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Twist Collective Blog

NHS&W New and Notables

Julia here. 

While at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool, I saw a few lovely little things I thought you'd like to know about.

One: Silversmith and Friend to Fiber Artists (an unofficial title), Leslie Wind, has just created silver and bronze darning needles in three sizes.  They are lovely to behold, and quickly inspire a mental flipping of the WIP file for a sweater in need of finishing. These, the small size, are about 3 inches long. Here's Leslie's site for more information.



Two: these baskets from The Children's Initiative, a non-profit that supports health care in developing countries.  Made in Vietnam, the sale of these baskets supports the organization's good works.  Their value to knitters is, I think, immediately obvious.  I saw people leaving with multiples.



Three: a new book, Fiber Gathering, by Joanne Seiff, has been enjoying attention on a virtual blog tour recently, and Joanne was at the festival on Sunday to sign copies and answer questions.  The book is a loving tribute to why we wool lovers gather, explains with enthusiastic prose and beautiful photographs the merits of each of the major regional festivals, offers a primer on some aspects of wool love that are the province of fiber festivals (such as fleece skirting and washing), and has 25 projects to get your needles going. Check it out, and catch festival fever.


fiber gathering book 


New Hampshire Sheep and Wool

Julia here.  I made it to New Hampshire Sheep and Wool this past weekend, and saw some lovely things.

tsock tsarina

Lisa's (aka Tsock Tsarina) chorus line of fantastic socks in the Holiday Yarns booth. 




Drop spindlers devoted to vivid color



Temptations not limited to the fiber variety 



Alison in a new sweater design she just published, called Rapunzel. 

Tribal badges and


familiar faces. (Claudia never makes it to New Hampshire because she's usually in recovery from Maryland, but this year, we got to see her instead!)

It was a lovely day, too hot for big wool sweaters, but perfect for enjoying the company of fellow knitters and considering yarn purchases.  Barb Parry was celebrating her new book, Teach Yourself Visually Hand Dyeing which I heartily recommend if you are at all interested in the subject. I hope to post a more explicit review of the book when I am finished giving it the once over, but like Deb Menz's inspirational book, Color in Spinning, I may never be done with it.



Thanks to everyone who said hi and grabbed a Twist Collective button from me.  It was a fun day.


Props from Vogue Knitting

The new issue of Vogue Knitting is on the newsstands, and lo, there we are in boldface on page 20 in the "Made in Canada" column by Lee Ann Balazuc, represented by a photograph of Angela Hahn's beautiful Primrose Path sweater.  We are delighted to be recognized by the big guys, so thanks to Lee Ann and the VK folks for the nod.




New Hampshire Sheep and Wool: May 9th

Julia (yours truly) will be wandering the grounds at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival on Saturday, May 9th.  It's my birthday, so I'll be handing out potlatch: Twist Collective buttons.  Tap me on the shoulder or hail me from across the sheep dog trials field, and grab a button from me for your knit bag.  See you then.

Design Process: Primrose Path

by Angela Hahn
When designing a knitwear pattern, I often start with a stitch I really like, but in the case of Primrose Path, I first had the idea of creating a sleeveless tank, worked in the round, with a lace band winding diagonally around the body from the hem up. With this in mind, I searched through stitch dictionaries until I found a few different lace patterns I thought might work -- patterns in which the lace repeat had some sort of diagonal element.  
swatches for primrose path
I ended up using a stitch pattern from a Japanese book, #138 from Knitting Patterns 300. The angle of the diagonal seemed right-- it wasn't too steep nor too flat (I was trying to get the lace band to start somewhere on the front, curve around one side, across the upper back, and end on the top of the shoulder).  I also realized that this pattern flowed perfectly into a k2, p3 rib, and I thought that using this rib for the body of the tank would be a great way to give it some shaping without using decreases and increases. After making a fairly large swatch, I wondered if the band might be too suggestive of a beauty contestant sash-- not good! So I added a few scattered lace flowers to soften the edges of the band.  Finally, a wide U neck seemed a good choice-- I thought the lines of a V-neck might compete with the diagonal line of the lace band.
I have to be honest: the idea of adding optional sleeves came from Kate!  Once we decided to do sleeves, it was time to fine-tune the placement of the lace band for all sizes, and to decide how to echo the lace band on the sleeves. Spiraling it up the sleeves didn't work because the sleeves are too narrow-- the band would have crossed the entire sleeve width well before reaching the top of the sleeve.  Instead I decided to make the lace band on the sleeves into an upside down "V" which could be adapted for all sizes fairly easily.  
Calculating the band placement on the body for all sizes was trickier; I didn't want the band to fall across the armhole edge, but continue unbroken to the shoulder. I realized that to do this, the band would need to start closer to the side seam in the larger sizes; unfortunately this means that as the sizes get larger, less of the lace accent is visible on the front of the sweater, but I think in all sizes, the lace really accents the back of the sweater nicely. I also decided that some knitters might prefer the clean look of the lace band without extra lace flowers, so I wrote that option into the pattern.
Finally, in keeping with the inherent asymmetry of the stitch pattern in this sweater, for the sample I decided to work the left sleeve with the optional scattered lace flowers, and the right sleeve without (with lace band only). I'm very happy with the overall effect, and with the fact that there are several options included in this pattern: with or without sleeves, with or without extra lace flowers on the body, and with or without extra lace flowers on one or both sleeves.
(The low camera angle in photos is due to the short stature of the 5-year-old photographer, not an artistic decision!)
Want to know more about Angela's design?  Read her blog post about Primrose Path here