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Twist Collective Blog

Styling "At Lowell's Boatshop"

Julia here.

The whole idea for the Lowell's Boatshop story was inspired by a pair of four dollar LLBean gumboots I found at a flea market. I am always trolling for clothes for the magazine shoots that I can pick up for a few dollars in my local consignments and thrift shops. Sometimes I borrow things from my step daughter, who is closer in size to the sweaters, but I also stock a closet dedicated to skirts and good under-sweater-neckline-blouses that will fit the women we ask to wear them for us.  It's a odd element in my life that I own so many clothes no one in my family can wear! I know of one magazine editor who at one time kept a whole storage unit full of such things. Shoes are especially challenging, and often don't make it into the photo, but I have to provide them regardless. And while the model is wearing them in just about every photo, you can only see them there on the first page of the story!


The rest kind of fell into place after that.  I ride my bike along the Merrimac River and pass by the historic Lowell's Boat Shop several times a week. I admire the views of the river from there, and also the beautiful building itself, full of nooks and details that record the craftspeople who have built dories and skiffs continuously since 1793. The head boat builder is the son of a friend of mine, so I only had to ask if we could spend the morning with them, promising to stay out of their busy way. And that I would renew my membership too, of course. I asked Caro to take the photos, and Casey to model.  Everyone's schedule and the weather worked out perfectly.


My stepdaughter loaned us the beautiful coral dress here, the necklace is mine, and the shawl is Marnie MacLean's Tolovana.  We had the most fun finding places among the boats to show it off (although I think this one below is technically a skiff).


Our model, Casey, is the beautiful wife of a karate buddy of mine.  She is the mother of three children, if you can believe it. Her mom sat for the kids that Thursday morning so we could get the best light. I especially loved this photo of Tolovana, which made it into the July newsletter, but not the magazine. It was dramatic, but not particularly informational. It made a great tease a few weeks before we launched the fall issue.


Often we get beautiful photos of the knitwear, but can't use them because they don't help the knitter decide if they want to knit the project or not.  I suppose I can leave the drama to the blogs. Give it a try, and send me a link!

Design Process: Lallans


Lallan is Christa Giles' second design for Twist Collective. Like her previous design, Piper, Christa offers us her creative blend of fashion, detailing and functionality. This is a cross post from Christa's own blog. Click to find out more about Lallans and Piper.


Lallans version 1 Lallans version 2
Image copyright Jane Heller Image copyright Caro Benna Sheridan

I have such a hard time keeping secrets, but here’s another can’t-tell-until-it-is-live project: Lallans for the Fall 2010 issue of Twist Collective, a fabulous online knitting magazine (but you knew that already, right?)

Lallans prototype


The picture above is of the prototype - see the Lallans pattern page here or on Twist Collective for photos of the real version (this length of ribbing didn’t work out with the short rows).

The mood boards for this issue included three stories: a woodland shoot, with the words “walk along quiet byways, wander through the woods”; What Would Mary-Heather Wear, a colourful and quirky tribute to the stylish Mary-Heather Cogar who is a knitting designer and Ravelry employee and lover of cute German Shepard dogs (her's is named Charlie); and then a black and white selection of glamourous, edgy, strong rocking women.

I submitted ideas for all three stories, and Lallans was chosen - this was the one that had already been fully knit, and perhaps my completed hats are easier to judge than my sketched ideas! (Piper was submitted in the same way, with photos of a completed hat along with drawings of other concepts.) I thought that design would work particularly well for the woodlands idea, as it had a bit more of the kicking-around-in-the-fields flavour and less of Piper’s glam or the playfulness that I’d associate with Mary-Heather!



The design itself was a sideline project that came after I finished my NaKniSweMo hoodie in January. I had used the braiding technique to trim all around the bottom, front, and hood edges before applying the final ribbing band, and I really loved the way it looked! (Note, however, that I did NOT love applying it to the hoodie! Lesson learned: braid is good on small things, like hats or mittens. That much twisted yarn as you work on hundreds of stitches, not so fun.) I wanted to use piping again (yes, I’m still on that kick) and also throw in a bit more texture, so that’s where those garter ridges joined us. The slip stitch pattern was tougher: I consulted a few different stitch dictionaries, but didn’t find anything I liked, so I started playing around. This pattern that resulted is the colourwork equivalent of the textured stitch in Picker’s Delight, balanced for easy shifting between colours and rows, and simple to remember! There’s a bit of fiddly work at the start and end of some of the rounds, but I think it does a good job of helping to minimize the jog.

