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Twist Collective Blog


Corrina FergusonCorrina Ferguson is the designer behind Winter's Cithara, a gorgeous hooded cardigan with lovely cable details. This is Corrina's first contribution to Twist! You can also find this post on her blog, and you can keep up with her on Twitter.

All I can think about lately are sweaters. Probably because my fingers are slightly blue – it’s actually been cold here in Florida lately – and I refuse to turn the heat up on principle. Last night I was sketching up and submitting sweaters, and I am quite seriously considering hitting the yarn store today to get yarn for a sweater for myself. I’d also like to make myself one of these:

Cithara with pony

When I designed this sweater, I had the perfect sweater in mind. I thought about features on other garments I had knit – what I liked, what I didn’t like. I knew I wanted a zipper, and I’m a sucker for turned hems and i-cord edgings. So I starting thinking and I started sketching.


I played around a lot with where the cable motifs would go; how they would integrate into the sweater and what seemed most organic. I swatched the cable motifs in Malabrigo worsted – because it’s always good to have some of that on hand for swatching. The motif I had chosen lent it self well to sleeve insets and panels up the front of the sweater and around the hood. The motif itself reminded me of a harp, so after a smidge of research (wikipedia to the rescue!) I found that a cithara was a kind of ancient Greek harp or lyre. Hence the name. Naming things is sometimes the hardest part!


When I received the Mountain Mohair from Green Mountain Spinnery I was pleased to find out how well it cabled. And the little tweedy bits were perfect for the large areas of stockinette in this sweater. Something with a bit of interest is best – either texturally or color-wise. That way the stockinette areas don’t look flat.

Hood view

And when push came to shove I ended up with a sweater that was actually better than I envisioned. Which is really all a designer can hope for.

Sleeve detail

Behind the Scenes - At This Moment Shoot

Jane Heller is one of the photographers who routinely works with Twist Collective. You can see her lovely work in the magazine in Fall's ma belle guitare, and Spring's Better than Basic, just to name a few. You can find much, much more of her work on her website, or even get some for yourself from her etsy shop.

Hello everyone! Kate and I thought it would be fun to do a regular post of the "behind the scenes" of each photo shoot. The winter issue is out already but I always find it interesting to see how things are done. This series was shot at a lovely beach that is usually deserted in the month of September but to our surprise there was a bus load of kids swimming in the frigid water! Thankfully the beach was big enough for all of us.

At This Moment collage

Our wonderful model Caro was a real trooper as the cool winds blew in off the water. You might not know, but we never use professional models for the shoots. At times it can be really challenging to get the right pose or expression, but all in all we have been very lucky with the girls we find. Kate is the one who usually finds our models, either in a café, on the street or working in a pharmacy - she has no qualms about approaching people to see if they would like to model. Caro works at a local café where both Kate and I spend a lot of time with our laptops. This shoot went smoothly so I have no horror stories to tell. Stay tuned for more behind the scenes photos!


Robin Melanson

Robin Melanson is a prolific designer. In the past, she has brought us dreamy cabled cardigans, gorgeous jackets, and beautiful accessories; and these are just her contributions to Twist Collective. She shares a slice of life for a busy designer in this post about Bellevue, which can also be found on her blog.

My Bellevue sweater pattern is published in Twist Collective Winter 2011 edition*. It’s a hip-length pullover with a deep v-neck, and it is worked in two coordinating textured stitch patterns. It works up very quickly on 5.5 mm needles in Filatura di Crosa “Charly” 100% wool yarn.

Sweater + Pony

*Pony not included with purchase.

This sweater was made back in July-August, which gives you an idea of the lead time involved in publishing patterns in magazines. So way back in the nice warm Summer, while I was picnicking by the river, I was dreaming of wintry sweaters and snow and ice.

Luckily, it is now winter and I was able to take some winter-inspiration photos over the last few days while out for my usual walks.

Inspiration shots

I don’t take photos of projects in progress with the plan of using them later in a blog post. There are a few reasons for this. Sometimes I am not the one knitting the sweater, or not even anywhere near the person who is knitting it. Another is that I am not a photography wizard – the reference photos that I take for pattern writing aren’t works of art, they are tools. Publishing knitting patterns tends to be seasonal, and the work comes in great big stacks all at once at certain times of the year, not spread out in a comfortable fashion. So, at Busy Time, my workspace (= apartment) is a disaster area and my free time is non-existent. All waking hours are spent trying to meet stacked deadlines. Hence the dearth of in-progress photos! You see one sweater here, but at the time this was made I had about sixteen on my plate in various stages of their creation.

Luckily for you, Twist Collective took lots of photos!

Button Detail

In this one you get a good view of the buttons. I confess I am somewhat of a button hoarder aficionado. These are vintage buttons, from my personal collection. They were just the right colour to go with the yarn, and their shape is so pretty.

