Receive HTML?

Twist Collective Blog

Style Notebook, featuring Bright Star

Julia here.

Bright Star by Cathy Caron is a sweater that really grew on me as we were planning photography for the winter issue.  I liked it the way Cathy pitched it — on a mannequin — but how would we style it? At first I didn't know, but a little thought later, I couldn't stop thinking of ways to wear it. 

You've seen the sweater over that vintage dress with the amazing skirt as we showed it in the magazine.  The cardigan covers the halter-style top of the dress; as a strategic piece, Bright Star turns a season-and bra-specific dress into something that can be worn almost year round, into a practically indispensable wardrobe option.


Another vintage profile was this rayon dress I had on loan, but I thought it had a seriousness to it that we weren't looking for in the Faneuil Hall story. I would put this particular silhouette with brown oxfords and ankle socks for a 30's feel, like a young Judy Garland running down to the drugstore to get an egg cream.


Personally, I don't really think of myself as someone who would wear a cropped sweater, but lately, I've become somewhat enamored of the idea of smaller lighter sweaters worn as layers, with longer sleeves of jersey t-shirts showing, and maybe even a great "on trend" boyfriend jacket thrown over the whole thing with the sleeves rolled up.  Even north of 45 (as I am), I understand that it's possible to be youthful without being ridiculous. Serious boots with warm textured tights ground the whole look.

Over smart trousers, Bright Star can be polished and professional looking.  So long as you keep the under-layer longer, mixing up the proportions, you'll look stylish and intentional. This has a Murphy Brown feeling to me.


To be sure, you're going to need your Spanx for that one, but I think many knitters would look taller and leaner with a sweater fitted through the ribcage, and the illusion of a higher waist that Bright Star has. And of course, anyone is free to give it a few extra inches of ribbing to cover the trouser waistband, if they were so moved.

How would you wear Bright Star?

Design Process: Mystère


by Cecily Glowik MacDonald Originally published on her blog, Winged Knits.


I am so thrilled to have a design included in twist collective's Winter 09 issue. For this design I began with the idea that I wanted a pullover that could be worn dressed up with a skirt or just thrown on with jeans, something very versatile and easy to wear.  I really wanted it to be a rather simple knit with a few easy details to keep it interesting, what I think of as relaxing, almost meditative knitting.



I love the texture of the Reverse Stockinette Stitch up against the smooth Stockinette Stitch panels.  Down the center of the Stockinette Stitch Panels on the front and back is what I called a “shadow cable”.  This cable is twisted many rows apart to keep it from pulling the stitches as much as a traditional cable does, this keeps the panel more flat and adds a bit of “Mystère” as to what the stitch is. 




And the saddle shoulder is an unexpected touch.




The lovely gray in the model sweater is a wonderful choice for a garment that can be worn with many outfits, but I also think that this design would work well in a strong, bright color. However, when choosing a color for this sweater it is important to note that the darker the color, the less visible the shadow cable will be.  The cable is basically visible because of the shadows cast by the twisted, raised stitches, the darker the color, the less contrast there is between the shadows and highlight areas.



Knitting Jazz

Julia here.

One of my favorite things about the internet is how it spreads the inspiration around, be it a spark of an idea for an entirely new design, or a full blown finished object from another knitter to admire, and heck, copy stitch for stitch.  In this post, I thought I'd share with you some of  the "jazz riffs" on Twist projects I've come across in the last few weeks  (including an FO of my own, if you'll indulge me a bit), and a few ideas I have for projects to come (again, with the indulgence).

I always enjoy it when a knitter transposes a chart or a cable pattern from one pattern into another silhouette or socks or mitts.  The Sleepy Monkey Blanket, Little Birds, Harika, and Sylvi have all enjoyed alternative incarnations since they were released to the creativity of knitters.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that someone will similarly take Robin Melanson's Frost Tapestry to a new level, perhaps as a black and white sweater with that chart emblazoned across the chest.


Sometimes it's proportion that transforms a pattern from a "nice enough" to a "must knit", like the Karazuri Bag from Leila Wice.  Here it is in the original size, and also a shorter version which I think is delectable.


The potential of any pattern for personal translation is terrific, but Twist knitters seem to be particularly attuned to how to make our patterns work for them. No one has put sleeves on Uhura yet, but I have seen a sleeveless Pas de Valse, and a Kelmscott in process that convinced me it would also make a great vest. These are tweaks of detail that make a finished project special.

Martha's version (ravelry link) of Mari Muinonen's Luminen really grabs me.  Martha omitted the snowflakes of the original design, and continued the cable that borders the front edge and pockets so that it became a low slung belt around the back.



Suddenly this design has traded a bit of the wholesale whimsy of the original for some sophistication.  And if you ask me, that gorgeous shade of Cascade 220 Heathers doesn't hurt a bit.

It's wonderful how colour can change the perception of a pattern.  Often we photograph a sweater in cream or light colours so that all the little details won't be missed on the webpage.  Fiona Ellis's Paula is a good example of such a sweater whose wonderful cables and traveling stitches could have been lost if we chose a dark yarn.  I couldn't wait to make my own version in a bright happy green, a perfect antidote for the gloom of winter in New England.


Another sweater I think can be jazzed with as far as color goes is Kate Gilbert's Kirigami.  It's a sweater of unique construction techniques, and the two knitters I have heard from so far who have made it say it was the most fun sweater they ever made.  I can't wait. This image of a striped iceberg (via WebEcoist)


has planted an idea in my head to knit Kate's sweater out of Kureyon or Silk Garden, with a complimentary plain yarn, but probably not snow white.  Can't you just picture it?


Like I said, you never know where you're going to find ideas out here.

Polar Chullo Color Variations


by Mary Ann Stephens, orginally published on her blog Two Strands.


That’s my Polar Chullo. The yarn pack featuring Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift is available here.

A lot of thoughts about movement went into this:  The natural colorway moves back in time with a retro feel.  The bears move their legs from one motif to another as they amble around.  Some of the bears get just a bit leaner as they wander around toward the top.  They’re “stranded” – they can’t help it!  But it’s just by a stitch – can you find it?


If you’re moved to knit the design but want different colors, I’m busy putting a few alternate colorways together.  At 9 sts/inch, I’d recommend either the Spindrift or Dale Baby Ull (which I used for my Postwar Mittens, which were knit at exactly the same gauge.)  Here are some colorways to consider and I’ll add more as they become available:

Some traditionally-inspired Spindrift possibilities:


My delight with Spindrift at 9sts/inch has prompted me to start carrying it at Kidsknits.  Both of these colorways are available and I’ll post more as my Spindrift stock expands.

Some Baby Ull options:


Just the tip of the iceberg, my darlings!

Style Notebook, featuring Bijou

Funny thing about writing a blog is how often you run into people who never actually read the words, but instead just look at the pictures. So for the benefit of those who glaze over after a few dozen of the things, here in living color is what I meant when I said a few posts ago about how dressy accessories can transform a sweater into a party sweater, using Marnie MacLean's Bijou as an example:

Bijou by Marnie MacLean
Bijou by Marnie MacLean