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Twist Collective Blog


Sandi RosnerSandi Rosner is a familiar face at Twist Collective. Not only does she consistently contribute wonderful designs to our pages, she also does technical editing and amazing articles! You can find more about her, as well as this post, on her blog. This issue, check out her great piece on decreases (the companion to last issue's article on increases). In this post, she shares her experience creating Sanderling, the lacy tunic found in our newest issue. When yarn and pattern really connect- it's love.

Sanderling full

I wanted this sweater to be comfortable and casual with a feminine touch.  I love the look of all-over lace patterns, and this interlocking pendant lace is one of my favorites, but sometimes lace can seem a little much for everyday. How can you relax the mood a bit?

In the case of Sanderling, the answer was the yarn.

I've done quite a few designs with Kollage Yarns Riveting, and it has some special qualities I haven't found anywhere else. Riveting is made from recycled jeans.  Specifically, it is 80% post-consumer recycled denim, with the remaining 20% made from mill scraps.  Spun in Italy, Riveting is not dyed - the yarn gets its color from the source fabric. When working with Riveting, you'll occasionally come across a bit of orange from the stitching, or a fleck of metallic thread from embroidered jeans.  I love these little surprises.

Riveting is soft, like your favorite old jeans.  It has a slightly nubbly texture.

The real magic with Riveting comes when the knitting is done.  Instead of  the careful blocking I'd give a wool sweater, I throw my Riveting pieces in with a load of laundry.  No kidding - it likes to be machine washed and dried. When you pull it out of the drier, it has been transformed. The fabric softens and pulls up, making your slightly stringy looking knitting into a cohesive fabric. It does shrink a bit in length - about 12% - but not in width.  The patterns I've written for Riveting, including Sanderling, account for this anticipated shrinkage.

Sanderling back

In Sanderling, the shrinkage changes up the lace pattern in an interesting way.  The pattern still shows through, but the lace becomes less precious. The sweater is airy, but not transparent. I love it.

For me, this would be a weekend-at-the-cottage sweater (not that I have a cottage, but I do have a rich fantasy life). I imagine it tossed on over shorts or jeans for those times when you want to look sexy but not exposed. The silhouette is loose and simple, with minimal details. The lace forms a slight natural scallop at the hem and cuffs. The split neckline is edged with attached i-cord. I would probably never tie the cords at the neck because I think the look of an untied neckline is inherently alluring. The fabric feels great against the skin, and since it is easy care, you won't mind wearing it to take the dog to the beach or gather wild blackberries with the kids.

Collar detail

Take some time to check out the rest of the Spring issue.  As always, Kate has done a brilliant job putting together a beautiful piece of eye candy. The photography is inspirational, and the collection of projects is among the best. Thanks also to Jane Heller, who took the photos seen here.

I'd be remiss not to mention the articles - I have one about decreases for the technique lovers out there, and Fiona Ellis' article about the ancient pattern we call paisley is a great history lesson. I am so fortunate to be a part of such a great publication.

Spring/Summer 2012 Edition is Live

We've picked a whole bouquet of gorgeous patterns for our Spring/Summer 2012 edition, wrapped them up with a few sprigs of stories, and how-tos and tied it all with a bow.

From shawls, to socks, to garments, we have plenty to pick from. See it all here

Spring Summer 2012 new edition


Megan Goodacre

Megan Goodacre is the designer who brought us Dylan- a classic trench inspired by rock'n'roll. This is her first contribution to Twist, and you can also find this entry on Megan's blog. Today she shares her inspiration and design process, as well as an extra embellishment you can add to your Dylan, if you so desire!


Designing knitting patterns for publication has a strange contradiction; on the one hand, knitting itself is a methodical, labour-intensive, and (if we're lucky) meditative act. Although we might visualize the finished item to keep ourselves motivated, we have to focus on the present in order to avoid mistakes. There's no Undo command in knitting, so we have to Knit in the Moment. On the other hand, knitting design has to follow the calendar of the publishing industry. Designers, advertisers, printers, writers are all thinking in the future tense, often a year in advance.

Which is all good, it keeps things moving, and really forces you to finish ideas, projects. But I find that I don't often have time to reflect on the process. I was flipping through a magazine just now, and didn't recognize one of my own designs for a second, because I've already moved on in my mind to new design ideas.

