heyday. It's a sort of yoke/raglan hybrid, with body darts and a split neck. Just a few short rows over each sleeve, help shape the yoke around the shoulders. A simple cable/bobble pattern is worked around the hems and yoke and the neck is finished with some basic crochet. If you are a knit-only person, you can always substitute i-cord.



Marnie wearing Heyday, a cobalt blue pullover in rev. stockinette with a cable pattern along the yoke and hems



Worn open, the split neck makes a flattering v-neck, tied close, the neck is more of a ballet style, with a keyhole opening. Since the garment has so few details it's really a breeze to alter. Do you want to eliminate the split? Just work the yoke in the round. Do you want to make the neck narrower? Add more decrease rounds. Wider? Take out some decreases. This is really a piece you can customize and make your own.



Second modeled shot of Heyday; split neck is tied closed to make a keyhole



My original swatch and proposal, even suggested subbing the small bobble for a glass bead. I didn't think Sundara's stunning Sport Merino Two in this richly hued colorways, needed any extra adornment, but for a subtler colorway like one of her Vintage shades, a little glimmer might be just the thing.



marnie's submission sketch for Heyday



I really enjoyed both designing and knitting this piece. It's my first yoke-ish design and I was happy to see it come together without any big challenges. It's always a risk, taking on a new construction, under deadline, but I couldn't think of a better way to show of that swag-like stitch pattern. 



back view of the same top



You can find the yarn here with new colors coming all the time. I would love to know what your favorite piece in the edition is. Can you pick just one?



Twist Style Friday: Roxton

Every Friday we feature one of the garments from the magazine in a post about styling. We suggest different ways to wear the garment in question using mock-ups from Polyvore. We encourage readers to tell us what they think about these outfits via our Facebook page or Twitter, and if folks want to make their own outfits, please tweet them at us with the hashtag #twiststyle. You can find all of the Style Friday posts here.



Happy Friday folks!! Yesterday in Toronto the weather took a decidedly chilly turn, and although I have many people in my life who are lamenting the end of summertime, I have to admit that I was thrilled. I wore floral tights and a hot pink lacy scarf (knitted, of course) and a denim jacket and felt pretty darn blissful about the temperature. I am looking forward to fingerless gloves and toques and wool sweater times. Plus all I want to do is knit. 


In a total departure from my usual knitting MO, I have been really wanting to knit a pullover! It could be because there are so many gorgeous ones in our new issue. I'm feeling very torn between starting with Ravenscrag, Paria, or today's feature garment, Roxton. How will I possibly decide?? 


Let's take a close look at Roxton, shall we? 


back view of Roxton, hot pink  pullover with lace and cable panel in front and backfront view of same sweater, on a model with long blonde hair walking with a bike


This aran weight sweater has a serious squish factor, but the dropped stitch and lace patterning keeps the whole thing feeling light and breezy. The lacy panels deserve another glance.


lace detail


You could toss this on over jeans and boots and look amazing on every chilly day mother nature can throw at you. Or you could take my advice, and wear it with something sharp. 


Roxton Styling image


I kept all the accessories and other garments crisp, clean, and graphic. Maybe people won't know where to look first, and the interesting cutouts on your shoes, the bold patterning of your pants/skirt, or the juicy sweater that tops it off. Maybe that's awesome. 


How will you wear Roxton

Designer Post: Courant

Headshot of designer Barbara Benson

Barbara Benson's first design with Twist is a doozy. Courant is an epic stole that uses mosaic knitting *and* lace to achieve a unique and gorgeous effect. It might not be TV knitting, but gosh it's pretty. You can also find this post on her blog, here. I can't wait to see the color combinations knitters will choose!! 






What do you want to hear about? Do you want to have a detailed description of the pattern proposal process and the wonderful experience that was working with Twist Collective? Or do you want to peer into the dusty corners to try and understand the slightly off mind that would even dream of combining these two techniques? Maybe you want to see my relatively pitiful attempt at a “fashion sketch” that is required for pretty much all proposals?


Or do you just want to see the pretty pictures? Because we can totally do that!



closeup of Courant shawl wrapped around model's neck.



I was waiting impatiently to see how the photography for this shawl turned out … and I was not disappointed. I hope you love it too. This pattern involved quite a bit of indulging myself. If you hadn’t noticed, I like to push the boundaries a bit, break a rule here and there. One day I was visiting my best friend (who is a knitter of course) and I started paging through her copy of The Haapsalu Shawl and, just like any knitter, was in awe of the beauty of these intricate stitches.



closeup of stitch pattern, lace and colorwork


But can I leave well enough alone? Hah! Never. Where I stray from being on the “normal” side of things is that my first thought was “how can I make this two color?” The review I linked to refers to the book as “The Estonian Barbara Walker” which explains a great deal, considering my obsession with Walker’s Mosaic knitting concepts. Long story short (don’t laugh) I spent a great deal of time figuring out how to make this happen.



full shot of modeled Courant shawl



And this was the result. I will be forever grateful to Twist Collective for being willing to publish such a adventurous pattern. The entire issue is absolutely beautiful and if you haven’t taken a look at it yet, you should. I will be here when you get back.


It is a big piece, my biggest to date. I am not going to lie, it is a lot of knitting. But it was nothing that even resembled a chore because of the unbelievable yarn I had to work with. The incomparable Miss Babs supplied the perfect blend of Merino and Silk in her fingering weight Shiruku in the colors Helen of Troy and Cygnus. In my proposal to Twist I was fairly adamant that they yarn needed to contain silk. This was necessary for a couple of reasons.


The slip stitch color-work technique used in the pattern creates a situation where there is a lot of compaction of the stitches. If you have handled any “traditional” mosaic work it can be quite … dense. Much of my development time has been centered around figuring out ways to thwart this tendency. One solution I have arrived at is knitting at a larger gauge than normal. A second component is the lace itself; adding in holes creates a more bendy fabric. The silk is the final component.


Silk has fine drape and allows the fabric to move and flow just as a shawl should. It also has very little memory so it improves the shawl’s ability to retain its shape once it has been blocked. Now, you might ask “Why not just go 100% silk?” which is a good question. Silk tends to be a very well defined yarn and the stitches stand out individually. Which is not precisely what I wanted. My yarn needed some floofiness, some bloom. It needed to fill in a bit so that the color-work had more of a presence.  So the Merino/Silk blend is perfect! And shucks if I didn’t have to knit with it. The sacrifices I make for y’all. 






I want to wrap things up by sending a special Thank You out to the awesome Raveler CathyG. The knitting of this shawl took place during my jaunt around the MidWest and she was kind enough to allow me to take over an entire room in her house to block this big guy. Crawling around on the floor with someone is an excellent bonding experience and I was pleased to have it with you!