Twist Collective Blog
This soft-yet-tough motorcycle jacket is Melissa Wehrle's second Twist contribution (her first was the charming Quintet). In this post (also found on her blog), Melissa tells us about her inspiration, and gives us some ideas for how to wear this awesome sweater.
It’s been a little while since the Twist Collective Fall issue came out, but I’ve been so busy I never got a chance to do a proper post about Sportster.
Sportster is an asymmetric jacket knit up in a heavy worsted wool (think quick knit!). I think my biggest challenge for this sweater design was choosing a stitch that looks good on both the right and wrong sides since both show. In the end, I narrowed it down to the Sand Stitch, which gives a nice texture, is easy to knit, and looks very nice on either side.
When my Mom and Dad were dating, my Mom bought him a fantastic leather motorcycle jacket to use when he was riding around on his Honda. I had my eye on the jacket when growing up, but even with all my pleading he wouldn’t let it go. It fit me fairly well, except for sleeves that were a little too long for my short arms. It would have looked perfect with my high school uniform: a 60′s shift, fishnets with colored tights underneath, and my Doc Martens.
Two years ago, my Dad said he had a surprise for me, we went out to the car and he handed me a bag. I reached in and pulled out the much coveted motorcycle jacket. Sportster is my knitted version of the jacket that I longed for all those years. It’s a shame that I didn’t knit during high school, Sportster would have been my go to cardigan that I would have worn to bits.
Fishnets and Doc Martens aside, Sportster lends itself to many wardrobe choices. It’s easy to pair with a cute striped tee, jeans and ballet flats. Or how about a flared or straight skirt with high leather boots (with cute hand knit socks peeking out of course!). It could also be a cute addition over a dress. My choices below are a little on the edgier side (just my style), but flirty, girly pieces could work too. Try a ditsy floral print dress with flats instead of boots or add more color instead of black.
What will you pair with your Sportster?
Eyelet Cast-On Tutorial
Kerry Milani is the talented designer who brought us Nymphaeum, a gorgeous shawl with a delicate looped edging. This edging is created using an unconventional cast-on method, which Kerry takes us through, step-by-step, in the following post. Keep up with Kerry on Ravelry here.
I have a confession to make. Casting on makes me tight -- tight like you can't get your needle through the loops you just made, tight. Sometimes this is a good thing, like when I'm making a shoulder seam and don't want it to droop to my elbow, but when it comes to making lacy shawls, it just doesn't work. After many attempts at relaxing my cast-on, I stumbled across a cast-off in my handy Knitter's Handbook that gave me an idea: if I knit into a crochet chain, I could effectively create a stretchy edge without worrying about tight stitches! Only one problem, since my crochet is as tight as my cast-on, I could easily crochet chain mail out of cashmere. But what if I knit into every other crochet chain, or every third, or fourth, or fifth? AHA! Success! Kind of. I had trouble knitting into my chain of steel, not to mention keeping count of a thousand plus chain stitches. I wondered if it was possible to wrap the knitting needle while making my crochet chain.
The Eyelet Cast-on is the result of my ponderings. Let's walk through it!
Place slip knot on knitting needle.
Insert crochet hook as if to knit into the stitch, wrap the yarn around your hook.
Pull through the slip stitch. The yarn is in back, behind both needle and hook. The slip knot is on the knitting needle, and there is one working chain stitch on the crochet hook.
I like to keep my crochet hook behind the knitting needle.
The first yarn over is the trickiest as the slip knot tends to want to twirl on the knitting needle. Bring the yarn forward between the crochet hook and knitting needle, then wrap to the back of the knitting needle (it is reminiscent of a yarn over and is so called). Next wrap around the crochet hook.
And make a stitch. Note that there are now two loops on the knitting needle and one working chain on the crochet hook.
Now chain as many stitches as the pattern directs. The first chain was made in the previous step. In this example I have six chain stitches. I like to keep my working yarn and crochet hook behind the knitting needle.
To make a yarn over, bring the yarn forward, in front of the knitting needle.
Then make the next chain stitch from behind the knitting needle.
Here is how I hold my hands. I am making a yarn over in this photo. I tension my yarn with my left hand (in a non-traditional, funky style!) while also holding the knitting needle between my thumb and ring fingers. I work my crochet hook with my right hand.
Note: Hang a removable marker from every ch4 space as directed in the Nymphaeum shawl instructions (you can see mine in a photo below); keeping track of your Eyelet Cast-on will be much easier! Also, place a needle tip protector on the non-working end of the circular knitting needle to keep yarn over loops from slipping off the other end. When I chain, I keep the loops from slipping off the knitting needle by holding the chain along with my knitting needle, my pinky helps, too.
When it is time to finish the Eyelet Cast-on, work the last yarn over as before, chain one stitch (shown just completed).
And slip the stitch from the crochet hook onto the knitting needle. Voila!
The knitting needle now looks something like this -- spaghetti and loops.
When knitting into the cast-on loops, they will present themselves with the leading loop to the back. Knit into the front loop. The stitch will twist. The crochet chain will try to turn. Yes, this is on purpose! (Note the marker hanging from the ch4 space in this photo and the next.)
When you get to the last two stitches of Row 1, the slip knot and first yarn over from the cast-on, will try to meld into one stitch. Separate them before knitting.
When working Row 2 of the Eyelet Cast-on instructions, make sure to twist the yarn overs from Row 1 by purling through the back loop. This helps create the illusion of a decorative crochet chain edging.
