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Twist Collective Blog

Twist Tidbits: Wayuu Mochillas

Julia here.

J Crew surprises me every once in awhile, like a few weeks ago when they lobbed this genuine article up onto their accessories section:


let's take a closer look, shall we? The website calls this handwoven, but I wondered.


I thought I detected the signature of crochet there in the body of that bag. Certainly the handle is woven, but that looked to me like the tiny crochet stitch of an accomplished crocheter. But according to Carol Ventura of the Tapestry Crochet blog, "Although described as being woven, crocheted, or knit, the bags are actually made by looping — pulling the fiber all the way through a small loop." Ah.  I'd love to see a video of this technique if anyone has a lead on one.

A little research into this long-ago sold-out bag lead me a few places on the web that sell other versions, but all of them come from the same place, the Wayuu tribe of Columbia and Venezuela. The Wikipedia article about them is here.

I found these versions at Yoya: natural, the way I like it,


and these more brightly colored:


I found elsewhere that the bag at J Crew came from their participation in an event hosted by the BeLive Columbia organization, and several other "fashion industry" entities like Tory Burch and Philip Lim were invited as well. There's a worthwhile pdf on the Wayuu Project and the significance of their bag making on the BeLive website, so I can leave you to look at it if you like.

And there are others further afield, but all of them beautiful and (forgive my acquisitivist observation here) a perfect accompaniment for the summer.  Maybe I'll hunt one down for myself, pass my consumer's blessing on to the maker, and appreciate the bag as only a fellow stitcher can. Here's one last one for your viewing pleasure.


Design Process: Poplar and Elm


by Carol Sunday, originally posted to her blog at Sunday Knits.


I just love creating new stitch patterns. It's my favorite knitting-related thing to do. (And there's nothing knitting-related that I don't love to do!)



Poplar and Elm started with just "Poplar" — a closed lace stitch pattern made to look like leaves branching off of a central vine. The leaves were pretty easy, with the edge of a new leaf overlapping the shape of the one before it, and increases sprouting out from the leaf's center. The branching vine was a little trickier. It took several attempts to get the vine to branch out at just the right moment, and to join the leaf at just the right spot. Finally, just right . . . in worsted weight with a 15-st 12-row pattern repeat.

I liked it so much I decided to make an open lace version by changing the pick-up style increases to yarnovers. I thought I might use these two patterns together in a sweater with, say, a closed lace body and open lace sleeves ... maybe a cropped cardi with three-quarter length sleeves, or maybe a ballet-style wrap, close fitting with a wide neck and long narrow sleeves. I submitted both ideas for Twist's Spring/Summer issue using a lighter sport weight yarn. Kate liked the wrap (yay!) and I started knitting.


In sport weight, the pattern was smaller than in worsted, of course. It looked dainty and detailed, but I had envisioned something, well, smoother, more stockinette, bolder even, something with more ... scale.



It's amazing how much difference a little change in scale can make in a stitch pattern. I added 2 stitches and 2 rows - 17 sts and 14 rows per repeat. Now that was more like it!


So if more is good, even more, ie. 19 sts and 16 rows per repeat, might be even better. Well, hmmm, not necessarily. Plus, a larger stitch pattern would mean a larger spread between sizes. I preferred the mid-scale version, and so did Kate.



I'm thrilled with the way Poplar and Elm turned out. The pattern scale is just right. And the other two versions of the stitch pattern will be perfect for other projects. Anyway, it was so much fun playing with the scale on this stitch pattern. It makes me think of all the other stitch patterns that would lend themselves to just such adaptations ...

If you'd like to order a yarn pack, you may do so here.

Twist Collectors: Rebecca

My first Twist project was Wisteria: I know I’m not the only one who, when clicking through the inaugural issue, saw it and knew that I had to knit it right away. Once it was done, though, I had to find a role for it in my wardrobe. I live in a studio apartment with really limited storage space, so many of my clothing choices are made for their versatility. Complicating this is the need to dress myself for the office while allowing enough room for the jeans and t-shirt uniform that is now, alas, weekend-only wear. Enter Twist, with sweaters that can dress up or down.


Storage aside, my first few Twist sweaters were made simply out of love for the pattern: Wisteria, Vaila, and Vivian. Wisteria and Vaila have both made appearances at work, often paired with knee-high boots and a knee-length grey skirt, or with my favorite wide-legged black pants and flats. Those are both more casual outfits, good for days when I don’t have any meetings on my calendar, and I can hunker down at my desk.


