twist and shout

Posted on Posted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

you can imagine how excited i was for today to get here—finally a chance to share the big secret project we worked on all summer for the winter issue of twist collective—the leaving sweater, to knit as a pullover or cardigan.

when i say “we” i mean lots of people—my friend kim, the brilliant dyer, AKA the woolen rabbit, my friend karolyn whose knitting you marvel over here and on ravelry, my husband david, whose photography and filmmaking we enjoy so much, my friend tana, our inveterate tech editor and mistress of sizing, my friends ronni and anne marie who work so hard to dot the Ts and cross the Is (yes, i really did type that, which is why i don’t do proofreading . . .), and the editors at twist collective, who have shown great faith in my designs by publishing them frequently.

the story of this sweater goes back a ways (as my stories tend to do . . .), but is typical of my more complex designs. last november after the frost, while walking around my yard, i saw that the leaves of the hostas dying back had formed a really interesting arrangement and had taken on a beautiful coloring. i took a photo.

i loved it so much and wondered if it could become a yarn color (i didn’t know what for, just that i liked the color). let’s face it, there are very few people you can go to and say, hey can you make yarn that looks like these dead leaves??

fortunately, i do know a couple of dyers who would not think me completely off my gourd to ask, and i know at least one dyer who seems to thrive on just this kind of opportunity.

kim loves to create colors and she’s a spectacular collaborator. within a day or two of seeing my photo, she sent an email with a yarn picture. and within a week or so, actual dead hosta leaf yarn arrived at my house.

she dyed up a sock yarn to start, but then we started talking about creating a sweater in her oasis camel/silk blend, new to her shop at the time. i thought that yarn would be awesome in this new colorway, which she named birch beer. before long, a sweater-sized batch was in my hands.

it’s such a soft, comfy yarn that my first inclination was to design some sort of sweatshirt with it—casual, but elegant. but i couldn’t pull that together somehow. i wanted a big, bold, organic thing to happen with this yarn.

and i really don’t remember when it hit me, but i think it may have been the twist collective winter boards that nudged my designer focus into place, with their little pictures of victorian and edwardian skating costumes, stylized with swirls of braid. eureka—this was a way to use a large, voluptuous stitch pattern in a very structured garment shape. i loved the contrast. i started swatching and before i knew it, i had a sweater back, which i photographed for my submission materials.

at this point, i didn’t even care if it got into the magazine; i just wanted to make this sweater. i thought you would like it, even if it didn’t get in.

so i rallied karolyn and together we worked in secret on the cardigan— we wanted to be ready with a pattern either way. she knit her first one in woolen rabbit opulence, which she had on hand (it worked a treat BTW, in case you prefer a silk/wool blend).

ETA: whoa, kim ran out of oasis yarn yesterday (she says thanks, you guys!), but more supplies are on the way and she can take orders for batches to knit this sweater if you email her with a request. this is a great way to get exactly the color you want in the quantity you need. let her know it’s for a sweater and she will make sure the skeins are dyed as closely as possible.

then twist said they wanted the sweater for the winter issue—AND they wanted it as both a cardigan and a pullover, yippee!

we all got busy once again; kim generously supplied yarn for the pullover in moroccan spice, which karolyn offered to knit

and a batch of chocolate chambord for a second cardigan, one knit exactly to the pattern specs (the birch beer prototype has tiny variations; this is normal when developing a design). this is the copy i kept here at home, to wear to my winter and spring teaching gigs.

for buttons, i wanted something truly special, that looked almost like drops of dew or nectar down the front of the sweater

and my favorite button source, moving mud, more than came through with these incredible round glass buttons, sooo beautiful.

each set is very different but perfect for the sweater. sarina is another artist i am very lucky to know.

things were pulling together nicely and we were doing well on time; knitting this sweater was the most fun and relaxing thing i’d had on the needles in a long time. the only thing that slowed me down was stopping to admire the buttery hand of this lovely yarn. sooo luxurious.

as if all that wasn’t enough, kate asked if she could include this sweater in a layout about designers knitting for themselves—one that would require david and i to do the photoshoot here in my studio (which wasn’t even done yet, hee-hee!). well, of course i said yes; we were thrilled to do it.

david busted a move during august to get my study finished and during a very hot week in early september, we took photos. lots and lots of them.

some were obviously posed as usual, but some were relaxed pictures of me performing normal tasks at my desk and in my workrooms

and there was knitting, too

we just played around and got whatever we could that we thought everyone might like.

it was truly stifling, haha; i’m always surprised it doesn’t show more

so there you have it—our big secret. to purchase the pattern or see more information about the sweater details, please visit the pattern page in the twist collective shop.

ok, time for me to go teach a class . .

97 thoughts on “twist and shout

  1. …you KNOW we love it! I especially love the dead leaves photo with the sweater photo in this post. You have a great gift for really noticing the things we see every day!

  2. Leaving is utterly gorgeous, and what a wonderful story! Kim’s yarns are such a special treat to work with. Thanks for sharing the story and the sweater with us.

  3. I LOVE that your inspiration for this sweater was the coloring and arrangement of dead hosta leaves. I often take pictures of leaves and flowers that are past their prime; the muted colors of a leaf or flower returning to the earth can be amazing.

  4. Anne, this is just beautiful! I love how it takes on a different look, in different colors. Yay, Kim! I’ve been in love with her Chocolate Chambord for a while. I think it’s my favorite colorway of hers (except for all the others, of course). Now I just have to figure out if I want to knit this up as a cardigan or a pullover. (I know, you’re going to say, Both! 😀 ) As always, thank you so much!

    And David, thanks for these great photos!

