Twist Collective Blog
Thayer Preece's first design for Twist Collective is Blair, a flattering cardigan with plenty of flattering detailing. Thayer tells us a little about her inspiration for this piece in today's blog post. She also posted this on her own site.
I was incredibly honored and excited when my cardigan pattern was accepted into the Winter 2010 issue of Twist Collective. Diving head-first into the world of sweater design has been quite an adventure!
Blair is a top-down raglan cardigan, knit all in one piece. The eyelet details give it some visual interest, but still maintain the simple quality of the garment, so that it’s suitable for everyday wear–perfect for throwing on over a t-shirt and pair of jeans. The simple construction makes it a good choice for all levels of knitters, and the simple shape makes it appropriate for a wide range of body types.
Before I sent the sample sweater in to Twist, I couldn’t resist taking a picture for myself, even though it was much too small for me. I’m working on my own size now, and can’t wait to wear it! Though it’s shown in my picture below with negative ease, I would advise aiming for as close to zero ease as possible, or slight positive ease, depending on what you plan to wear under the sweater.
I got the inspiration for this sweater while watching the Olympics last Winter. During the ice skating competition, I saw a girl wearing a sweater backstage with an eyelet detail running down the sleeves. After some swatching and brainstorming, I came up with the design you see above. When I saw the mood board for the Winter issue of Twist, and that it featured a segment inspired by ice skaters, I knew I had to submit it, even though I was pretty nervous about heading right into the big leagues with my first sweater pattern! The sketch I submitted is shown below:
When naming the sweater, I finally settled on Blair as an homage to Bonnie Blair, the 5-time Olympic gold medalist speed skater, who grew up in my hometown of Champaign, IL. Growing up, I took skating lessons on the same ice where she learned to skate, looking up at banners congratulating her on her wins.
I hope you enjoy this pattern, and I can’t wait to see what you create with it!
Blair can be purchased and downloaded from the Twist Collective, here.
The Ravelry page for the pattern is here.
This sweater started for me with the cable. I swatched this delicate intertwining cable and immediately fell in love. Originally it was worked with a reverse st st panel on each side but it really took away from the overall concept of the sweater as the cables stopped in different places as you moved up the garment leaving a harsh ending when the reverse st st ended. I talked with Kate about it for a while and we decided to try a st st background which ended up being just perfect (see the swatch below).
This cable is the main focus of the sweater, with them being spaced further apart as you move from one side to the other. The number of cables varies with the sizing so that the cable works well with each size. Due to the smaller shoulder size the smallest size only has one cable running up the complete length to the shoulder and the largest sizes have an extra cable down the side so there is not too big a stretch of st st.
The cables end in different positions as you move up the body; the first finishes at the waist, the next at the end of the bust increases and the final cable(s) run to the shoulder. As the sweater is worked in the round from the bottom up you can try it on as you are working allowing you to position the end of the cable so that it is just right for your body.
I got to use one of my favourite construction techniques with this pattern. The body is knit in one piece from the bottom up, shoulders are joined using a three needle bind off and then the sleeves are knit from the top down (using short rows to create a smooth set-in sleeve cap). In the photo below you can see how the short row shaping works to create a neat fitting sleeve cap with minimal effort. You can also see the waist shaping. This was kept to the side to minimise its impact on the cables. Waist shaping is easy to adjust for you own body type. If you use the same number of rows you can increase more (or less) frequently to create the perfect fit for your body. Just ensure that you take note of any changes you make so that you don’t get thrown by different stitch counts.
Below is the original sketch for this sweater, you can see how the cables move across and up the body. It’s probably not too surprising but as I was working on this sweater I always referred to it as my ‘Intertwining Cables’. This got renamed as ‘Parcel’ which was actually quite fitting as it seemed to be the parcel that would never arrive!
Trefoil: A hat, some mittens, and a trip down memory lane
Becky Herrick's first design for Twist was Cambridge Cables, featured in last year's winter edition. She's back with another cold weather knit, with her hat and mitten combo, Trefoil. Becky talks a bit about her design process in this cross post from her own blog.
The winter issue of Twist Collective went live this morning! And while there are many lovely patterns in it, I’d like to take a moment to draw your attention to mine:
Trefoil is a cabled winter hat and mitten set with an elegant three pointed celtic knot on the crown and a single leaf of the knot mirrored on each mitten. The knot is framed by arching stockinette and trimmed with stretchy i-cord edging.
The idea for Trefoil started a loooong time ago. The idea seemed so simple, a celtic knot on the top of a hat. The decreases for the crown could be worked right into the cable and the cable would repeat three times around the crown, with the crossovers interlocking from each repeat into the knot. If you were reading my blog back then, you might remember the discussion of the hat I was designing. The one with the cable I couldn’t get quite right. The one I knit no less then 15 times! After the first few tries I’d broken down to just knitting the crown over and over and over… I couldn’t get the crossovers to work right. My best try looked like this:
Let’s not even cover how busy the hat looks with the textured background! Eventually I gave up and stuffed the swatch into the back of my closet (in fact, I still have that purple prototype, as well as the knot swatch, hiding there now)
This story becomes a lesson in “why knitting other people’s designs is a good thing” for me. It never occurred to me to try a top-down hat until I was knitting one by another designer. I realized that this approach would allow the crossovers to flow much more smoothly, but I worried that the first cables would bow out, downward, instead of directly across. I thought that cabling every row might give the horizontal cable look I needed.