So I thought this might be a good excuse to reflect and share a little of my creative process for Dylan, which was in Twist Collective Fall 2011.

Dylan full view

The Twist moodboard included a music concert theme, and my mind went to old black and white photos of music pioneers like Chrissie Hynde, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, Bob Dylan. They know how to rock the most modest of clothes: scarves, trench coats, t-shirts, jeans, white shirts. And they know how to layer. I had a few sketches of jackets already, and being an 80s girl, I have a weakness for trenchcoats. So my own moodboard (you can see part of it, above) was made up of iconic photos of these artists. The top left (Bob Dylan of course, and that must be a Richard Avedon photo) and bottom right (an unusually colourful photo of Patti Smith) ended up driving the mood of the project.

I wanted a classic trench shape, with deep pockets, a double-breasted front, and wide cuffs. Here's the submitted sketch, on the left. Originally, I visualized a running stitch embellishment to simulate top-stitching. But although it was easy to work the stitching, it seemed unnecessary for the pattern, so I took it out. Here's what the jacket looked like with the stitching, on the right. It was very quick to do: just thread a contrast yarn on a tapestry needle, and run it in and out between two columns of stitches.

SketchStitching detail

Mad about Madison

Hi. Kate here! A week ago, I was about to board a plane to Madison. Marnie was doing the same. We had been invited to be the keynote speakers at the Madison Knitters' Guild Knit-In. I had heard this was a great guild before going, but I couldn't believe how welcoming and lovely everyone was! What a super show. I just thought I'd pop onto the blog and show you a couple pictures we took.

Madison auditorium

I love how most of the audience was knitting. By the way, this is the end of the show, so all of the people fleeing the auditorium are rushing off to buy things at the market. They were not escaping our presentation in the middle!

Marnie and Kate

People are always surprised to hear that Marnie and I have only met in person twice. Here's proof of the second time!

Kate talking

I wore Midtown to talk. I love this skirt. I really love this skirt. And every time I wear it, knitters and non-knitters alike go nuts for it.

yarn buddy

I got to meat Jeanette and George of Sun Valley Fibers in person. Check out my Yarn Buddy! I also saw Chris of Briar Rose. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of her gorgeous booth, but I did get to pick yarn for the fall issue!

Jennie pendants

I picked up these cute little charms from Jennie the Potter. I also ate her baby for dessert because he was so darned sweet.

Marnie and cow

Marnie made friends with a cow. We were also lucky to hang out with Franklin. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of him with fiberglass animals.

Kate with badger

Badgers are bigger than I expected.

A big thank you to everyone from Madison, especially Kate (not me) and Connie. It was awesome to see old friends and meet new ones!


Ashley KnowltonToday's post comes to us from Ashley Knowlton, designer of these wonderful tall socks called Darlington from the Winter 2011 issue of Twist Collective. You can also find this post on her blog, where you can learn more about Ashley and her many talents. You can also follow her on Twitter. This is her first design with Twist Collective.

This time of year always makes me thankful for my wellies (also called, depending on where you're from, rain boots, gumboots, galoshes, and, I'm sure, a host of other names!). I live in the countryside in the south of England, where wellington boots are worn with the same devotion with which Pacific Northwesterners wear socks with sandals year round. And as any Briton knows, wellies don't fit correctly without the proper knitwear.

Darlington, front view

Darlington, back view

So Darlington was born, partly out of necessity, partly out of my love of cables. Inspired by welly socks with their long, fold-over cuffs (the sample is even knit in a colour similar to Hunter red) and over-the-trouser fit, I wanted a sock that would stretch to fit over my jeans (they stay up better that way) and make wellies warmer and more comfortable. And I just thought that I had to share these with the world.


Kate at Twist Collective loved the idea, too, and worked with  me to create an ornate pair of stockings that look even better outside the boot. Ribbing ensures a good, close fit around the foot and keeps them from sliding down, while a pretty cable winds up to the cuff, with a matching medallion at the calf. Toe-up construction makes it easy to customise the fit and sport-weight yarn makes them knit up very fast. I loved the sample set, which meant that right after I made it (sadly, what with my monstrous calves, they don't fit me), I knew I had to make my own pair.

Ashley's handspun Darlington socks

My own handspun pair have been my constant companions during this long, cold and damp English winter, and have found their own place, nestled inside my wellington boots by the doorway. I'm sure they will keep me company right into English summertime.