More recent additions have been Audrey in Unst, the Vine Yoke Cardigan, and the Maire Riding Jacket, which I chose because I knew they would wear well at work. Audrey and Maire have already proven to be indispensable. I chose a soft greyish blue for Audrey, wanting something that would coordinate with most of my work trousers. It usually tops a plain white tee, but it’s also appeared over a crisp white blouse. I wear it frequently, since both the style and the softness of the fabric appeal so much to me, and I’m planning another Audrey in a purple tweed.

The Vine Yoke cardigan is often paired with those same white tees, and also with some floral-print blouses. It’s blue, for the same reason as Audrey, but the more feminine lace elements make it something I pull out when I want to feel dressy but not overly-tailored.

When I want to make more of a statement with a handknit, I pull out Maire, which gets noticed even in spite the ultra-neutral grey that I chose. It’s been best featured to over a plain white long-sleeved tee, navy pinstripe trousers, and bright red flats. I’ve found that it looks best closed, and after all the work I put into the cables, I want to show them off.


Vivian has shown up at work for casual Fridays, along with jeans and Danskos. I enjoy dressing up, but it’s also nice to not have to iron anything before I put it on for the day, and Vivian helps keep things classy but comfortable.

An unforeseen consequence of wearing my Twist pieces to work is that it’s sparked an interest in knitting in a few of my co-workers. To date, I’ve taught six of them how to knit to, and I foresee another crop in the future when my new Twist pieces appear at work. One thing that I stress about knitting to my students is the ease of adapting a pattern to fit one’s body type. As a slender person with longer-than-average arms and a long torso, I have, for the first time in my life, some clothes that really fit!

I’ve got at least three other Twist pieces in progress, and even more in the queue. You may watch the slow progress of those items on Ravelry, where you can find me as bekala.

Design Process: Azami


By Carol Feller, originally published on her blog, Stolen Stitches (and check out her Polyvore styling ideas for Azami in her April 22nd post).

I began thinking about this design several months ago and it started with the stitch pattern, an open ’star’ lace pattern.  In fact when I was working on the design I always called it ‘Starry Night ‘ when I referred to it!  This is one of the original swatches I put together with this lace pattern using Malabrigo Lace in ‘Glazed Carrot’.

You can already see in this swatch how I was working on a decreasing/increasing the width of the lace pattern.  In the final design I used this idea at the sleeve cuffs, along the sides of the hips and also around the neckline.  I love the effect of lace worked across an otherwise simple fabric that moves across the material.

With the hood I wanted to create an allover lace material that expanded to fit the head without having to increase the stitches, by increasing the needle size and creating a more open lace at the top of the hood it fits without interrupting the flow of the lace.

As you can see when I was originally envisioning this piece I was thinking about using a laceweight yarn at a loose gauge.  Although this would have produced a lovely fabric it does take an age to work and Kate from the Twist Collective got me thinking about using different weight yarns.  I loved working with the yarn we finally choose, Southwick from Valley yarns.  It is a dk weight yarn that is a mixture of both cotton and bamboo, so it creates a super drapey fabric.  Although you do need to make sure to block your swatch to make sure that you take account of any stretch you will get after it is blocked.

This is a sketch of the final design idea, you can see that the end product looks pretty similar (I’m always amazed when that happens!!) please forgive the poorly drawn face, I just can’t resist drawing faces on my sketches – must be the child in me…

As with most of my designs, this sweater is made seamlessly.  The body is knit in the round from the bottom up (with the shoulders joined using a 3-needle bind off).  The sleeves are picked up from the armhole and worked down using short rows to create a set-in sleeve.  In Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top she suggests not picking up the wraps when you work sleeves like this as the wraps create a neat ’seam’ at the top of the sleeve.  I’ve been too much of a chicken to try this before but I gave it a shot and it really works beautifully.  It has the added benefit that you don’t have to mess around with picking up any wraps!

There is gentle waist shaping created using dart lines on the front and the back and all edging is kept nice and simple with garter stitch.  It was a pleasure as always to work with the Twist Collective (Carol also designed the child's Necco Wafer Hoodie in the Spring 2009 issue).

Giveaway winners!

First prize of the book, yarn and GoKnit bag goes to: Kate K.

Second and third prize of the book go to: Annie T. and Abby C.

We've emailed you! Congratulations!

(and for everyone else, the pattern is still available for free! Happy knitting!)