See how the finished edge is pretty and not the least bit tight? Note that the twists create a scalloped movement in the edging. Without the twist it would create a smoother, less defined edge, that doesn't hold a scallop shape.
Tourbillon is Kris Carlson's first Twist pattern. Here, she shares her inspiration for this coordinated set of winter warmers. Find out more about Kris on her blog, from which the following is cross-posted.
Someone asked me the other day, “How do you pronounce the name of your pattern?”“Well,” I said, “you should drum up your best French accent and try: Tour • Bee • Yon.”
It’s not necessary, of course, but it’s fun. I love accents, but if your like me -- from the Midwest, specifically Chicago -- then it would be more like: Tour • Bill • On
Picking a name for a design can be hard. You want something that stands out, something that people won’t forget. What was important for this pattern was a name that stood for the visual complexity of the design.
I just couldn’t name the design Swirls or Twirls, even though they were my inspiration. You see, as a kid I loved it when the wind would kick up bits of leaf or snowflakes and twist and twirl them about. I would imagine being super tiny and riding those swirls around like a roller coaster. I suppose it was the fascination that you couldn’t see the pattern made by the wind until little bits were captured by random gusts and carried away.
It was back in the summer of 2010 that I first started sketching my design for the swirls. I would pull out my sketchbook and make notes about how I could incorporate the color work to be non-repetitive. The whole concept of swirls in general is their random movements, and this posed a challenge in the construction. How could I get the swirls to keep moving and yet have a repeating chart that flows? I exhausted my supply of graph paper, but a solution was found. The next step was to think about applying the chart to my intended projects.
Sandi Rosner is a knitter of many talents. Aside from bringing us wonderful designs (Lumen and Olivette among them), she does technical editing for patterns and writes fascinating articles to help the rest of us knit better. This post (also on her blog), explains her inspiration for the wonderful and functional Crane Creek cardigan.
How many mornings have you stood in front of your closet and thought, “What I really need is…”? This is the story of Crane Creek, a jacket design that was born of just that thought, and was published in the Fall 2011 issue of Twist Collective.
I have a dog. Baxter is an 8 year old Lab/Beagle mix who loves nothing more than our daily walk to the local Starbucks. Every morning, rain or shine, Baxter and I go to Starbucks for our morning infusion (non-fat Raspberry Mocha for me, water in an oatmeal cup for him), and a little social interaction.
Since I work at home, this is often the only time I leave the house in the course of the day. If I never left the house, the temptation to spend the day in sweatpants and a t-shirt would be nearly irresistible. But the morning walk to Starbucks requires that I actually put on real clothes and shoes and a bra. We do, after all, have standards. I try to land on the right side of the fine line between casual and schlumpy.
It’s often foggy and chilly in the morning here in Northern California. Our morning walk often requires a top layer over my standard jeans and a shirt. I need a sweater that I can pull on on my way out the door. A sweater that I can throw in the back seat of the car in case it gets cool later. A sweater that functions like a hoody, but has a bit more style.
Crane Creek was designed as that sweater. First, it is a button front cardigan, because this style is endlessly versatile. With a pullover, I feel like I need to build the outfit around the sweater. A cardigan is happy to fit in anywhere.
Here is my original sketch.
Second, it has a shawl collar. I love a good shawl collar – it’s cozy and polished, without being fussy. After making a lot of shawl collars that didn’t lie quite right, I’ve finally figured out the perfect shaping. I’m happy for any opportunity to put this knowledge to use.
Third, it has pockets. Pockets are essential, because I don’t want to carry a handbag on the morning walk, but I must carry my Starbucks card and dog cookies and poop bags.
I chose a combination of stitch patterns that are simple to knit, but create an interesting surface texture. I added a bit of waist shaping, fitted shoulders and set-in sleeves to keep the fit sharp.
I had told Kate I wanted to make this sweater in a “sturdy, wooly” yarn. While I love a good soft merino as much as the next girl, this sweater was intended to be an everyday, low maintenance piece. I wanted a wool that would hold up to hard wear without pilling or stretching out of shape. When Kate suggested Green Mountain Spinnery’s Maine Organic, I was thrilled. This yarn fit all my requirements, with the added benefit of being sustainable. In addition, the heathery gray natural color doesn’t show dirt or dog hair.
So what’s with the name? Crane Creek is a park in the hills just east of the town where I live. Baxter and I love to go there at the end of a long day to walk and breathe and listen to the birds.
The grasses are dry this time of year – in the early spring, this view is a carpet of wildflowers.
The most romantic spot for a picnic.
The creek is nearly dry in early September.
An ancient California Live Oak veiled in moss.
My walking buddy.
Crane Creek turned out just as I hoped it would. Now I just need to make time to make one for myself.
For a long time I had had a notion that I would like to design a red patterned jacket.
Then one day while looking through an old, dusty, button drawer in a shop I found these
These buttons with their red lacquer-like shine seemed Asian to me—their shape made
There followed a period of doodling and sketching to arrive at the garment details. I looked
By this time I realized that my long tapered buttons would not work for this design—instead
From little pencil sketches I progressed to an illustration that I hoped would make my
When it came time to knit the sample, obtaining suitable buttons became a priority. Finding
Luckily this set of buttons gave me the idea of covering buttons using the little kits sold
As for those long slender buttons, I think they’ve earned their keep. Perhaps I’ll use them in