Today's post is really exciting, guys. Once in a while we feature folks who have knitted a bunch of patterns from Twist, and ask them what they like so much about working with our patterns. We have a pretty special Twist Collector to feature today, because she is *also* a Twist designer! Glenna brought us such gems as Burrard, Brightwood, High Street, and Quo Vadis. She's been knitting for about ten years and blogging and designing for almost as long. She says that Knitting has definitely taken over from other interests (she keeps meaning to get back to that beading stash). She lives in Hamilton, Ontario, and knitting is helping keep her busy and distracted while finding a full time job. You can find out more about Glenna and her work on her Rav page, or her blog!
Knitting has always appealed the part of my brain that doesn’t want to be bored. Cables are probably my favourite thing to knit (and design) for that reason – they’re interesting to knit and gorgeous to look at while you’re wearing them. They are also warm, which is a big factor in choosing knits to wear during long winters. So, when I look at new Twist Collective issues I’m always looking for something that could be my next fun cabled project.
Gwendolyn was the first pattern I knitted from Twist Collective. Fiona Ellis has a fabulous cable-knitting brain and I usually keep an eye on her new patterns! The cable panels in Gwendolyn are classic but a little unique as well, and my favourite might be the sleeves, how they complement the body panels while using a different motif at the elbow. What I love about wearing it, though, is the hood. It gets cold in southern Ontario winters and having that extra amount of fabric around your neck and shoulders really makes things cozy. I’d like to knit another hoodie for myself some time!
The most recent Twist Collective pattern I made was the Ossel dress by Allison Green. It’s the first time I’ve knitted a dress but will not be the last. Again, this was motivated by the cold winters we’ve had the last couple of years! I really wanted to be dressed in wool from the knees up. This was a pretty straightforward knit (aside from it taking more time than a regular sweater, due to the extra fabric), and I really liked the i-cord bind-off to finish the neckline as well as the saddle shoulder details that included the sleeve cables. It’s also the first time I’ve knitted something that is a full outfit all by itself, which is pretty cool.
Both the Ossel dress and the Joist pullover by Andrea Rangel were ‘Christmas cast on’ projects started a year apart but both finished this past winter. I like casting on a new project on Christmas day, as a present to myself and also to make sure my holiday knitting time isn’t taken up just by what I’m designing for my own work. And it turns out that when my brain needs a break…it asks for all-over cables! Who would have thought. The Joist pullover was a purely covetous knit. I saw the all-over cables and just wanted it. It’s a huge amount of yardage (the Ossel dress used less yarn) and a big commitment but I’m so glad I made it. It’s so warm it’s like wearing a furnace, which is pretty much what you want when you’re in the -20C days. And the cables add a nice amount of vertical structure, more so than I might have thought at first glance. And again, I liked the finishing details of the collar, it brought the whole project together really nicely.
The Uji jacket by Ann Marie Jackson was another knit that I couldn’t resist due to the cables and warmth factor. I liked the fact that it was a big cabled jacket complemented by big details – big collar, big buttons, big pockets. The pockets were probably my favourite detail because they are attractive and practical at the same time. I rarely take the time to knit pockets into my cardigans but it’s so worth it when it matches the design. The main technical modification I did on this one was to change the sleeve cap decreases to decreases rather than bind-offs, so that I could do a vertical seam to finish it off.
I always love knitting with wool if I can help it - for warmth and because it’s kinder on the hands, and also there are so many varieties of wool yarns. One of my favourites is always Cascade 220 Heathers, which I used for Gwendolyn, Ossel, and Joist! Clearly a versatile favourite. One of my current favourites is Briggs & Little Regal, and I’d use that to make Joist again if I were to do it a second time. For Uji I used a now-discontinued chunky yarn from KnitPicks called Cadena, a wool/alpaca blend.
I’m a tall lady at 5’9”, so I make pattern modifications pretty often – it just becomes a normal part of the knitting process for me. Usually I end up adding a bit of length in the body and sleeves (I added about 3 inches to the body for Gwendolyn, about 2 ins for Ossel), although with Uji I actually removed a couple of inches from the length so that it would still sit at the upper thigh, rather than a full jacket length. The other modification I usually need to make is to add a bit of room across the shoulders. I have a bust size of 38” and a cross-shoulder of 16”, and often the size I choose for my bust has a cross-shoulder of 1 or 1.5” less than what I would prefer. I did this on Ossel as well as Gwendolyn. Getting the right fit is always a bit of a challenge but gets easier the more you practice and pay attention – and being taller usually means I always go in prepared to modify something.
There are definitely other Twist Collective knits in my future – I have a Lempicka cardigan that I started last year that I still need to finish off, and I also want to knit another High Street cardigan and Burrard cardigan for myself! (I’ve already knitted myself one Burrard but I think I need another one in another colour!) I’d also like to make the Rafters cardigan and the Boundless hooded cape (because why not). Along with my own pattern designing I will definitely not be bored for very long at a time!
Thanks Twist Collective!