17 November, 2009

Let's Talk Twist

The CBEST is OVER! My unofficial scores give me a pass in the reading/math sections, so I'm just waiting until Nov. 30 for my essay scores. I'm fairly certain I did just fine; I stayed on topic, used relevant examples, and exercised my skillz at spelling and big words, which is really all one can expect from a canned essay on what life skills I've learned from being in school.

But enough about the CBEST! Standardized tests deserve no more of my attention, as I won't have to take any more of them ever (famous last words).

Let's talk about the Twist Collective in general and the new issue in particular. I am currently enamored of lists, lists, and more lists, so this will take the form of... a list. Predictable, thy name is Tika.

The Twist Collective In General:
1. Has interesting patterns
2. Uses pretty photography
3. Explores a wide range of yarns, styles, and abilities
4. Does good things for the industry in regards to paying designers/charging/etc.
5. Is not intuitively set up, and thus I click on ads when I want to know more about patterns
6. Actually makes me not want to buy patterns because of the layout
7. Makes me sad because of the combination of nice patterns and crap website
8. Overcharges for their contents.

Now, let me qualify #8. I fully believe that designers and magazine people (whether that magazine is online or not) deserve to make money from their creations. I don't believe that all knitting patterns should be free just because we're all combining knits, purls, yarn overs and decreases like everyone else. For a paper magazine, I am willing to pay $7 or $8 bucks as long as I like at least 2-3 things in said issue. Even if everything else is made of Muppet skin and peacock feathers, I figure that those 2-3 items I would make justify the cost of the entire product, perhaps in combination with a Strongly Worded Letter regarding the ethical ramifications of Muppet skin. Some of you may have noticed me reference my collection of Anne Hanson patterns, for which I gladly shelled out ~$7 each for shawls and ~$5 for socks. I also have a whole folder dedicated to Cookie A's patterns, which are also not cheap. Thus am I perfectly suited as a consumer of knitting patterns and also an opinionated loudmouth to express my displeasure at paying $6-7 each - regardless of scope of project, expertise, or volume - for the often-amazing patterns from Twist Collective.

So really, I guess what annoys me is that there's no volume discount from Twist. Most of their patterns are $7 (shawls, sweaters, bags) or $6 (gloves, hats, scarves). But here's the twist (ahahhaha! I kill me!): this hat is $6, and this neckwarmer/hat/mitten combination is also $6. Here's what ends up happening in my brian:

Spendthrift Me: Both are super-cute!
Cheap-o Me: But.. but.. it's just a cleverly constructed hat with piping!
Spendthrift Me: But still cute!
Cheap-o Me: Adorable, I agree. But $6-adorable? Maybe 4. Not six. I could reverse-engineer that in a couple of hours.
Spendthrift Me: It's a negligible $2. And then you wouldn't be spending your hours.
Cheap-o Me: The three-piece set is also $6. That's $2 each, and more for your money.
Spendthrift Me: Do you think the designers spent the same amount of time designing those pieces?
Cheap-o Me: Maybe. We're not designers.
Spendthrift Me: Hmmm. Both? Or just one? If you had to pick just one, which would you pick?
Cheap-o Me and Spendthrift Me: The combo.

Thus does my mind judge things, and the Piper Hat, while admittedly adorable, gets removed from cart. Here's how it would go if the Piper Hat were $2 less, or if there were a 4-for-$23 deal from Twist:

Spendthrift Me: Both are super-cute!
Cheap-o Me: But.. but.. twelve bucks for both?
Spendthrift Me: Yup. But if we get this sweater and this one, both of which I would TOTALLY WEAR as a teacher, it's only $23! That's less than a movie ticket plus popcorn!
Cheap-o Me: Sold. But the Twist Collective is getting a Mildly Worded Letter regarding the navigability of their website. Part of what my $24 is paying for is an accessible venue for designer's work, after all!
Spendthrift Me: Indeed.

Are you listening, Twist Collective? After all my ranting, I humbly suggest a volume discount. I submit to you as an example the vast number of knitters on the internet who bemoan the Knitpicks $50-free-shipping incentive as a reason that they always, ALWAYS spend $50 at that website instead of the mere $10-$15 they would have otherwise.

Also, I hate the set-up of your online magazine. It's difficult to navigate and confusing to access.

But let's talk about the Winter '09 issue In Particular:
1. I love this.
2. And this.
3. And these.
4. The articles were lovely, but would be better if they were separated more from the pattern stories. I keep skimming when I should be reading, and reading what I'd rather be skimming. This is a layout issue, see above re. navigation.
5. I would like to have a chat with your photographers and sample knitters, please.

Again, I shall elucidate on #5, but not at as much length. This is a knitting magazine for knitters who knit. As such, we (the knitters) are not so much interested in ANTM-style poses or smizing as you might think. There are some general suggestions for photographing knitwear that are based firmly in color theory and/or Photography 101 of which I would like to remind you. Please note that the following has nothing - I repeat, NOTHING - to do with how such items should be knitted by the knitter. Knitters are clever and experimentative and can knit however they like. But in order to maximize the purchases of some items, I suggest the following things:

5a. Stranded colorwork should be shown in contrasting colors so as to make the pattern pop. If we cannot see the actual pattern, we are not as likely to knit it.
5b. A sweater that contains a cable should probably be shown in a distinct color so that said cable is visible.
5c. A savvy knitter will be frustrated that this sweater is not shown straight on in any shot. It's beautiful, the model is beautiful, the pose is quirky, but please for the love of all that's holy, if you want me to buy that pattern, also show me how it FITS HER. Otherwise, I wonder what's wrong with the pattern, and I'm sure that the designer did a bang-up job.

Thus ends my rant. You may return to your regularly scheduled knitting.


  1. I completely agree about the photography. It's beautiful, but I kept finding myself clicking through looking for photos (which didn't exist) that helped me see the whole garment.

  2. I totally agree.

  3. I agree with everything you've said! When I go to twistcollective, the first thing I want to see is the patterns. I usually end up missing a couple because I can't figure out where they all are! Course, I'm not very tech saavy, and that might be why. And there should definitly be a bulk discount!