Introducing: Hemingway

Hemingway designed by Leah B. Thibault for Twist Collective
Hemingway designed by Leah B. Thibault for Twist Collective
Hemingway designed by Leah B. Thibault for Twist Collective
Hemingway designed by Leah B. Thibault for Twist Collective
Hemingway designed by Leah B. Thibault for Twist Collective
Hemingway designed by Leah B. Thibault for Twist Collective
Hemingway designed by Leah B. Thibault for Twist Collective
Hemingway designed by Leah B. Thibault for Twist Collective

It's August, but that doesn't mean its not sweater season at Ms. Cleaver Creations!

Hot on the heels of the Cormac release, I'm pleased to present, not one, but two new sweaters - Hemingway: Men's and Women's. Or as I call them, Him-ingway and Her-ingway. 

This design can be credited to power of the corkboard squares in my studio space. Sometime, a long time ago (before July 2012 at least), I had the idea of trying to design a pattern that used knit and purl stitches to make a plaid fabric. I was pretty happy with the way the swatch turned out, but I never quite figured out what to do with it. So it stayed pinned there on my corkboard for ages.  

Then I started playing around with a simple, pieced shawl-collar men's pullover. And thought, hey, that plaid thing just might work! The folks at Twist Collective seemed to agree, so much so that they asked to do a women's version too. I panicked briefly, said yes, and then started looking for my first ever sample knitter. 

The main differences between the two are that the women's has waist shaping and is generally shorter in the body, sleeves, and armhole depth, as well as narrower in the shoulders. The men's is straight through the waist (easy to lengthen for the extra-tall fellas) and has a slightly wider collar and ribbing. Both are worked in pieces and seams, with the shawl collar that is picked up and worked after seaming. 

The sample yarn used for both sweaters is Valley Yarn's Northhampton, which I really enjoyed knitting (the men's sweater) with. It's just a super solid 100% wool yarn. I just kep thinking, yeah - this is wool. Its not too itchy, but it's not so soft that you think it won't hold up in a few years and it comes in some really pretty heathered shades. 

If you knit this one up, I'd recommend choosing a size with 2+ inches of positive ease for the best fit. In the photos above the women's has about 4"/10 cm of positive ease and the men's has 2.5"/6 cm positive ease. Not sure what I mean when I'm talking about ease? Check back later this week for a post all about it!

Hemingway is now available for sale through Twist Collective. You can buy each pattern individually for $7.00 USD or get both for $10.00. You can also find the pattern on Ravelry.

All modeled photos courtesy of Twist Collective/Crissy Jarvis. 

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2011 in Review

Master Bedroom Mosaic

We became homeowners on Dec 31 of 2010, and a lot of this year was learning the in and outs of being homeowners. We removed what didn't want and started building in what we did. We peeled wallpaper and painted walls.

Snowpocalyspe 11:30am

Shoveled snow and learned the importance of roof-rakes.  (Hint: don't pile that much snow that close to your house)

Gardening Station in the Garage

Perennials were planted in the spring and bulbs were planted in the fall. Lawns were moved and leaves raked. Floors were swept and appliances replaced. And at some point along the way it stopped being their house and started being ours.

Karen & Chris

Starting the day after we moved in, we filled our home with friends: Pie Day, poker games, dinners and documentaries. The highlight was inviting over all our friends for a summer time barbecue and concert.



And we saw a little doggy online and decided to invite him to stay for the long-haul.


During Lent I wore skirts for 47 days and visited Washington D.C. for the first time.

Cherry Blossoms

Korea Memorial

In sewing, I got my own studio space and made a thing or two.


My creation

Fiber-wise, I learned how to dye and needlefelt.



I bought a loom and made a total of one scarf.

The pattern appears

I also did a fair amount of spinning, but haven't quite met my knitolution of knitting anything with handspun yet.

Tour de Fleece Skein One

Knitwise, this has been a huge year for me. I've released three patterns with Quince & Co., one with Twist Collective, and six on my own. I started a mailing list.

My creation

It's amazing to me how much has happened in one year, and how quickly that year has gone. There's snow on the ground outside now and it's a few days to Christmas. It's been a helluva year in the best way possible.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year!


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Introducing: Wetherell

It's been a big week for me a designer, I've had not one, not two, but three designs come out in the past four days. The one I'm perhaps most excited is Wetherell, which came out in the Winter 2011 issue of Twist Collective.

This design started way back in the early days of 2010, when I challenged myself to design a sweater as my 2010 knitolution. I've knit plenty of sweaters, and adapted a few, but I wanted one that was all me.

