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Twist Collective Blog

Rhinebeck recap

Hi all! It's Kate. Just taking a little break from the winter issue preparations to say hello and share some photos from Rhinebeck. Irene and I were there scoping out all of the beautiful knits and yarns and fibers. We met lots of people we already knew and loved as well as new friends! Here are  some of the twist FOs we spotted. I hope everyone will forgive me for not remembering all of your names. I also hope you'll forgive the super long post. I think all of these FOs are worth seeing!

As we were getting our tickets, we saw Woolyminded and her beautiful Acorns!

Rhinebeck Acorn

And I was sporting one of our brand new (very large, heavyweight) Twist Totes.

Rhinebeck Gwendolyn

Soon after, I finally got to meet Angela. She's in Vancouver. I'm in Montreal. So we finally met in New York after two years of talking. Makes sense, right? I'm wearing Tolovana (and Kirigami and Twin Oaks, actually - they're just hidden under my coat and shoes). Did You notice she's wearing Gwendolyn in the cardi version? We also spotted these two Gwendolyns.

Rhinebeck Gwendolyn

That's Potteryfreak and Sarah (of Ravelry).

Rhinebeck Argyle and Vivian

We saw this gorgeous Argyle (love that colorway!) and an awesome orange Vivian

Rhinebeck Stratocumulus and Red Oak

Here's VTHuskies in her Stratocumulus and a (teal) Red Oak. VTHuskies (Abby) told us that she loooooooooved knitting Stratocumulus and that she thought it would be a fantastic first sweater for a newer knitter.

Rhinebeck Hallett’s Ledge

We saw several Hallett's Ledges. The one on the left was finished in the car on the way to Rhinebeck. And on the right, that's Mandy Powers. We also saw a really beautiful pink Hallett's Ledge but didn't manage to get a picture of it.

Rhinebeck Sylvi

The smart lady on the left (someone help me with names!) had extra yarn from her Sylvi so she made a Sylvi-inspired bag to match. On the right is a brave soul who did a colorwork and cables Sylvi.

Rhinebeck Gytha and Cityscape

This is Michelle. She's wearing Hope's Gytha that she modified to make a cardigan! Michelle showed us her Eiffel Tower swatch. She's going to insert it into Cityscape and make the skyline how she wants it! I think that's awesome. In my imaginary knitting life, I would knit Cityscape to include the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and something from Montreal.

Rhinebeck Cityscape and Orange Pop

Speaking of Cityscape, Irene sported the sample along with the Crown of Leaves hat. That's Becky Herrick that she's standing with (designer of Cambridge Cables). I'm sure you recognize Mary-Heather (designer of Promenade) and Orange Pop. And on the bottom right, that's the very cute Cheryl Burke (designer of Cottage Garden and Stratocumulus).

Rhinebeck Arboreal Beret

I can't wait until next year when we can see all of your other super ideas and visit with the animals again. Above is me (again) in Arboreal Beret having a quiet moment with the sheep.

If you see yourself or a friend and have a name and link for me, I'd be happy to put them in! I think the wool fumes killed my memory. You can email me at kate at twistcollective dot com.

Passion Knit

Fiona Ellis

Today's blog post is written by Fiona Ellis who has designed so many gorgeous pieces I couldn't pick one to highlight. 

Passion Knits Storefront
Rebecca and Paula in the window

Funny how we all seem to feel that urge of back to school no matter how old we are or if we have kids or not. So one of my local yarn stores (Passion Knit) decided that this fall they would rename the season “Back to Wool”.  Then they set their customers a challenge that they called the “Twist Collective Challenge”. It is designed to encourage their clients to look at on-line sources for pattern instructions, as well as the numerous quantities they carry in the store. The idea is that each knitter downloads their chosen TC pattern before coming into the store for help in selecting the yarn for their project. Then over the next few months everybody works on their garments and share their progress at the regular monthly knit nights to encourage knitters to keep going on their projects. Then in January to beat those post holiday/winter blahs there will be a show and tell night where everybody will model their finished garment.

I think that it is a lovely idea and I loaned them the sample garments from my Twist Collective patterns that they used for their window display.

Close-up of window display
Bonnie is also part of the window display

I was so pleased to be a part of the launch of this challenge and cannot wait to see the end results.

Chartres Aran Waistcoat
Alisa stands in front of Chartres. She is knitting the Aran Waistcoat

Maybe you could suggest a similar challenge to your own LYS - there are so many patterns to choose from now…I think Kate said it was a gazillion!


Orange Pop, hold the orange

Norah Gaughan's Orange Pop, really lives up to its name with the striking flash of orange on her inside-out colorwork design.  I love how the deep red, and bright pink, compliment Mary-Heather's complexion. But we aren't all rocking red tresses and porcelain skin (ok, I got the second half in spades, but the former, not so much). 

orange pop

A few color changes can give this piece a whole new look for any number of preferences, skin tones and occasions and Norah has kindly offered us a few alternative colorways and their corresponding color numbers.

Orange Pop Colors

I just love the black and white colorway but the cool blues and purples would fit right into my wardrobe as well. The range of Ultra Alpaca colors is pretty extensive. We'd love to hear how you'd combine them.

Get your copy of Orange Pop here and join us on Ravelry to discuss this or any other Twist Collective piece you might be knitting.

Sunny Day: And it was called yellow...

Pam Powers 

Pam Powers' first design with Twist, is a festive and retro inspired, Sunny Day. This cross post from Pam's own blog discusses the inspiration behind this lovely piece. 

