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Headshot of designer Fiona Ellis

Fiona Ellis's lovely piece in our newest issue is Parapet, a clever cardigan with some really lovely details. You can find out more about her inspiration and also see a short post about button choice on Fiona's blog, here. Fiona has designed *lots* of lovely things that have graced our pages, but this one, this one, and this one are a couple of my faves. You can also find a version of this post on SweetGeorgia Yarns blog, here. 






For more years that I care to admit to I have taken photos of items that inspire me, even before digital cameras made it so easy and inexpensive to do so.  One of the wonderful things about having an archive of these shots is that over time I have been able to categorize the types of image that appeal to me most. I mean if you could only see how many photos I have of magnolia flowers (documented each year it seems).



steps to a castle



So one day when I was making a sub set of my photos I was struck by how often I am drawn to stair step type patterns. For somebody who loves asymmetry so much it makes me smile to notice how it’s the even & mostly equal repetition of the line that delights me. Although I do like photos of them taken off center.



steps around a brick column



We often refer to the way we try to avoid the stair- step look that the knitting produces. So these types of patterns are a “no-brainer” because they work with the very nature of the knitted stitch.



Montreal spiral staircasesame staircase, different angle



But how do you keep the beauty of the repetition with it becoming boring and static?  One way is to set them on the diagonal where the lines become a zig-zag. This gives them a dynamic active feel, something that I think of as being almost somewhat masculine in feel, especially when compared to how soft undulating lines produce a gentle feminine over all look.



Parapet, purple cardigan with zigzag stitch pattern on yoke and sleeves, modeled by a brunette girl standing in front of a wood stove in a red room



In my most recent design work I have tried to include techniques that we tend to find used more with woven fabric than with knit fabric. What I call dressmaker details; pleats, buttoned cuffs etc. So for Parapet I thought it would be fun to juxtapose the strong dynamic lines of a zig-zag pattern with soft gathers.



closeup of Parapet sweater from the back, showing detail of stitch pattern and gathers below the yoke line



The gathers in the back give a fullness that leads to the slight swing shape, combined with the stand-up collar (also borrow from woven fabric constructions) it makes it feel more like a softly tailored jacket than a cardigan. The tiny gathers at the crown of the sleeve also give fullness to the cap while keeping the sleeve slim throughout the arm. The overall silhouette was drawn from empire line gowns that were fashionable at the turn of the 19th century -a style that I love. If you were to ask me why I based Parapet on this style I would probably have to confess that it’s probably because of watching too many films based on Jane Austen books…especially if Colin Firth happens to be in them. Cough. Ahem. Cough.



detail shot of yoke and collar



For this project I got to work with yarn from one of my favorite yarnmakers, SweetGeorgia. Cable patterns by their very nature produce really interesting effects of light and shade. The combination of the different textures means that light bounces off the fabric differently in each area and highlights the three dimensional aspect of the stitches. Similarly the talented dyers that I have worked with which includes SweetGeorgia Yarns also produce enticing effects of pale & dark within their yarns. So I found when I combined these yarns with my cables that these yarns it added an extra dimension of visual texture to the patterning that produced an even more beautiful effect. I fell in love. Working with these yarns have produced some of the patterns that I am most proud of (check out Ruddington, Granville, and Breckenridge). I think this is because when working in collaboration with another artist the combination of each of our talents has the ability to produce something really special. 


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 Friday folks! I'm writing this today from my bed, where I have relegated myself for the day. It's nothing serious, just some winter sniffles, but I'm trying not to do that thing anymore where I pretend I'm not sick, act like I'm not sick, and stay sick for way too long. Don't worry mom, I'm drinking lots of fluids (coffee counts, right?) and getting lots of rest. My best lazy food invention for this time of year is a can of chicken noodle soup with a big pile of spicy kimchi scooped in. Slurp. 


My biggest fashion dilemma this week was trying to dress super super warm on Wednesday, when it was 20 below zero (Celsius) and I had an acupuncture treatment before work. I go to community acupuncture, which is a truly amazing thing, but you have to be able to roll up your pant legs and sleeves so they can poke you with needles. I wore two pairs of leggings, two pairs of socks, a dress (mostly a long stretchy tank top that covers my bum), a three quarter sleeve sparkly shirt, a cardigan, and a hoodie


The cold is a real thing these days, and it's been hard to predict whether my subterranean office will be an oven or an icebox, so I am all about layering right now. This week's sweater might be the perfect thing to keep in your office for those times when you're a little extra chilly. Addington is snuggly without being bulky, and hits the exact right note between casual and elegant. At least I think it does; elegance is not exactly in my wheelhouse. Let's take a look, see if you agree with my assessment. 



Addington cardigan, brown with cabled collar and no closure, modeled on a petite brunette woman standing in a brightly lit forestsame sweater seen from the front, held closed at the bust with a gold pin



Plus, pockets! The first time I knitted a pocket I felt really cool. 



closeup of pocket and front cable panel



So let's talk styling! It's easy to see how this cardigan can play well with all your casual clothes;  jeans, those weird fancy sweatpants everyone is wearing right now, yoga pants, whatever. But something about the shape of it made me want to channel a hot librarian/Lisa Loeb kind of vibe. 



three librarian-y outfits



How will you wear Addington


headshot of designer Moira Engel. she is a white woman with long brown hair, smiling against a backdrop of autumn leaves.


