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Twist Collective Blog

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?

Guest Post: Choosing Yarns for Sundog

by Kristi Schuler

originally posted on Kristi's blog, Fiberfool.

My goal for Sundog was to make a fun-to-knit but relatively quick project that would work well for both boys and girls. Everyone I know who has had children in the last 5 years has had boys. We all know there are tons of fun girl patterns out there, but it can be more difficult to find a fun boy pattern.


I felt a splash of handpainted yarn would spice things up a bit without the result being overly flashy or needing to worry about breaking up any pooling or flashing. I also wanted a design that could grow with the child(ren) and get more than one season’s worth of wear out of it. This inspired the fold-back cuffs on the sweater. Many children grow taller, getting longer arms and torsos without gaining much in circumference. Since the sweater has no shaping, I suggest knitting the sleeves and torso to the perfect length right now, then add the extra border.


The cuff border is knit with the wrong side out so when folded back it matches the yoke and bottom body, but the wrong side of the stitch pattern is pretty as well so the following year the cuffs can be worn without folding back. Of course it is knit from the top down so you could also rip back and add more length to either portion as well! The really adventurous could even add more circumference to the sweater by steeking it at the sides and adding in gusset panels!


In my original proposal swatch I chose a yarn with short lengths of many colors for the handpainted yarn and a coordinating solid that appeared in the multi-color yarn. This created a softer look to the striping - almost a watercolor look. For the look in the magazine, coordinating — but not matching — colors were chosen. That is the look I would recommend for yarn with longer lengths of a given color (generally commercial handpaints with 4 or fewer distinct hues).

In general the yoke pattern will pop more if the solid is a complimentary color of one of the predominant hues in the handpaint yarn like the sample in the magazine (red and green are complimentary colors and pink is a tint of red). If you are not confident in choosing a non-matching handpaint to go with a solid or you want a little more subtle look to the yoke and borders you may wish to choose an analogous solid color of similar value to the handpaint.


The magazine sample is of course in girl colors, but the sweater works equally well in unisex or boy colors.  Here are some possible combos. Originally I had ordered the solid from the first picture with the multi-color in the second photo. Upon seeing them in person I realized they were a near perfect match in color, and that color was probably a good 1/3 of the skein. That was going to be much too matchy and it would obscure the work that goes into the stitch pattern in the yoke. Any of the above combos would work. It just comes down to personal preference.

Of course you are not locked into using only Lorna’s Laces, the yarn called for in the magazine. There are a wide variety of yarns being used for the sweater. You just need the pretty standard worsted weight gauge of 5 sts and 7 rnds per inch. Lorna’s Laces is a great choice as it very soft, is superwash (a requirement of mine for kid knitting) and they dye both semi-solids and coordinating multi-colors. Many of the great indie dyers would also have working color combos in the proper gauge.

Guest Post: A Big Win for Barbara Parry

by Barbara Parry

I was a guest at Barbara Parry's Springdelle Farm this past weekend ahead of my hanging out at Fiber Twist, and while there I found out that there has been some lovely developments for her this late summer. So let's check in with our Yarn Farm columnist, shall we?

Exciting news on the wool front: our Cormo ram, Teaberry, won the Champion Purebred Fleece Show at the Eastern States Exposition Fleece Competition on Friday! That's his fleece, the tall white one in the center. And it's a beauty!


Last Wednesday Holly and I delivered a carload of very special fleeces from this year's shearing to the exhibit hall at the Eastern States (a.k.a.  the Big E), the largest agricultural fair in the Northeast. This show, held every September in West Springfield, Massachusetts draws competition from all over the country. I reserve the best of our best to enter. 

There's a division for Purebred fleeces and a division for Handspinning fleeces. Within each division are classes for specific breeds. I spent hours last week dithering over which Cormo fleeces best represented the breed and which ones might be deemed worthy of an award in the handspinning category. Each farm may enter only two fleeces per class, so it's important to choose wisely. I ended up taking four Cormo fleeces, one Border Leicester fleece, and four cross-bred fleeces, including two for the colored wool category.

It was very exciting to see Teaberry's fleece awarded the purple rosette for the Purebreds. Kind of like watching your kid score a winning goal in a soccer match or get an A+ on a science fair project.

