Twist Collective Blog
Mary-Heather Cogar is not only an outstanding model but a wonderful designer too. Last year, she designed a soft, feminine and flattering Promenade pullover, and she followed that up with this season's Avivah socks. In this post, Mary-Heather describes her designing process. This is a cross post from her own blog.
I'm in a rare phase in my crafting where I have no pressing deadlines for secret projects and am actually in the mood to finish up a few works-in-progress. Since I'm about to cast off my current portable project, though (more on that soon!) I brought out this pretty Miss Babs Windsor to start a pair of Avivah socks (my pattern from the Spring 2011 Twist Collective) for myself:
I love that color! Since I don't have progress pics yet, I thought this would be the perfect better-late-than-never time to blog about my Avivah pattern.
I submitted for Twist with a desire to make a sock pattern that would have a very spring-like, sweet look and feel. I knew that I wanted the main focus of the sock to be a single motif up the entire foot and front of the sock, so I swatched and charted until I'd created a trellis of twisted stitches which framed climbing eyelet rosettes. This stitch pattern could be carried on longer if desired; there are separate charts for the neatly closing toe and cuff parts of the trellis. The socks are worked from the toe up, and have a short-row toe and a tidy gusset heel.
It was also important to me that this motif neatly-but-organically flowed into the deeply ribbed cuff, but as this design is garden-inspired (and my favorite gardens always have a bit of a wild look about them, at least in places), there are some rosettes on the back of the leg, as well - rambling roses, bursting forth from the contained garden trellis.
The yarn I used for the Twist sample socks is Miss Babs Windsor - a beautiful, squishy soft, handpainted semisolid blend of 80/20 superwash merino and nylon. I always love to fondle the beautiful range of semisolid colors that Miss Babs creates when I see her booth at fiber festivals, so getting to work with the yarn for Twist was exciting - there were so many gorgeous colors from which to choose! The Twist socks are worked in the Sugar colorway, which is a lovely pale pink that is perfectly but not overly sweet.
The name was the last thing to come for this pattern - until a few days before the issue went live, we were working with another pattern name that means "rose garden." Unfortunately, the name was a touch too similar to another recent Twist Collective pattern name, so we started brainstorming other names that evoked springtime and gardens and flowers. Avivah is a beautiful Hebrew name that means Springtime, and I happened to work with a woman named Avivah once - she was smart, and bubbly, and so sweet and fun, so my associations with the name are really good. I thought the name would be perfect for these socks, and thankfully Kate Gilbert agreed!
It is always so fun to see projects pop up for my designs on Ravelry, and the biggest advantage to my delayed blog post about this design is that there are a few more finished Avivah socks to admire through Ravelry projects!
All the photos in this post except for the first one are copyright Jamie Dixon - she did the photoshoot for Twist Collective right here in Albuquerque. :) Marnie blogged about the shoot and the trip that she and Kate took to New Mexico; it was so great to see them here - maybe Jamie and I should try to convince them to come out to the 'burque again soon! (I'm not sure that our 100-degree temps are much of a draw right now, but hey, no humidity!)
Twist Collective is consistently full of thoughtful, beautiful designs, and I was so honored to once again be a part of this publication!
Blue Daisy Genesis
Hilary Smith Callis' debut pattern with Twist Collective, is Blue Daisy, a charming double-breasted cardigan, worked in an artful combination of stitch patterns. In today's post, she talks about coming up with this design. This is cross posted from her own blog.
A post I've been meaning to do for awhile now (but someone hasn't let me, the little stinker) is about the origins of the Blue Daisy cardigan, which can be found in the Spring/Summer 2011 issue of Twist Collective. Last spring, I kept seeing dresses and outfits in my favorite shops that combined patterns that I wouldn't normally put together -- stripes with polka dots, paisleys with plaids, florals with all of the above -- in very interesting ways. I wanted to use this idea in a knitted garment, but how? I thought about using different patterning yarns or multiple colors, but ultimately decided that contrasting textures was the way to go. So I got swatching.
Fiona Ellis has a way with cables (and lace and colorwork, for that matter) and her design for Spring/Summer is no exception. Harriet is proof that gorgeous cables can be perfect for cool weather in a comfortable cotton blend. Fiona takes us through her design process in this fascinating blog post.
“Knitting is a traditional craft, linked both to the past and to the future by the thread of current practice.” A line that I use over and over to describe my approach to designing: basically we don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time, we can apply what we have learned from traditional techniques to make contemporary garments and thus come up with new ways to approach our craft.
