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Twist Collective Blog

Design Process: Cottage Garden



by Cheryl Burke

graciously cross-posted with her blog, Yarnbee

Last fall I moved into a cottage on a historic turkey farm in western Massachusetts. The cottage is a Sears kit house from 1919 that was delivered on the local train. For the gardener in me, it was love at first sight as I saw the rambling flowerbeds and beautiful wisteria vine trailing up the side of the cottage. Other bonuses included a beautiful kitchen garden and the resident pet pig next door named Pinky.



At the same time I was exploring the work of a group of New England artists from the 1950s called the Folly Cove Designers. Led by Virginia Lee Burton (who wrote and illustrated many children’s books including Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel) this group made incredible designs that were hand-block-printed on fabric. Here's the wikipedia entry on their history.

I was drawn to the fact that many of their designs described daily life in New England. It got me thinking about a vintage-inspired colorwork sweater that would speak to my story of falling in love with a little cottage garden. I started sketching a yoke design that was bursting with joyful flowers.


Cottage Garden was originally submitted to the Summer issue and I was thrilled when Kate asked if we could add longer sleeves and move the design to the Fall issue.




I had a lot of fun exploring color options for Cottage Garden but settled on one of my favorite combinations: teal and chartreuse (swatch knit in Reynolds Whiskey)




The best part has been seeing how other knitters have made Cottage Garden their own. Look at these beautiful versions!

Kelly's Cottage Garden:


Momo's Cottage Garden:


Tanya's Cottage Garden:



What stories can your knitting tell?

Many thanks to Kelly, Momo and Tanya for the photos.