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Twist Collective Blog

Design Process: Ruddington

Today's post is brought to you by Fiona EllisFiona Ellis, who is basically an incontrollable volcano of creativity. She has a million ideas, and we here at Twist are lucky to help realize a few of them. Ruddington is Fiona's stunner from our most recent issue, and the subject of today's post! If you live in Toronto (home of many lovely Twist designers, and this here bloglady too), then you probably know about the yarn shop The Purple Purl, which picks a lovely garment to do a knit-a-long with a few times each year. Well folks, Ruddington has been chosen as their next KAL, so if you're a local who has been thinking about casting this pretty girl on, this might just be your moment.




back detail



I often joke that if Picasso had his blue period then I can certainly have my..…(insert latest obsession) period. In my post about Farthingale I talked about how this thinking has me designing in series. I frequently work in series and when I flick back through my notebooks /sketchbooks I love to see the first entry that I made about when the inspiration hit. I especially love it when that initial spark went on to become several published designs.

I thought you might like to see some of them:

a) “I wonder how many cable ideas I can come up with beginning from the same starting point / set-up”?

Here are some of the designs I generated working on that idea. I’m still working on this series but the short answer to that is - lots.


These all started out the same!

The blue swatch in the photo became Granville. This idea also became the basis of one of my hands-on workshops called Morphing Cables.


b) “I wonder if I can create vertical lines (or yoke effects) in stranded colourwork while still working back and forth or round and round in the regular fashion”

Yes you can make the patterning have a vertical effect rather than the traditional horizontal stripes seen in most Fair Isles. You can also create borders and strong colour block effects just by switching which colour is used for the ground. The swatch at the bottom of the photo became Athabasca.


colorwork swatches


c) Sometimes the spark for a series comes from things other than knitting techniques - amazingly I have many other interests like movies & books. These are designs ideas generated after reading “Pillars of the Earth” which led  to research around the subject matter of cathedral building. The yellow swatch became Chartres


pillars of the yarn


Which leads me to Ruddington,




which was born out of my series sparked by posing the question: “I wonder if I can create cables that appear like the ribbons threading through a corset, or mimic the effect of shoe laces”.


laced up swatches

In this photo the caramel swatch became Ruddington and the white one became Farthingale.


cable detailsleeve detail


My latest obsession, which I have a feeling will lead to a series of very colourful ideas, is really a return to an old one (as it goes back to my teenage years): David Bowie. I have seen the exhibition “David Bowie is” three times (I did say it was an obsession). So watch this space for some new oddities...


Twist Style Friday: Concertina

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 new year Twistfans!! You may have noticed that we *gasp* didn't publish a style post last week. It was the holidays, and I was on vacation in Montreal and didn't barely look at a computer screen (except for Netflix, currently completely obsessed with The Good Wife). Last Friday evening, however, I was thinking about you, dear sartorially inclined readers. I was sitting in front of a lovely fire (none of this fireplace-tv tomfoolery) at my friend Sue's place in Montreal.  She is so fabulous, I thought it might be fun for y'all to benefit from her stylishness too, so we worked on some Polyvore sets together, and she wrote a bit about hers. Today I'll share both of our styling ideas! Sue is a rad bellydancer, choreographer, kitchen dynamo, yoga teacher, great knitter, and all-around fun-magnet. She made me dinner and pie and in the morning we had a butter-pecan french toast casserole and coffee with booze. gave me pie. I win at friends.


I could talk about how cool Sue is for pretty much ever, so we should probably move this along and take a look at this week's featured garment: Concertina. You can wear her open or closed, depending on your mood or outfit! The single-button side closure turns an easy open jacket with barely-visible contrast pleats into a dramatic assymetrical top with vibrant stripes. Shazam.




I think I saw a pretty lovely monochromatic version already, and I can't wait to see more knitters and the color combinations they come up with. If I was going to knit this tomorrow, I would get two yarns in the same colorway and the same weight, but different fiber content. Probably I'd choose a snuggly soft wool as the main yarn, and a silk or silk blend for the stripes. I love the way different fibers absorb dye differently, and I think that would make for subtle but interesting textural depth.


If I was going to wear Concertina as is, I would want to play on the lovely contrast colors; I kind of went all Cinnamon Girl on this one. We have, on the left, a sort of cowgirl-librarian (cowbrarian?), a (perhaps overly) twee grad student in the middle, and a chic museum-goer on the right.

three outfits by carly


I'll let Sue tell you about her styling and inspiration:

If you've never goofed around on Polyvore, you should definitely go give it a whirl. This was my first go and I may have fallen down the earring rabbit hole a little bit. For the first outfit I decided to play up the yellow tones in the contrast panel with a saffron body-con dress, while the middle outfit reads posh equestrienne. Lately I've been hooked on Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, an Aussie series about a 1920's lady detective who flies airplanes, speaks Russian, and always has a gold revolver stashed in her evening bag. Phryne Fisher is basically who I want to be when I grow up, and this last outfit is one I think she might wear.

three outfits by Sue



What about you; how will you wear Concertina?