The flock was well represented. Tea's son, Cody, took second place honors in the Purebred white Finewool class (with Tea taking the blue ribbon). Verbena's fleece captured a red ribbon in the white Finewool Hand Spinning Fleece class. Arcadia's locks placed third  in the Border Leicester class and this was the BL National Show. We had some 5, 6 & 7th placings as well in the Handspinning Division. Not bad.

You can celebrate with us in a special contest. Describe a milestone or success, either yours or someone close to you, in the comment section. On Friday, October 9th I'll draw a winner from all commenters for a basket of my hand-dyed Cormo Silk Alpaca yarn, which happens to be made from the wool of many Teaberry offspring.


Tea's doesn't understand all the fuss — he already knows he's hot stuff. Here he is, looking rather George Clooney-esqe in this photo taken last summer. All it takes is field of grass to make his day. That and my Cormo ewes. What a guy. 

Soon it will be time for him to try his luck with the ladies. It's hard to believe, but we've reached that time of year again. I'm reviewing the flock list, deciding how many and which ewes shall be bred. You can read more about the thinking that goes into breeding for good wool in my article for the fall issue of Twist Collective: The Ram is Half the Sweater.

Another busy week. Time for our Sheep Shares members Foliage Open Barn this coming weekend (and time to reserve shares for 2010 soon). Then the New York Sheep & Wool at Rhinebeck comes up mighty quickly, where we have double-sized booth this year in Building A. I'll be sure to bring a lock of Teaberry's wool for fondling.

Somehow, we must finish haying in between the fall fiber festivals. I counted the square bales in the barn yesterday and we're still short of what we need to carry the flock through winter. Making hay in fall is challenging. The dew dries off the field late morning and begins setting again by 3:30 in the afternoon, as soon as the shadows creep across the fields. That doesn't leave much dry time for raking and baling. It takes a good 4 days for mown grass to dry well enough for baling at this time of year and we're just not getting that break. The pattern has been one or two sunny days wedged between periods of overcast and drizzle. It's maddening, really, with so much to do here. If you see a four day window of decent weather, you'll know what we're up to. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

A Drumroll for More Prizes from Elann

Wow, we're not done with the Anniversary celebration I guess, because at the bottom of the party hat, we found a few more lovely yarn pack prizes from the munificent folks at Elann:

Karin M. will be sent a yarn pack and pattern for Petal.

Diane H. will be sent a yarn pack and pattern for Little Liza Jane.

Beth G.will be sent a yarn pack and pattern for Cinquefoil in color #1, and

Suzanne P. will be sent a yarn pack and pattern for Cinquefoil in color #2.


Once again: Thanks so much to all our customers and to our generous advertisers. 

Twist About: Knit Wit, Fiber Twist & Slater Mill Knitting Guild

Julia here.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Anna and her peeps at Knit Wit in Portland, Maine.  It is a charming jewlery box of a shop, and we all managed to squeeze along the aisles where I hung the sweaters for a fondling session.


The most charming little sights are all over the place, like a hand knit "open" sign in the front window, and the little felted hearts on the front door.  You have to find your way here if ever you are in the neighborhood.


Saturday found me in Greenfield, Masachusetts at the fifth annual Franklin Country Fiber Twist. There is a concentration of fiber talent in "the Valley" as the folks kept referring to where we were, which was made clear by the vendors and demonstrators present: Kristin Nicholas was proudly displaying her new book Color by Kristin and a freezer full of lamb from her Leyden Glen Farm 300+ flock, Barbara Parry was vending her luscious Foxfire Fiber yarn and candy bags of silk/cormo rovings, Leslie Wind made and sold glittery silver goodies like sterling orifice hooks and shawl pins all day long, the "Woollies of Shirkshire Farm" had a buffet of natural dyed Coopworth batts, Glastonbury Glassworks sold those sweet hand-blown glass sheep stitch markers, and Barbara Goodchild of Barberic Farm had some gorgeous Romney farm yarn for sale. There were many other yarn folk, as well as a whole collection of rug hookers, but I spent the day answering questions at my table loaded down with sweaters, so I had almost no time to meet anyone else.  


Pardon my less than artful photo I took during setup.  There was much to appreciate and photograph, but it was not my day to be the artist. I did host a Twist Collective fashion show at noon, which was both a lot of fn, and a warm up for another fashion show, this Wednesday the 30th at the Slater Mill Knitting Guild in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. If you are able to come, please do, because this will be the last show we have scheduled for awhile, and certainly the last viewing of the sweaters in New England this calendar year.  Hope to see you there!