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Twist Collective Blog

Design Process: Sabbatical


by Connie Chang Chinchio

originally posted to her blog.

For Sabbatical, I was aiming for a cardigan with long, clean lines and a large scale lace motif.





Originally, I thought a worsted weight yarn would be nice in order to emphasize the scale of the lace, but after a bit of consideration and swatching, I realized that a worsted weight yarn would allow only one or two repeats of the lace and might cut off the lace strangely. Since the lace repeat is 22 sts wide, a DK to sport weight yarn (and Road to China Light fell in between these gauges when knit with a size 6 needle), seemed more appropriate. One repeat would be around 4″, meaning that even the smallest size would have at least 2 repeats per front. Because it’s lace, the sweater zips along surprisingly quickly despite the relatively small gauge of the yarn.

Here is my submission sketch, with the swatch worked in Plymouth Silk Merino:





I wanted the focus to be on the large lace motif, so other than a k3p3 rib along the sleeve cuffs and hems which flows into the lace, nothing else distracts from it. Simple waist decreases and increases help define the shape in what might be otherwise an overly boxy garment. The sweater is finished off with a plain, stockinette band which is picked up along the fronts and neck; and to keep it from rolling, a very short doubled hem is turned at the very edge. In addition, I’d recommend a shot of heavy steam to flatten out the band.

One of the things I love about designing is the opportunity to experiment with different yarns. And the Fibre Company’s Road to China Light certainly does not disappoint. It’s a wonderful combination of alpaca, cashmere, silk, and camel, and comes in subtle, kettle dyed colors.






On a parting note, I am hopeless with naming my designs. Fortunately, Julia was helpful in naming this design. She was also the one who named my Uhura in the Summer issue. As a die hard science fiction aficionado, that name delighted me. For this cardigan, she said it had an Edwardian feel about it and suggested a list of names adhering to that general theme. I liked Sabbatical because it connotes rest and lounging around to me; and at the same time reminds me of academia. So, Sabbatical it is then. I hope some of you decide to either knit it, wear it, or both, on your Sabbaticals, however long they may last.

Style Notebook: Pas de Valse at the Tate Britain

For those of us who love a party: imagine Marnie MacLean's lovely Pas de Valse cardigan thrown over a Little Black Dress, out for the evening, perhaps at the opening party for the Andy Holden Exhibit at the Tate Britain (see previous post).  This is my purple Pas de Valse (still on the needles) with sparkly sandals, chunky bracelets with a bit more twinkle, and long earrings that tie it all together with purple jewels.  The young Michael York look-alike cast in the role of champagne-refreshing waiter is pure fancy, of course.

Twist About: Artist Andy Holden at the Tate Britain

From January to April 2010, artist Andy Holden will be displaying a giant knitted rock as part of Tate Britain’s Art Now program of contemporary displays. Never before shown in the UK, Pyramid Piece 2009 is a vastly enlarged replica of a small Egyptian stone fragment, created from knitted yarn and foam over a steel support. It will be on display alongside a companion film work, Return of the Pyramid Piece 2008, and a collection of tourist souvenirs, In Place of an Ending (Pyramid Souvenirs, Second Visit) 2008.


Holden’s practice is driven by an investigation into the relationship between stories and objects. While on a trip to Egypt as a young boy, he took home a small lump of rock from the pyramid of Cheops in Giza. Over a period of 13 years the object came to embody the artist’s sense of guilt, until he decided to travel back to Egypt and return it to the exact spot from which it was taken. A shaky amateur video, filmed by a man Holden met in a café and enlisted to help him, documented this mission and became the film Return of the Pyramid Piece 2008. The transformation of this rock from building material to historical relic to stolen souvenir is contrasted with a collection of more conventional pyramid merchandise, entitled In Place of an Ending (Pyramid Souvenirs, Second Visit) 2008, which use similarly small, solid objects to suggest a variety of multi-layered stories and histories.


After returning from his pilgrimage to Egypt, Holden set about creating a giant knitted replica of his stolen fragment. Working from paintings, diagrams, models and notes made before the trip, Holden’s colossal reproduction embodies the emotional importance of this tiny rock. The scale of the resulting work, Pyramid Piece 2009, seeks to convey the wide-eyed, awestruck feeling that Holden experienced during his first encounter with the pyramids. The laborious, repetitive process of knitting could also be seen as an absurd work of penance for the artist’s theft, or even as a scaled-down recreation of the mass labor it took to build the pyramids in the first place, with each woollen stitch or block of stone charting the time it took to construct the whole. This complex, millennia-spanning narrative becomes a kind of parable. At once charmingly quixotic and boldly monumental, it explores how we understand our place in the world through the objects that surround us.


Andy Holden was born in Bedford in 1982. He graduated from Goldsmith’s College in 2005 and now lives and works in Bedfordshire. Holden has exhibited widely, including recent solo shows at Hidde Van Seggelen, London; Works/Projects, Bristol and Kunstfort Vijfhuizen, Netherlands, and will be curating a music festival at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge in September 2010.

The Art Now program at Tate Britain reflects the latest happenings in contemporary British art. Supported by Tate Patrons, it consists of a regular series of exhibitions, designed to demonstrate the quality and variety of new art in the UK.

Art Now: Andy Holden
Pyramid Piece and Return of the Pyramid Piece

9 January – 10 April 2009
Tate Britain, Level 2
Supported by Tate Patrons
Open every day 10.00-17.50, first Friday of every month open until 22.00
Admission free

Twist Collector: Irmgard

This edition of Twist Collectors features the work of Irmgard, (ravelry name, interknitty) who is a skilled knitter from Germany.

She didn't have a lot to add to her project notes, but I do think her knitting speaks for itself.

Of Robin Melanson's Stormsvale she wrote: "When I saw the new edition of twist collective I knew at once that I had to knit Stormsvale. I already had the contrasting colours [as hat leftovers] in stash."



She recently finished this delicious version of Gudrun Johnson's Vaila in Malabrigio, Frank Ochre. Irmgard wrote "As always with twist collective, the Vaila pattern is very well written and was fun to knit."


She knit Marnie MacLean's Lily, and although she found the bobble method in the pattern left her with a small hole, she found a method that worked for her knitting style, and ended up with a lovely sweater.


Irmgard also personalized Ysolda Teague's Vine Yoke (and who hasn't?) to get a smaller yarn to match up with a pattern she had to knit.  She lengthened the body and arms, but after it all she concluded "Perhaps I should have followed the pattern without modifications. I like it all the same!"


No Twist collection would be complete without a version of Wisteria by Kate Gilbert. Irmgard wrote "The ideal sweater: A beautiful pattern, fun to knit and warm for our frosty january!"


For Connie Chang Chinchio's Broderie, she played with the length of the sweater, and stabilized the front edge with a row of single crochet.


And for Kelmscott, she wrote: 

"A beautiful pattern — I love the lace pattern and the collar! . . . This is not an easy pattern — the lace is patterned on both right and wrong side, it requires a lot of finishing and I had difficulties getting the crocheted button covers right." Oh, Irmgard, if only you had Carol's button tutorial to help(scroll down two posts from here).


Thank you Irmgard, for letting me share your beautiful knitting with Twist readers. 

Style Notebook, featuring Sarabande

I remain intrigued by the wardrobe potential for Kristen TenDyke's Sarabande. We shot it for the magazine with a grand ball skirt in a luxurious lair, but I would probably get a lot more use out of it with a pair of jeans. Here's I would wear it, over a striped top with snow boots and a fun satchel. I apologize if the price of the bag throws you off, but this is fantasy after all.

Sarabande Sunday