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Twist Collective Blog

Design Process: Pinion

Christa GilesToday's post is brought to you by Christa Giles, designer of the striking Pinion cardigan. Christa is no stranger here at Twist- she has designed a number of patterns you see in our pages, including Asher, Corinth, and Lallans. You can also find this post on her blog. She shares about her inspiration, innovative techniques, and her own version- what a difference gauge can make! Check it out below.

 

 

 

Pinion front

 

This is Pinion, a cardigan I designed for Twist Collective’s Winter 2012 issue. See it here.

 

The inspiration came directly from TC’s mood boards, a collection of pictures that they send out to designers as part of their Call for Submissions for each issue. This mood board included several photos of birds and feathers, and that was the primary image floating around in my head as I was imagining possible designs to swatch and submit.

 

Pinion Back

 


I love how well this sweater fits the model, with the waist shaping in exactly the right place! This doesn’t always happen, as I am knitting up a general size rather than to a specific model’s measurements, so I am always pleased when it turns out perfectly! Pinion’s structure-a top-down sweater with radiating motifs spreading from the collar onto the yoke- is similar to a design that I had already knit up. That one is destined for self-publishing later this year and has a very simple box motif suitable for first-time stranded knitters, but knowing that I was designing for Twist Collective’s readers let me throw in a few tweaks that would happily challenge more experienced knitters.

 

 

Colorwork detail

 

Most colourwork designs are made up of pixels, each little box being a single knit stitch worked in colour A or colour B. When I was thinking about feathers, I wanted swooping curves and flowing lines, not boxes and jagged edges, so I started combining colourwork with cabling, and a swatch was born!

 

My submission was accepted, and the Halcyon yarn arrived shortly after. This is the same yarn I was given for Thornia, and I think it is perfect for steeked projects: nice and grippy, with great blockability! I think Pinion was actually the easiest start-to-finish knit that I’ve done for Twist Collective (Boundless, Lara and Candlewick are in competition for the hardest) so the finished sample sweater flew off my needles with enough time left over for me to make a variation for myself!

 

This is my version of Pinion:

 

Christa's Pinion, back view

 

It was somewhat influenced by the sweaters knit by the Cowichan people of Vancouver Island, as I wanted a big, chunky sweater but didn’t want to use their traditional imagery or motif layout as I am not of First Nations descent. I really liked the feathers of Pinion, so after working a swatch consisting of two strands of Cascade 220 and one strand of Drops Alpaca (YUM!), I crunched the numbers and figured that the instructions for the smallest size would work with my gauge to make me an oversized knitted coat to wear through the winter, layered over a lightweight hoodie. A cozy hood and generous pockets were also part of my modifications, and I’m super happy with how they turned out.

 

Modified

 

I had also been looking at a lot of watercolour paintings of bird plumage, and planned to use an undyed cream yarn for my contrast colour, so the feathers would eventually be painted with acid dyes!

 

Acid Dye

 

It worked.. right up to the point where I had to admit that I have very little experience dyeing wool, and had no idea why my colours were going on as I had imagined but disappearing overnight to leave me with weirdly tinted feathers the next morning.

 

Faded dye

 

After working on it for about three days, I finally achieved a result I could live with, and steam-set the whole thing using a giant canning pot on my stove. There must have been another level of failure in my skills, as the sweater acquired a rusty orange blotch across the right pocket (you can see its edge on the front buttonband trim) but I am still happy wearing it out and about.

 

Christa's finished Pinion

 

You can also see some additional ideas about styling Pinion on the Twist Collective blog here.

 

Need help with the embroidery for the feather shafts? I made a tutorial video!

 

 

Quick Dispatch: Yoke Trouble

We do our best to make sure our designers and tech editors experience the majority of pattern related frustration, so your knitting can be smooth sailing!

 

yoke trouble

Twist Style Friday: Maeshowe

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.


Yes, it's Friday again, loves. Time to talk about clothes! It was pretty icy here in Toronto today so it's no wonder I was drawn to Robin's snuggly pullover Maeshowe. At a glance this sweater looks pretty simple- classic silhouette, gentle shaping, soft fuzz- but there is a lot going on here. There are the vertical cables up the front, back, and both sleeves, and the ribbing on the yoke slopes gently. There are a lot of lines and angles, almost like this sweater is a drawing of a sweater. I'm feeling pretty smitten with it right now. When you knit one, make the sleeves just a tiny bit long, so you can gather them around your hands when the cold wind blows.


Maeshowe frontMaeshowe


See all those lines? Stunning. You know what else is stunning? Shoes. So many amazing shoes. I may or may not have gone slightly overboard on the footwear this week. Take a gander.



Maeshowe, styled with bright jeans, a leather skirt, and several pairs of slightly insane shoes

That studded skirt has been calling to me for weeks. This sweater was just calling to be paired with something a little bit tough, or a lot bit whimsical.

How would you wear Maeshowe?

Quick Dispatch: Notebook?

Some people keep their lists on phones, or iPads, or even paper. Kate just uses whatever is handy.

 

keeping track of shots

Quick Dispatch: Shopping for Shoots

Sometimes, shopping for clothes for the models to wear in photoshoots gets a little silly.

 

Robin looks cute in ruffles, right?

 

Silly is good.

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