Receive HTML?

Twist Collective Blog

Swatching: Argyle Jacket


by Jenn Jarvis

originally posted to her blog, Nipperknits.

I’m totally inspired by color. I love designing colorwork of all kinds: fairisle, stripes, intarsia. Color really influences me, but this is both good and bad. I know when I’m looking at patterns, I’m either completely inspired or turned off based on the colors and yarns chosen by the designer. I thought I’d do a little swatching experiment for all those other people like me, who may have gotten bogged down a little on the color way of the Argyle Jacket. I like the bright colors, and I know other people do as well, but it’s definitely not for everyone. So, for a few more ideas, a little bit of inspiration, or just something to get you thinking about a pattern you wrote off based on color, here is my swatch project:

One could go with a pretty basic argyle look: Black / White / Red. Classic, bold, slimming. I think it would look amazing in the Jacket’s silhouette.


A play on one color is always nice. Could be bold, could be subtle depending on your color choices. I chose blues (cobalt is always tempting to me), but you could try it with reds, grays, oranges, browns, any color that strikes your fancy. This was actually one of my original color-story suggestions for the jacket.


I have a fascination with this mid-century, 50’s and 60’s, Mad Men-esque color-story. Browns, tans, robin’s egg blues… This was my take on that. Mix and match these colors; all the different combinations look good together. This seems like a remarkably appropriate colorway for the Argyle Jacket. Couldn’t you just see it in Mad Men?


But even if you’re not into this grouping, think of other time periods you like. What are the colors for the late 60’s? The 70’s? The 20’s or 30’s? Are you inspired by those? What about art periods? Rich Renaissance colors, anyone?

This one is fun (and season appropriate!) Not only do you have color contrast, but also textural contrast as the orange crossbars are in angora. That little bit of fluff makes it pop even more. Don’t be afraid to mix materials! The fluffy yarn would also look great in the diamonds with smooth crossbars.


The next two swatches are examples of a pretty current color-story: grays with greens. I’m seeing it everywhere lately. This swatch is also a good example of texture contrast, but in a much less contrasting color. You can still see the fluff of the mohair, but it’s much more subtle in this colorway.


Of all these swatches, this is my favorite (though that gray / black / orange is a close second). I don’t know why, but I’m thoroughly taken with this color-story. The contrast of those grays with the bright lime just draws me in so much. In fact, I’m designing a sweater in a similar color-story now. Be on the look-out for that. 


So! My suggestions: Actively think about color. Consider playing with one color in different shades, high contrast colors for a bold look, low contrast colors for a subtle look, think of shades one considers with different time periods or artists, play with mixing yarns for a textural contrast, try tweed or silk for different textures. Take pictures of the world around you and be inspired by color! Look at patterns you never considered before with a new eye.

Design Process: Low Tide Ripples



by Suvi Simola

originally published on her blog, 50 Villapeikkoa.






I sent my submission to Twist Collective last winter and when I received their acceptance message, I started (right after I had stopped jumping and had calmed down) thinking about the implementation. It was good to start early, as I changed my mind many times while searching for better ways to do things. Because this sweater is knit from top down, I naturally had to start from increases. After trying basic raglan and yoke increases, I ended up with something in between — I created increases that spread out like beams of sun on both sides.

I live in Finland, and shipping to and from the States can take awhile. By the time the yarn came, the deadline was quite close, so my days were all about knitting. Fortunately I had some wonderful people here at home and two knitters elswhere who helped me to keep my sanity. Thanks Mari and Tea!





Sleeves are the thing I love the most about this sweater. I wanted the buttonband to be sturdy and not lose its shape, so it's cabled too. Increases and decreases are hidden inside the cabling.




The yarn was wonderful, Madelinetosh Tosh Worsted, a hand dyed merino yarn that was great to work with. Blocking suprised me the most. Of course the sweater stretched at first, but it actually shrunk back to its original measurements when drying. Quite amazing. Oh, and one more thing, the sample sweater is size 34" and I'm smaller, so it's a bit big for me :-)





The sweater left Finland pretty much at the last moment, but it didn't have to travel alone, it went in a good company. And I just love tracking tools.


Knitting Books in Color

Julia here.

More than anything else as a knitter, I am driven by color.  I fall for yarn in the perfect shade of whatever it is, I am especially drawn to saturated rich mouth watering hues.  Sometimes I like my colors one at a time, another I prefer a great happy jumble of jewel tones or mossy barky fair isle.  This Fall season brings a number of recommendable books to the bookshelf of the knitter besotted with color, serving as guides to managing them together, or hoping to inspire you to branch out in your techniques.  Here are my favorites, in no particular order.

