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Today we welcome Sandi Rosner to the blog to share some thoughts on creating Esplanade

Esplanade was born out of the desire for a casual, everyday sweater that would be easy to knit and a pleasure to wear. An esplanade is a long, open, level area, typically beside the sea, along which people may walk for pleasure. I envisioned a sweater to wear while walking with the sea breeze against my face and the cry of gulls in the air.

 

While I love knitting lace, cables and intricate textures, I find that the things I most often wear tend towards simple and classic. But if I'm going to spend my time knitting a sweater, the last thing I want is generic! It must have enough detail and craftsmanship that it doesn't look like I bought it off the shelf at a department store. With its diagonal side seams wrapping the stripes from the back around to the front, Esplanade is anything but ordinary.

I love stripes. Wide stripes, narrow stripes, two-color, many color – you'll find them all in my wardrobe. And stripes are the simplest sort of colorwork for the knitter. Just switch colors every other row and you've added interest to what once was plain. With Esplanade, the diagonal intersection between the striped and solid sections is particularly attractive.

Esplanade is a project within reach of adventurous beginner knitters.  For the most part, it's simple stockinette stitch with regularly spaced increases and decreases at the beginning and end of rows. The only fiddly part is the bottom. The back and front are started with a provisional cast-on. Once the pieces are sewn together, stitches are recovered from the provisional cast on and worked downward for the lower ribbing. This creates a smooth, seamless lower edge.

I've been asked about reversing the colors – using the darker color for the front and the lighter for the sleeves. Honestly, if I were making Esplanade for myself, that is probably what I'd do. I have what could be described as a generous bosom. Using the lighter color for the sleeves would visually emphasize the shoulders and draw attention away from my bust.

I love Esplanade in the classic gray and cream combo Kate chose for the magazine, and I think it's beautiful against the green pants and bright pink background in the photos. But this design lends itself to lots of interesting color combinations. Esplanade was made with Hikoo Sueño, a delicious DK weight blend of Superwash merino wool and viscose from bamboo. I played with the great range of Sueño colors to make some mock-ups of alternative color combinations. Do you have a favorite?

Find Sandi on Ravelry and Facebook 

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.


 

 

Spring is definitely springing, Twistfans. Today on my lunchbreak, I walked to the park a few blocks from my office and sat on the yellowed grassy hilltop in a sunspot and ate a blueberry scone. My fingers got really cold but it was totally worth it. You too can be an overeager outdoor spring person; the secret is wearing lots of wool. 

 

Have you met my pretty friend Verden? I think you might really like each other. 

 

 

full view

 

 

A slightly scooped neck, a little lace, some pretty cables, and a dreamy drapey alpaca-wool blend spells an airy pullover that will keep you cozy in the cool spring air. This chainette yarn is super durable, so make it in a classic colour so you can wear it for years and years to come. On 5.5mm needles, this will practically race off your needles. 

 

 

side viewback

 

 

I personally love a sweater that has a little extra coverage in the back, because it means it won't expose my back when I'm riding my bike. The slouchy shape mostly made me want to pair this top with leggings (VELVET ONES!!) or jeans, but I also think you could pair this with a pencil skirt, especially one with a little flair. You'll look effortless. 

How will you wear Verden

Today we welcome Angela Hahn to the blog to share some thoughts on creating Farnia

 

The stitch pattern has a deeply sculpted surface, and direct light really picks out its edges and hollows (as in the second of the two swatches shown below). But it also has a lovely, more subtle effect in diffuse light; plus it creates a nice firm fabric, which I thought I could use to great effect in this cardigan, with its hip length and subtly peplum-y border. (I find that around the waistline, I prefer a fabric that's not too clingy or drapey).

 

 

AND-- Hearts of Oak is a fun stitch pattern to work. It is a little labor intensive, which is why a wide border seemed to me just the right amount of it. When I got the top of the border, the stockinette stitch body seemed to be done in no time! I kept the rest of the cardi plain, to keep the focus on the hem-- just rolled edgings at the cuffs and neck (or it would be quite simple to substitute garter stitch or ribbed edgings). I also elected to use button loops rather than buttonholes, for increased flexibility with button number and placement.

 

 

I decided to use seamless set-in top down sleeves, which I also think are fun to work; I like to see the sleeve cap growing as the short rows progress around the edge of the armhole. I also think this type of sleeve gives a clean look to the shoulder and upper arm area, with no need to ease the cap into the armhole in a separate finishing step.