As with most deadlines, I procastinated and didn't even start thinking of my design until early October, when I was doodling during a meeting and came up with this (and promptly dripped water on it):

Wetherell Sketch

The big question was how to do the diagonal feature on the yoke. After flipping through some stitch dictionaries, I deciding on modifying a slip stitch pattern. I love slip stitches because their woven-look texture and I find them less commonly used than other stitch patterns (though it is my second Twist pattern featuring slip stitches).


The downside to this heavy of a slip-stitch pattern is that is takes almost twice as many rows to get get the same length as Stockinette stitch. The upside is that it looks great and since it's confinded to the yoke and the cuffs, it isn't overwhelming. The name for the sweater came when Bristol Ivy and I did this photoshoot in March. It comes from the copy of The Wide, Wide World, I'm holding in the shoot, a 1850 novel by Susan Warner, published under the pseudonym Elizabeth Wetherell. According to Wikipedia, it is often acclaimed as America's first bestseller  (if you're interested you can read the whole thing here.)


The front and back of the sweater are knit flat, while the sleeves are knit in the round until the sleeve cap, then everything is blocked and seamed to together. The sweater is finished off with a knitted hem on the bottom. All together it's a simple sweater with the right amount of detail.

Both my prototype and the Twist sample were knit in Valley Yarn's Williamstown, a worsted weight wool/acrylic blend in a lovely range of tweedy shades. I even found matching buttons 8 months apart in the button box at Z Fabrics.


The pattern is available for $7 USD via Twist Collective or you can queue it up on Ravelry.

Photos 1-2: © Jane Heller, via Twist Collective

Photos 3-5: by Bristol Ivy


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Sketchbook: Designing the Carmel Clutch

As I hinted at a few posts back, I have pattern in 2010 Spring/Summer issue of Twist Collective.

It's my first professionally published pattern and I'm thrilled to be in such a great magazine in the company of designers I really admire.  I'm super excited about the whole thing, so I thought I'd talk a bit today about the Carmel Clutch came to be.

It started with a hat.


This hat.

Which I bought on out-of-season clearance at LL Bean a year or so ago. After I bought the hat I spent some time looking at it and realized that it was crocheted. This got me thinking, surely if you can crochet with raffia, you can knit with raffia. So I went out to a craft store on my lunch break and bought a cheap bag of raffia to give it a try.

I wanted it to have a woven looks, so I flipped through a stitch dictionary or two and came up with a swatch of herringbone stitch.


My original swatch had a half dozen knots on the back, since the raffia from the craft store came in pieces of about 3 feet long, but it was enough to know that the concept worked.  So I worked up a sketch, named the pattern after the beach community in California that I visited a handful of times in my teenage years, sent it off to Twist, and crossed my fingers.

I got the okay from the Twist folks and we decided to work up two samples, one in raffia and one in a more standard yarn, which I was more than happy to do. While I waited for the Elann Coto Canapone to come in I ordered a few spools of raffia from Raffit Ribbons and got to work.

Carmel Clutch in Progress

Here's where you may ask, what's it like knitting with raffia? And the answer is not too bad. It's about equivalent to working with any other plant fiber yarn I've worked with (cotton, hemp, linen).

Carmel Clutch pre blocking

It's stiff off the spool and there's not a lot of give when dry and I'll admit that the purl stitches in the garter stitch sections of the bag were kinda pokey, but believe me - I've never had so much fun blocking a piece of knitting. the texture changes dramatically after it's wet and softens into something lovely!

Carmel Clutch v1.0

I had finished version 1.0 of the bag, but wasn't happy with the front flap, which was done with decreases. It was too pointy and bumpy - so I set it aside for a day to decide how to fix it. I picked up some personal knitting, and while working on a version of Laura Chau's Just Enough Ruffles Scarf, the solution presented itself to me - short rows! So I pulled out the front flap and reworked it in short rows with the addition of the garter stitch border seen in the final photos.

Around this time the Elann yarn arrived and it was Christmas and I went to California for a week and did no knitting at all so by the time I was knitting the Coto Canapone version I completely forgot to take pictures. Oops! But suffice it to say, I reworked some numbers for gauge.  We also made the second sample shorter to combat potential flopiness (which if you find is an issue with your yarn I'd suggest lining it with fabric backed with interfacing or putting a book in the bag - both work :) )

A big thanks to Twist for including me in this issue and to Caro Benna Sheridan for the lovely photos! If you have any more questions on the Carmel Clutch - let me know!

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Pssst! Check out page 8 of the new Spring/Summer issue of Twist Collective, you might see a name you recognize!

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