Noro: Knit 40 Fabulous Designs by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton

Sixth & Spring Books


Let's face it, Noro yarns are the closest thing knitters have to Italian sports cars.  We love them for their look, we quibble over our favorites among them, and we apologize for their delicacy when we drive them too hard.  We covet them anyway. Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton has no such hesitations in her love affair with Noro yarns and uses the opening chapter of her new book to explain why. Here she tells the story of her journey to Japan to visit the elusive Eisaku Noro and the company he founded. She lets the reader in on a few of the secrets to the artful yarn making process, and shares Noro's ambitious craft philosophy summed up in "The World of Nature" slogan printed on every Noro label. Also included are patterns for 40 of Hamilton's designs, some of them familiar from her 25 years of work with Noro yarns.  If you already own some of Hamilton's Noro books, you may want to resist the Amazon impulse and instead, thumb through it the next time you're at your LYS to see what you think (of course, we at Twist Collective urge and support your buying anything and everything you can from your Local, but you already knew that ::wink::).

Color by Kristin: How to Design Your Own Beautiful Knits by Kristin Nicholas

Sixth & Spring Books


The Poster Girl for Color Play, Nicholas depends on the reliable palette of her lusciously colored Julia yarn from Nashua Handknits to demonstrate combinations, but how to do it with yarn father afield, say, from your stash? Swatch swatch swatch, she says, and walks the walk herself with beautiful demonstrations of what a simple shift can do to a color idea. That alone would be reason to add this book to your list, but among the designs is the sweater that turned my very own craft-resistant sister from a "someday" knitter to a "Right now, I NEED TO MAKE THAT" knitter.  Thanks Kristin for pushing her off the fence.

The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques by Margaret Radcliffe

Storey Publishing


Where to begin?  An encyclopedic guide to just about everything you would ever need to know about working with color: thorough and masterful chapters on color theory and techniques, from managing color changes in stripes to conquering intarsia in the round (and otherwise), this is a book you could learn something from anytime you open it. Radcliffe aspires to break knitters out of their monochromatic rut, whether or not they think they're in one. A few minutes with this book, and the intervention is complete. 

99 Yarns and Counting : More Desings from the Green Mountain Spinnery by The Green Mountain Spinnery Cooperative

Countryman Press


While not strictly a color knitting book, per se, I include 99 Yarns in this rodeo round up because I have always admired the colors their Mountain Mohair comes in as it never fails to stop my breath whenever I see the full range displayed together in a yarn shop. They cry out for combination (as we were so lucky to feature in Jennifer Appleby's Gytha sweater design in last winter's issue), and can also be enjoyed as such in several designs among the 36 collected here.  A worthy addition to your library, and a heart warming reminder of how easy it is to knit local. 


Twist Tidbits: Yarn Pots

Julia here.

Something new you'll notice in the upcoming Winter issue is what will not be there.  We've decided to not run Tidbits as a regular feature because of the amount of confusion it seems to have generated among our readers and advertisers.  Tidbits was never anything more than a small collection of things that I liked and thought were worth sharing.  Some of our supporters felt it was an unfair (and unpaid for) focus of our editorial. This seems to be validated by the consistent language readers have used in forum discussions to describe things they have seen in the Tidbits section as "advertisements", so I am willing to admit the point, and pull the section from the magazine. But happily, this leaves me free to share such things on the blog as I find them, rather than wait until the next issue.  So here's my first such offering.

There are any number of ways to secure your yarn while you knit, and this one appeals to me on several levels, not just because I like pottery, but because the yarn in residence suddenly becomes part of an artistic object, whether or not you're actually working with that yarn at the moment.


If you gotta have one, they're from Kelli.  As an independant potter, she says that it's a challenge to get kiln time where she lives, so the pots become available when she can get them fired, and then she has a bunch. You can let Kelli know if you want to be contacted the next time they become available.  Sign up for the mailing list by writing LumLumTree [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject “LumLum Tree News” and she will make sure to add you to the list.

Thanks to Stephen for pointing these out.

Paula in Color

Hi there. It's Kate (for once). Julia and I were talking last night about Fiona Ellis' Paula and how it's the prettiest pattern she's done for us yet... though Bonnie is neck and neck with it for me. We were wondering what it might look like in a color. The Valley Yarns Stockbridge comes in lots of great colors, so I thought I'd show you the possibilities.

First, the original, in Natural:

Paula in Cream

And here are some colors:

Paula in Color

Didn't even show you their Red Purple which is gorgeous but, sadly, backordered...

Ooh. Wonder what it would look like in a semi solid! Sadly that's beyond my photo editing skills. How would you want your Paula?