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Fiona EllisToday's post was written by the delightful Fiona Ellis, who this lucky bloglady had the opportunity to have coffee with recently! She rules. Plus her designs are awesome. See evidence here, here, and here (for starters). Her post is about a company that supports Twist big time. We heart their yarns too, and use them frequently (for example in Burrard, Cithara, Timpani, Mystere, Linden, Crane Creek, Fortune Bay, Sheepcote and Lanata)!



Can you believe that Twist will be turning 5 this summer? And one of the companies who have supported them since the very first issue is Green Mountain Spinnery.

Working as a knitwear design you tend to build links to the yarn companies whose products you use, some of these links become very strong and can develop into personal connections as well as business ones. But one of the unexpected connections that working for Twist Collective has provided is a shared experience between fellow designers and the GMS yarn company.



GMS organize a knitter’s retreat twice a year and in 2011 I was thrilled to be invited to teach at the Fall retreat. I had a wonderful time and it was really fabulous to be able to get to know the people who run the business - it’s a co-operative. Since then, whenever we have chance, we get together at knitting events over dinner or a beer to catch up. In January hanging out at Vogue Knitting Live in New York I discovered that several of the designers whose work is featured in Twist have taught at the retreats. We form a kind of alumni group. So I thought it might be fun to see what memories each of us have of the GMS retreats.

First I asked Kate Gilbert, the creative force behind Twist, when she taught at GMS - she has been there twice.
She said she remembers how delicious the food was, and how lovely the knitters were. Her memories were great ones, although it rained both times she was there. Kate’s daughter was quite little so both her mom and dad came along too to help out with child-care. The event certainly does have a family feel about it. She also said that touring the spinnery was awesome. Kate's snuggly Halliard is made with GMS yarn; here she is wearing it!

 Kate in her Halliard

Gudrun Johnston taught at the Spring retreat she had this to say: “My first interactions with the lovely folks at Green Mountain Spinnery took place a few years ago when they invited me to be their guest teacher at their
annual Sugar Retreat. I hadn't really done any teaching at this point, let alone be the featured teacher so I was more than honored to be asked, and I'll admit a little scared too! However the whole experience was above and beyond my expectations. They are such a down to earth and friendly bunch, great to work and play with!”
Gudrun has designed many lovely Twist patterns- here she is wearing one of them.


Gudrun in her Skalva

It seems Mary Jane Muckelstone is another big fan of GMS. 




This was her response when I asked her about them: “I've been a fan of Green Mountain Spinnery Yarns since I moved to Maine and started knitting in earnest. Their Mountain Mohair was my heartthrob to-die-for absolute favorite yarn. I love it to this day, so it was a great treat to be invited teach at their annual spring retreat. Held in an antique B&B with fun and relaxation as the main program, knitting as the delivery vehicle. Hostesses with the mostesses Maureen and Eric are there for you for your entire weekend – it is a grand time for all. The group of avid knitters come from all over, guaranteeing an interesting and diverse mix! Don't miss a visit to the mill!!!! And watch out for the door that isn't an exit!”

a wooldrift


Eric at GMS


The year I (Fiona) taught it was the weekend just before Halloween and I was looking forward to a classic New England Fall weekend of maple leaves, dappled sunlight and maybe the smell of wood burning stores. But what we got instead was a huge very early snowstorm, power outages and pioneer spirit. I ended up teaching without electricity on the Sunday but fortunately somebody braved the barely impassable streets to find somewhere that was open and serving coffee.

It was also the weekend that Eric (one of the co-owners) & I came up with “The Human Cable” as a way of demonstrating a 5 stitch cable cross.


surprise weather


That is Margaret in the yellow sweater. Arrangements for a mobile pizza kitchen for dinner on Sat eve was a great idea when you were expecting a traditional fall day…but it began snowing mid afternoon.

I have used GMS yarns for two of the projects that I have created for Twist-- Gwendolyn and Harriet. Here is Eric (from the spinnery) in her cardiagnized version of Harriet.

