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Robin MelansonToday Robin brings us behind the scenes on a photshoot from the Spring/Summer Twist. Read about how our families get involved with the little details, and how we go on adventures in unseasonable weather to bring you these garments and stories.

When you flip through the magazine, you see only the finished product, not the immense amount of time and work that goes into creating the images we use to entice Twist readers to knit the designs we publish.

Bloom Cover image

This is a peek behind the scenes of the Bloom layout in the Spring issue of Twist. I have recently started working with Kate Gilbert as a production assistant on Twist. I had worked with Twist previously as a designer, but I am now living in Montreal and the opportunity arose to be involved in the production aspect of the magazine, so here is my first Twist photo shoot experience....

We were fortunate to be able to do a spring shoot on location, which is usually not possible due to our uncooperative Quebec weather and the amount of lead time needed before the issue is published. However, March is still rather un-spring-like here (as in there is an awful lot of brown, a little bit of green, and a whole lot of muck). So, to enhance the spring-like atmosphere, we made giant crepe paper flowers in bright juicy colors.

There are several steps involved in making crepe paper flowers. The first step is to run all over the city sourcing supplies, including the local building supply store (where you can see that in addition to being a knit designer, I am also quite handy with a hacksaw). These unstylish pipes would later be transformed into magnificent flower stems.

Robin with a hacksaw

The next step is to conscript all family members into the Paper Flower Workshop:

The Paper Flower Family Workshop

Here is Kate’s husband, Fred, exhausted on the floor after a long evening of cutting out petals and wrapping metal pipe in floral tape (at which he excels). Notice how he is not visibly chained, and I swear we did feed him. Children are also adept at assembling small parts, though we have no photographic evidence.

The photographer, Jane Heller, has a great location for us to shoot on, which is in the country but only about an hour from the city. With the car stuffed to the seams with pretty sweaters, paper flowers,and lovely models, we headed out of the city (it’s a wonderful city, but it’s always nice to have a nature interlude).

Jane fired up the tractor (we ride in style at Twist), I stared down the horse so he wouldn’t make a break for the open gate, and we went off into the woods for the field where we were planning to shoot. By this time, I was dying to know if Jane would let me drive the tractor.

Riding in style

It looks like a pleasant day but the poor models were frozen – we wrapped them up in parkas and blankets between outfits to try and keep them warm.

Beauties, huddling together for warmth

Thinking warm thoughts

You’ve seen the spread so you know the result of most of what went on for the next several hours.

While we were packing up to go back through the woods, I finally worked up the nerve to ask Jane if I could drive the tractor (we had just met after all), and OMG SHE SAID YES!

Robin, taking the wheel

Here Jane is pointing out the throttle. That little lever you see near my knee is the choke. This tractor was old school. I would have also liked to have a try at the old Soviet tractor in the background, with the pink basket on the front, but it was not to be.

Adventures with farm equipment

So I got to drive it all the way back through the woods to the farm, where CBC radio was also there, recording a show. I also learned a valuable lesson. CBC sound technicians do not like it when you drive a tractor all up in their business, with the throttle open way too far for second gear, while whooping with excitement that you are, in fact, driving a tractor.

Every Friday we feature one of the garments from the magazine in a post about styling. We suggest different ways to wear the garment in question using mock-ups from Polyvore. We encourage readers to tell us what they think about these outfits via our Facebook page or Twitter, and if folks want to make their own outfits, please tweet them at us with the hashtag #twiststyle. You can find all of the Style Friday posts here.

Happy Friday everyone! Back again with another installment of Style Friday, and this week, our subject is Amy Christoffers' pretty lace cardigan.


A hip lenth, bracelet sleeve cardigan is a really useful and easy layering piece, and you could easily wear this with jeans or dressier pants. When I started to play with it, what I couldn't help but notice was that it looks totally beautiful with skirts. A-line, penil, mini, maxi, it didn't matter! Nearly any skirt I chose suited the flattering shape and flowing lines of this lovely knit. Seriously- take a look!

Lanata styled with skirts

So pick your favorite skirt, a roomy bag, and shoes you can stroll around in, and be ready for wherever your day may bring you. Share your ideas about how to wear Lanata on our Facebook page, or tweet them at us, @twistcollective, #twiststyle!

Today, I (Kate) chose, cleaned up, cropped, sized, and named 310 photos. This is also the world's smallest fall preview!


310 images

Creating a knitting magazine isn't just about finding great designs and taking pictures of them. This series takes you behind the scenes from mood board to publication. You can find all the posts in this series, here.  

We would love to hear what you think of our behind the scenes series of blog posts, or any of our other posts. To get in on the discussion join us on Facebook.

