I am terribly late to the fall edition of the Twist Collective, but I thought I’d highlight a few interesting articles and talk about my favorite patterns. The Twist Collective is one of my favorite pattern resources (I love my Mary Jane sweater – The Third Year) and fall is my favorite season, so what a lucky duck am I!

Admittedly, I normally skip the articles in pattern magazines, but the Fall 2011 issue features a really handy tutorial on seams: In Praise of Seams. Although I love patterns that minimize the use of seams (and try at all costs to avoid setting in sleeves) I try not to restrict my choices based on the most comfortable construction. Essentially, if I want to make it, I will! However, I’ve never mastered sewing together knitted pieces, and the PDF looks like a good first resource next time I have to graft or 3-needle bind-off.

Also very interesting is Carol Feller’s overview of the Irish wool industry, “The Last Mills Standing.” A lot of points can be extrapolated to the Scottish wool industry, especially regarding climate and fiber production:

The outfitting of Irish houses in wool sweaters gives some insight into the country’s damp climate—another factor that impacts the wool industry. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, temperatures in Ireland are mild, but its northern location leaves it lacking in sunshine. This contributes to the famously fair skin of not only the Irish people, but also Irish sheep. Pale sheep, it turns out, grow darker fleece. The wool takes on a yellowish tinge, which is why traditional Irish yarn is much closer to cream (know as báinín in Gaelic) than white. Combine the damp climate with breeding methods that are little concerned with the fineness of the animal’s coat and you get a thicker, coarser fleece. Irish sheep are a hardy lot!

I love Scottish wool, and try to knit with it as much as possible, but my experience with Irish yarn – in the form of Donegal Tweed – has been equally pleasing. I’m looking forward to investigating the mills mentioned. (By the way, the author’s newest book, Contemporary Irish Knits, has some beautiful patterns as well!)

As for the patterns, I am in love with the coats and cardigans.

Dylan

I want very, very much to knit a full jacket. This mammoth undertaking raises two concerns (1) I will likely become bored before finishing, and thus only ever have a partial jacket and (2) In the very wet climate of Scotland, a full wool jacket, while warm in theory would not be practical. The first issue is between me and my own sense of motivation, but the second concern does actually put me off the idea of knitting a full jacket. Should I change my mind, this pattern is really smart, and would suit a more tweed-y yarn, like my beloved New Lanark, very well. Hmm.

Kent

The back reminds me of Deco but the military-style front is what I love most. Also what a fantastic neck line! The torso looks shaped and the sleeves comfortable. I really love this.

Petronia

Oh dear, I’m afraid that this would be a very expensive cardigan for me to undertake. Firstly, the only yarn suitable for something so lacy and clean would be very luxurious and fine. Secondly, to wear this, I would have to invest in some pearls and redecorate the flat with Laura Ashley’s new fall line. Still, I might someday come into a windfall.

Roseling

The view of the Gold Gate Bridge in the background may make me a bit homesick and nostalgic, but the jacket is cheerful and bright. The white seams at the shoulder and along the sides are really clever, as well. This would easily become a much-used part of my wardrobe.

Crane Creek

Like the pattern above, this one has an ‘all-weather’ appeal to it. Oh, and I’m a sucker for pockets. I’ve actually queued this one, and I can’t wait to see other finished versions of it!

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