This hat had the original working title of Hound, since I thought that the slip stitch patterning looked like the weave structure called Houndstooth. In the second or third round of edits, Kate suggested we rename it Lallans, the Scottish word for Lowlands (the region that developed the Houndstooth pattern). I always find naming patterns hard (read about Piper’s process here) but was content with Hound.. but Lallans is a lovely fit! I have a friend visiting Scotland right now, so I’ll be getting coached in the proper pronunciation.

Knitting the two samples was fun, and I loved the colour combinations that Kate chose for me. The Caledon Hills Worsted Wool was delicious to work with, too! One of the things I really enjoy about designing for publications that provide yarn support is that I get to experience a wide range of fibres, not just what the local shops carry..

And finally, I really love the photo shoot with the model digging around under the hood of a vehicle - my sister and I both spent a lot of time in our teen years working on motorcycles or my dad’s truck, as he tried to give us some good mechanical basics. It obviously stuck with my sister (she’s an electrician, working towards becoming a millwright in a sawmill in the middle of BC), but didn’t have as much of a lasting effect on me. I’m happy that Chris is a handyman and will help me out in that area when needed! As pretty as it looks on the Twist Collective models, I’m planning to get some photos of men wearing the straight ribbing version as I think this pattern can be pretty masculine or unisex too!

Design Process: Hallett’s Ledge


Elinor Brown's first pattern for Twist Collective is Hallett's Ledge, a beautiful cabled and ribbed cardigan in a universally flattering shape. This cross-post from her own blog, gives us a little peek at her inspiration and the construction of the garment.

To see more information about Hallett's Ledge, see the shop page. And if you are planning to knit Hallett's Ledge, be sure to join the KAL on Ravelry.

Didn't I tell you twist collective's Fall issue would be amazing? . . . I feel so honored that my latest design, Hallett’s Ledge, is included among them. Allow me to share some of twist’s photos, taken by the talentedJane Heller. Hallett’s Ledge is a modern interpretation of a fisherman-style sweater. It takes its name from a shoal in Nantucket Sound, off the southern coast of Cape Cod.

Copyright Jane Heller

Copyright Jane Heller

Knitted in Rowan Felted Tweed Aran, Hallett’s Ledge is a tailored and textured women’s cardigan that will prove both interesting to knit and easy to wear. The garment employs ribbing below the empire waist, garter eyelet rows marking the empire waist and echoed at the elbow, and an interesting cable pattern at the bust, upper back, and upper arms. It is intended to be worn with about 2″ of positive ease at the bust.

Copyright Jane Heller
Copyright Jane Heller

The body is worked in one piece from the bottom to the armholes, after which point the fronts and back are treated separately. The close fitting sleeves are knitted in the round to the armhole, and then the sleeve cap is worked flat and sewn into the body. The neck band and button bands are picked up and knitted onto the body.

Copyright Jane Heller
Jane Heller

This was another projectI swatched last fall, hoping to create a modern, flattering interpretation of an aran sweater for women. As you may know, it is myfirmly heldopinionthat heavily cabled garments should be trim fitting, with as little excess fabric as possible, due to the weight and bulk of the cabled stitch pattern. After all, there is nothing worse than a heavy, droopy, bag-shaped, boxy sweater. Nothing!

Copyright Jane Heller
Copyright Jane Hellerb

I received my yarn only days after learning we would be moving 800 miles away in less than a month’s time. Consequently, I did all of my math and worked out pattern sizing before we left, and knitted the bulk of the garment on the road between Kansas and Ohio. Let me tell you, this was the most compelling sight along the interminably dull trek!

Hallett's Ledge, unblocked sleeve

The sweater itself knitted up quite quickly, although blocking took forever (DAYS!) because our washing machine had not yet been delivered to our new house. Who blocks the old-fashioned way?The spin cycle reduces drying time a hundred fold!

WIP, Hallett's Ledge

Of course, as with any ribbed garment, blocking is key. Look at the difference between the shriveled up in-progress body and the neatly blocked one.

Hallett's Ledge blocking

Because the ribbing shrunk up so much on itself, I also aggressively pinned down the button bands.

