By Clara Parkes
For this issue we bring you a very special, swatchless Swatch-It. The fine editors of Twist have done the substituting for us—and on quite a massive scale. They’ve taken 12 beloved sweaters from the Twist archives and rebooted them in completely new yarns.
Note that the changes do not imply the old yarn was in any way bad or outdated. We shouldn’t even call it “old”—let’s call it “original.” What’s going on here is at the heart of what makes knitting so exciting: You can knit the same project again and again with a different yarn, and each time you’ll get completely unique results. “Boredom” is not a word that exists in the knitter’s vocabulary.
By Leslie Petrovski
The year was 1970-something. The yarn: Reynolds Lopi. The knitter: my mom. The design: a traditional Icelandic lopapeysa. The silhouette: oversized (though, truth be told, there’s a lot less ease than there used to be.) The colors: brown, tan, and white.
I wore that sweater with jeans and hiking boots (red laces) in high school, then with a brown corduroy prairie skirt in college (paired with Candie’s mules, if memory serves, and cabled ecru tights). Huddled in my first apartment, the thermostat turned low to save money, it was my winter companion. And, even today, that lopapeysa—which, but for a few pills, looks as good as the day it came off the needles— makes an occasional appearance when the temps hover near zero and I want to wear something serious—and seriously beautiful—to banish the cold.
Why do I continue to drag that not-so-soft pullover with me through the years? What makes a sweater one you’ll reach for now—and possibly 40 years hence?
I put this question to a variety of experts, knitters, spinners, designers, and the ultimate source of wisdom regarding all things related to yarn and needles—my knitting group—and some themes emerged.
By Fiona Ellis
By Amy King
There’s no denying that lace is lovely for warmer weather. And while many of us are familiar with the airy openwork created with knit and crochet stitches, there’s another way to make lace that’s worth a look: tatting. Detailed and delicate, tatting is a beautiful, durable form of lacemaking that dates back to the early 1800s. It has the benefit of being perfectly portable, though it does require a bit of time to come up with a largish piece—a decent-sized doily, for example, can take several hours to complete. For that reason, tatting largely found favor among aristocratic ladies with time to spare.
Like its knit and crochet counterparts, tatting is made with a series of knots, but it makes a very different sort of lace. Tatting is formed—by way of needle or shuttle—into various configurations of a basic knot to create complicated-looking designs. Series of these knots are used to make picots, chains, split chains, node stitches, split rings, and so on. Since thin threads are usually used to create the designs, they often look much more intricate than they actually are. But while threads are the traditional choice for tatting you can use thicker yarn if you prefer. Scraps of sock yarns, for instance, are fabulous for making larger designs.
By Fiona Ellis
Bathing, that invigorating act of stepping into pool or sea in the company of others, has a history that drifts back to Roman times, possibly even earlier. How, where, and with whom we swim or bathe—and how it’s viewed by society—changed considerably between ancient and modern times. But whatever the era, these factors all contribute to how people choose to clothe themselves for a swim or a splash. Let’s dive in for a look at the evolution of western swimwear and the shifts in viewpoint that brought about those changes.