Twist Collective Blog
Design Process: Caeles
Today's post comes to us from Hilary Smith Callis, designer of Caeles, a fitted summertime sweater with a beautiful scoop neck and detailed collar. She shares how this design went from idea to final product! You can also find this post (and much more) on her blog.
The idea for Caeles started, as many of my knits do, when I saw something pretty at Anthropologie. The item in question, I believe, was a slouchy jersey tank top with a knitted collar. I say "I believe" because I don't have a photo of it and, as many of my knits go, once the design seed is planted by the pretty thing at Anthropologie, it starts to take on a life of its own. Because after thinking it might be fun to try and knit a collar onto a tank top, I started thinking about how a similar collar would look on a knitted something, what shape that something would have, how it would fit, and suddenly I had a new summer top.
Here's my original sketch (this is kind of embarrassing -- my sketches and handwriting are awful):
Unlike the Anthro tank top, I wanted my top to be fitted through the waist and flare at the hips, which I thought would be nicely executed with body darts. Because my sketches are so much better in yarn, I didn't think about adding little sleeves until the prototype was finished.
I thought the collar had a little bit of a retro-modern, Judy Jetson-ish vibe and that the top could use one more dose of that quality. (By the way, that's where the name 'caeles' came from. It's Latin for 'heavenly' or 'celestial' and comes from the word for 'sky' -- I picked it to reflect the original space-y feel of those sleeves and collar.)
The prototype (modeled above with completely the wrong undergarment -- my apologies) was knit in Tess' Designer Yarns Linguini (the same yarn I used for Aurelia), which had been staring at me from my stash basket for quite some time. I like the drapiness of the silk in this top, but I really like how the Valley Yarns Goshen gives it more structure, especially the collar and sleeves.
The finished version is a couple of inches larger than the prototype and you can see how it looks with a little bit of ease on me, above. I didn't change anything in the final version, aside from making the sleeve caps just a smidgen longer.
Ah, a much better fit. I love how the Twist styling team paired Caeles with this pretty printed skirt. I've been wearing my prototype with jeans and a blazer or white pants (last summer), but really want this outfit now. (Maybe another trip to Anthropologie is in the cards? Can I count it as a business expense if I end up getting another design idea?)
Introducing:Twist Style Fridays
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 here- bloglady and (self proclaimed) style maven. Kate and I have been talking about bringing more fashion-based fun to this here blog, and so we would like to introduce you to a new feature- Twist Style Fridays! Each week, we will bring you a post about taking these lovely patterns off your blocking boards, out of your moth-proof closets, off of your dress forms, and out into the world- you know, like clothes. We may talk about outfits, accessories, shoes (my vice), colors, and so much more.
The last time I wrote about styling, I encouraged you all to play with Polyvore (an online styling tool/playground), and tweet your creations (#twiststyle)! I am reiterating that request now. We want to see your ideas!! Starting with, Amanda Keep's lovely ruffled cardigan, Edgehill.
My idea for wearing this one isn't wildly different from the one above- still casual and girly. But I think a skirt with a little more pouf would really bring out that lovely arched hemline, and echo the volume of the ruffles.
So, how would you wear your Edgehill?
In today's post, Elizabeth McCarten shares the evolution of her newest Twist design, Brookline. A favorite garment, an old jean jacket, and a teenage daughter all play important roles in the creation of this elegant cardigan. Keep up with her on her blog, from which this post is borrowed.
It started with a trip to the sheep and wool festival at Rhinebeck in October, 2010. Janie H. and I drove down together and while we were there, Janie discovered Helen Hamann's yarns and designs. She must have tried on every garment in Helen's booth, looking fabulous in all of them as only Janie can, and before the day was out she'd made arrangements for Helen to do a trunk show at her shop in Perth, ON. On our last afternoon in Rhinebeck, when our woolly shopping was wrapped up, Janie and I did a little more shopping in the village. We visited Haldora, where once again, Janie tried on numerous garments and looked smashing in all of them. At a nearby, less pricey shop I bought a mohair blend wrap-style cardigan, knitted at a loose gauge with long ties.
In the end, I only wore that little cardigan once. I found the ties annoying because they forced me to wear the cardigan closed. Nevertheless, I loved everything else about the piece and in the back of my mind thought that sometime I might make myself something similar.