After knitting this one little swatch in DK weight yarn I knew I had solved my problem! But the knot was very small, and would barely cover the crown. So before putting together my submission I knit a second hat in bulky yarn, so I could show the knot in two very different sizes.
I had considered adding mittens to my submission, but didn’t because the hat was my first and main goal for this design. However I wasn’t at all surprised when Kate Gilbert asked if I could add mittens to the pattern to create a set. Of course this provided it’s own challenge. Did I need yet another mitten take on the 3 cornered knot? I decided the mittens should reflect the motif, without mirroring it exactly, in part because I didn’t want to do a third take on that look. But mostly because the aran weight yarn was too heavy to fit a whole knot on a single mitten!
Once I’d finished with knitting the pattern write up provided a whole new challenge. Like many cable designers I work from primarily from charts, and if I include row-by-row directions in a pattern they’re reverse engineered from those charts. But this hat was different, I worked the knot purely from the image in my mind, and noted my stitches as I went. This means I had the row-by-row directions first! Because of the way the stitches shift from one repeat into another this worked especially well in this instance. However I knew, for many cable knitters, I would need charts in the pattern. As a knitter myself I’ll pass right over a cable project if it doesn’t include charts. But I didn’t want to chart the whole repeat, just the first repeat, so when you’re knitting from the charts pay special attention to the rounds that begin and/or end with those vertical colored lines!
I absolutely loved working with Osprey from Quince & Co. It’s very soft without losing the stretchy bounciness that I love about 100% wool yarns. The plied texture shows off stitches and cabling very well. That being said, blocking is completely necessary to make the stitches as even as possible. On that note if you’re having trouble getting gauge on this pattern – Block It. Due to the increases in the cables of the crown of the hat the whole thing will need to be stretched horizontally just a touch during blocking for the fabric to lay flat.
And finally, as if that weren’t saga enough, the original name of this pattern was Highland. As in, the scottish highlands, highland cattle, windy highland moors, and celtic knots. But if you search “highland” in patterns on ravelry you’ll get more then EIGHTY results. So I spent some time looking for something properly scottish as a replacement, but in the end it was Kate Gilbert who suggested Trefoil.*
*the girl scout cookies didn’t even occur to me, until someone else mentioned it earlier today! Mmmm, cookies…
Ann Kingstone's first design for Twist Collective, is a Sylvana, a beautiful lace beret with a warm inner layer. She talks about her inspiration and design process in this cross post from her own blog.
Yesterday my hat design, Sylvana, was published in the Twist Collective winter edition. As the hat is based on a rather unique concept I thought you might like to read about how I created this innovative design.
In my experience fine lace knitting is generally the preserve of summer garments and evening wear, whereas for the winter edition of Twist I wanted to create an everyday application for fine lace knitting suitable for wearing in winter. These considerations led to the Big Idea – layers!
Any of you with experience of designing for magazines will know that they send out 'mood boards' to designers to help inspire us and in order to help create a thematic feel for the magazine. So it is with Twist, and in early summer I received the mood boards for the current edition. Lots of hats, snowy forests, and sparkly ice-skating scenes. I particularly liked a very Victorian ice-skating scene featuring a lady in a full-length grey coat with a very soft and fluffy plum-coloured stole. It was a desire to re-create the colour balance of this scene that inspired the idea of lace overlaying a contrasting underlayer. The mauve version of the hat pictured in the magazine most closely does this.
A lot of design work is a problem-solving exercise, marrying an aesthetic ideal to a practical application. Alas, a hat only provides a very small area for a lace pattern, so I needed a relatively small lace motif. I also knew I wanted it to be a leafy motif to be evocative of festive evergreens. Hunting through my library I decided the motif from the Myrtle Leaf Stole was most suitable. However, it needed adapting to a decreasing circular pattern, and I needed a solution for the centre of the crown where the stitch count could no longer support the full number of leaves that appear in the earlier portions of the hat. Lots of pen and paper play, and swatching ensued.
The last problem to be resolved was the hat band. Initially this was going to be a lace edging in the DK yarn used for the underhat, but I didn't like the look of my first prototype with this type of band. Eventually I realised the lace pattern was visually fighting with the lace in the main body and that the band would be less aesthetically intrusive if knitted in the same colour as the overlace. But laceweight yarn is too fine to create a snugly fitting traditional ribbed band unless it is formed of hundreds of stitches on tiny, tiny needles! Solution; double the laceweight!
Thus Sylvana was born. It is my proudest achievement yet as a designer, and I am very happy to at last (the wait has been excrutiating!) present it to you. :0)