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Twist Collective Blog

Twist Collective, a site about knitting.

Last Build Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 08:39:21 -0400


Designer Post: Lusca

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 14:10:00 -0400

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 Then I remembered an unpublished hat design I knit myself a few years ago.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[...]

Yarn Post: Wonderland Hand Dyed Yarn

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 15:33:25 -0400

We welcome Wonderland Hand Dyed Yarns (Frabjous Fibers) to the blog to share their thoughts on the Chimera Shawl


It was late Autumn when Kate Gilbert reached out to us for yarn support for the March 2018 issue of Twist Collective. The colors requested for Holli Yeoh’s design had a decidedly springtime vibe, and we had no idea how much we’d appreciate seeing the uplifting results of her butterfly-evoking Chimera as we near the end of what has been a long, snowy winter. We are craving the imagery and the sounds of Spring. Chimera is a pattern that sucks us right into that scene, giving us hope it will be our reality soon!


Cheshire Cat was the first fingering weight yarn base we dyed when Wonderland Yarns was born in 2013, and it is still our favorite yarn for shawls that benefit from the soft, airy ply and its lightness, which creates a beautiful drape when used for larger pieces.


Holli used one 4-oz skein in #35 Mock Turtle, and a Mini-skein Pack in #41 Yellow to Fuchsia Shadow for her Chimera. We can’t wait to see the unique combinations that are sure to emerge, so we put together a few colorway suggestions of our own:


#90 Raven and Mini-skein Pack #56 Summer Sunset evoke the full drama potential of summer evening skies.


#46 Little Busy Bee and Mini-skein Pack #104 Land of Wonders is a bright treat for rainbow lovers.


#122 June paired with Mini-skein Pack #27 Handsome Pig is like a sweet, flowering garden.


#164 Lavender Macaron and Mini-skein Pack #25 Mimsy takes your purple passion to the next level.


#72 Feather with Mini-skein Pack #71 Sea-glass is a day at the sea under a perfect blue sky.


#163 Salt & Pepper combined with Mini-skein Pack #21 Too Much Pepper is a great choice for a wear-with-anything neutral piece.


Whatever you choose, we hope these wings carry you to knitting bliss!


You can purchase the Chimera project kit in its original colors at

Designer Post: Vervain

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:42:00 -0500

Today we welcome Aud Bergo to the blog to share some thoughts on creating Vervain


I love knitting socks and making sock patterns, and especially stranded knitted colorwork socks. I am so thrilled to be included in Twist Collective Winter 2018 with the pattern Vervain also because this is my first professionally published pattern internationally!




I live and work in Norway and warm socks are a must. My inspiration comes often from nature but also often from everything around me in daily life. I love to play with colors and different motives. I always ask myself how can I make something different and colorful?

The idea behind Vervain was to make the instep pattern as a natural transition into the sole. At the same time making a good knitting experience with neither a too complicated, nor too dull pattern for the sole.


I also aimed for a pattern that could work with the two colors changing place in the repeating pattern. This shows itself with “roses” both in main color and contrast color. As I am not fond of knitting with long floats, I always aim for not having too many of those. I am also happy with Vervain in that respect.


Vervain will work just as good for him as for her. They are knitted cuff down with a heel flap. Personal I think the pattern looks best with a dark main color and a lighter contrast color, so take care to choose colors with good contrasts.

I am so happy with the work the Twist Collective Team have done with my pattern and lovely pictures by Crissy Jarvis!


Find Aud Bergo on Instragram as @softdesign.aud and Ravelry 

Twist Style Friday: Rhona

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 15:39:38 -0500

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 Twistfans! 


It hasn't been a long winter here in Toronto, but somehow it still feels like it's time for the season to shift. I may or may not have purchased some very brightly coloured yarn today, which always makes me feel a little spring-y. Until the weather actually agrees with my wishes though, sweaters are the answer. Perhaps, sweaters are always the answer. 


I'd like to introduce you to this dreamboat, Rhona





Say hello to squishy texture, lovely cables, and a versatile and pretty V-neckline. Even with some serious cabling going on, a worsted weight sweater can be a pretty speedy project, at least if you like podcasts  and never going out as much as I do. 



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I'm not the guy who leaps for the oatmeal-hued yarn, but I have to admit that a pale neutral like this shows off cables in a way that's truly classic and super beautiful. Still, I might reach for the Sheep's Grey or Blue Heather of this  warm, wooly, and delightfully affordable yarn. 


I just started a new job, and i'm sharing an office with my friend-colleague, and during the tour I got last week, I noticed that he keeps a cardigan in the closet in the office, just in case there's a chill in the air (clever guy!!). Rhona is exactly the kind of sweater you can throw on over just about anything and be cozy and still feel put-together. I might just have to make one to hang next to his in the closet. 


How will you wear Rhona


Designer Post: Alizeh

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 08:45:00 -0500

Today we welcome Moira Engel to the blog to share her process on creating Alizeh


I have a confession to make; I have never knit a shawl even though I have always wanted a shawl! I love the portable snuggly-ness that they provide, but I was never really sure that I was a shawl person. They always look so elegant, both the shawls and the wearers.  I am of a practical style that will tromp through woods, grocery store and then off to do errands without bothering with a wardrobe change. 




Alizeh was my personal journey for a shawl like object.  I like scarves and wraps, but one is too narrow and the other is a bit too big.  So I dove into creating the perfect over the shoulders cozy that would work for me and that hopefully other people would like too! 


Alizeh is more generous than a scarf.  Just wide enough to cover the shoulders which is just what I was looking for!  I wear it inside for a cozy evening knitting and outside to keep the chill at bay.  Wrap around, drape it, pin it or toss it over your head, it works! 




Alizeh has some shaping borrowed from a shawl silhouette, but no short rows.  It also features a generous amount of my favorite thing.  Cables!  Cable patterns will stop me mid-sentence and snap my head around.  I have even been known to subtly stalk people wearing them, just to see if I know the pattern or can figure it out.  Alizeh is a favorite go-to piece for me now and that’s how Alizeh came to be...for me!


Find her on Instagram and Raverly 

Designer Post: Undercut

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 15:13:54 -0500

Today we welcome M.K. Nance to the blog to share her process on creating Undercut. 


I feel in love with top down sweaters with set in sleeves while working on a sweater for New York Sheep and Wool 2016. It was my intention to have a new cardigan in a sport weight alpaca acquired at Sock Summit 2011 but that did not happen between knitting Fenugreek (Twist Collective Winter 2016) and the flu (but it was also unseasonably warm so wearing one would have not been fun).  I ended up finishing it a few months later.


I used a photo of that Rhinebeck sweater in my submission (because I can’t draw) and knit a quick swatch.  I wanted to design a cardigan that would have some interest in the front but be playful in the back.  Undercut lacks waist shaping as it is a transitional piece meant to be worn in overly air conditioned office in the summer and or as a layer on a cold winter day.  This style of cardigan is flexible and allow for easy adjustments to waist shaping and length while one could try it on as it is being made.  


When I finally knit a version of Undercut for myself, I will do it in Peacock because it is a lovely color.

Find her on Instagram, Ravelry, and Twitter  as Kathynancygirl

Designer Post: Yojimbo

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 16:53:00 -0500

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 atta[...]

Twist Style Friday: Undercut

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 17:50:35 -0500

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?        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.          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? [...]

Designer Post: Bilberry

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 19:25:50 -0500

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.