So when I was designing Harriet I knew that I wanted to add what I call “filler stitches” into the areas defined by the cables to add extra texture and dimension. So my starting point was looking at cables that already existed and at what filler stitches had been used before. I quickly came to the conclusion that from a technical standpoint, I could not deviate easily from this tried and tested route. These patterns need to have small repeats to make them simple to put into small areas and so ruled out many interesting initial possibilities. I ended up with the old stand-bys of seed and rib, both of which have a two stitch repeat.
With that settled I moved onto looking at the path the cable cords themselves would draw. Harriet was to be a feminine sweater or cardigan (instructions are given for both), so the lines created needed to be soft and flowing. I also liked the idea of working with a pattern that created pairs or double elements. Using tradition patterns as a jumping off point I came up with several variations, some of which I liked and some of which I thought were ugly.
You can never tell what a cable will look like until you knit it, so swatching is the only way to know. I love doing this. It is the part of the process which for me can generate many other ideas, some of which head off on tangents, that’s why I keep a notebook, enabling me to return to them one day.
The size of the repeat, especially the row count became very important at this stage. I could certainly come up with something beautiful but knew that some (although certainly not all) knitters might be put off by a huge long repeat. I think that there must be some kind of magic number to this, you know not so long that you can never learn it but long enough to encourage you to knit a whole repeat in one sitting and thus move the project along at a good speed. Now if only I knew what that magic number was…. but I’m sure it varies from knitter to knitter.
Anyway I thought you might like to see a few of my swatches and hear my thoughts on what I thought worked (and what did not).
1) Single element divided with the two filler stitches contained in the same circle - didn’t look feminine enough and would produce a sort of polka dot effect.
2) Celtic Knot first attempt: mirror cables within the same repeat. This is 52 rows long – yikes! Plus the areas for adding the filler stitches are way too small.
3) Titling cables: loved the lines and the filler stitch areas are a good size but again repeat is too long at a whopping 56 rows.
4) Final design: row repeat is a minuscule (ahem) 42 rows, nice size areas for the filler stitches. Soft gentle curving lines.
Then I decided to create the mirror image cable, as the negative space created between two cables can sometimes be almost as interesting as the cable its-self. Also I felt that the double element aspect would be more aesthetically pleasing if placed symmetrically.
I guess I didn’t achieve my aim to have a really manageable row repeat but I loved the cable and knowing that it would probably appeal to avid cable knitters I decided to go with it anyway.
Budding Apple - A Spring Twist
Right from Twist Collective's first edition, Anne Hanson has been designing lovely lace shawls for us, along with her incredibly popular Leaving cardigan and pullover design. Her most recent design, Budding Apple Shawlette, is the topic of this blog post, cross posted from her own blog. You can find the Budding Apple Shawlette here.
When the Spring/Summer issue of Twist Collective was launched, I was deep into the opening class day of sock camp and had hardly a moment to talk about our Budding Apple Shawlette design included in the issue.
Fortunately, news spreads fast, thanks to our very enthusiastic ravelry group (i love you guys!), as well as excited fans of the dyers involved in the project—Spirit Trail Fiberworks providing Neith, Kollage Yarns providing Creamy, and The Natural Dye Studio providing Precious and Angel 4-ply.
That’s a lotta yarn and we did a lotta knitting to make a sample in each one. why so many?
Knitters often write to tell me they appreciate our extensive project photography and how much they enjoy exploring blog links to the wealth of gorgeous yarns available to us. I thought it would be fun to present a pretty, quick-knit project that would translate beautifully in a variety of fibers and colors, with an investment in just a skein or two of yarn (the better to try more of them, my dear!).
And what better time than spring to refresh our senses with a palette of soft colors in luscious non-wool fibers? So I set out in my usual way to create a project that would fit all of those parameters.
First step—you guessed it—swatches.
I worked up several swatches in various sample yarns I had on hand, until I came up with a set I liked in a range of non-wool fiber types, including alpaca, cashmere, silk, cotton, and milk.
I don’t remember when, exactly, I decided on these particular stitch patterns, but the moment I saw them together, I knew that they brought together a bunch of loosely-related ideas I had into one firm idea, which was now about apple trees.
In other words, up until that point, I had a general sense of the feeling I wanted to portray, but seeing the stitches together made apple buds come to mind. and since I was designing for a spring issue, that seemed just right.