The quietest part of any given edition is the time that the designers are knitting and writing their patterns. Well, it's quietest for us at Twist, unless we happen to also be designing in which case, it's still pretty zany, but in terms of the work behind the scenes, it's a relative lull where we can focus on other aspects of other editions. As I've mentioned before, we pretty much always have at least three editions, we are dealing with at any given time, but in the interest of trying to keep this as chronological as possible, after assigning and ordering yarn, the process of planning shoots becomes the next priority.

Probably the biggest challenge in styling a shoot is keeping the look and feel seasonally appropriate. Twist is based out of Montréal Canada and Rochester, New York, so winters are cold and snowy and summers are hot and muggy, which would be absolutely fine if we planned to shoot summer garments in the summer and winter garments in the winter, but the truth is that we often shoot our Spring Summer edition a little after Christmas and our Fall and Winter editions during the hottest months of the year. So while we wait for garments to arrive, we spend time talking about ways to set a seasonally appropriate mood when the landscape and tempuratures are completely innappropriate. Sometimes, that means planning a story or theme to be shot primarily inside.

Storyboard for the Sweet Surprise shoot

Other times it means creating props, such as a rainy window for Rain Date or paper flowers for Bloom.

making flowers
Creating flowers for the Bloom shoot.

flower inspector
Three beauties.

As we plan the shoots, the garments start coming in and are sorted into their respective shoots.

box of submissions
Projects and yarn are ready for their close-up.

Kate pulls together seasonally and thematically appropriate garments to pair with the projects and starts combining them to see how they work together.

Robin's Sylvatica looks sweet with a chiffon skirt

lots of submissions
So many shawls and beautiful fabric for the I Feel Pretty shoot
Top row: Tepal and Elysium -Second row: Paon and Muguet - Third row: Stellaria and Satsuma - Fourth row: Giardina - Last row: Corona

And lastely, Kate invites the model over, to try on garments and make sure they fit well.

model in ceylon
Ceylon is a perfect fit on Constance.

In a perfect world, all the pieces fall right into place from the start, but the reality is usually a little more complicated. Knitting delays, bad weather, models' availability, and fitting challenges may all dictate which shoot a garment goes into. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it to make sure that each garment looks its best.

Every Friday we feature one of the garments from the magazine in a post about styling. We suggest different ways to wear the garment in question using mock-ups from Polyvore. We encourage readers to tell us what they think about these outfits via our Facebook page or Twitter, and if folks want to make their own outfits, please tweet them at us with the hashtag #twiststyle. You can find all of the Style Friday posts here.

Get ready for a pretty special fashion friday, knitters! Today's post is coming to you from Elizabeth McCarten, designer of the elegant Brookline cardigan. You can also find it on her blog, here.  Now, I certainly have been having fun with these styling posts, and I hope you have been enjoying them (always feel free to tell me/us what you think on our Facebook page, by the way), but you may have noticed that demure, mature, and sophisticated styles are not exactly my forte. So in today's post, Elizabeth shares some ways to wear Brookline in a more casual way than in the magazine.

Brookline, styled by Twist

When Brookline came out in Twist Collective last April, a knitter wrote to me asking whether I thought a woman over 40 could wear this design. I designed the prototype for Isabel, my 20-year-old daughter, shown here in an alpaca version:

Brookline Prototype

I wanted to give this photo a dressed-up, party feel. Isabel is very petite and admittedly, looks good in just about everything. At the same time, I only ever design and knit women's sweaters that I would wear myself, so the answer to the reader who asked if an older woman could wear Brookline, is a definite yes. I am 55 and I love this design. Not only is the shape extremely forgiving, but it can be worn dressed up or down and it's perfect for those tricky "transitional" seasons. For example, here it is shown with a 6-year-old J.Jill sleeveless linen blouse and equally old J.Jill blue jeans.

Outfit #1

Neckline closeupsleeve detail

Wondering about accessories?


Silver earrings from "Sterling" here in Kingston


Bracelet from recycled silver spoons purchased at P'Lover

Eyeglass chain

Eyeglass holder/necklace from J.Jill.


Slightly beat-up but very comfy Naot clogs.

This is a great look for browsing at Kingston's City Market on a Saturday morning or meeting up with friends for knitting at a local coffee shop. When I want to be a bit more dressed up, I button Brookline over loose knit black pants and a knit black tee, both from Cut Loose.

Outfit #2




Earrings purchased at Catch Can in Washington, DC.


Tilley hat (expensive and worth every penny), Clark shoes, and

grey/black scarf bought at Chris Reynolds in Westport.

I can't finish without showing my fave bag. You wouldn't believe how many compliments I get about this, and not just from knitters who admire its capacious interior. Everyone thinks it's a $300 leather bag in a rich red. Wrong. It's vinyl faux leather, available at Pinecone in Westport, ON. Now you know!

So, how would you wear your Brookline?