  5. What a beautiful design!

    I cannot tell you how excited I am about this pattern, and I am clearing the knitting decks to get started immediately!

    Thank you!

  6. I saw this in the issue of Twist this morning before I had a chance to check your blog and here it is! It is my favorite of all your sweaters (I think). I love the colors as well. This may well be my “after holiday projects are done” project for myself.

  7. i swooned when i saw this on twist last night; it’s totally gorgeous in all the colorways and styles. i’m currently about halfway through a cardigan, but i think this one might be next on the list! and i remember that hosta photo & yarn; it came out beautifully and this project really shows it to advantage!

  8. I always love reading your design notes and this particular sweater stood out to me when I was sneaking my midnight read-through of the new Twist Collective. I find it interesting that you saw Victorian skaters in that stunning motif. I see those inspirational hosta leaves in it. I’m sure this is going to end up on the needles soon.

  9. love love love… i’m going to have to give up sleep pretty soon because you keep releasing patterns that i just want to knit right now!

  10. Just beautiful!!! I added it to my ravelry queue for my first project after christmas knitting. I can’t wait for January.

  11. Anne, just when I think you cannot outdo your own brillance in designing, you prove me wrong! This is simply the most stunning pattern. I bought it immediately and broke my promise not to buy yarn until 2011. I had to have the yarn for this NOW – even if I don’t start the sweater until after all of the holiday knitting is complete.

    I want to touch the yarn and read and reread the pattern and dream.

    Thank you for all that you do to inspire me to knit gorgeous objects with your wonderous designs.

    And thank David for his outstanding photography.

    It was more than worth the wait.

  12. This design is very organic and beautiful in the Birch Beer colorway. I love that it is both a cardigan and a pullover. Just stunning on you, too! Congrats on a fab design for Twist!

  13. Just adding to the chorus of “well done”‘s! Love this sweater – it is so elegant. Hard to decide between the Birch Beer and Chocolate Chambord. And the comparison of the pattern and yarn to your hosta leaves is brilliant! Thank you for all your hard work!

  14. What a beautiful design Anne! I love the background story for the design. I.MUST. MAKE.THIS.SWEATER. David, the pictures are gorgeous. The house is really coming together and looks lovely in the pictures. You are both so talented.

  15. Thrilled to finally see the sweater and the overwhelming response to it!
    I just LOVE this one and it’s jumped right in my queue after I finish the Henley. Ordered the Oasis, too!

  16. Oh Anne! Those pieces are stunning! I do remember the dead hosta leaf post…Wow! What a transformation from leaf to gorgeous yarn to magnificent sweaters! I love the sleeve details and those buttons!!

    Congratulations and Brava!!! You and David rocked out that photoshoot!!

    Off to catch my breath now! 🙂

  17. Just poking through Twist now and was looking for your pattern – totally gorgeous! While I have a thing for cardigans, I think I might have to cave in a while and go for the pullover since it’s so rare I see one that makes me excited. Unfortunately, summer is coming here to NZ and so I’ll have to wait on it. Thankfully that means I can ponder yarn and colour selection.

    PS – I’m rather sad that the original yarn didn’t get named ‘Dead Hosta Leafs’…

  18. It’s just so….gorgeous & I love it. It’s definitely going on my needles for next winter’s wardrobe. You are the best!

  19. I just started following your blog – love it! I happened to go to Twist Collective this afternoon and recognized your beautiful work. Congratulations! It looks like a fun project to knit. 🙂

  20. I absolutely love your new cardigan and pullover design!! It is my favorite in this issue of Twist….congratulations, Anne!

  21. Congratulations on your spot in Twist Collective. Whenever I see something new…. I automatically want to knit it. They are all simply lovely pieces. I do wonder however if I love them even more because they are always so flattering on you because of your fantastic figure…. those of us with more “roundness” dont wear knits as well sometimes. Maybe I need to look at lowering the numbers on scale! hahaha

  22. This is hands down my absolute favorite design in the winter Twist issue. I eagerly await each one knowing there will be something spectacular and you hit the ball out of the park with this one. Gorgeous yarn, gorgeous design! This one is a winer- can’t wait to start. Congratulations!

  23. I am lurker but when I saw this on Twist Collective I had to let you know how much I love this sweater. It is gorgeous in both styles. I have several of your other sweater patterns but this is going to the top of the list.

  24. I think it’s fabulous that you have a sweater in Twist Collective, Congratulations!! Now as for the sweater, it’s utterly stunning. When I opened your blog tonight and saw it, I immediately thought “oh please let it be a new pattern she’s releasing” I love how it can be made as a pullover and a cardigan, what versatility. This sweater is grace and beauty all in one. You’ve got an amazing talent, thank you.

  25. Lovely! Both the pattern and the yarns are just gorgeous. I can’t decide which I like more, the pullover, or the cardigan. Either way, I’m adding it to my queue!

  26. I absolutely love the first picture in the Twist article. Your desk, your swatch book, it’s a shame they didn’t give David a credit on that photograph. Congrats Anne and David.

  27. Oh, what fun to read the back story! I literally gasped when I saw the sweater this morning in Tweist Collective. It’s stunning, stunning, stunning, and it went right to the top of my queue. Over the top of Sprossling even 😉

  28. That is wonderful – and before I forget to say it (again), you appear to be getting younger in each successive photo shoot. If that’s what being a vegetarian does for a person, I need to take a closer look!

  29. OH, no something else “I have to knit”! I love it. The pattern and the yarns go together so well…like they were made for each other…hehe!
    Just one more fabulous pattern. I’m so glad you never run out of ideas!

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