Twisted stitches are like tiny two stitch cables, and because they are so small it is easy to work them without using a cable needle. Twisted stitches add texture to a pattern without pulling in the fabric as much as a large cable would, and are used to form the zig-zag designs in my hat westmoreland star. Here is a tutorial on how to work them. (pic of hat pattern)
On my hat, the directions for working the twist stitches look like this:
RPT: Right Purl Twist - slip 2 sts to R needle. Insert tip of L needle through back of first st slipped, and pull R needle out of both sts. The second st will now be loose in front, pick up and place on L needle. k1b, p1.
Basically, these instructions tell you how to take each pair of sts and rearrange them so that their places are swapped on your left needle before you work them, which makes one twist over the other. When you have followed the instructions about slipping sts and picking them up and putting them back on your needle, you should end up with the two sts you are about to work on the left needle where they started, but with their positions swapped (the former 2nd stitch is now 1st, the former 1st now 2nd). You then work these two stitches as directed (in the case of the Right Purl Twist above, knit the first through the back loop and purl the second), and will end up with a twist! You should see the row of k1b sts at the front of the work.
(sequential pictures) The stitches are now twisted, with the knit stitch in front and leaning to the right, and the purled stitch behind.
If a twist is worked with a knit background instead of a purl background, the steps for arranging the stitches on the needle are exactly the same, but both stitches are knit. To work a RT Right Twist, follow the directions above for the Right Purl Twist, but at the very end, substitute k1b, k1 for k1b, p1.
Working a left leaning twist is similar, you simply reverse several steps to make the twist slant the opposite way. LPT: Left Purl Twist - slip 2 sts to R needle. Insert tip of L needle through front of first st slipped, and pull R needle out of both sts. The second st will now be loose in back, pick up and place on L needle. p1, k1b.
The instructions here are ones I find easiest to work, but there are other ways of working twists - it's also possible to just drop both sts off your needles then pick them back up, reversing their order before you work them (making sure that k1b st stays in the front!). You will undoubtedly find other ways too if you look through tutorials and stitchionaries, if you find another way of working them that you like better, great! If you absolutely don’t like working without a cable needle, and get scared when stitches are dropped, its possible to use one for twisted stitches, just a bit slower. Simply treat them as tiny 2 st. cables. RPT Right purl twist: sl 1 to cn and hold in back, k1b, p1 from cn LPT Left purl twist: sl 1 to cn and hold in front, p1, k1b from cn RT Right twist: sl 1 to cn and hold in back, k1b, k1 from cn LT Left twist: sl 1 to cn and hold in front, k1, k1b from cn
Note: I've noticed that abbreviations and names for twisted stitches can vary significantly, in some patterns front and back are used instead of right and left, and different patterns have different ways of distinguishing between a purl background and knit background. However they are abbreviated in the pattern you are using, you can work twisted stitches using the same method. If you are unsure of how to translate different abbreviations, simply look at charts or photos to see which way the stitches to the front of the twist lean. If your stitches need to slant right, use a Right Twist. If they slant left, a Left Twist.