Cuff detail

Here is a nice close-up of the cuff. I have to say I cannot wait until I get this one back and can wear it myself. That’s another good thing about Twist Collective – they return the samples to the designer after the trunk shows are over. Given the number of sweaters that I make (in recent years, it’s been about 40 or so per year), I have very little to show for it in my own closet. However, that doesn’t bother me terribly, what I enjoy the most is thinking of new things and creating them (in fact, there is a new thing from me which will appear in the Spring issue of Twist Collective).

Should you knit this sweater, I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I will, and that it will keep you warm on days like this:

Chilly day

Styling your Twist handknits

Hi! Carly here- one of many behind the scenes Twist tinkers. Today I'm geeking out over fashion, and hoping you will too.

Tell me if this story sounds familiar; you see a sweater in a knitting magazine or book and fall madly in love. You find the perfect yarn (maybe even in your stash) and lovingly swatch (or lovingly don't, you rebel). You work on it furiously, falling more and more in love with your amazing creation. When it's finished, you are elated! Then you find that it is actually kind of difficult to work it into your wardrobe. You love this sweater, but even though you have been wearing clothes for your whole entire life, you cannot figure out how to wear it. This is not your fault, and it is certainly not the sweater's fault. The sweater is awesome, and also innocent. Sometimes it is just hard to picture your wonderful sweater in new situations-- like with your other clothes.

In the magazine, we can only really show you one way a garment can be worn, and sometimes fashion shoots are more about fantasy than practicality. Well, the blog is here to help. We don't just want you to make the garments we feature in this magazine. We want you to wear them! Polyvore is a website that allows you to construct outfits from a seemingly endless array of clothing items. It's pretty fun to play with, and also reminds me of Cher's closet from the 90s classic Clueless.  You can use it to imagine a million ways to wear any given item, and you can use items silimar to ones you already own. This isn't the first time we've talked about Polyvore on the Twist blog- Marnie gave us a really helpful primer on how to use it, and Julia shared some reader submissions for Timpani. We'll be adding items from Twist to the site, so you can make your own outfits with them too! Taking out their backgrounds is the only tricky part- if you can do that, you can "clip" any Twist item you like straight from the shop! If you want to, you can tweet your outfits and tag then with the hashtag #twiststyle.

Here are a few to start you off. I started playing with Oscillate, Amy Herzog's ladylike cardigan design.To me, the buttery yellow just cried out to be paired with something rich and bright. Two takes on that are below...

Oscillate with jeans

Oscillate with fancy shoes

How would you wear your Oscillate?


Laura Kanemori

Laura Kanemori is the designer of these wonderful socks, Inglenook, which feature both a lovely lace motif and non-traditional shaping. Today, Laura shares with us her design process for this, her first pattern with Twist Collective. This entry is cross-posted from her blog, which can be found here.

Heel and gusset detail

I love socks. After my first few inevitable scarf and hat projects, socks were the next thing on my "must learn to knit" list. And a 2009 sock club was an extra-special treat from my husband.

After working my way through that club, I moved on to Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I love this book. After walking through the very basic steps of sock construction through others' patterns, this book lets you leap off into the deep end of your own ideas.

Prototype closeup

Iin comes Inglenook. Cat teaches that gusset increases can go just about anywhere they want to go, and I know that lace is made up of paired increases and decreases. So I wondered what would happen if you left out the decreases; what you get is a pattern that grows on its own in a very natural manner.  A sock that grows without an obvious gusset!

Inglenook grew from one of my favorite lace patterns. Each motif reminds me of the licking tongue of a flame. These flamelets grow down your leg from a spiky picot edge and then turn under the heel in a cushy slip-stitch reinforced sole. The socks are wonderfully comfortable in open-back clogs.

Toes were something else that came to mind when I was knitting from other people's patterns. Knitted fabric is wonderful in that it stretches and conforms. If you give it a shape reasonably close to what you want it to be, it will accommodate small differences. But you can also shape it exactly as you want.

Traditional toes decrease equally on the left and right side. But if you look at your foot, the big toe extends straight out from the body of the foot. I shaped this sock's toe to fit the line of the foot more naturally, and this technique not much different than working a more standard wedge-shaped toe.

Then, we have the yarn...

Side view

While I tried these out first with yarn I had in my own stash, I had the opportunity to knit with some really lovely yarn, KnitGlobal Pollika sock yarn. This 4-ply yarn is fantastic for socks. It is a wool/nylon blend with a really firm twist. The four plies make the stitches just pop (I'd imagine it would also knit into some really amazing cables and twisted-stitch patterns) and it has a lovely, deep color. It knits up into a smooth fabric that I couldn't wait to put on my own feet (and did quite a few times before giving these babies their final careful wash and block to send them off). It's a real treat to knit with.

All in all, Inglenook takes a whole bunch of individual design elements I really like and combines them into a cohesive whole, and in them my toes are just as toasty and warm as they would be if tucked up close to the flames dancing in my fireplace.

The pattern for Inglenook is available from the Twist Collective in the Winter 2011 issue.