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Twist Collective Blog

Twist Fall Shoot at Trott

Julia here.

You may have noticed that one of our fall sweater stories, Dressage, was photographed at a riding stable, TROtt, the Therapeutic Riding Association of Ottawa-Carleton.  Thanks to our model, Leslie, who was familiar with the good folks there and the wonderful work they do, we were able to spend the day, meet the horses, and pick up after ourselves and, uh, others.

My own son has benefited from therapeutic riding at a New Hampshire stable near where I live, so when Kate told me this was the work they do at TROtt, we thought it would be an opportunity to share my own enthusiasm for the practice with Twist readers, and to explain a little about why it's an important tool for so many people.

Therapeutic riding is a kind of physical therapy with a specially trained physical therapist that uses horses as equipment.  The natural rhythmns in the saddle of a walking horse requires the rider to focus their mental and physical attentions, and with practice, develops both muscle strength and concentration in the rider.  Therapeutic horses are also especially gentle animals, particularly talented and tolerant of frustrations and outbursts their riders can be prone to because of their own personal challenges. The horse is also a calming presence for the rider, and the empathy the rider has for the horse reinforces a willingness to do the work, something that can't be reproduced in a traditional therapeutic office setting with swings and yoga balls.  


Children and adults with all manner of challenges and disabilities can benefit from work in the saddle.  I have seen grown adults hoisted out of wheelchairs to ride enthusiastically, children with cerebral palsey trott giggling around the ring, and kids with anxiety disorders climb up on horse's back with hard-earned trust.  The experience is often liberating and unique in the rider's life, and an invaluable tool in their therapeutic development.

TROtt has served the Ottawa, Ontario area for over 30 years, offering therapeutic riding lessons to children and adults with disabilities.  TROtt instructors, all of whom are certified with the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA), give lessons to dozens of students each week with disabilities ranging from learning delays to paraplegia to multiple sclerosis.  Twelve specially selected and trained horses currently work at TROtt and as we found out during the photoshoot, therapy horses make excellent models!  Sam and Monty, both featured in the photostory, couldn't have cared less about the cameras, props, and constant clothing readjustments going on around them. 

TROtt relies on the help of over 140 volunteers to make lessons available and affordable to their riders.  If you're in the Ottawa area, you might consider helping out--you don't need horse experience to volunteer.  For those readers who live elsewhere, you can find a local therapeutic riding center through the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) or CanTRA.

Thank you Nancy Reid and Paula Rolfe for the work that you do at TROtt, and for the day we got to spend with you.

One Sweater Many Ways

Before Marnie MacLean sent us her fall sweater, Pas de Valse, she took some photos of the many ways she can imagine wearing her versatile design.


How will you wear yours?

Buy a pattern, Get Your Name in the Prize Hat

I'll bet that if you read here, you are probably also on the newsletter list and therefore already know about this one, but it never hurts to remind everyone of the ticking clock. 

We have been running a contest during the month of August to celebrate our first anniversary, giving everyone who purchased something from us since August 1st a chance at a cache of knit-happy prizes we've collected from our glorious and generous advertisers.

Like what? perhaps you are asking.


Like a pair of single point Signature Needle Arts needles customized for the winner.

Like yarn packs for Twist Collective patterns from Ariadne Knits, Unwind Yarn & Gems, Briggs and Little, Webs, and Elann.

Like the beautiful sterling silver stitch marker necklace from Knowknits that graced a page in our fall Tidbits.

Like a brand new book 99 Yarns from Green Mountain Spinnery.

Like a Zephyr Interchangable Needle set from Knitpicks.

Like a $50 gift certificate from Yarn Market.

Like free Twist patterns,tape measures, bags, and more.  So how do you get in on this bonanza?  If you purchased something from Twist Collective since August 1st, you're already entered in the prize drawing.  If not, and you've been meaning to get around to picking up that pattern for your autumn project, do it before midnight EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) September 9th. That's tomorrow, so don't delay. Each and every purchase equals one entry, so buy several patterns, and pick up a new Twist Tote while you're at it, and get as many entries in the contest. Winners will be notified by email, and announced here on the blog. So go buy something already.  We love you for it, and for some lucky knitters, we'll prove it.

Yarn Packs Available from Elann

Elann has been offering yarn packs for Twist Collective patterns. Last month, they had a great deal for yarn for Rebecca by Fiona Ellis, and are currently offering a 51% savings if you purchase their Peruvian Baby Cashmere before Monday September 7th, for Cinquefoil by Mary Jane Mucklestone.  You still need a copy of the pattern from our site to knit it, but you can't beat the price of the required yarn.  


Nana's Knitting Trunk Show

Julia here.

During my trip to Chicago last week, I had a lovely evening at Nana's Knitting Shop in Oak Lawn. It's a friendly and well-rounded shop perfectly stocked with yarn for just about anything you could ever want to knit, and is obviously the hub of a vibrant knitting community, so I was in my element.

nana's crowd

Everyone was enthusiastic and welcoming to the strange East Coaster, and soon discovered that we all had something in common: admiration for the talented Twist Collective designers, like the love being shown to Connie Chang Chinchio's Peyton here (they're saying, "Milk Cotton?  Wow!  That's an awesome yarn"). 


There was an intense yarn selection session for Barbara Gregory's Mimico (don't miss Peyton, Suvi Simola's Low Tide Ripples, and Ysolda Teague's Vivian in the background),

mimico yarn

and much oohing and ahhing over Anne Hanson's Ice Fantasia (which I was wearing, so I don't have a photo of the heavy petting I got) and Sivia Harding's Aphrodite, worn by Shop Daughter.


That's Kat Coyle's Ardent Jacket on the mannequin, and Véronik Avery's Mars hat and scarf set getting some attention on the right. Those patterns always make people extra happy in person.

Thank you, Tricia, and to all your lovely knitters for showing me such a nice time.  The late night run to Panera was especially appreciated.