Thursday, 20 December 2012

Twist Collective's Winter 2012: A Review

Twist Collective is yet another online knitting magazine that I had never heard of before I launched this blog and that was a happy discovery. It's a thoroughly professional production, unlike some online-only magazines, which tend to have that start-up or grassroots look. Incidentally, if there's a knitting magazine you'd like me to review, flip me a link via email. Just keep in mind that the magazine will have to have a website and preview pictures for me to be able to do my thing.

Let's have a look at Twist Collective's Winter 2012 Issue.

It always amazes me how the simplest little touch, like the lace stitch used on the cowl and double pocket on this sweater, can make a very basic pattern look fresh and distinctive.

I'm not a fan of buttonless cardigans, but putting a belt tie on this one makes it look really pulled together in both the literal and the figurative sense.

When I saw this cardigan I was going to not include it because it didn't look like anything special, but when I looked at the close up shot I saw some interesting detail. I'd maybe make this one in a solid colour yarn because any variation in the colour will compete with the design.

Nice little pullover with some interesting detail. Though it looks like a summer sweater to me. Lengthening the sleeves and making it a richer colour would "winterize" it.

This very, very delicate wrap looks at first glance more like tatting than knitting, and could probably double as an evening shawl.

Great use of self-striping yarn. It adds complexity and sophistication to what would otherwise be a pretty standard fair isle hat and mittens set.

I have just two nitpicks to make about this cardigan: that it's wrap-front and that the mini shawl collar isn't quite working in front. I have my doubts about how both the front of the cardigan (see how the model is clutching it?) and the collar would sit (or rather, not sit) over the course of the day. Otherwise the sweater is beautiful and the back looks fantastic, although the collar is rolling up in the back.

Love these mittens. Twist Collective seems to be really good at picking colourwork hat and mitten patterns that look like they're intended for adults. Usually intarsia hats and mittens look like they're strictly recess wear.

Simple, pretty pullover with a bit of interesting detail.

Nice striking vest. You could put this with a plain white shirt and black trousers and it'll make your outfit.

Nice classic coat, if a little hard to wear because of its tendency to bulk up a woman's figure. Make sure you make it big enough, because this kind of textured stitch has a slightly elastic quality — you can see the button bands pulling a little apart on this model.

Oooh, love this cardigan. The pictures for the patterns in this grouping are all tagged with the word "vintage", and I can see why when I look at this one. This looks like one of the sophisticated, striking, detailed yet wearable pieces worn by 30s and 40s movies stars. My one criticism, which unfortunately is not a minor one, is that the neckline is so poorly designed. There's no way that sweater could be buttoned to the top without half-choking the model. If you want to buy this pattern and don't like feeling like your neckline is cutting into your neck, make sure you've got the skills to adjust that neckline. It's not going to be at all easy to do that without ruining the effect of the leaves around the yoke.

I don't know why this cardigan was included in such a good collection of designs. My guess is that the little buttonless opening at the waistband is supposed to echo the collar's design, but this isn't a collar you want to draw attention to, and the sweater just looks crude and unfinished.

I do really like this jacket, but again, the texture is going to give it bulk and a tendency to contract, so make sure you knit it big enough, because the button bands are pulling open on this model.

This one looks like the perfect around-the-house sweater, and it'll be quick and easy to make. You can go with a playful colour combination like this one here, or upgrade the look by choosing a more classic colour and style of buttons.

Nice cardigan! The stripes and cables pattern is smart, and I like the buttons that continue across the ends of the collar.

I'm not a fan of the Peruvian cap, which tend to look just too goofy on non-Peruvians over 30. In The Language of Clothes, Alison Lurie wrote something along the lines that inappropriate headgear tends to make people sillier than any other odd wardrobe choice, perhaps because it's so close to where they think. I included this for the sake of the yarn, which I love... ahhh, those rich blues and golds are in such wonderful harmony.

Perfect hoodie. It actually has full-length sleeves, which is rare in knitting patterns. Sometimes I wonder if there was a sleeve-length revolution that I missed out on.

I like the texture of this piece and it's striking and original, but I find myself wondering if it wouldn't work better as a throw on a couch in a very cool, modern, loft apartment than as a wrap for a woman. It doesn't help that we can't tell from these pictures whether it has any shaping at all.

I quite like this simple pullover that's been turned into something striking with the use of just a little detailing at the neckline, cuffs and hem, but the neckline is folding in half on the model, which doesn't bode well for how it may sit on you in real life.

There are some striking details on this cardigan that really make it look distinctive: the cable pattern at the one shoulder and opposite side, and the curving tops of the pockets.

I'm not a big fan of cardigans that only button at the top (very few women are all that comfortable with the feeling that their sweaters are acting as theatre curtains parting and leaving their stomach area centre stage), but this one is so beautiful otherwise that it'll do. The back, with its sideways cables, is really stunning, and it looks like the hood has some interesting detail as well.

Another pretty hat and mittens set.

I wasn't going to include this one until I noticed the cable detail at the waist. That might give the sweater some waist shaping, but it's impossible to tell from this picture if it does.

Mismatched socks wouldn't normally be my thing, but such is the power of really good design that these actually look eye-catching and fun without looking the least bit silly.

I love this sweater, which looks amazingly flattering and well-shaped for such a heavy knit, but, well, toggles. Some engraved steel buttons would have looked amazing on this item.

This hat and cowl set is only half successful. The hat looks great, and the cowl just looks too insubstantial to sit properly or to be warm. Judging from the cowls I've seen, they do need to have a certain bulk to them to look right. When the edges show, when they are just a single thickness of knitting sitting limply around someone's neck, they just look too wimpy to be up to the task of being a cowl. If you want to make something to go with a hat that's knitted in, say, a DK weight yarn or anything lighter (and this set is in Shalimar Yarns' Breathless, which is a fingering weight), make a scarf, not a cowl.

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