New Pattern! Meliae



If you receive our newsletter, then you've already seen the newest addition to the Twist Collective library of patterns, and here at Twist headquarters, in the northeast, a pair of warm, cashmere blend colorwork mittens seems like a perfect treat. Meliae, by Hester Nerine has tons of little details, that we think you'll love. Corrugated ribbing, braids and finished hems, and coordinating patterns on the palm and outside of each hand, make for a mitten that is just as fun to knit as it is to wear. Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga! Is a durable and luxurious blend of superwash merino, cashmere and nylon, so your mittens will feel great and look great for years to come. 

Find out more about these mittens in our shop.




Oh and if you want to get on our newsletter mailing list, just use our sign-up form to the left of the blog. You'll hear from us once a month and whenever a new edition or pattern goes live.



Twist Style Friday: Folki

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.


Hey everyone! I wish i had today's featured garment right now. I would like to be wearing it while typing this and listening to the radio. This is my morning ritual; coffee, CBC radio (it's a Canadian thing, but you can get lots of the shows on satellite radio if you want to!), sometimes an attempt at a crossword puzzle. Yesterday on this show Q, Will Shortz was interviewed, the editor of the New York Times crossword, who is basically a professional word nerd. Today they're interviewing these folks who run a gigantic, drop in style choir that has been getting kinda famous in Toronto. It's a pretty neat concept; no auditions, no mandatory rehersals. You just show up and sing, with 80 or so people you may or may not know.


But I digress. Let me show you the sweater I'd like to be wearing right now. Hello, Folki.




This thing is a little odd, and a lot awesome. It's like a slouchy, cozy version of a little black dress. A roomy tunic with a wide neckline and exposed seams on the sleeves. It's also one of those things that photos have trouble capturing, but there are garter panels down the front and back that add an extra dimension to the fabric.


shoulder detail


For sure you could wear this with leggings and boots, and even within that narrow group of clothing items, you could have pretty different looks. I tried something a little different with the last one (far left)- I imagined this as a second layer over a sparkly holiday dress. The tunic length could allow a couple of inches sparkly hem at the bottom, and the slash neck let's a little of the dress' shoulder and neckline peek out. It's not that I'm saying you *should* tone down a dress that's 100% sequins, but in case you want to, this could be an offbeat (and warm!) way to do it.

four outfits

Since this sweater/dress is a little slouchy, I think a carefully chosen and somewhat chunky accessory (a cuff or big ring) will keep you from looking like you stepped out in your jammies. 


How will you wear Folki?





Designer Post: Tuin


Tori Seierstad


Today's post is brought to you by Tori Seierstad, and can also be founs on her blog, here. Tuin, the gorgeous yoked turtleneck from our newest issue. This is Tori's first design with Twist, and it sure is a pretty one.




You might have noticed by now, that I have a sweater pattern published in the Winter Issue of Twist Collective, Tuin. Isn't that just so cool!?! I'm really proud!




When I saw this old Slovak embroidery  (38 weeks ago, according to Pinterest ), I knew I somehow had to use this in a knitting pattern. I spent a long time thinking about it, wondering what to make, a cowl, a pillow, pattern on the bottom of a sweater... before I suddenly realized it had to be a yoked sweater. I thought it would work, although it would be a challenge to incorporate the yoke shaping into the pattern.

So I first made a small scale swatch, to see if the chart and the increases would work out:




Here it is, it did work out. (This is now on my needles going to be a child sweater.)
Then to find a yarn for the adult version. I wanted a gauge around 20 sts per 10 cm. Which can result in very heavy garments, which I did not want. So I chose to use two strands of yarn, both from Pickles: Pickles Merino Tweed, and Pickles Pure Thin Alpaca. It's super soft and warm without feeling to thick and bulky. It weighs 517 grams.  
A while before, I had read a blogpost from Áine Ryan, describing the design process for a sweater she made for last year's Twist Collective's Winter Issue, Luggala. "Aim high", she wrote, having never designed a sweater before, and decided to submit it to Twist Collective. So I thought, if she can, so can I. And the rest is history...
Well, there was a lot of thinking and calculations and knitting. And waiting. First for the answer from Twist, of course. Then for the yarn to knit the sample sweater to arrive from the US. Then for the confirmation that the finished sweater had arrived in the US (it's a bit scary to send off a sweater across the Atlantic like that, I can tell you).  Then waiting for the publication day. All the time thinking that they would get back to me saying that the sample was not good enough, or that the pattern had so many serious flaws they could not publish it, or something else. But it didn't happen, and the reception has been a great one, I think. There is even one finished sweater already!
full shot
The first Tuin was worked without short row shaping in the back. So it can be worn both sides. The final pattern has short row back neck shaping, with the tulip in the middle on the front. There was an error in the first published version, so on Pinneguri's sweater, the rose is in the front. I like both versions, but I just had to make a choice.
the designer
The yarn that Twist Collective sent me, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Targhee Worsted, was amazing. The blue colour was made specifically for this project. The yarn was really nice to work with, soft and bouncy and with a great stitch definition. I used 525 grams for a sweater size 40. If you have the chance to get your hand on the yarn, I highly recommend it. If you're interested in reading about the targhee sheep, you can find some information here (wikipedia) and here (US Targhee Sheep Association). The yarn can be found in the Blue Moon online store.
so pretty