The larger pattern for the hem portion is one of many “grapevine” variations; this one is particularly sensual, I think, with its sinuous movement and shading. the tiny eyelet trefoil provides a delicately punctuated field to rest the eyes on, while still keeping the feeling light and lively.
Once I had my stitch patterns planned out, I did some preliminary charting and got started on the prototype in kollage creamy, in the cool, fresh canopy green color.
It was a quick knit all right and I was done in no time at all. I did see afterward that a few tweaks were in order—the insertion at the center back didn’t seem right, so i decided to change that
And while I was at it, I refined the placement of the small eyelet pattern as well. Luckily, I was able to get more yarn to produce another sample that is knit exactly as the pattern is written—that’s the one you’ll see in the magazine pages, knit by our very dear friend Karolyn. The changes are subtle, but they make a difference to me.
The insertion in particular is a lot more in keeping with the design. I hesitated about using it, since I would then be repeating a detail I’d used before, but my gut told me it was better for the design.
Once I had the prototype knit and finalized the design, I wrote the pattern up and we got to work on samples to send to the magazine.
These were my secret projects in September and October—above you see it in Pure Silk Precious 4-ply from the natural dye studio, colorway heather and below, the cashmere/silk version in spirit trail neith even traveled to rhinebeck with me, a delicious travel companion.
This soft blue is named chalcedony and is worn by the model on the right in this photo. the yarn is to DIE for, with a lovely density that gives the finished shawl a nice weight. I’m so sorry I didn’t get a modeled shot of it before I sent it off, but time grew short and I was traveling a lot at that point, oy. Same goes for the one we knit up in a soft pink color called sugar, from The Natural Dye Studio.
And all that was way back in the fall, before thanksgiving. I didn’t revisit this project for quite a few months, but when the pattern proofs arrived from twist, I took everything out again to take one last look before publication.
As it happened, the fruit trees were just beginning to show their buds as we put those final touches on the pattern and I was wowed by how accurately the stitch patterns mimic the look of their branches, droopy with buds and ready to burst into flower. i couldn’t help but be reminded of the shawl during my Seattle stay, just as this issue went live.
One week later, i finally have a chance to sit and write a thoughtful recap of the process of designing this piece and to thank the staff at Twist Collective for including it in this spring/summer issue.
Ormond Design Process
Faina Goberstein's second design with Twist Collective, is Ormond, a comfortable and flattering cardigan. Her post discusses the inspiration behind her design. This entry can also be found on Faina's own blog here. If you like Ormond, you may also enjoy her Crown of Leaves pattern.
Before I tell you about my design, I want to say that I am so honored to have my design included in the Twist Collective's Spring/Summer of 2011 issue. There are so many incredibly talented designers whose work is featured in this issue, that I cannot even choose which pattern is my favorite. I recommend that you also read about the work behind the scene to appreciate all these fabulous people who make Twist Collective so appealing to us all. I am always in awe when the new issue comes out with amazing photography and stories.
The story of Ormond began a few months ago when my husband and I visited our friends in Ormond Beach, Florida. It is a beautiful and very inspirational place. We love the ocean and our friends' condominium is right on a beach. You can see the ocean from their balcony or windows. If you want to get to the beach, you have to walk about 2 seconds there. Seriously, I have never stayed that close to the ocean in my life.
It was such a serene place where you can be one-on-one with nature and deep in your thoughts. Very quickly it became a place within me to which I could come back and find peace in the midst of the most difficult and stressful time of deadlines and exam grading.When the time came to submit for the next issue of Twist Collective, I searched through my stash of new yarns that I brought from TNNA. One that caught my eye was Belle Organic by Amy Butler for Rowan yarns.
A seamless construction is always my choice, if possible. Call me a lazy knitter, but I do love to knit with minimal seamwork at the end. Even sleeves are constructed in the round. With all these considerations, I sent my submission for this jacket among some other ideas in.
The waist was shaped by twice switching the needle size. This is something you can say is almost my signature for such pieces. I do not want to disturb the stitch pattern and working on a smaller needle just does the job of bringing the waistline in. Of course, it is not always suitable, so do not take it as advice to do it every time. The sleeves are worked in the round and are set-in. That is where I could not avoid making seams. Another place for a seam is the back of neck. But that is it. The cardigan is done from the beginning to the end including the front band altogether. I guarantee that if you will work on this design, it will be a pleasant experience for you.
Some projects are already showing up on Ravelry.com.
This is one fully done Ormond that Claudia who lives in Germany made in purple.
Here is some information about the pattern: