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Twist Collective Blog


Leah Thibault

Leah Thibault is the talented designer who brings us Wetherell this issue, as well as our first blog post from Winter! You can also find it (and more!) on her blog; or you can catch her chirping on twitter.

Wetherell back view

It’s been a big week for me a designer, I’ve had not one, not two, but three designs come out in the past four days. The one I’m perhaps most excited is Wetherell, which came out in the Winter 2011 issue of Twist Collective.

Wetherell front view

This design started way back in the early days of 2010, when I challenged myself to design a sweater as my 2010 knitolution. I’ve knit plenty of sweaters, and adapted a few, but I wanted one that was all me.

As with most deadlines, I procastinated and didn’t even start thinking of my design until early October, when I was doodling during a meeting and came up with this (and promptly dripped water on it):


The big question was how to do the diagonal feature on the yoke. After flipping through some stitch dictionaries, I deciding on modifying a slip stitch pattern. I love slip stitches because their woven-look texture and I find them less commonly used than other stitch patterns (though it is my second Twist pattern featuring slip stitches).

FO with book

The downside to this heavy of a slip-stitch pattern is that is takes almost twice as many rows to get get the same length as Stockinette stitch. The upside is that it looks great and since it’s confined to the yoke and the cuffs, it isn’t overwhelming. The name for the sweater came when Bristol Ivy and I did this photoshoot in March. It comes from the copy of The Wide, Wide World I’m holding in the shoot, a 1850 novel by Susan Warner, published under the pseudonym Elizabeth Wetherell. According to Wikipedia, it is often acclaimed as America’s first bestseller (if you’re interested you can read the whole thing here).

Sleeve Detail

The front and back of the sweater are knit flat, while the sleeves are knit in the round until the sleeve cap, then everything is blocked and seamed together. The sweater is finished off with a knitted hem on the bottom. All together it’s a simple sweater with the right amount of detail.

Both my prototype and the Twist sample were knit in Valley Yarn’s Williamstown, a worsted weight wool/acrylic blend in a lovely range of tweedy shades. I even found matching buttons 8 months apart in the button box at Z Fabrics

Finished Sweater

The pattern is available here!

Winter's coming

Though I hate to say it, winter is coming. I think I may have even seen a couple snowflakes the other day. At least that means the winter issue is nearly here and we'll have lots of new things to knit and plenty of indoor days to do it. The issue will be up in less than 24 hours, so I figured I'd share some behind the scenes shots today.

winter peek

The whole family helps out.

winter peek

How many computers can you fit on the kitchen counter? At least five.

winter peek

Want to take my picture?

winter peek

No, horses, I swear there are no treats in this bag.

winter peek

James gets the shot.

winter peek

If you can't carry all of the clothes and props, wear them.


Christa Giles

Christa Giles shares her design process for Asher in the following post, which you can also find on her blog. She has contributed many wonderful designs to Twist Collective, including Boundless and Lara. The lovely photos of the purple version of this cozy jacket were taken by Andrew Ferguson- Christa did a skills trade with him for American Sign Language basics! You can find out more about Andrew's work here.

Asher in Twist

This is Asher, from Twist Collective’s Fall 2011 issue, find it on Ravelry here.

Asher came to life after a trip to Portland in June 2010, with an hour (possibly more) spent at Yarnia combining a bunch of thin strands of yarn together to make myself a custom blend of chunky goodness. I didn’t have a plan for it at the time aside from “big cozy sweater” but swatching with it while on the train ride home eventually suggested that it liked the slip-stitch rib pattern I used for a simple scarf design, Picker’s Delight.


I also realized that the second yarn I had created at Yarnia, a blend of smooth strands that made a worsted weight yarn, coordinated nicely with its chunky sibling, and I started playing with combinations. Eventually, the yoke design was born, with garter stitch, concentric increases, and contrast piping to separate each ring. A needle size change helped the garter move smoothly into the slip-stitch rib, and I was off!

First Version

Okay, truth? That sweater is still in that state of in-completion. When I got the thumbs-up from Twist Collective after submitting this photo and sketch, I did my usual squeal and happy dance, and then promptly sought out a more commercially available yarn that would work. A shipment of Cascade 220 had been delivered to Three Bags Full, and in the process of unpacking, pricing, and stocking the new colours, this purplish grey caught my eye and stuck. The purplish brown was a good choice for the contrast trim, and both came home with me that night.

Second Version

The biggest difference between my second prototype and the sample for the magazine? Weight. Cascade 220 held doubled is HEAVY… which can be pretty wonderful if you think that heavy + warm = perfect (I do!), but the gorgeous Berkshire Bulky from Valley Yarns knit up into a light and lofty sweater that would still trap heat but rest more easily on one’s shoulders! I loved the colour combination that Kate sent me, and was happy to knit the sample version as soon as mine was off my needles.

Side View

In case you can’t see it in the design lines, I was pretty inspired by Elizabeth Zimmerman. Her love of the knit stitch calls to me. Because I knit continental style, the slipped-rib pattern used here doesn’t feel at all like working a purl stitch.  Jared Flood's version of her Tomten design was also in the back of my head - I love the contrast shoulder lines he created!

Some mods: my prototype has all of the contrast lines done as piping: four rows of stockingette stitch with a single strand of Cascade 220 which are then closed to make a rounded trim line (see Piper and Lallans for more of this accent), and a row of piping on the back of the hood just before the shaping begins. I designed a tab for the back, but haven’t actually sewn this on yet! Also since I’m on the busty side (in case you hadn’t noticed from that photo!), I shifted the break for the sleeves back a little bit on each side, so the front width is wider than the back width.

Two Ashers

Vancouver has been having a wonderful Autumn, with many days of crisp sunshine and cool evenings spaced between the rainy drizzle that we know and love (or at least accept..), and Asher is the perfect outer layer to pop on over a tshirt and still be snuggly warm. I love the giant pockets and hood in this weather, and am designing more sweaters with these features!

Sleeve and Pocket Detail

Styling Sportster

Melissa Wehrle

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 twist shot

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?

styled with jeans

styled with awesome boots

styled with a dress

Eyelet Cast-On Tutorial

Kerry Milani

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!

Step 1

Place slip knot on knitting needle.

Step 2  

Insert crochet hook as if to knit into the stitch, wrap the yarn around your hook.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

I like to keep my crochet hook behind the knitting needle.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

And make a stitch.  Note that there are now two loops on the knitting needle and one working chain on the crochet hook. 

Step 7

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.

Step 8

To make a yarn over, bring the yarn forward, in front of the knitting needle.

Step 9

Then make the next chain stitch from behind the knitting needle.

Step 10

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.

Step 12

When it is time to finish the Eyelet Cast-on, work the last yarn over as before, chain one stitch (shown just completed).

Step 13

And slip the stitch from the crochet hook onto the knitting needle.  Voila!

Step 14

The knitting needle now looks something like this -- spaghetti and loops.

Step 15

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.)

Step 16

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.

Step 18

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.

End product

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.

Happy Knitting!