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Today we welcome Nancy Vandivert to the blog to share her thoughts and process on creating the Yojimbo shawl. 

Mosaic stitches are a type of slip stitch knitting.  Like brioche stitch, two rows of knitting produce one row of a mosaic pattern.  Multi color patterns result by working specific stitches in one color and slipping the remaining stitches.  Colors alternate every two rows; this means both colors remain attached to the work throughout.  Patterns may be worked in all Stockinette, all Garter, or a combination of both.  The simplest motifs are frequently geometric or rectilinear.  Most important, there are NO LARGE FLOATS along the back of the work. Knitted mosaic patterns retain much of the flexibility of plain Stockinette stitch.


Yojimbo features mosaic designs inspired by Japanese Sashiko embroidery.  This technique began as a simple running stitch used by peasants to repair clothing.  Matching thread was used to create utilitarian, and invisible, patches.  However, as undyed cotton thread became available, more elaborate and decorate patching designs developed.  In addition to repairs, this more showy style of embroidery was used to quilt together layers for durability and insulation.  Once Sashiko spread from the peasant classes to Japanese merchant and upper classes, it transformed from a practical skill to one valued as pure decoration.


The genesis for my design arose from the eponymous movie by Akira Kurosawa.  In the 19th century, a lone samurai enters a rural Japanese village and finds the peasants beset by a feud between two rival factions.  After being betrayed and seriously injured, the samurai is hidden in a forest shrine and warms himself under a patchwork quilt made of Sashiko and kimono fabric scraps. 


If you are interested in Sashiko, my favorite book is Sashiko: Easy and Elegant Japanese Designs for Decorative Machine Embroidery, by Mary S. Parker.  Although written for machine sewing, the stitch dictionary in the back is worth the book’s price. 


When it comes to design, I am old school.  Give me a sharp pencil and graph paper, and I am a happy camper.  The full shawl has multiple sections in different designs intended to appear as though pieced from fabric scraps.  I knew the increase rate for the shawl shape I hope to make, and this guided me (for everything except Chart C) to small, symmetrical designs.  This means one pattern multiple has either the same number of rows as stitches OR the number of stitches is a factor of the number of rows.  This allows the design to predictably repeat at the increase edge.  Chart C, the design is called “Persimmon Blossom”, broke all of these rules.  Hey, I really, really liked this big flower pattern in the middle of my shawl. 



Mosaic stitch basics:

  • All slipped stitches are slipped purlwise (always, really).
  • Working yarns can be carried at the back OR at the front, depending on the pattern.  
  • When working flat, stitches that are worked on the right side are again worked on the wrong side with the same yarn.  Stitches that are slipped on the right side are again slipped on the wrong side.
  • Yojimbo’s patterns are made with a combination of knit and purl stitches and produce embossed color work patterns on the right side.  Study the charts carefully. Some stitches that were knitted on the right side will again be knitted (not purled) on the wrong side to produce the raised patterns.  Be sure to move the working yarn!


Yojimbo’s charts are unlike the pure mosaic charts developed by Barbara G. Walker.  Traditional mosaic charts show only the right side rows and assume the knitter will know to repeat the pattern when working the wrong side.  Yojimbo’s charts show every row.  Read them as you would any chart: right-to-left for right side rows and left-to-right for wrong side rows. 


This shawl also features an attached edging along the vertical edge.  Yes, this means the main color and contrast color will both be attached throughout.  However, working the attached edging is not the same intarsia torture as an isolated, multi-color motif in the middle of a sweater. In addition to a lovely finished edge, the transition between the edging and mosaic stitches is a convenient place to conceal color changes. Instructions for wrapping yarns are included with the pattern. The main thing to remember is not to snug the working yarn too tight at the color changes. Trust your eyes and feeling of the fabric in your hands. 

You can visit Nancy at her website, facebook, or raverly store 

Every Friday we feature one of the garments from the magazine in a post about styling. We suggest different ways to wear the garment in question using mock-ups from Polyvore. We encourage readers to tell us what they think about these outfits via our Facebook page or Twitter, and if folks want to make their own outfits, please tweet them at us with the hashtag #twiststyle. You can find all of the Style Friday posts here.



I'm writing to you, fashion fans, from my sweetheart's couch in Ottawa, with a huge jar of throat-coat tea and a box of tissues close by, because I finally got the cold that's been going around to everyone I know over the last few weeks. The wild temperature fluctuations ("wintermission") have really been wreaking havoc on everyone's immune systems. If you too, have been stricken with the dreaded winter lurgy, I hope you feel well enough to put your (sock and slipper clad) feet up, snuggle into some blankets, put on something innocuous, and get into your knitting. 


Maybe you want to make a pretty-as-heck cardigan for the cutest winter layering, or for transitional seasons. Like this one, perhaps? 


pink cardiganlaceback



I love Undercut's bracelet-length sleeves, the allover-lace back, and did you know that this yarn  is an absolutely scrumptious blend of merino, silk, and caaaaaaaashmere??? Delicious. 



close up of sweater front



Folks on Instagram this week have been sharing their #myfirsthandknitsweater, and it's made me think about how I used to only knit sweaters with worsted or chunky yarns, because I couldn't imagine the patience required to make a whole sweater out of fingering weight yarn. Audrey was my turning point, and since then, I have hardly made a sweater that *wasn't* fingering. I think they're perfect. 