Sunny Day collar

I am so fortunate to have been included amongst the many talented designers in the Fall issue of Twist Collective. The Sunny Day cardi is a retro-inspired, asymmetrical cardigan with a fair isle portrait collar done in Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend which has in its contents merino wool for body that can retain a structured collar and silk for drape, all in a DK weight yarn.   I want to address the use of bright color in my design.

Sunny Day back Sunny Day Front

Last February my friends at Shibui Knits had been kind enough to send me some samples of their new sock yarn Staccato, and I had been having fun swatching with all of the bright colors when I received a Call for Submissions from Twist Collective.  When I saw the mood board for what turned out to be WWMHD, I was immediately drawn to the collection of pictures in wonderfully bright and cheery yellows, oranges, greens and reds.  I don’t know Mary-Heather personally, but she seems so bright and cheery and who can resist a strawberry blonde in yellow?  So I was off to the races.  Picking a color palette was easy -- I knew the base color had to be yellow and I wanted the contrasting colors to really pop, so I chose an ocean blue and watermelon to set it off.

Sunny Day Yarns
Inspiration colors, Shibui Knits Staccato    Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend

I love all of the bright colors Kate Spade uses in her collections and the sort of retro feel to the styles.  She uses unbelievably bright hues but the styles look cool and kitschy without a matronly,  resort-wear feel (I’m a big fan of Project Runway).

Kate Spade Fall 2009
From the Kate Spade Fall 2009 Collection

So I selected a silhouette that was more cropped and boxy, and what is more retro than a portrait collar?  I chose to do an asymmetrical front for a bit of modernization.

Kate Spade Fall 2010 Collection
From the Kate Spade Fall 2010 Collection

The colors are very bold, so I opted to put the contrast only on the collar with the exception of the thin watermelon edging on the front, hem and cuffs.I think a lot of people feel like they can’t pull off wearing yellow, but I say “Wear what makes you feel good!” I know that yellow makes me happy--it makes me feel brighter, less tired and more optimistic, so even with my Asian skin tone, I still go for the yellow especially when feeling a little down. So now you know how to recognize me...I’m the sallow-looking Asian woman in yellow with a big smile on her face!

Sandridge: Gender Studies

Elizabeth McCarten

In this cross post from Elizabeth McCarten's blog we get a closer look at how she adapted Sandridge for the women's version. 


When I graduated from law school 27 (yikes!) years ago, I won the prize for Women and the Law. I was part of the first big wave of women graduates in law, and full of assumptions that would be blown away over the succeeding decades. I worked for 5 years and then, when Bill, my husband, was offered a job with the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, I left my job and became a stay-at-home mum for 20 years. I became the glue that held the family together while Bill was globe trotting and we were on our own in a foreign country. I knitted my way through those years, attending the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Montgomery County Studio Tours, and workshops with Alice Starmore and Debbie Bliss.
Now I'm back at work, my kids are off at university, and I'm still knitting and thinking about knitting. I'm thinking about women and the workplace and knitting, and I'm so thankful that we've got past the era when work attire meant 'menswear' for women--the little tailored suits with floppy bow ties that were de rigueur when I entered the workforce. This has led me to think about what it is that makes a sweater 'feminine'. Bows and ruffles aren't my style. So what is it that makes a sweater a female sweater, and what is it that transforms a menswear style into something distinctly female, yet something that can be worn both to the office and to the farmers' market on the weekend?
My recently published design, Sandridge, falls into this category. I first designed this as a jacket for my son, James, with no thought of re-doing it in any other form. Near the end of the process, I needed to see how the work was progressing and, James being out of the house at the time, I slipped the garment on myself. (James and I both wear the same chest size, but that is the ONLY measurement we have in common!) The hip-length jacket was tunic-length on me. Hmmm, I thought. These zigzag lines are very flattering. What if I changed the silhouette to accommodate hips? What if I replaced the zipper with big buttons? What if the collar was open at the throat to allow the wearer to show off a pretty scarf? 
This brings me to the following list of personal design preferences (I don't like the word 'rules') that guide me when I knit for the female form:

  1. When looking at a sweater, it should be immediately apparent that it is a woman's sweater, i.e. the silhouette, the details, should declare that this is a sweater for a woman. Sounds obvious, but it isn't, especially for my generation, which for many years knitted unisex sweaters for men and women from the same patterns.
  2. Avoid ribbing at the hips. Yes, it can look flattering in a form-fitting sweater on a young person. However, the majority of women look more attractive in sweaters that have a little looseness or drape in the hip area. There are plenty of ways of making an edge non-curling other than by utilizing ribbing. In Sandridge, I extended the cables right to the edges of both the body and cuffs. I did the same thing in my earlier design, Valentine (see photo).
  3. Build in a little waist and hip shaping. Even plump middle-aged women like me look better when there is some shaping. If it looks great on a slightly plump person, it will look fabulous on a slim one.
  4. Pay extra attention to the neckline. V-necklines and scooped necklines are always better than crewnecks. Avoid bulky turtlenecks and go for tall stand-up collars instead (as in Sandridge). Maybe I have these neckline preferences because I'm short, but I think that most women look better in garments that create these more vertical lines. I always think of Katherine Hepburn in the movie 'Desk Set', where she portrayed a strong-willed beautiful, intelligent woman with marvelously well-designed clothes.
  5. Aim for designs that work on a wide age range. I design garments to be worn by me and my 18-year-old daughter. In the case of Sandridge, all that was required to make the design suit her, was to make the jacket fitted to the waist before it flared out. This is the practical knitter speaking--I want to get as much bang for the buck as possible from my time spent designing.
  6. Finally, employ feminine finishing details, such as special buttons, seed stitch, lace, etc.

My goal is always to create, in a subtle way, a garment that is unfussy, but unmistakably feminine.