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Twist Collective Blog

New in Books

A few books have arrived in my post box in the last fortnight, heralding the spring publishing season.  Two that I'd like to share with you are both from Interweave Press.


Lucinda Guy's Northern Knits is a gorgeous collection of designs, all inspired by the knitting traditions of a particular corner of the Western Hemisphere that is almost as famous as Lucinda Guy is among knitters for a particularly charming take on the knitted garment. It's a natural combination, and the result is a book that will most likely tempt you to make a few things, if only the yarn were more available to the knitter.  I am a bit frustrated by the source materials, although they are a natural choice for these designs. Alafoss Lopi and Jamieson & Smith will be the most accessible to the North American knitter, but gauge swatching and substitutions are inevitable with this book, should you fall hard for one of the beautiful designs.  In this internet age, perhaps it is not so difficult to find yourself some Lodband Einband for a sweater, which is a good thing considering here is the inspiration to try.


Meanwhile, Shirley Paden has published a book I have been wanting for years.  Her Knitwear Design Workshop is a resource for the casual pattern tweeker and serious would-be designer alike. I have always valued the Vogue Book of Knitting for the basics of various sleeve treatments and classic neckline shapes, but Paden here offers blueprints for the modern knitter's expanding repertory of options.  It is illustrated with many sweaters from her own design history, and includes patterns for several new and deliciously textured sweaters, all intended to illustrate the principles at hand.  Add this to your essentials shelf, next to Barbara Walker and Nancy Wiseman. And make something fabulous.

Design Process: Why Mosaic?


by Barbara Gregory


Why do I design using the mosaic technique rather than stranded colorwork?

For me the main attraction of mosaic knitting is that is is easy and quick to work. I love the ease of zipping along the rows with a single strand of yarn, knitting and slipping the stitches. It makes this technique a good choice for knitters new to colorwork; usually the pattern requires slipping only one or two stitches at a time, so tension problems are minimized.



Some people think that mosaic knitting is slow because it seems that you work every row twice. My reply is that while the row gauge is somewhat compressed, it isn't double that of stranded knitting—you are making progress on those wrong-side rows. And all the rows are faster to work because many, sometimes 25% of the stitches, are slipped instead of being worked.

For knitters who are experienced enough to find stranded colorwork easy and quick to work, the benefits of mosaic knitting may not be evident. Here are some of the things I like about designing with mosaic knitting:

• can be easily worked flat or in the round

Perhaps influenced by my sewing background, I have a preference for knitted garments worked in flat pieces and seamed, often with a neatly fitting set-in sleeve. Mosaic knitting avoids the problem of having to read a color chart while working a wrong side row; instead the knitter reads the color of the stitches on the needle.

• can be worked in stockinette, garter stitch or some combination

I like having the ability to work all or some of the pattern in garter stitch. This is good for places where it is desirable to have pattern that won't curl, such as the yoke of the Mimico Vest and the sleeve and hip bands of Ormolu.







• works easily with intarsia

One of the things I find exciting about mosaic knitting is how easily and elegantly it combines with intarsia. As an example, consider the decoration that borders the neckline of Ormolu. The intarsia color-changes occur only on the contrast rows and the change of yarn always takes place behind the cover of a slipped stitch of the main color. And because the garment is worked in flat pieces (see above) no special “intarsia in the round” manoeuvres are needed.

• lighter than stranded fabric

Carrying a second strand of yarn as in fair isle or stranded colorwork results in a thicker fabric. While mosaic knitting does have short floats or strands every time stitches are slipped, no yarn is carried behind the stitches that are worked. The fabric is lighter and more flexible than that of stranded colorwork.

While I cheerfully admit that this technique has its limitations, I believe there is still plenty of unexplored territory within those limitations. I do knit and design with other techniques, but mosaic knitting remains a favorite.

The Wearing of the Green

Happy St Patrick's Day!


Some of our favorite reader knits, in the color of the day (all Ravelry links, thank you very much).

anNu's Cherry Fizz

Caroline's Ardent Jacket

jennp68's Vaila

Miss Barbara's Heroine

Blog Love: Advanced Style


I read a lot of style blogs, looking for ideas, and always, always wondering if I could every pull such things off. Mostly, I find that I can't because most style bloggers have an easy business making much of their young and slim subjects. And I am neither.


So I am especially gratified to discover and admire the men and women who Ari Seth Cohen befriends for the splendid purpose of his blog, Advanced Style (thanks for the tip, NYTimes). He includes his own band of regulars and contributions from near and abroad, candids and portraits alike, all in the name of demonstrating that personal style over a certain age (and a certain size) can be every bit as delicious as in the bloom of youth.



Got Thumbtacks?

Pin this one up in your locker, babies. I found my copy on the back page of Yarn Market News.


Need even more Franklin? (and who among us doesn't?) He revealed last week his medal design for the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics, which you can enjoy emblazoned on the item of your choice from his Cafe Press Shop.  Franklin says the thong has been especially popular.