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Twist Collective Blog

Spring/Summer 2012 Edition is Live

We've picked a whole bouquet of gorgeous patterns for our Spring/Summer 2012 edition, wrapped them up with a few sprigs of stories, and how-tos and tied it all with a bow.

From shawls, to socks, to garments, we have plenty to pick from. See it all here

Spring Summer 2012 new edition


Megan Goodacre

Megan Goodacre is the designer who brought us Dylan- a classic trench inspired by rock'n'roll. This is her first contribution to Twist, and you can also find this entry on Megan's blog. Today she shares her inspiration and design process, as well as an extra embellishment you can add to your Dylan, if you so desire!


Designing knitting patterns for publication has a strange contradiction; on the one hand, knitting itself is a methodical, labour-intensive, and (if we're lucky) meditative act. Although we might visualize the finished item to keep ourselves motivated, we have to focus on the present in order to avoid mistakes. There's no Undo command in knitting, so we have to Knit in the Moment. On the other hand, knitting design has to follow the calendar of the publishing industry. Designers, advertisers, printers, writers are all thinking in the future tense, often a year in advance.

Which is all good, it keeps things moving, and really forces you to finish ideas, projects. But I find that I don't often have time to reflect on the process. I was flipping through a magazine just now, and didn't recognize one of my own designs for a second, because I've already moved on in my mind to new design ideas.

So I thought this might be a good excuse to reflect and share a little of my creative process for Dylan, which was in Twist Collective Fall 2011.

Dylan full view

The Twist moodboard included a music concert theme, and my mind went to old black and white photos of music pioneers like Chrissie Hynde, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, Bob Dylan. They know how to rock the most modest of clothes: scarves, trench coats, t-shirts, jeans, white shirts. And they know how to layer. I had a few sketches of jackets already, and being an 80s girl, I have a weakness for trenchcoats. So my own moodboard (you can see part of it, above) was made up of iconic photos of these artists. The top left (Bob Dylan of course, and that must be a Richard Avedon photo) and bottom right (an unusually colourful photo of Patti Smith) ended up driving the mood of the project.

I wanted a classic trench shape, with deep pockets, a double-breasted front, and wide cuffs. Here's the submitted sketch, on the left. Originally, I visualized a running stitch embellishment to simulate top-stitching. But although it was easy to work the stitching, it seemed unnecessary for the pattern, so I took it out. Here's what the jacket looked like with the stitching, on the right. It was very quick to do: just thread a contrast yarn on a tapestry needle, and run it in and out between two columns of stitches.

SketchStitching detail

Mad about Madison

Hi. Kate here! A week ago, I was about to board a plane to Madison. Marnie was doing the same. We had been invited to be the keynote speakers at the Madison Knitters' Guild Knit-In. I had heard this was a great guild before going, but I couldn't believe how welcoming and lovely everyone was! What a super show. I just thought I'd pop onto the blog and show you a couple pictures we took.

Madison auditorium

I love how most of the audience was knitting. By the way, this is the end of the show, so all of the people fleeing the auditorium are rushing off to buy things at the market. They were not escaping our presentation in the middle!

Marnie and Kate

People are always surprised to hear that Marnie and I have only met in person twice. Here's proof of the second time!

Kate talking

I wore Midtown to talk. I love this skirt. I really love this skirt. And every time I wear it, knitters and non-knitters alike go nuts for it.

yarn buddy

I got to meat Jeanette and George of Sun Valley Fibers in person. Check out my Yarn Buddy! I also saw Chris of Briar Rose. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of her gorgeous booth, but I did get to pick yarn for the fall issue!

Jennie pendants

I picked up these cute little charms from Jennie the Potter. I also ate her baby for dessert because he was so darned sweet.

Marnie and cow

Marnie made friends with a cow. We were also lucky to hang out with Franklin. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of him with fiberglass animals.

Kate with badger

Badgers are bigger than I expected.

A big thank you to everyone from Madison, especially Kate (not me) and Connie. It was awesome to see old friends and meet new ones!


Ashley KnowltonToday's post comes to us from Ashley Knowlton, designer of these wonderful tall socks called Darlington from the Winter 2011 issue of Twist Collective. You can also find this post on her blog, where you can learn more about Ashley and her many talents. You can also follow her on Twitter. This is her first design with Twist Collective.

This time of year always makes me thankful for my wellies (also called, depending on where you're from, rain boots, gumboots, galoshes, and, I'm sure, a host of other names!). I live in the countryside in the south of England, where wellington boots are worn with the same devotion with which Pacific Northwesterners wear socks with sandals year round. And as any Briton knows, wellies don't fit correctly without the proper knitwear.

Darlington, front view

Darlington, back view

So Darlington was born, partly out of necessity, partly out of my love of cables. Inspired by welly socks with their long, fold-over cuffs (the sample is even knit in a colour similar to Hunter red) and over-the-trouser fit, I wanted a sock that would stretch to fit over my jeans (they stay up better that way) and make wellies warmer and more comfortable. And I just thought that I had to share these with the world.


Kate at Twist Collective loved the idea, too, and worked with  me to create an ornate pair of stockings that look even better outside the boot. Ribbing ensures a good, close fit around the foot and keeps them from sliding down, while a pretty cable winds up to the cuff, with a matching medallion at the calf. Toe-up construction makes it easy to customise the fit and sport-weight yarn makes them knit up very fast. I loved the sample set, which meant that right after I made it (sadly, what with my monstrous calves, they don't fit me), I knew I had to make my own pair.

Ashley's handspun Darlington socks

My own handspun pair have been my constant companions during this long, cold and damp English winter, and have found their own place, nestled inside my wellington boots by the doorway. I'm sure they will keep me company right into English summertime.


Fiona Ellis

Fiona Ellis rules. She has contributed many wonderful patterns to Twist, including Georgie, Mehndi, and the completely adorable Ruthie, just to name a few. She uses colors and geometric patterns in exciting and inventive ways, and her most recent Twist design- Athabasca- is no exception. In this post by Fiona, we get a peek into the world of the designer- and the life the sweater before it made it to the pages of Twist!

Athabasca, back

As Robin wrote, when we designers are working on a project for a specific issue we are usually knitting a garment that will be worn in an entirely different season. Each project also serves as a kind of memory jog or journal entry. I can always remember what I was working on during 9/11 or the summer that I trained for a half marathon. Seeing those projects reminds me of just what was going on in the world or my life at that time.

close view

So when I see Athabasca I remember last summer and all the beautiful spots and sunny warm days I knit on it. It accompanied me to a friend’s cottage and on several long summer evenings spent down by the edge of Lake Ontario (she rode with me in the basket of my brand new bike). But the over riding memory is of her being my carry ‘round project when I taught at Sock Summit in Portland OR.

Sock Summit

One of the events that took place outside of the classes and marketplace at SS’11 was a flash mob, dancing to “I’ve had the time of my life”. The knitters taking part brought along yarn to hug and fondle during the routine and at the end we were all supposed to throw our yarn into the air. The yarn I had on hand was a ball of Valley Yarns Northampton in pale blue that I was using for Athabasca. As the music ended I didn’t dare throw my yarn; what if it got lost it in the crowd? What if it fell to the ground and got dirty? It seems that I wasn’t alone, many of the knitters clung tightly to their yarn probably for the same reasons.

in progress

When I see Athabasca it reminds me both of both contemplative evenings and having the time of my life with 600 of my knitting buddies. If you haven't seen this video of the flashmob in action, check it out below. It's pretty charming.