I’ve been a fan of Twist Collective since they started out in 2008. An online-only knitting magazine, Twist Collective has always been about treating their designers and writers well while producing a magazine that people will enjoy reading from the first virtual page to the last. The result is a beautiful publication with a reputation for excellent writing and interesting, high quality knitting patterns.
When I started designing, one of my goals was to get a piece published in Twist Collective. ‘This one might be Twist-worthy’ became shorthand in our home for a design idea I found especially pleasing. Then, last spring, they put out a call for submissions that fit perfectly with an idea I’d been working on. I thought this design might be Twist-worthy, and it turns out that they agreed with me: my latest design, the Ready Steady Go set, is in the new edition of Twist Collective. You get all three patterns together for $6 USD, which is a pretty good deal, no?
Ready Steady Go started as a double-loop cowl, which then evolved to include a hat
The pattern includes instructions for three sizes of scarf/cowl (single loop, double loop, and full length scarf), two sizes of mittens (7 1⁄2 (8 3⁄4)” / 19 (22) cm hand circumference), and two hat sizes (17 1⁄2 (19 1⁄4)” / 44.5 (49) cm around at the brim, meant to be worn with ~2″/5cm negative ease). You can further adjust the hat size by simply adding or subtracting pattern repeats, or by working it at a different gauge. For the full pattern information, including yardage and gauge, click here.
The stitch pattern was inspired by the high contrast geometric designs in British mod fashion of the 1960s. The solid black and white of the yarn—Plymouth Yarn Company’s Galway Sport—gave exactly the right look for that inspiration. I wasn’t familiar with the yarn, and I’m glad they provided it: it’s 100% highland wool, sturdy (as needed for mittens) without being scratchy (what you’d want for scarves, though the more wool-sensitive might want to test it first). It works well for colourwork, with even, solid shades, a large colour palette, and a very slight halo after washing. Galway Sport is also quite affordable, and the yarn comes in 50g balls, so you’re not stuck buying twice as much as you need if you want to make just a hat or mittens. It’s hand wash only, which suits me fine—I prefer non-superwash yarn for stranded work. For one thing, untreated wool tends to be a bit sticky, so the floats adhere to the back of the work with wear (instead of catching on fingers, for instance), and a dropped stitch doesn’t necessarily mean disaster.
I know black & white isn’t for everyone, though, so I did some stash diving and swatched a few other combinations to show you. I used the same US4/3.5mm needles and the same stitch count as for the scarf sample, and whatever yarns I had on hand that would work with those needles. All of the swatches came out at a larger gauge, which isn’t that important for the scarf (though it will affect the yardage), but goes to show that it’s a good idea to swatch for fitted things like hats and mittens. All of the yarns below are woolen spun, which means that the fibres are jumbled up in the processing (as opposed to lined up neatly in the worsted spun Galway Sport). This makes for a yarn with a lot of air in it, and a fabric that is warm, and light weight. It also means the fabric will be less durable, though you can address that somewhat by knitting at a fairly firm gauge.
First up, a subtle grey on grey, done in Swan’s Island All American Sport, a Rambouillet (a fine wool) yarn in Stone (the lighter grey) and Ash.
This made a light, spongy fabric that works well at 24 sts to 4″/10cm; I think it would also work at the pattern gauge for any of the pieces.
Next, for an example with colour, I pulled out some Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Wool Socks (the rusty red-orange) and Snowbound.
Loft is a fingering weight, and definitely lighter than Galway Sport. I tried it anyway because the woolen spinning gives the yarn a lot of flexibility in gauge, and sure enough, it worked nicely at 1 st per 1″/2.5cm less than pattern gauge, with wiggle room for going down a few needle sizes. While it would work well for the scarf or hat, I’d be wary of using it for the mittens, as the more delicate structure + lighter weight may make for some beautiful and short-lived mittens.
Last, a swatch in blues with the dark and light colours reversed, using Harrisville Designs flyWHEEL in Canal (the dark blue) and Birchbark.
This swatch blocked to a much larger gauge—21 sts to 4″/10cm vs. 28 sts—and I think this yarn at the pattern gauge would be unmanageably stiff. It’s another woolen-spun yarn, so there is quite a bit of gauge flexibility, just not quite that much. I included the swatch anyway because I liked the effect of reversing the colours, and this experiment was more about colour ideas than yarn substitution, after all. If you like a wider scarf (or feel like doing the math for the the hat—as I mentioned above, it’s pretty easy to adjust the hat size by adding or subtracting pattern repeats), I think flyWHEEL might work nicely.
I’m absolutely delighted to have this design in Twist Collective: they were so great to work with, and the final pattern quality is everything one would expect from them, plus the pattern photos (taken by Crissy Jarvis, a fellow Canuck) really make the pieces stand out. I’m excited to see what colour combinations other knitters come up with, too.