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Twist Collective Blog

Designer Post: Lempicka

Christa GilesChrista Giles has two lovely patterns in our most recent issue, and one of them has two versions, so she is basically a superstar who did a LOT of knitting for Twist in the summertime. You can find out more about Christa on her website, here.







Lempicka has gone live over on Twist Collective, a late addition to the gorgeous Fall 2013 issue! I love this cardigan, and with one already on the needles for me I’m still also planning to use the design lines in some garment sewing (or bleaching/painting) in the near future.


I was inspired by the stained glass of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the fantastic architecture of South Beach in Miami that I got to see firsthand, thanks to a waterpolo tournament many years ago in Fort Lauderdale when the Seattle Otters team needed some extra players. An early prototype had lines that made me think of mid-century shiny chromed cars – you can see a photo on Ravelry here, but due to some unflattering placement of design lines on the chest, it has since been frogged so I could reuse the yarn. (Apparently I thought the fullest part of my bust was about three inches higher than it really is… whoops!)


The sample that I knit for Twist Collective used’s Peruvian Sierra Aran yarn… and they’re having a Full Bag Blowout Sale! You can still buy single balls at the regular price here, and thanks to Elann’s great website, you can even check that you’re ordering the same dyelot in the full bag and the singles!


back view


My personal version is close to being finished, just half a sleeve and the zipper to put in, then some blocking. I’m planning to try the no-sew method of zipper insertion recently featured on TECHknitting as I wasn’t super-happy with the way the zipper in my sample turned out. I’ll secretly share that the sample/prototype wound up with an extra stitch at each front, so it was turned into a “Oh, I meant to do it that way…” facing that sandwiched the zipper between the icord and the now-2 stitches of the selvedge. Don’t worry, this mistake didn’t get added to the written pattern, so you won’t face the same issue.


Another secret to share: I’m usually good at meeting deadlines, but this issue was a challenge. I had set aside all of my extra work during May to give me a month to work on Penta and Lempicka, which would usually be sufficient… then Kate wanted to see Penta as a shawl, not just a blanket, and had set me up with a wonderful knitter who would work up that sample. Sounds great, yes? But.. this is the part where I realize that my working style (knit sample while taking notes, then write pattern) doesn’t mesh well when there is another person on the same knitting and shipping deadline. Lempicka was already knit when I set it aside to work on Penta... and Penta took up most of May. I was knitting a full-size adult blanket in worsted weight yarn, and Karen was knitting a full-size adult shawl in FINGERING… and we were emailing notes and photos and comments back and forth.. and then it was June.


Want to know what June contained? My regular part-time job and teaching knitting classes at Three Bags Full, plus teaching a 60-hour lifeguard course, plus all of the production meetings and then the actual event of a four-day juggling/hooping/circus festival I help produce, PLUS house hunting because I finally admitted I couldn’t live as a roommate with my ex-, and then packing the house and computers and internet and moving. It was a gong show.


Things I learned in June: trying to use my iPad to crunch spreadsheet numbers from my desktop computer wouldn’t work, because Numbers on iPad apparently doesn’t believe in fractions; saving files in multiple locations means that it gets really hard (er, impossible) to properly track the versions; and that it sucks to be struggling with pattern writing on Canada Day on your partner’s brother’s dinner table while everyone else is socializing and enjoying the family gathering. Oh, that? Yeah, Canada Day is July 1st. So, I was seriously past my deadline.


This is the part where I acknowledge the huge amount of work that the tech editing team at Twist Collective did on this pattern.


The tech editors take a pattern, check it for mistakes, make sure that it contains all of the information needed to complete the pattern, and then make it match the Twist Collective style guide so buyers get a consistent product. In Lempicka’s case, along with having to wait for the pattern to be delivered in full (” Here’s the body, but the hood isn’t done yet, sorry!” “Oh, whoops, I forgot the abbreviations list!” “Ack, that version I sent wasn’t the latest one…”) the TE had concerns about my grading for the larger sizes, an unusual increase that I was using but hadn’t explained fully, and the format I had used to lay out the different instruction sets for all of the moving design lines. So, Lempicka got a giant rewrite and a delayed release, but I’m happy with the final outcome.


Once I get photos uploaded, you’ll see that my version is a little different than the published version: three stitches in each design line instead of two, short row shaping in the bust, and the hips have more flare. I’ll have notes in my Ravelry project in case you’d like to modify your project similarly, and you’re welcome to ask questions over in the Christa Knits group.


Knitting Lempicka? Please share your progress and final photos! Let me know when you’ve posted them on Ravelry, and I’ll send you a coupon code for a free pattern from my Ravelry store.


side shot

Twist Style Friday: Svanhild

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.



Some things need a second inspection before you know if you like them. Like how you sometimes have to taste stinky cheese to believe that it is delicious, or watch the second episode of a tv show to see if they figured out something great after the pilot.


The first time I looked at Svanhild, I didn't think much of it. It's a turtleneck with a simple shape. I think this is one of those cases where photography (even gorgeous, Jane Heller photography) just can't quite capture the epic texture of something like Svanhild. When I saw Svanhild in person (at the DKC fashion show), I was blown away. This top is intricate and delicate and rich looking. In white, it's an extremely elegant basic. I would love to see some of you knit it in a dimensional, hand-dyed charcoal or navy.


SvanhildSide view


Let's take a peek at those cables a little closer, shall we?


cable detail


Lush, intricate, and special. That's what this is, and it's all a gorgeous surprise that you are rewarded with for looking a second time. Plus is looks like wicked fun to make.


