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Twist Collective Blog

Twist Collector: Stephanie

by Stephanie K.

Hello, my name is Stephanie, I’m an insatiable knitter and I love Twist Collective!  I learned to knit in 2002 with a craft store kit, books, and internet resources.  Handknitting is an extension of my sewn wardrobe, which I began creating in 1994.  I work in a fairly casual environment, higher education, and I wear my knits most days.

Cabling and lacework are a few of my favorite elements.   I was thrilled with the premiere issue of Twist, as I found the design aesthetic fresh and modern.  The level of talent was impressive; several of my favorite designers had published new patterns.  Also, the photography was inspiring and informative, with clear views from different angles.  So far, I have finished seven Twist sweaters, including at least one from each issue, and I have one in progress.  


My Twist Collective projects include (reading left to right, starting at the top row):

●Wisteria by Kate Gilbert is fun to knit, with a clear pattern and good charts.  Making a few size modifications was easy with the excellent schematic.  I find myself reaching for Wisteria frequently on cold winter days as it’s quite cozy with the cables and mock turtle neck. 

●Rebecca by Fiona Ellis has good charts for the body conscious cable pattern, and is a warm yet lightweight in dk yarn. 

●Primrose Path by Angela Hahn is great for spring, with figure flattering ribbing and an asymmetric lace pattern.

●Chartres is another Fiona Ellis design, a gorgeous shell and fast knit, with an entertaining cable/lace motif.

●Broderie by Connie Chang Chinchio is a cardigan perfect for summer in the Mid-Atlantic, knit with a cotton blend and shortened sleeves.  With intricate lace, an allover stitch pattern, and sport weight gauge, this project isn’t necessarily the easiest to execute, but it is interesting and engaging.

●Uhura by Connie is a pretty tank top with a few unexpected details, like its racer back. 

●Vine Yoke by Ysolda Teague is fun, knitting up quickly with an unusual sideways construction method, and offers many sizes in a comprehensible layout.  Vine Yoke has become my go-to fall sweater, with its unique style and warmth perfect for the transitional season. 

●Vivian by Ysolda (in progress) is a cabled hoodie with a seed stitch background.  The cabling looks elaborate, but it’s intuitive since most of the crossings occur on the same rows. 

One central theme emerged while working on these projects: all the patterns were extremely well written.  As a prolific sweater knitter, I appreciate a pattern that is easy to understand and does not require significant rewriting to correct errors or to obtain a garment like the one in pattern photos.  I keep returning to Twist Collective patterns because I know that they will have clear text, good schematics and charts, and they will provide me with a smooth knitting experience, free of errata.  Also, I am always pleased with the stellar design talent in each new issue.  I love and appreciate the concept of fair compensation for designers.  Another great aspect is Twist’s commitment to customer service.  The few times I needed assistance with download links, Twist customer service helped quickly and efficiently.
My primary priority in choosing my projects is to find sweaters that are interesting to create, stylish and unique, and also are highly suitable for my wardrobe. For longevity over several seasons, I aim to create garments that are modern while not tied to any transient fads. Thankfully, Twist Collective publishes many designs that fit my needs!  

You can find me on Ravelry as “Ohsewcrafty”, or check on my knitting progress via my blog.  

Don't be Scared: Winter is Here

Julia here. If you don't know it yet, winter is ready and waiting for you. Meanwhile . . .


When Kate said to Toronto's Downtown Knit Collective last month that Twist is for knitters who want to try new techniques, I realized that this is something we do do alot.  So many of our patterns introduce knitters to something they may not have tried before, and do it in a friendly way.  Personally, I never learned a new knitting trick just for its own sake; it was always because that was the thing standing between me and the sweater I wanted, so I learned.  There's a lot of wonderful techniques crammed into just this issue: double knitting, spit splicing, after-thought shoulders, steeked collars, beaded lace, fulling, and slip stitches.  It is our hope that knitters take the plunge and trust us to get them through.  Every pattern has thorough instructions on the thing that might intimidate, and we're here to help if you need more than that.  So don't let that new technique stand in your way: go knit something.

Design Process: Mimico Vest


by Barbara Gregory

It has been almost two years since I started the process of creating this vest.



Looking back to remember the process as it happened, I recalled that in a folder of pictures saved for inspiration was this design from Toronto fashion label Smythe. Notice how what would normally be the neckband has expanded to become a yoke.


I remember making a sketch of the vest I wanted to design — I didn’t have this image in front of me, but there is no doubt that it had lodged in my subconscious mind. I borrowed the neckline construction which gave me a fresh, modern shape to fill with my own patterns.

