Ashe County: Free Sweater Pattern


          The world probably doesn’t need any more knitwear designs, at least not those that aren’t truly unique in some way.  But the challenge of not only designing my own sweater but also grading it seemed like a necessary accomplishment for a knitwear designer who wants to grow in her craft, even though my finished product is perhaps a bit conventional.  

          I have taken classes devoted to sweater design with knitting luminaries such as Patty Lyons and Amy Hertzog, studied books and magazine articles dealing with this topic, and have achieved a decent grasp of the requisite skills to envision a design, create a swatch, and then perform the requisite math to calculate stitch and row counts to  write a pattern.  But I struggle.  Designers blessed with an aptitude for math, especially geometry, would probably find my labors (and piles and piles of scrap paper covered with my numerical scrawlings) to be absurd and would consider my need to work so hard to be a shortcoming, but I believe that designing is a mix of skill and creativity, practice and innovation.  I hope that my limitations as far as mathematical and spacial ability are offset by my passion and determination.  Checking and double-checking my math helps, too!

          While I designed and knit another top-down sweater for myself several years ago, the sweater pictured here is the first one I have graded.  (Grading means calculating instructions for a variety of sizes.  My pattern includes how-to steps for sizes extra-small to 4-X.)  I have also knit samples in size medium and large.  Since I haven’t had this pattern tech-edited at this point and haven’t overexerted myself in my efforts to find test knitters—although one tester is working the size medium—I thought I would post the pattern here, for any brave souls who want to knit this design.

          The Ashe County sweaters I made for myself  are now counted among my go-to winter wardrobe staples.  While the traditional tree-of-life motif on the yoke isn’t anything new, it does give the design a pretty texture.  Its use was inspired by the fact that I recently moved to the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, to Ashe county, a place where Christmas tree farming is a significant industry. So here is a free pattern inspired by my new home.  You can find the link below the image at the bottom of this page.  Please contact me through Ravelry if you find any errors or have questions.  

Go to Ashe County for the pattern.  


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