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Today we welcome Kate Scalzo to the blog to share her process and thoughts on creating Harlow

Y'all hate to swatch, yes? I used to hate swatching. When my boys got to a certain age and I was able to spend a little more time designing, I learned that about 80% of my knitting time would be spent swatching, experimenting, blocking, and measuring. I've learned to really really LOVE swatching now as an uncomplicated, low pressure way to do what I enjoy in the first place. Knit. 

So, what does a serial swatcher get really excited about? New stitch dictionaries! Hitomi Shida's "Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible" arrived in my mailbox and I knew I had to dive in ASAP. As they say, though, "work smarter, not harder," so I wanted to swatch with a design in mind. Twist Collective's call for submissions was the right framework through which to peer at these beautiful new knit fabrics. The mood board suggested "[c]arefree, warm-weather knits that are timeless and beautiful," and invoked the terms "fearless," "accomplished," and "effortless." LOVE. I'm in. 

I sat down at a cafe down the street from my sons' preschool and got out my sketchpad. Thinking of the fearless, accomplished women out there, I was remembering the story of Minna Hall and Harriet Hemenway, the founders of the National Audubon Society. They were disturbed by the decimation of birds at the hands of the feather trade and used their social capital to gather support for an (unfashionable) anti-feather movement, which culminated in the formation of the National Audubon Society and the passage of the Migratory Bird Act in 1913. 

As I thought of these inspiring women, I thumbed the pages of Shida's book. It is a wealth of inspiration, providing countless geometric and feathery stitch patterns. I settled on a selection of arrow-like and chevron style patterns and worked up a long swatch in Juniper Moon's Zooey. I like to pin my swatches to my mannequin just to see the stitch pattern in a different way and they ended up looking beautiful as a set! I submitted my knitted tank, "Hall," in honor of Minna, as well as a companion piece called "Hemenway." Hall was accepted by Twist Collective and renamed "Harlow" (equally beautiful!).  

Little did I know what a task I had signed for! The shaping on the top and the ever-changing gauges and large range of sizes required a series of mental gymnastics I had not yet attempted. These are the BEST kinds of projects, though. There's nothing like a "how the heck do I do this?" moment to demonstrate your own fearless (well....maybe not entirely without fear) accomplishments. With the help of TC's editorial staff, Harlow turned into a sleek, precise, sampler-style top for the spring and summer months. I hope you find your power in Harlow, too!

 

Follow Kate on Instagram, her website, Facebook , and Twitter

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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

 

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