Christa Giles shares her design process for Asher in the following post, which you can also find on her blog. She has contributed many wonderful designs to Twist Collective, including Boundless and Lara. The lovely photos of the purple version of this cozy jacket were taken by Andrew Ferguson- Christa did a skills trade with him for American Sign Language basics! You can find out more about Andrew's work here.
Asher came to life after a trip to Portland in June 2010, with an hour (possibly more) spent at Yarnia combining a bunch of thin strands of yarn together to make myself a custom blend of chunky goodness. I didn’t have a plan for it at the time aside from “big cozy sweater” but swatching with it while on the train ride home eventually suggested that it liked the slip-stitch rib pattern I used for a simple scarf design, Picker’s Delight.
I also realized that the second yarn I had created at Yarnia, a blend of smooth strands that made a worsted weight yarn, coordinated nicely with its chunky sibling, and I started playing with combinations. Eventually, the yoke design was born, with garter stitch, concentric increases, and contrast piping to separate each ring. A needle size change helped the garter move smoothly into the slip-stitch rib, and I was off!
Okay, truth? That sweater is still in that state of in-completion. When I got the thumbs-up from Twist Collective after submitting this photo and sketch, I did my usual squeal and happy dance, and then promptly sought out a more commercially available yarn that would work. A shipment of Cascade 220 had been delivered to Three Bags Full, and in the process of unpacking, pricing, and stocking the new colours, this purplish grey caught my eye and stuck. The purplish brown was a good choice for the contrast trim, and both came home with me that night.
The biggest difference between my second prototype and the sample for the magazine? Weight. Cascade 220 held doubled is HEAVY… which can be pretty wonderful if you think that heavy + warm = perfect (I do!), but the gorgeous Berkshire Bulky from Valley Yarns knit up into a light and lofty sweater that would still trap heat but rest more easily on one’s shoulders! I loved the colour combination that Kate sent me, and was happy to knit the sample version as soon as mine was off my needles.
In case you can’t see it in the design lines, I was pretty inspired by Elizabeth Zimmerman. Her love of the knit stitch calls to me. Because I knit continental style, the slipped-rib pattern used here doesn’t feel at all like working a purl stitch. Jared Flood's version of her Tomten design was also in the back of my head - I love the contrast shoulder lines he created!
Some mods: my prototype has all of the contrast lines done as piping: four rows of stockingette stitch with a single strand of Cascade 220 which are then closed to make a rounded trim line (see Piper and Lallans for more of this accent), and a row of piping on the back of the hood just before the shaping begins. I designed a tab for the back, but haven’t actually sewn this on yet! Also since I’m on the busty side (in case you hadn’t noticed from that photo!), I shifted the break for the sleeves back a little bit on each side, so the front width is wider than the back width.
Vancouver has been having a wonderful Autumn, with many days of crisp sunshine and cool evenings spaced between the rainy drizzle that we know and love (or at least accept..), and Asher is the perfect outer layer to pop on over a tshirt and still be snuggly warm. I love the giant pockets and hood in this weather, and am designing more sweaters with these features!