Eric's Harriet


Alison Will Green taught Math for Knitters, where she goes into the calculations used when designing sweaters and talks about how knitters can alter patterns to fit their bodies or styles better. She also taught a class on Continental Knitting. She said: “The students were great - a very wide range of skill levels but I think I was able to offer something for everyone and we all had a great time. Some had driven quite a long way to get there. Vermont is so beautiful, especially at that time of year, and I really love the Green Mountain Spinnery people. They were so welcoming and helpful.”

Here is a photo of Margaret (one of the co-owners) in her Jaali made with Sylvan Spirit. Alison saw her knitting it, and then wearing it, at Rhinebeck.


Margaret in her Jaali


Alison closed with this: I do love that company. Hmmm... this makes me want to work with their yarns again...

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.


Hi folks! Extra happy holiday Friday! I hope lots of you got to sleep in this morning, and if you are celebrating a holiday, I hope you have wonderful food and even nicer company.

The most exciting thing about this past week for me was probably the zillion or so hours I spent working on my bike last Sunday. I used to date someone who was really good with tools and mechanical stuff, and so I just always got him to work on my bicycle. When I moved to Toronto, I realized I was going to have to start paying someone to maintain my extremely silly vintage cruiser (and trust them with my precious precious Betseybike- that's his name), or else I would have to get my hands dirty.

I mention this because I am starting to feel about my bike the way I have recently started to feel about knitting. I am starting to understand how it works, which means I can fix mistakes, make changes and anticipate their results, make more complicated decisions about what I want out of these hobbies. Plus in the bike shop (I live super close to a DIY shop where they have tools and parts and volunteers to teach you how to use stuff!) I get to hit stuff with other stuff, use a vice, and get filthy with grease. It is really fun and makes me feel super tough. I took apart my back wheel hub and now I know how it works! I got the same feeling as when I made changes to the increase patterns in my Maroni scarf to change it's shape and it totally worked out the way I wanted it to.

Knowing how stuff works is so cool.


This sweater is not *too* complicated, but it does have some neat multi-direction stuff going on! I think it looks like it would be super fun to make. Meet Esme.


Esme from the back



Such pretty details!!! The stitch patterns, the waist-defining belt, the flared sleeve. This sweater is elegant and a little whimsical. Plus the slight drop-shoulder makes me think that it would also make a really lovely vest if you just left off the sleeves. Perfect for springtime, no?


I have springtime on my mind something fierce, and not just because we're working hard on the upcoming Twist issue. My winter coat has been retired for the season, and I'm feeling the pull towards lighter fabrics and colors. I know not everyone loves a good pastel, but here's Esme, all dressed up for spring. A knee length skirt (with a little fullness maybe) and a pair of delicate flats are all you need.


Styling options for Esme


How would you wear Esme?




Since the folks who put together an issue of Twist mostly live in different cities, sometimes we have meetings on the internet.

Sometimes this happens.



Kate and Marnie meet on Google plus

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, weekend-friends! Here in Toronto, we have been celebrating the "first week of spring" with a resurgence of winter. It snowed all day yesterday, and a few times last weekend. Grumble. At least I am getting a lot of wear out of my handknit sweaters and accessories? My super-snuggly Maroni has sure come in handy.

You know what else would be great to have around? This sweater. Because it's perfect.




You probably want to take a closer look at that elegant neckline, gorgeous waist detail, and the simple lines of the whole thing.


Porto detail


I'd like one in pale grey please, or that ochre-y brown color that almost looks like peanut butter. The third size up (40.25) should be about right, but take the length up a little, would you? I'm petite. Anyone?

If you wanted a little more coverage, you could wear this over a collared shirt, or a pretty camisole. Me, I love an open neckline, probably because I have a pretty big tattoo on my chest, and it's like a pretty necklace I never take off. Here are some things you could pair with your Porto. Think of me as your knitwear sommelier.


Styling Porto

Lots of solid brights to make your own springtime, that's my prescription. How would you wear Porto?


Inspiration can strike anywhere. Can you see knitting in this image?


Geometric shapes