Today's post comes to us via Moira Engel, designer of the lovely Anaphora cowl in our newest issue.  This is her first pattern with us, and it's a beaut! You can also find this post (and more of her gorgeous work!) on her blog, here.






closeup of Anaphora infinity scarf, pale blue with a central cable and textured stitches on either side.



I am so delighted to have my design Anaphora  included in  Twist Collective Winter 2014.  The Anaphora infinity scarf is one of my favorites.  It’s like a fairy tale to me; it has a story….albeit brief …but still a story.  It’s a briar rose bush growing over an arbor gate and I can totally visualize what the actual scene would look like.  That peaceful mood carried me all the way through the project.  I love a good story, especially if it turns out to be pretty to wear!


I had fun with the construction of Anaphora.  The centre panel is worked flat and grafted at the ends.  Then the sides are picked up and knit in the round.  Somehow those details made the project fly by and seem less complicated.  Combine that with my “I’m in a rose garden” vibe, and it was a very satisfying project.  



same scarf, looped twice around the model's neck. she is a brunette wearing a herringbone jacket in black and grey.



Infinity scarves are probably the most versatile weather accessory that I’ve come to know and love.   They have inspired a total loyalty and I even wear them around the house to fend off the chill.  Now that I’m older I seem to make my own seasons, exclusive to me and regardless of the current environmental conditions.  Actually, it seems to be only two seasons; I’m way too hot and I’m way too cold.  I suppose that has a lot to do with why I love Infinity Scarves.  They slip on and off with one hand and no fuss.  They do not dangle in your cooking, or ignite when you reach in the oven.  Also, I love that they are not always migrating off to one side.  Having symmetry issues, everything must balance! (I straighten crooked pictures wherever I go) Wearing regular scarves is very time consuming when so much effort is spent adjusting and re-adjusting so that the scarf hangs evenly. An infinity scarf just settles on your shoulders and behaves or doubles up and behaves even better! 

As a project, infinity scarves are very agreeable, the gauge is not written in stone.  The pattern does not demand an uncompromising set of measurements. This is a huge advantage if you want to get creative with your yarn. Here's a picture of the exact same pattern worked in a DK instead of (the original) fingering!  



same scarf, knitted in rusty orange DK weight yarn, hanging on a dressform, outdoors on a wooden deck



I hope that the gods of fashion decide that infinity scarves are a classic must have accessory because I plan on wrapping one around my neck as often as I can! 

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 Friday fashion fans! In a week where several North American cities were colder than Mars, getting dressed was a little challenging! There were definitely days where I had to engage in some pretty serious double dressing - when you just fully wear two outfits, one on top of the other - to stay warm. I also tried to dress *slightly* professional, because it was my first week on the job, even though working in sexual health education means  that I can literally wear anything I want to my office. 


This week we're looking at Paramo, folks, and she is a beaut. I am always down for a simple three-quarter sleeve sweater, and the details on this are just perfect. Plus in worsted yarn, it's a speedy knit! You could be wearing this next week. You should probably wear this next week. 



closeup of front yoke detail of Paramo sweater.



I mean, have you seen the little echo of that stripe detail on the sleeve? This yoke detail is so pretty. It's like you get a bit of the spiciness of a plunging neckline, but you also get to be cozy and warm. I'm calling it a dreamboatneck. 



side shotback view



You know I love this bright on bright color combo, but this would also be stunning in a neutral main color and a pop of neon (I can't get enough neon pops right now). 



three outfits



I focused mostly on shapes and stripes. How will you wear Paramo


headshot of designer Anne PodlesakToday's post comes from Anne Podlesak, who brought Hartford to our newest issue. She is also the designer of the lovely Belleville cardigan from Spring/Summer 2014. You can also find this post on her blog, here. Read all about her sleeve-cap secrets, and celebrity inspiration. Enjoy! 






I was so pleased to have a chance to work with the stellar crew at Twist Collective again for their Winter 2014 edition.  



 Hardford pullover, modeled by brunette woman standing in front of a barn



Hartford is a women's sized pullover with a big cable motif running up the center front, and a simple ribbed back and sleeves.  It is knit in pieces from the bottom hems up, blocked, then seamed together, and a ribbed stand-up collar/mock turtleneck finished the whole piece off.  Don't be put off by the bit of finishing/seaming you have to do at the end - especially the set-in sleeves.  The secret here is that the ribbed sleeve cap gives you a LOT of fudge-factor room, and helps make the seaming-in much easier.



Same sweater, model has her left elbow bent with her hand behind her head



It's knit in a sportweight yarn, so not too heavy a piece - I like sport and DK weight yarns since you can realistically wear them out under a jacket and not freeze, but can also wear them indoors if you keep the thermostat set a bit on the cooler side, like I do.  

My inspiration for this piece was the amazingly talented and stylish Katharine Hepburn, who once said: I wear my sort of clothes to save me the trouble of deciding what clothes to wear.  This is decidedly my sort of clothes. 



close up of sweater yoke and model's face


I hope Kate would approve of this one.