Hallett's Ledge blocking

The design element I love most about the garment is the centered cable running down the top of the sleeve. I love the symmetrical look of centered sleeve cables; consequently, Iusethemfrequently.

Hallett's Ledge centered sleeve cables

As with the sleeves, the cabling on the upper back is also centered.

Hallett's Ledge, back

This requires a bit more math to set up the stitch pattern, but I feel it’s math worth doing. After all, I did not suffer through 7th grade algebra for nothing! Why didn’t anyone ever tell me algebra could be so handy?

Hallett's Ledge

Although I intended 2″ of positive ease at the bust for this cardigan, I had to try on my sample despite it being a size too small for me! As you can see, this is a much closer fit (roughly 1″ of negative ease at the bust) on me.

Hallett's Ledge

I do think the drape is better with positive ease, although your mileage may vary.

Hallett's Ledge details

For more information about the pattern itself or to purchase a copy, please seethe pattern page at twist collective. I hope you enjoy it! . . . There are stunning works from many of my favorite designers in this issue!


Design Process: Kiloran


Cirilia Rose's graceful Kiloran dress is her first design for Twist Collective. Today she offers us a little about her inspiration for piece. She has written a similar post over at the Berroco blog. Find out more about Kiloran here.


This is my very first design for Twist and I couldn't be more excited about it! Kiloran, the dress I designed for this issue, was an absolute joy to work on from the initial inception to the agonizing wait for the debut issue.

Image copyright  Mårten Ivert

In the past couple of years I have really tried to figure myself out as a designer. One item or shape I return to again and again is the dress. I think I like the design challenge of making something that won't stretch out of shape or look shapeless and unflattering. Two things that are vitally important are yarn choice and the judicious use of seams. I am all in favor of knitting things in the round and avoiding seams when possible, but in certain situations, a seam or a bound-off edge can add much-needed structure. Kiloran features several seams and where it makes sense, easy circular stockinette.

Kiloran mood board

As for inspiration, I was first inspired by dramatic open necklines seen on the runway and on Princess Anne of Battenberg of all people. The loose, elbow-length sleeves and fitted empire waistlines gave way to full skirts, sometimes with generous bustles. Precisely the kind of dress I'd want to wear in early fall! 

The knitting seemed to zip along, I'm not sure if it was because I was working with the very well-behaved 3-ply Ultra Alpaca in a new shade that I adore (Candy Floss Mix is a strange, evocative dusty pink) or if it was because I had discovered my new favorite film while working on the dress. I Know Where I'm Going!, directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in 1945 is funny, wistful, gorgeous and endlessly entertaining — I finished the dress in under two weeks' time, an unusual speed for me that I completely attribute to Powell and Pressburger's masterpiece. 

I'm really hoping to knit a Kiloran for myself this fall, perhaps in romantic Flannery Red...

Design Process: Kinsol Trestle Men’s Vest

luise O'Neill

Luise O’Neill made her debut in Twist Collective with Kinsol Trestle, a subtly textured men's vest. This post originally appeared on her blog.

Kinsol Trestle Front View
Image copyright Mårten Ivert

Inspiration: The Kinsol Trestle

While doing some vacation research online, I came across this absolutely awe-inspiring structure which became the inspiration for my design — the Kinsol Trestle men’s vest.



The Kinsol Trestle is a wooden railway trestle, built in 1911 – 1920, located in the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. At 44m (145 feet) high and 188m (614 feet) long, it is the longest trestles in the British Commonwealth and one of the highest in the world.




Abandoned in 1980, preservation efforts have been underway to include this historic treasure as part of the Canada Trails system so it can be used by runners, hikers, cyclists and equestrians. There are many more pics and stories on their website.



The Yarn





Briggs & Little Regal is a slightly rustic wool — you’ll find wee bits of vegetable matter that tell you the wool has not been overly processed. It provides beautiful stitch definition for this design. I chose the slightly heathered medium grey to reflect the colour of the aged wood of the trestle.


The Details

1. the knit-on edging – rather unique, I think. It creates knit stitches that meet the fabric at an angle, and






2. the V-neck.





Plus – there are cables and subtle textured stitches incorporated into the body design to reflect the wonderful structure that was its inspiration.

The vest is knit in the round to the underarms, so the only seaming is at the shoulders.