twee, a. Now only in depreciatory use: affectedly dainty or quaint.
(Oxford English Dictionary)

I’ve just knitted something that is undoubtedly, incredibly twee. But I am really hoping it falls on twee’s acceptable side. Because however “affectedly quaint” it is, I love it! I have had a serious thing about patterns that feature repeating figures since I bought this fabric last year . . .


These Madeiran dancers look like paper dolls to me. And there’s just something about the flatness, and the repeating geometry of paper dolls that I find incredibly pleasing. And as with all dolls, there’s also something a little bit sinister about them too. They have a clone-like quality, as well as the suggestive potential of repetition, self-generation, usurpation . . . like those unruly brooms in the Sorcerers Apprentice. . . .

. . . Anyway, I was unable to resist incorporating a string of paper dolls into the new sweater I’ve now made for Spring. Given my current fondness for — nay, obsession with — Bowmont Braf and stranded colourwork, this sweater features both. It is also finished with corrugated rib (I love it!) and lots and lots of icord. Since I made those fiddlehead mittens I have developed something dangerously close to an addiction to icord — it produces such a neat edge! I just had to use it for every cast-on and bind-off.

The sweater is blocking now, but I couldn’t resist showing you a quick peek before I put it on and (no doubt) run about in it, throwing some foolish shapes:


This really is one of those instances where knitting makes me stupidly happy. Clearly I have also been bitten by the designing bug, as I thought I’d write this up into a pattern to fit anyone from 4 years old to full-grown woman, who doesn’t mind sporting something just a wee bit twee.

45 thoughts on “twee

  1. I just discovered your blog, and it is truly amazing. A combination of depth, a wonderful sense of style and great photography. Thank you for your wonderful work.
    And yes, I would like to see (and buy) a pattern for that sweater.


  2. Twee can be a very good thing! From the teaser pictures, it looks like you’ve really captured the clean edges and unidimensionality of paper dolls (with yarn, of all things!), and also the good side of twee : )


  3. You are such a great designer and knitter, I love your sense of style from your photographs to the style. This is particualrly lovely. I have finished those Owls yet!



  4. Wow! I definitely don’t blame you for feeling “stupidly” happy about that sweater. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that out in the knit-internet-land, and it is wonderful. I love the use of color, and it looks like it will look great when worn.


  5. Wazzuki!

    This is a COOL sweater! No way could you describe it as “twee”.

    It is simple, straightforward and appealing in an understandable way.

    Just in the same way as your photographs.

    OK, perhaps the key to being un-“twee” is the gentle humour in the design??? (Not that “up” on the “analysis” thing but it just seems to me that there is a hint of laughter in the designs you create.)

    ps dolls are sinister? hmmm? With or without faces?

    pps thank you for sharing your ideas on the “intertubes” :)

    ppps needled is a social capital creator



  6. I have been a lurker on both your blog and Rav page but have to break my silence as i am so tickled pink with your designs! I am halfway into my owls jumper (man is it rewardingly quick!) and would definitely love to make this beautiful yoked one… well done, please keep designing! xx


  7. Too cute for words! Can’t wait to see the complete sweater. I loved paper dolls when I was young and this is so reminiscent of childhood. Very well done. Bravo!


  8. I love love love it and would wear it – although as a cardigan – perhaps with a steeked front – weather here doesn’t really call for sweaters sydney is more of a cardigan town


  9. This is the most excellent twee, and on the right side of ankle socks with nylon lace. I don’t need to dig deep to discover that my inner 5 year old realy loves this swweater, as would my 4 and 6 year old daughters. Thank-you for including them, and let me know where I pay!


  10. Oh no – something else to add to my ever-increasing queue! :) It’s really lovely, and twee in a delightful way. It reminds me of some jumpers my grandma made me when I was a child which I would wear now if they fitted (I love coloured yokes). The corrugated rub and i-cord edge on the sleeve look so professional and neat. I can’t wait to see what else the designing bug brings you!


  11. Oh, I love it! The yoke is so pretty and the ribbing is just out-of-control happy!!! I’m so glad you are planning to write it up, I would love to buy this pattern. I definitely want to make one, too.


  12. Well this is just amazing.
    The speed with which you design and create these beautiful things is astounding and impressive.
    I can’t wait to see your FO shots with running and shapes being thrown.


  13. Beautiful! I just checked out a book from the library on traditional Scandinavian knitting, and there’s a Faroese pattern of little dancing figures that reminds me greatly of your lovely yoked dolls. There’s something very appealing about figures in red or blue on white.


  14. Maybe it’s just me but as I get older I’m developing a love of all things twee. I’m harking back to a gentler, less-fraught time of knitted mittens and intarsia (in moderation).

    Really though I think that yoke is so gorgeous that it falls far from the boundaries of twee


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