I know I often advocate for wearing brights with neutrals, and I do think that those two color styles are really well-matched, but this grey weather has me jonesing for every bright color and every tropical fruit. 

How will you wear Undercut

Today we welcome Pauliina Karru to the blog to share her process creating the Bilberry accessory set. 

Knitting and living in Helsinki, Finland. I design patterns, tech edit and otherwise help other woolly people. My aim is to help knitters find joy in every stitch.


My inspiration for Bilberry came from a walk in the winter forest. The bare tree trunks against a snowy landscape encouraged me to make a beautiful set of accessories. I played around with thick cables, swatching until I found one that reminded me of thick knobbly trees and paired it with a stockinette column that’s like a smoother, thinner tree.


I wanted to use a heavier yarn weight to match the intended season and create a warm and cozy set. The Bilberry set also knits up quite quickly thanks to the Aran weight yarn and an interesting yet easy cable pattern. The result: a set of accessories that are just what one needs for the winter!


I always imagined this set to be worn when going sledding, commuting to work on chilly mornings, or on walks through the forest.

You can visit Pauliina at her website, instagram, or ravelry store.


Every Friday we feature one of the garments from the magazine in a post about styling. We suggest different ways to wear the garment in question using mock-ups from Polyvore. We encourage readers to tell us what they think about these outfits via our Facebook page or Twitter, and if folks want to make their own outfits, please tweet them at us with the hashtag #twiststyle. You can find all of the Style Friday posts here.



Happy 2018, knitterly friends!! I hope you all resolved to knit way more, and knit way more Twist patterns! It's so simple now that you can get them as kits


This week we are looking at Thunderbolt, and she is a stunner. 



yoke detail of pullover sweater, grey with tricolour contrast yoke



That zigzag yoke is exciting and pretty, but not overwhelming! You get to use three contrast colours (a gradient if you like!), and the pattern is echoed at the cuffs. 



cuff detail



A friend of mine was wearing an incredible outfit when I saw her last week, and when I told her so, she told me that she had really been feeling a Cher Horowitz vibe lately, and wow did that ever stick in my brain. That outfit in the middle is definitely thanks to Clueless. You can thank the cold snap we had after the holidays for the one on the right, and the left, well, i'm defenceless against shiny pants, you guys. 

How will you wear Thunderbolt



I had pondering working on some more pared down designs for a while. When I found out that Twist was being “re-launched” I thought that it was a perfect time to explore some of my own new avenues.

Rather than throwing the “baby-out-with-the-bathwater” I took the approach of drawing on my earlier work, but giving it a new “twist” (ha). The idea of the shaping within cable patterning was something that I had wanted to explore further since researching the “Shape Up” article for the Spring 2016 issue.

Streamlining the silhouette shaping by incorporating it as part of the patterning, then making it the highlight of a simple, elegant garment makes perfect sense.

I often have a person or idea of someone in mind when I’m designing. In this case I was imagining somebody with effortless style, who can throw on a simple piece and make it look like a million dollars. In my mind’s eye they are probably French or akin to Grace Kelly, Kate Middleton, or similar. Of course in my fantasy world it’s what I aspire to be. Whereas in real life I am quite the opposite….more likely to be in jeans and sneakers tripping over something than gliding through the world. I was thrilled that when the issue launched Marnie MacLean described this sweater as something she saw Audrey Hepburn wearing with a pair of slim cigarette pants and ballet flats…the exact image that I had in mind.

With this archetype in mind and my thoughts on combining pattern and shaping I set about sketching. In opposition to tailored elegance a raglan sleeve says casual, loose fitting and sporty. I loved the idea of that juxtaposition. I have also been looking at ways of making a better fitting raglan – how to avoid that some times ugly bunch of fabric that happens at the armpit in regular raglan shaping. So here was my chance to combine all these ideas in one project.

For more info on sleeves in detail see my article in the Winter 2016 issue:

Scarrington came to be about the details. Understated details drawn from dressmaking or tailoring that hopefully delight once they are pointed out. Here are some of the things that I included.

  • A folded hem at both hemline & cuff; keeping the simple Stockinette running right from the edges while still preventing any roll that the fabric might have.
  • A simple small stand-up collar that references the hems.
  • Uncomplicated stacked horseshoe cables.
  • Compound shaping for the raglan sleeve;
  • Beginning with armhole shaping (like for a set-in sleeve) prevents the extra bulge of fabric at the underarm. The rest of the shaping is incorporated into the cable patterning. 

Cables that diminish in size as the sleeve cap narrows. This acts to give the upper part of the sleeve a cup shape that is closer to our anatomy than simply reducing the stitch count at the seams - like a darted sleeve cap. Visually this is also more pleasing, as the patterning is continuous – rather than the seams “eating” into the cables.

The name Scarrington is taken from a small village near to where I grew up. In this teeny place, outside the old forge is a huge pile of old horseshoes – 17 feet high. It is made from horseshoes discarded by the blacksmith, as horses were re-shod between 1938 and 1965. It seems an apt name for a design featuring tapering columns of horseshoe cables.

It can be seen here in these screen shots from Google Maps.