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Carrie takes her first shots as the sun rises...


Shooting at dawn



Angela HahnToday's post comes to you from Angela Hahn, designer of the wonderful Altocumulus. You can also find it here, on her blog. Check out some of her other Twist patterns as well, like Plaited Tam, Laredo, and Primrose Path.

I'm thrilled to have another pattern in Twist Collective! Here are some details about the design process and inspiration for Altocumulus, a lace shawl.


Triangular shawls are almost always shaped by increasing (or decreasing, depending on whether working bottom-up or top-down) along the center of the shawl, resulting in a mitered construction, where the two halves of the shawl stitch pattern angle toward each each other. It's no accident this shaping is popular-- not only is it a logical way to create a triangle, it can yield really gorgeous results. But when I created the design for Altocumulus, I was in the mood to try something different: a triangular shawl worked straight up from the bottom edge, with the triangular shape coming from rapid increases worked into a lace stitch pattern.

Example half-drop chart

I knew I wanted to use a lace pattern based on the "half drop" principle, where pattern repeats are staggered (many leaf- and diamond-motif laces are constructed this way). At left is an example of a simple diamond/leaf stitch pattern (NOT the stitch pattern used in Altocumulus), constructed on the half drop principle: the full repeat is outlined in red, and the staggered half repeats in blue. This staggering often causes a diagonal flow to the lace, which I thought would adapt perfectly to the angled edges of a triangular shawl.

I found a lovely base stitch pattern in the Japanese "Knitting Patterns Book 300," a swirling design that reminded me of flames or peony petals. Each repeat was 20 stitches, and although the total repeat was 24 rows, that 24 rows was really made up of two sections of 12 rows each, with the stitch pattern simply staggered in the second section. So I knew that to create a repeatable increase along the bottom edges of the shawl, I would have to increase a total of 20 stitches every 12 rows: this would result in one repeat added every 12 rows, so that the repeats could be stacked on each other like bricks in a wall.

Then it was just a matter of trial and error, attempting to add yarnovers and sprinkle in judicious decreases so that I could get enough stitches increased while still maintaining as much of the movement of the original lace pattern as possible. 20 stitches every 12 rows is a rapid rate of increase, so while I had plenty of yarnovers to work with, I had to be choosy about where I placed my decreases. Once I had an edge increase repeat that I liked, I submitted the idea to Twist, and was delighted when they accepted it.

Altocumulus Blocking

One major issue presented itself once I began working on the pattern sample: I realized that even with the rapid rate of increases along the edges, the edge stitches would have to be stretched to their limit while blocking, while the center of the shawl would be stretchier than the edges, tending to form a convex curve along the top edge of the shawl-- not the most shoulder-friendly shape for the wearer. To counter this tendency, I added decreases and a narrow ribbing along the top edge.

Backlit Shawl

I pinned out the yarnovers along the edge while blocking (see above), but once unpinned, the edge did contract a bit, so I ended up with more of a swirled, textured edging than an open one (see below). I actually like it this way, and I also like the fact that the lace stitches on every row pull strongly on the fabric, giving it a slightly three-dimensional quality.

Altocumulus Detail

And the name? Altocumulus clouds are the type of clouds in a mackerel sky, and once I saw the shawl knitted up in the gorgeous gray-blue Acadia yarn (from the Fibre Company), that is what the fabric reminded me of. (It also reminded me of William Morris wallpaper, but I don't like the name William Morris so much....)

Mackerel Sky

Jane's nephews are missing in this photo, but all of the kids helped with handling horses, catching chickens, getting more carrots from the kitchen… all sorts of farm stuff!


Jane and her assistants

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 everyone! I don't know what the climate is like where you all are, but I know I have been pulling out the handknits in the last couple of weeks. My trusty cardigans are getting some serious airtime,  and so are some of my knitted accessories. Today I was wearing three knitted items- a toque, a lacy scarf, and a cardigan- all made at different times and with different yarns- and all of them were basically the same color. I tend to gravitate towards the same three or four color families for my knitting, and with the exception of hot pink, which I love in all contexts, they aren't the same colors I gravitate towards in clothing I buy ready-made. Has anyone else noticed this patten? Or a different pattern in terms of your color-love?


