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Kris Carlson
Tourbillon is Kris Carlson's first Twist pattern. Here, she shares her inspiration for this coordinated set of winter warmers. Find out more about Kris on her blog, from which the following is cross-posted.

Knitted Set

Someone asked me the other day, “How do you pronounce the name of your pattern?”“Well,” I said, “you should drum up your best French accent and try: Tour • Bee • Yon.”

It’s not necessary, of course, but it’s fun. I love accents, but if your like me -- from the Midwest, specifically Chicago -- then it would be more like: Tour • Bill • On

Picking a name for a design can be hard. You want something that stands out, something that people won’t forget. What was important for this pattern was a name that stood for the visual complexity of the design.

I just couldn’t name the design Swirls or Twirls, even though they were my inspiration. You see, as a kid I loved it when the wind would kick up bits of leaf or snowflakes and twist and twirl them about. I would imagine being super tiny and riding those swirls around like a roller coaster. I suppose it was the fascination that you couldn’t see the pattern made by the wind until little bits were captured by random gusts and carried away.


It was back in the summer of 2010 that I first started sketching my design for the swirls. I would pull out my sketchbook and make notes about how I could incorporate the color work to be non-repetitive. The whole concept of swirls in general is their random movements, and this posed a challenge in the construction. How could I get the swirls to keep moving and yet have a repeating chart that flows? I exhausted my supply of graph paper, but a solution was found. The next step was to think about applying the chart to my intended projects.


I’ve knitted so many creatively designed accessories focusing on a single object that when I dress for the weather I’m always left feeling like Punky Brewster -- not that there is anything wrong with Punky Brewster, I LOVE her style. Yet as a grown woman, I feel the insatiable need to match. I knew that I wanted a tam and mitten set, but when the Twist Collective Fall 2011 mood boards were released, I knew adding a cowl would really make this set complete.

Cowl Sample

Off I went to swatch. The great thing about stranded color work is that by simply picking contrasting colors you can make stuff POP off the fabric. Once I knew how I wanted the design to flow, then I started to think about construction. There are different applications you can use to make brims, borders, and edges, but I needed one that was uniform for all three pieces. The picot edge is what won me over. It was a perfect edging for all three projects and added that extra finishing technique that makes the set complete.

Completed Set

I feel so honored to be among the selection of talented designers for this fall’s Twist Collective. I do have to say, though, that the one thing that I found quite hard to get over was sending in my samples. I wanted to keep them for myself! So, I’ve cast on for my own set. If you’d like to join me for a Tourbillon knit-a-long then please join us on the Twist Collective Ravelry Group.