Thus, the Perth Cardi was born. This has been my go-to sweater for the last year. I wear it open with the fronts dangling, I wear it closed, I wear it with blue jeans and with dresses, I wear it layered under a heavier jacket in winter, or as a light coverup on cool summer evenings by Lake Ontario. Then, last summer, I bought some more of Helen's Luxury in a colour labelled "Raspberry Glaze", intending to make a Perth Cardi for Isabel, my then 19-year-old. If I loved the Cardi, shouldn't she? Apparently not. After some discussion and ensuing reflection, I decided to try a variation of the Cardi that would fit into the same number of stitches, and I thought maybe I'd do a higher V-neck, not a wrap. A few inches of knitting later, I realized that the garment I was knitting had a completely different feel. It was a little dressier, a little more fun, and even though Isabel, a computer science major, isn't the 'girly-girl' sort, her new cardigan was going to have ruffles.
The Perth Cardi was transformed into what at the time I called the "Gore Street Cardigan", so named because of the design's early 19th-century feel, just like the street of the same name here in historic Kingston, ON, and appropriate given the deep gores in the cardigan's body. Isabel donned her new cardigan, we pinned up her hair, and despite the high heat and humidity, we managed some photos.
The buttons you see here were some ancient Rowan ones from my button box; the little stars echoed the knot motif perfectly. I had only enough for three pairs, but Isabel is small, so they worked. These were the photos which were sent as part of my submission to Twist.
After the submission was accepted, Kate asked how I would feel about doing the magazine sample in The Fibre Company's "Road to China Light". Who wouldn't be delighted to work with an alpaca/silk/cashmere/camel blend? The result, before I sent it off for professional photography is here:
In this case, the buttons were salvaged from an old jean jacket originally purchased from a J. Jill in the Washington, DC area when we lived there. Twist decided to re-name the design "Brookline".
Now, finally, I'm getting around to knitting a version for myself in SandnesGarn's Lanett from my stash in a soft, neutral blue-grey.
Here, the top portion of the fabric looks smoother than the bottom due to blocking. I'm a big fan of putting all the stitches of a work-in-progress on a length of yarn and wet-blocking to check for gauge and fit. Since I'm only 5' 1", I've also shortened the raglans on this size 38". (I've previously blogged about how to do this in connection with my design, Sandridge, in case you're interested.) This was the state the sweater was in two weeks before the Toronto Knit Frolic, the debut of this version of Brookline- don't worry, I finished it in time!
Robin Melanson shares some of her inspiration for Sylvatica, a beautiful spring pullover from our latest issue. This sweater has a lovely neckline, a simple shape, and gorgeous details. We can't wait to see more of you wearing your own! Robin's designs never disappoint (remember this one? and this one? and don't forget about this one!!). You can keep up with Robin on her blog, where you will also find this entry, and much much more. For example, did you know that Robin has knitted costume items for stage productions, including Mary Poppins and The Lord of the Rings? Well, now you know.
My most recent pattern for Twist Collective is Sylvatica, a short-sleeved Henley pullover in the spring issue. It’s worked in a lightweight wool, Filatura di Crosa Zarina. It has a delicate stitch pattern on the front and back, composed of columns of eyelet rib and lacy leaves. As I am usually inspired by the natural world, the name Sylvatica signifies a woodland habitat or origin. In my rather vivid imagination, I think of plants and mushrooms and flowers in a rather anthropomorphic way, that is, in my mind I give them characteristics that normally you would think only people have. It is a common theme in fairy tales and lore.
My sweetie gave me a beautiful edition of Grimm’s Fairy tales called The Juniper Tree, selected and translated by Lore Segal and illustrated by Maurice Sendak (of Where the Wild Things Are fame). The tales retain their original horror (compared to the watered-down versions often told to children) and are a really fun read. In the title story, the juniper tree resurrects a little boy to avenge his own death at the hands of his stepmother (who had then fed him to his father in a stew – gruesome!) So this is a peek inside what runs through my head as I sketch or knit, thinking of new designs. Particularly in the spring my mind turns to fantasy. The colours of spring sort of encourage it.
I went to the Papillons en Liberté exhibit at the Botanical Gardens. The exhibit was a large indoor garden with free-range butterflies just flying all around around you as you walk through the garden. Oddly enough, there were numerous security guards, I’m not sure if they were crowd control for the butterflies or the humans.
The colours of both the butterflies and the flowers were beautiful. They had set out plates of kiwi and oranges for the butterflies to eat. In one section there was a waterfall with a two story chasm in which were fluttering tons of giant turquoise butterflies. Pictures didn’t really do that justice as you couldn’t see the motion of the fluttering , though it was a pretty amazing effect in person.
I guess I try and use my imagination to re-create the beauty and mystery that I see around me, as people have always been doing. Whether you do it with words, brushstrokes, or yarn and fabric, the important thing is that we are thinking and interpreting.