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Twist Collective Blog

Ormond Design Process

Faina Goberstein

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.

It is soft and delicious. I knew right away that the garment from this yarn has to be something that I can wear in Ormond Beach on a warm but breezy day. I thought that a cardigan will be very suitable for that. If it would get too warm, I could take it off. I did not want to make it too warm, so I chose a simple lace pattern that is called Rick Rack lace pattern. It reminds me of little waves, or traces of footwork in the sand. It also made sense to combine it with 2x2 rib for the front band.

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.


I was very happy when this particular project was chosen out of my submitted sketches. When I started to work on this design I knew that it was so right for me to do. The yarn was doing everything I wanted it to do.

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. backThe 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

This is one fully done Ormond that Claudia who lives in Germany made in purple.

I love how it fits her. Great job, Claudia. You can see her Ormond from different angles on her project page. I can't wait to see more projects.

Here is some information about the pattern:
Finished measurements:
Bust: 33 ½ (36 ¼, 38 ¾, 41 ¼, 43 ¾, 46 ½, 49, 51 ½, 54, 56 ¾)” / 85 (92, 98.5, 105, 111, 118, 124.5, 131, 137, 144) cm
Gauge: 25 sts and 32 rows = 4” / 10 cm in Rickrack Lace using size 6 US / 4 mm circular needle, slightly stretched.
For more of a scoop on this pattern, please go to the Twist Collective site.


Devonshire: Amazing Fiber

Pamela Powers

Pamela Powers debuted her first design last year, with her retro inspired Sunny Day. She's back with another beautiful layering piece, Devonshire, and in today's blog post, she talks about the yarn she used to knit it. This is a cross post from Pam's own blog, which you can find here


I had the privilege of working with Catherine Lowe’s Couture Yarns for my design Devonshire in the Twist Collective Spring/Summer 2011 issue.  When Kate Gilbert contacted me to discuss yarn options, I must admit I was a little intimidated but very intrigued by the concept of Catherine’s yarn.  When ordering yarn, you can custom blend the fiber content and gauge.  I chose a DK weight blend of Royal Baby Alpaca and Silk.

I ordered 1400 yards of yarn which arrived in a box slightly smaller than a shoe box, containing two balls of the custom blend  yarn and one small ball of the silk / mohair for the optional ruffle around the collar.  As if that wasn’t startling enough, the appearance of the yarn was unlike any yarn I had ever seen.   As you can see in the above photo, the ply of the yarn is very distinctive--the plies run parallel to each other rather than twisted together.  The reason behind this is brilliant, but I’ll let you read up on it in Catherine’s words to truly give it justice.

After knitting a swatch, the real fun began.  The yarn is treated with sizing that is removed with washing and blocking.  The finished result is a beautifully soft, lightweight fabric that had both sheen and a slight loft to it as seen in the “before” and “after” swatch photos below.

unblocked swatch blocked swatch

In January, I attended Catherine Lowe’s class,  “Basic Techniques of Couture Knitting” in New York.  Catherine not only has incredible technical and design skills, she also is a very lovely, articulate and patient teacher.


Spring in December

When Twist is ready to photograph the spring/summer projects, there's usually at least a foot of snow at our headquarters. That may actually be what a lot of you see in spring, (I know I did, growing up in New Hampshire) but we want an edition that brings to mind warm weather and bright sunshine. If money were no object, we'd jet set to some tropical location and shoot beautiful knits while sipping ridiculously fruity and extravagant cocktails. We'd probably also never return home. 

Instead, we make due with what we have. Frequent Twist Collective photographer, dyer and all around great person, Jamie Dixon, opened up her home to Kate and me (Marnie) in the middle of December, for our Two For Tea shoot. While New Mexico has wonderful light and relatively mild weather in winter, it's not exactly springy looking, unless you think of spring as being particularly...brown.

From the plane

Scoping out the perfect picnic spot, we had to find a way to make New Mexico's deep dark browns of December look bright and cheery. It would need to start with some sweeping. Dead leaves aren't very springy. 

brat brat
Does it look like spring yet?

Enlisting a little help from one of our models and Mary-Heather, we got to sprucing up the location

the gang
Note that we are all wearing warm coats and scarves. Glad I'm not a model.

Paper lanterns and ribbons bring those vibrant spring colors we were craving, and a little tarp protects Margaret Mills' lovely blanket from the dirt and debris. 

We had spent the previous day matching garments to accessories and raiding the home of one of the Sweater Girls for all those amazing props from the shoot.

Kate in hat Garments
Left: The Kate in the Hat looking for vintage props to dress the set. 
Right: Putting together outfits for the shoot the next day.
Clockwise from top: Raina, Lizette, Vesna, Carillon, Gus!, Carillon, Vesna, Addie, Budding Apple 

Our beautiful models, Amy and Jaclyn, were real troopers. It may be New Mexico, but December in Albuquerque is still pretty chilly. As we set up shots, the models kept themselves bundled while Jamie and Kate got all the little details perfect. 

baby it's cold outside Poor jackie
Raina and Sunbreak and Lizette hiding under a coat

My job was to make sure we didn't miss any shot and to generally be helpful and such. 

Task master
Serious clipboard holder is serious.

Sometimes, being helpful involved looking like Mary Poppins to keep the sun's glare off the models' faces. 

A spoonful of sugar.
Addie and Sunbreak 

Jaime and Kate stop frequently to check images for the proper light, composition and clarity of details. 

Kate and Jamie
Or maybe they are just hugging to stay warm.
Budding Apple 

And here's a little extra surprise for you all, Kate didn't just run the shoot, she also did a bit of modeling. 

Kate in socks
Those are some very talented ankles, right there.