 

Valley Yarns Valley Superwash DK works wonderfully for this design; it has great stitch definition, is machine washable, and comes in a wide range of colors. And now that Twist Collective has partnered with WEBS, the yarn store, they've put together yarn+pattern kits in every size (there is a link on the pattern page for yarn kits, as well as for the pattern alone). 

(Modeled photos copyright Crissy Jarvis)

 

You can find the original blog post here

On Fridays 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! Spring is almost here, can you feel it in the air? I put my winter coat away last week on a warmish day, and have stubbornly refused to bust it back out again, despite the return of snow in southern Ontario. 

 

The lovely colours of our newest issue are making me think about gardening and reading in parks. I can't wait. Until then, channel the balmy weather by knitting something bright and sunny, like Coppice

 

sleeve and button placket detail

 

 

The cabled sleeve stays airy with a little lace and a bracelet length,  and the eyelet princess "seams" on the front and back add a little pizazz to the simply shaped body. 

 

neckline detail

 

I am all about this color, personally, but Kenzie also comes in a lovely range of hues for you to choose from. Hebes and Malbec would be my next two choices. How about you? 

 

I think a chunky heel and a weird purse are the right notes to strike with Coppice's bright soprano. 

How will you wear Coppice

 

Today we welcome Marnie MacLean to the blog to share her thoughts on the process of creating Lusca

 

I'm going to tell you a secret, a large number of my designs are designed after I receive yarn. I actually prefer designing this way. While I'm occasionally hit by a bolt of design inspiration, plucking a design out of thin air is harder for me than being able to craft something around a yarn. The downside is that I've now added the design process to the short period of time I have between receiving yarn and needing to hand it off to the tech editor and I need to produce something nice enough that the publication and yarn supporter won't regret trusting me to come up with an idea without approval. It's basically design for procrastinators: wait till the last minute and try to cram everything in, between bouts of weeping, before deadline.

 

Lucky for me, Twist Collective always assigns the nicest yarns. I can't say I've ever worked with a dud, and the Tahki Yarns Cotton Classic used for Lusca is no exception. This shawl features a gradient kit unlike those I've used before. With a 100% Mercerized cotton yarn in a DK weight, it's both thicker and more robust than the light wool-blend sock yarns I've knit before. But the challenges and charms of working with gradient yarns remains unchanged, for all of them. How do you make the most of a series of closely related shades, over the length of project? It's a fun problem to solve and one that took a little trial and error for Lusca.

 

Like basically all gradient yarns kits, some shades are closer to their neighbor than others, and I wanted to find a way to visually trick the eye into seeing more of a gradient and less of a jump between colors. My first thought was to try a slipped-stitch pattern.

 

First attempt at a design, using a slipped-stitch pattern

 

I like this idea and it's one I might come back to for another design, but I didn't have the yardage to knit it to the size I would have liked. So, I ripped out several day's worth of knitting, not to mention the hours spent charting, and started wracking my brain for other ideas. Then I remembered an unpublished hat design I knit myself a few years ago.

 

A hat I designed for myself that became the jumping-off point for Lusca

 

It used a type of feather-and-fan stitch pattern as well as stripes at the color transitions. This worked to help the eye see a more gradual transition between colors in a couple ways. First, the undulating pattern of the feather-and-fan stitch eliminates the straight lines that might be easy to spot as color transitions. Then, the garter stitch rows at the color transitions alternate knit bumps from the previous color with purl bumps of the current color, helping to further blur the line between the different skeins. Up close, you may clearly see the different colors but the further away you get, the greater the number of shades you see in the gradient.

 

I am pretty reluctant to ever design a single-stitch shawl, so I paired it with a border pattern that I modified to be evenly divisible by the feather-and-fan stitch pattern repeat. For the knitter who has more or less yarn to work with, they can easily adapt the pattern without having to do a lot of fancy math. Cast on as many repeats of the border as you'd like and follow along with the pattern. As long as you have enough yarn, it should all work out just fine.

The final shawl uses stripes, feather-and-fan and garter stitches to blend the gradient shades

 

The cotton yarn has a lovely weight to it, making the shawl feel substantial but also squishy and lovely against the skin. The whole shawl can be knit with the five skeins in the kit, with a bit of yarn to spare so it's a fast project, too. I can't wait to see what colors other people use to make their own version of the shawl.

 

Find her on Instagram, Ravelry, and her website

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