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Fiona Ellis

Fiona Ellis rules. She has contributed many wonderful patterns to Twist, including Georgie, Mehndi, and the completely adorable Ruthie, just to name a few. She uses colors and geometric patterns in exciting and inventive ways, and her most recent Twist design- Athabasca- is no exception. In this post by Fiona, we get a peek into the world of the designer- and the life the sweater before it made it to the pages of Twist!

Athabasca, back

As Robin wrote, when we designers are working on a project for a specific issue we are usually knitting a garment that will be worn in an entirely different season. Each project also serves as a kind of memory jog or journal entry. I can always remember what I was working on during 9/11 or the summer that I trained for a half marathon. Seeing those projects reminds me of just what was going on in the world or my life at that time.

close view

So when I see Athabasca I remember last summer and all the beautiful spots and sunny warm days I knit on it. It accompanied me to a friend’s cottage and on several long summer evenings spent down by the edge of Lake Ontario (she rode with me in the basket of my brand new bike). But the over riding memory is of her being my carry ‘round project when I taught at Sock Summit in Portland OR.

Sock Summit

One of the events that took place outside of the classes and marketplace at SS’11 was a flash mob, dancing to “I’ve had the time of my life”. The knitters taking part brought along yarn to hug and fondle during the routine and at the end we were all supposed to throw our yarn into the air. The yarn I had on hand was a ball of Valley Yarns Northampton in pale blue that I was using for Athabasca. As the music ended I didn’t dare throw my yarn; what if it got lost it in the crowd? What if it fell to the ground and got dirty? It seems that I wasn’t alone, many of the knitters clung tightly to their yarn probably for the same reasons.

in progress

When I see Athabasca it reminds me both of both contemplative evenings and having the time of my life with 600 of my knitting buddies. If you haven't seen this video of the flashmob in action, check it out below. It's pretty charming.