The great thing about it reading as a basic from a distance, is that you can toss this top over yoga pants, or jeans, under a vest or flannel, wear it camping, or to the zoo. You could also treat it like a winter blouse, and pair it with lace, leather, and fabulous shoes. Can you guess which one of those directions I went in with my styling today?



three outfits


How will you wear Svanhild?



Something amazing has happened. A couple of nights ago, the Twist elves did some magic, and poof, overnight, our fall issue grew two extra pages. Like a house that spontaneously sprouts new rooms, but less labyrinthine, Twist Collective just got a little bigger.

Truly, what we recommend is a full re-browse. Make a cup of tea or coffee, get comfy, and flip though the whole thing nice and slow. Let the pretty absorb, and then start plotting what you'll make first. If you need to take breaks to lay out (or if your stash is big enough, lay in) your yarn, feel free. This is a weekday, so in case you have to save that for the (long!) weekend, here are the coles notes (cliffs notes for those south of the border).




Say hello to Lempicka and Gallivant, the two newest additions to our fall collection of patterns.

Lempicka is an art-deco inspired hoodie, so you can be artful and cozy all at the same time. I can also really see it as a modern jacket, maybe without the hood, in a deep, saturated color.

Let's have another look.


back viewside view


Let's take a closer look at Gallivant too. Elegant as a high-necked sweater, or casual, open over jeans or leggings, this lace-edged beauty is the perfect palette for your most special buttons.


openback neck detail


We hope you like these new additions, and we can't wait to see your knitted things from this issue.


Five Questions with Rachel Coopey

Rachel CoopeyRachel Coopey makes pretty things, including several for Twist Collective. She is a sock specialist, but also designs other wonderful accessories. She is our featured designer today in our fifth anniversary interview series, which you can check out all of here. You can find out more about Rachel and her lovely work on her website.




Some of Rachel's designs

(Chamomile, Cays, Apple Catchers


1. How did you learn to knit?

My grandmother was always knitting, she taught me how to knit when I was very little and I churned out little garter stitch squares using her scraps and left-overs. When I was 16 I asked my mother to give me a refresher and I knit an incredibly long scarf, it's far from perfect but I've still got it and wear it. 


2. What's your favorite thing to knit?

Socks! They can be intricate and elegant, they are little works of art for your feet and most importantly I hate having cold feet!


3. What's your favorite design you did for Twist Collective and why?

My favorite design is Chamomile, everything came together so nicely with that one, the yarn, the color, the motif, I'm really proud of it. 


4. If you weren't a designer, what do you think you'd be doing with all the extra time you'd have?

I would do more in the garden and grow more fruit and vegetables, I'm lucky enough to have a large, but neglected, garden.

5. Finish this sentence:  If everyone knew how to knit...

maybe I wouldn't get so many strange looks when I knit on public transport!



(Banach, Coesite, Xylem)

A Twist on Style Friday

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.


Fiona EllisHappy Friday twistfans!! This week we are doing something a little bit different with Style Friday. The idea of these posts was always to help you, readers, to imagine the garments from the magazine in your own wardrobe. This week, instead of seeing one garment in many circumstances, you'll see several garments, on different humans! Fiona (of the perpetually gorgeous cable designs) is our guest style columnist this week! Enjoy. I'm also going to show you what I wore that night, because it's a Twist project- my Pont Neuf made her debut (not pictured: 14 hole puple Doc Martens). After that, it's all Fiona.



my mega-cropped Pont Neuf


Hi there- Fiona here today!

Style Friday is usually about showing you different ways we imagine wearing the garments from the latest issue. This week we are going to show you something different: beautiful women wearing the garments in understated classic wardrobe looks.

A few weeks ago Twist Collective took the garments from both the Spring/ Summer 2012 & Fall 2012 issues on the road for a fashion show at the Toronto knitting guild- Downtown Knit Collective. It was a super fun evening with Kate & Carly in attendance along with local designers Glenna C, Elizabeth McCarten, Laura Chau & Barbara Gregory…and I acted as host. Glenna is not only a great designer but also a photographer- she took the pics (note- clicking on the pics will take you to the pattern page).


designs spread out backstage

I put a call-out to the guild members to see who would be willing to model for the evening and got a ton of eager beavers- everybody wanted an even closer look at all those beautiful Twist projects it seems.

I asked the ladies to wear a neutral wardrobe so that it would go with all the different styles we would be showing. I suggested black pants or skirt and a black or white camisole top. But I also asked them to wear funky shoes if they had them – if it’s not about then knits then it’s always all about the shoes isn’t it?





They turned up in lovely wardrobe basics with fun accents, which showed off the garments so so well. I’m pretty sure that most of us have these types of items in our wardrobes already so it’s an easy look to pull together. But basics don’t have to be boring. As these photos show a beautiful classic look with a gorgeous knit can be stunning!





By the way the photo of Svanhild captures the moment when I made the comment about how cool Manon’s (the model) sparkly boots are - I love both Kate’s (who is also in funky boots) & Manon’s reaction in this one.



Here is the link to a flicker page (courtesy of Kim Hume) of behind the scenes shots - I think the models had the most fun of everybody that evening (clicking highly recommended).



Many thanks to Manon, Julia, Karen, Krys, Susan, Vivien, Margaret, Kim, Yun, Jennifer, Juddi, Marie, Kellie, Yvonne, Karen W, Tamara & Suzie!


ready for your close up?


Huge thanks to Glenna C for the photos!