This was my first shoot with Twist Collective (and, incidentally, the first time meeting Kate and Jamie in person) and it was a long hard day of work, but it was also great fun to get to see the magic behind the scenes. When you think of all the creative resources that go into making each shoot a reality, it makes the resulting story in the edition, all the more charming. 

A big thank you to Jamie and Mary-Heather for stuffing us full of food while we were in town. I am a sucker for chiles when they are verde and you did not disappoint. Here's hoping I'll get to go back again someday soon. 

Marnie and Kate at lunch Marnie and Kate shopping for yarn
Kate and Mary-Heather Jamie

And that about covers my little behind the scenes for our Two for Tea shoot. 

Stellar Prototype

Jenn Jarvis

Jenn Jarvis' third design for Twist Collective, Stellar, is a great layering piece for those breezy spring days.  In today's post, she talks about her original prototype. This is a cross post from her own blog. You can also see her other Twist Collective patterns;  Argyle Jacket and Kerouac.

green stellar 3

Since I hadn’t ever taken pictures of my green Stellar prototype for you I figured I do a little mini photoshoot so you could see another version of it.

This one’s in Frog Tree Alpaca, so it’s a little more drapey, but the texure is hidden. The O-Wool of the orange one is great for stitch definition and I think it will wash up really well, but I think I’d like to try making another in a different yarn. Something with a little more drape or loft (but without the halo of the alpaca) and see what happens there. I can’t wait to see pictures of ones other people make.

green stellar 7

I made the neckline a little too wide on this one, so it falls off my shoulders a little bit. I made the neckline a little closer on the actual one for the magazine. It’ll wear so much better (and easier! Picking up my neckline all the times is annoying). I also made it a little longer in the body and in the sleeves. Not everyone is as short as me. (You can tell in the silly pictures I took of me in the orange version. Those sleeves are hanging.)

green stellar 6

Follow the instructions for the collar join exactly as written in the pattern. The orange collar looks perfect. This one, not so much. I’m not showing you that join. It’s a little sad. Making a prototype really helps work out all those funky little construction details the first time around. It’s hard to take the time to make protoypes for everything, so I try to swatch all the little details as I’m knitting. Deadlines make that difficult sometimes though.

green stellar 8

I love the I-cord buttonbands and collar trim. It looks nice and knits up so easily. And the sewn-in hems are so nice. They require a good wet blocking to make them stay in place, but after that the collar has a nice drape, the hems stay in place and everything falls a little better. I love a good wet block – it cures so many evils. I do need to take a razor to my sweater though. The pills are getting out of hand.

green stellar 2

Also – I’m totally in love with my new sunglasses. I just look too damn cool.


carol feller

Carol Feller's latest design is Trousseau, a shawl in two sizes. This marks Carol's fourth contribution to Twist Collective, along with Parcel, Azami, and Necco Wafer. In today's post, Carol talks a little about designing her shawls. Check out Carol's site here and find out more about Trousseau here

I love the concept of the ‘Pi’ shawl; working outwards from the central point with increase rows being spaced further and further apart.  After the first few increases you have a wonderful large canvas to use for your lace stitches without needing to worry about fitting the increases in! This can make for very relaxing knitting as there is less counting as you work though it to ensure you have worked all of the increases every row correctly.

Smaller Raspberry Shawl

Smaller Raspberry Shawl

Now you may have noticed looking at the photos that this shawl isn’t actually a full circle ‘Pi’ shawl, well that’s because it’s a half-Pi shawl!  This seems like a much more practical shawl to me.  A full circle shawl can only be worn folded in two so half of your hard work never get to be seen.  The same concept as a full Pi shawl applies but you just start with half the amount of stitches and work back and forth rather than in circles.  

The lace pattern used in this shawl is not overly complex but it creates wonderful diagonals and visual interest across the knitting.  You can see how with each increase the direction of the lace diagonal changes and the lace panels increase in size and length with each repeat.  This lace is easy enough that it can quickly be memorized and the shawl quickly becomes a very relaxing knit.  If fact I think it would make an excellent first shawl for a confident knitter.

We have done something a little unusual with the yarn in this project, usually the larger shawl is knit in the heavier yarn but we have actually shown the smaller sample with the heavier  yarn - Sundara Yarns ‘DK Silky Cashmere’ in Raspberry.  This nicely size shawlette only take 2 skeins (50g each) of this truly delicious yarn (or 320 yds).  Almost all of both skeins were used, I think I just had a few feet of yarn left when I finished.  This is one of the most beautiful yarns I’ve knit with in a long time; it is so soft and just glides off the needles effortlessly.  The yarn holds the lace pattern while you are knitting also; it stayed open and did not need to be blocked aggressively to open it up.

Larger Caribbean Shawl

Larger Caribbean Shawl 

The second shawl was knit from Sundara Yarns ‘Fingering Silky Merino’ in Caribbean.  This shawl was a larger size (knit with lighter weight yarn and smaller needles) and used a little under 1 skein (150g).  This yarn behaved very differently and more like a wool based yarn being worked in lace.  As you are knitting it pulls in on itself with the lace pattern virtually invisible.  However after a good soaking and some aggressive blocking and pinning it opened out beautifully to reveal the hidden pattern.  I think that blocking lace often feels a little like a butterfly unfurling itself from its cocoon.

Two sizes and yarn weights are detailed (and knit) in the pattern but this is a very easy pattern to modify.  A much smaller shawlette can be knit if you used the lighter yarn and smaller needles (from the larger size) and only worked the smaller size or alternatively a larger version could use the heavier yarn with bigger needles but work it until it is the size of the large shawl.  The only thing to bear in mind with these modifications is yarn amounts; I’ve given an estimate in the pattern of how much more or less yarn would be needed for variations in the size but every knitter will vary with the yarn amount they use.