Having chosen five colors that I wanted to use in this garment, I began experimenting to find a pattern that suited the values and contrasts of my colors. This image shows some of the variations that were tried and rejected before I settled on the final version. The colors shown here were the original colorway. I also knitted the vest in an alternate colorway to give knitters a sense of how they might change the colors, and the second colorway eventually became the featured one.


For the yoke I wanted another pattern to contrast and harmonize with the body pattern. There was a plaid-like edging I had devised and swatched for another design only to find that it didn’t suit that project. When I remembered and fished out that old swatch, my design came together with an almost audible click.

Now, almost two years later, I have a footnote to add to my memories of this design process. A comment that I had left on a knitter’s blog won me a prize, and the prize was an Amazon gift certificate. I remembered a book I had borrowed from the library a couple of years ago, and decided it would be the one I would buy. When Dress In Detail From Around the World arrived the other day it was all very familiar but I hadn’t seen it for a while, so it was with real surprise that I saw and remembered this: a French fisherman’s waistcoat from around 1820.



Ignore the buttons and the pockets. Doesn’t that patterned yoke construction look a little bit familiar? No doubt I had this lodged in my subconscious mind as well. Inspiration, sketching, trial and error, swatching — this is how it all came together.



Click for Twist

Julia here.

One week to go before we release the Winter 09 issue, and I know some of you are checking in to see if maybe there might be a glimpse of what's to come.  Facebook Fans have had a little taste, as have newsletter subscribers (Don't get the newsletter?  Sign up in the box on the left, we promise to never sell or share your information anyone), but of course, nothing is more fun than the full reveal which will be a week from today, November 15.

In the meantime, I have a little request, and to entice you to read through this post, I'm willing to give you more little tastes, like this:

swatch 1

Part of how Twist Collective survives is through advertising, and we are grateful to our supporters who line up every issue to be a part of our site.  Advertising is a gambling business, and advertisers make bets on placing their business, and they bet on us and what we are.  The internet has transformed expectations for some advertisers through the click. Here's what I mean by that: Advertising can be ambient, like a billboard or a television commercial, just sort of there in the background hoping to worm its way into your consciousness. Or it can be direct, like a coupon or a 1-800 number, asking you for an interaction.  Internet advertising is both.  While my own experience in advertising taught me that clicks aren't the only way to gauge a successful ad, some of our advertisers like to have feedback from their placements in our magazine. So here's the favor I would like to ask.

swatch 2

If you enjoy the magazine, please consider picking an advertiser or two out of our pages, and giving them a visit.  Click on their ad, wander around their site and admire the place a little.  If you ever buy something from one of our advertisers, tell them you appreciate their support of Twist.  Or if you're buying yarn for a Twist project from anyone at all, tell the shop what you're buying it for. Use that little comment box that shows up on the payment page.

Thanks for reading. 

swatch 3

Design Process: Cottage Garden



by Cheryl Burke

graciously cross-posted with her blog, Yarnbee

Last fall I moved into a cottage on a historic turkey farm in western Massachusetts. The cottage is a Sears kit house from 1919 that was delivered on the local train. For the gardener in me, it was love at first sight as I saw the rambling flowerbeds and beautiful wisteria vine trailing up the side of the cottage. Other bonuses included a beautiful kitchen garden and the resident pet pig next door named Pinky.



At the same time I was exploring the work of a group of New England artists from the 1950s called the Folly Cove Designers. Led by Virginia Lee Burton (who wrote and illustrated many children’s books including Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel) this group made incredible designs that were hand-block-printed on fabric. Here's the wikipedia entry on their history.

I was drawn to the fact that many of their designs described daily life in New England. It got me thinking about a vintage-inspired colorwork sweater that would speak to my story of falling in love with a little cottage garden. I started sketching a yoke design that was bursting with joyful flowers.


Cottage Garden was originally submitted to the Summer issue and I was thrilled when Kate asked if we could add longer sleeves and move the design to the Fall issue.




I had a lot of fun exploring color options for Cottage Garden but settled on one of my favorite combinations: teal and chartreuse (swatch knit in Reynolds Whiskey)




The best part has been seeing how other knitters have made Cottage Garden their own. Look at these beautiful versions!

Kelly's Cottage Garden:


Momo's Cottage Garden:


Tanya's Cottage Garden:



What stories can your knitting tell?

Many thanks to Kelly, Momo and Tanya for the photos.