There she is- this week's featured garment- Sympatico. She's the exact thing you want to have on a chilly grey day, especially if you have a delicate scarf to tuck into the collar, and most especially if that scarf is in a contrasting color and peeks out just a little bit. Wonderful. Those pockets are perfect, and the wide button bands create really lovely vertical lines. It's crisp and elegant without being structured or fussy. This sweater will make you look put together, but like you didn't really have to try to look that way. Speaking of effortless (seeming) elegance; this sweater makes me think of Jackie O. You'll see that influence in the set I made. It's a little bit buttoned-up, a little bit saucy, a little bit 60's, and a whole lot of now. Check the shoes- I really went to town on those.

so many great dresses, so many great shoes

That mustard dress at the top left- that's the hue I was wearing in triplicate this morning. I don't know about you folks, but I really want a Sympatico to wear over every single one of my dresses- and I want that bespectacled frock for myself, immediately. How will you wear yours?

Fiona Ellis

Today's post is brought to you by Fiona Ellis- knitter, designer, author, and teacher extraordinaire! Today she shares some moment from Knit Camp (already sounds like paradise, right?), as well as some reflections on Twist's role in creating exciting partnerships in the knitting world.

Dear knitters, I just got back from teaching at The Needle Emporium’s Knit Camp where I always have a wonderful time; great students, lots of yarn, delish meals, time to kick back and knit as well as class- time, but most importantly a whole three days of being among our people.

This year one of my fellow guest instructors was Beth Casey, owner of Lorna’s Laces. I have used Beth’s yarn for several projects in the past and this year we were both part of the three-way collaboration when we came up with Soakboxes.  But before this past weekend I have only ever met her briefly in person before. So it was wonderful to spend time getting to know her and her business philosophy. It is this kind of meeting that sparks all sorts of cool new ideas and projects….so keep your eyes open for future projects.

It got me thinking about how Twist Collective has acted as a kind of matchmaker between the wonderful yarn companies whose products are featured and I (and probably many other designers).

This spring I was traveling a lot and so when it came time to take delivery of yarn for up-coming projects my whereabouts became a factor. This was how Twist Collective set up Felicia Lo, owner of Sweet Georgia Yarns, and I on a kind of blind date in Vancouver. You can read about it here on her blog:  I was so happy to be able tell her all about Breckenridge (worked in her yarn) before the Fall issue went live. But you will have to wait until the winter issue of TC to see what came out of the yarn handed off during that meeting.

Also springing out of the relationship from working together on several projects for Twist, I was invited to teach at the Green Mountain Spinnery  Knitters in the Green Mountains weekend. This turned out to the birthplace of “The Human Cable”. Eric (one of the co- owners at GMS) and I devised a performance piece using unsuspecting victims (I mean volunteer students) to play the part of the stitches involved in a T5B cable cross. It turns out to be a great teaching tool as well as a whole lot of fun. So in my world I like to say: “What happens at camp, doesn’t always stay at camp”…but there are several photos from this past weekend that I really hope don’t surface on the Internet.

Knitters Girl Gang

Twist Collective very kindly sent gift certificates as prizes for camp here are two of the lucky winners pictured with Julie Schilthuis, owner of The Needle Emporium & myself.

PS: GMS have fellow Twist designer Amy Christoffers teaching at this year’s retreat.

Here are some more photos from Knit Camp-

View from Camp classrooms 

View from the classrooms

photo credit: Julie Schilthuis

Me teaching my “Tints, Tones & Knit Two (colours) together” class.


photo credit: Julie Schilthuis

Instructors offering encouragement to human swifts

Thurs eve’s ice breaker/get to know the participants include knit related games here Beth Casey, Josh Bennett (the 3rd guest instructor) and I encourage our teams being human swifts (against the clock)- I’m removing my team mate’s socks because they were causing too much friction.


The prize winners Carole & Wendy with Julie


Beth Casey taking a pic of me while I take one of her