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Twist Collective Blog

Yarns for Little Birds

A few North American readers have asked me what I would substitute for the Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift because they've been having touble finding it in the right quantities.  I immediately thought of Harrisville New England Shetland, a dead ringer for Jamieson's in gauge and texture.


Harrisville New England Shetland

Here are the closest colours in my opinion. The Harrisville Oatmeal and the Cobalt are good matches for the Jamieson's Eisit and Clyde Blue to my eye, but you can see from the photo that the Leprechaun (in a special guest appearance down there at the bottom) is a different kind of green than the Harrisville Hemlock. Harrisville does offer a green that has more yellow in it, called Emerald, but I personally found it to be garish in combination with the Cobalt and the Oatmeal.  Which is not to say that you couldn't find a different combination of colours altogether, but this was just following as closely to the sample version as would be possible with Harrisville's offerings.  I think Hemlock in this combination actually warms the sweater up a little, which personally, I like.

And now for something just a little bit different.  

Classic Elite is issuing a new yarn this fall that I have heard Creative Director Pam Allen call a "Bohus style" yarn: Fresco is a 2 ply sport weight yarn, 60% wool, 30% baby alpaca, 10% angora, in 35 colours, with a recommended gauge of 6½ sts/inch on US 5 needles.  I immediately thought a stranded sweater in this yarn would be a dream to wear.  With all that lovely soft fiber, even the tender skinned among us can wear a simple camisole under the sweater and call themselves dressed. 


Classic Elite Yarns Fresco

To achieve the recommended gauge of 7 st/in, I knit a 45 stitch swatch on US size 2/ 2.25 mm needles.  I am a slightly loose knitter, being a scooper, so other knitters may get the same results on a size 3.  I found the 10% quantity of angora to be just right, giving the yarn the gentle bloom that I like about the bunny, but not enough to tickle my nose, obscure the stitches, nor to leave a trail of fluff on the upholstery.  Fresco was lovely to knit with, never split, and even in stranded knitting drapes well, but not too much.  The swatch took a few days of abuse in the bottom of my purse with only a little bloom, but not a pill in sight.  Longer wear under the arms would better represent how it would hold up, but I'm satisfied it's got longevity to it.  


steek swatch


Admittedly, Little Birds would be a different sweater in this rather than a traditional Shetland yarn: drapier, a little more feminine (as if Little Birds needs any help in that direction) and steeking it would involve securing the stitches first, but I'll show you how to do that in the next post. 

Victoria Unbuttoned

Funny things happen on a photo shoot, especially just after dawn on the streets of a busy city in the middle of a work week: suddenly, three hours have flown by and now there are people around. In this day and age, one can't go photographing just anyone as they walk through your background without the proper release forms, so the "shoot" is uh, shot. Officially speaking.

So it was with Connie Chang Chinchio's Victoria which had to be packed up before we could show the sweater worn in a more open way than just the buttoned up and slightly formal way we photographed that morning in Montreal.


Victoria Unbuttoned


As you can see, it looks a little different: more fun and flirty when a few buttons are left open. Perhaps it's the indispensable lady-like cardigan you've always promised yourself you'd make so that you always had one when you needed it (and you will). Easy to see yourself in those lovely details now, isn't it?  

Or maybe you imagine it in black, worn with skinny dark jeans and a heavy belt buckle peaking out from underneath.

Any other ideas come to mind? 

Fiber Revival

We’ll be out of “the office” for the coming week, so emails may sit for a little while.  The truly urgent business of sending out patterns will be on capable autopilot, but do forgive us if you have a question that needs answering Tuesday morning.  We’ll be mostly out of touch until the 25th.


Sereknity Sock yarn


Before our respective vacations. Kate came with me to Spencer Peirce Little Farm in Newbury, Massachusetts to the second year of Fiber Revival. There were classes, vendors, alpaca promenades, and the just plain old hanging out that is the staple of such glorious days.


Charkas demo


A turkey named Socrates spent much of the day courting anyone who stood still long enough, including Jonathon Bosworth of Journey Wheel who demonstrated spinning cotton on one of his beautiful bookcase charkas.  


Margaret in Linden


And Margaret Atkinson of Green Mountain Spinnery brought her fresh-off-the-needles version of Veronik Avery’s Linden in the new purple Yarn Over.  I talked her into giving a twirl in a suitably mossy grotto.


Jill in Linden
Jill in Linden


Jill Stover of Yarns in the Farms, who recently celebrated a major birthday, also gave it a try.  
And I caught up with Leslie Wind, who had new versions of her cable needle that was featured in the fall issue of Twist Collective. She has a new arrangement for selling them through Darcy’s Knotty Knitter if you’re still looking to get your hands on one of these.


picture of clouds


It was a glorious day, but like so many days this summer, the weather won out by mid-afternoon.  People scurried to get their wheels undercover, but all of us were glad to have had most of the day together.

The Dress

For readers who also sew, or who just admire great clothes, Daniel Beaudet, who created the grey flannel dress for Kate in the fall issue, has posted further insights into his process on his blog.  It looks like Daniel, taking inspiration from our designers, may make the pattern available through his website soon: go hound him to spur him on.  The post is worth looking if only for his beautiful sketch of the dress in jade green.
sketch of Kate's dress by Daniel Beaudet

Wisteria in Color

So now that you've seen where the idea for Wisteria came from, and the yarn I've set off with for my own, I thought I'd show you some of the other versions currently under way on the Web.

My friend Kelly is a dedicated color girl, and never fails to chose vibrant yarns for her knitting.  Her Wisteria is no exception as she quickly gravitated to one of her favorite yarns, Dream in Color Classy, in Flamingo Pie.  In the skein, the yarn didn't immediately say "Wisteria" to me, but in the knitting, the subtle shadings of the Dream in Color dye technique make for a delicious fabric.

Kelly's wisteria 

From pink to green: Mari's version makes me want to knit another one, in a cheery apple green well within my personal favorite color range.  She's using Garnstudio Alpaca from her stash.  Since it's a sport weight yarn, she using it doubled to get an appropriate gauge.  I love that.


Mari's wisteria


And even though Holly's version isn't very far along yet, I have to show you the color she chose: a sweet shade that Malabrigio Merino Worsted calls Orchid. Where my Wisteria will be in the silver a bit rugged, I think Holly's will be very ladylike and perfectly at home with either jeans or a floral skirt.


Holly's wisteria


I for one would love to see this sweater in both in a smooth black extra fine merino, and in a slightly fuzzy yarn, with maybe a touch of angora or kid mohair, in white.  A nice oversized one in white. Mmmm. yeah.  

We have a group over on Flickr now, so you can upload project photos over there, and of course, there's the group on Ravelry too also you can keep track of progress on any patterns you are thinking of casting on for.