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Yggdrasil Afghan: A Study in Elegance

Mar 12, 2010

Yggdrasil Afghan     
The beautiful Yggdrasil Afghan, by Lisa Jacobs

A note from Kathleen: We're so happy to offer the Yggdrasil ("IG-dra-sil") Afghan on Knitting Daily. We love its gorgeous blend of cables and stockinette, not to mention the interesting backstory! Since it appeared in the spring issue of Interweave Knits, we've had so much positive feedback on this pattern so we thought we'd send it out to all of our Knitting Daily members. Enjoy!

Here to share some insight into this special pattern is Eunny Jang, editor of
Interweave Knits.

Lisa Jacobs' Yggdrasil Afghan is a stunner: Intricate cable patterns, a bit of leaf lace, multi-directional knitting, and thoughtful heritage inspiration combine for a blanket worth keeping out year-round. 

Yggdrasil Afghan

      Yggdrasil Afghan, Center Border


Yggdrasil Afghan
Yggdrasil Afghan, Leaf Border

The Inspiration
Says Lisa Jacobs, the designer:

"Trees and their myths have always fascinated me. Yggdrasil, the legendary Norse world tree, bridged many worlds and provided a home and meeting place for gods and mythological creatures. Modern ecology supports ancient myths' recognition of the importance trees in the web of life. The Yggdrasil Afghan, worked in environmentally friendly organic cotton, celebrates the importance of our forests in the health of our planet.

"As I began designing the central grove of the Yggdrasil Afghan, I ventured out to photograph bare trees during early spring. At home, I used photo processing software to simplify the pictures of several trees. Then I traced the printed pictures onto graph paper where I experimented with different cables to duplicate the shape and proportions of the trees.

"Like any iconic "world tree," the tree at the center of the Yggdrasil Afghan is a composite of several different trees that I studied. As I developed the center of the afghan, I enlarged and conventionalized the composite tree to fit the triangular repeat of the pattern. Like the myths of old, the tree at the heart of the Yggdrasil Afghan is both uniquely itself and a representation of all our world's forests."

The Knitting
The Yggdrasil Afghan is built in sections: The central panel is knitted in the round with four corners, working the same intricate cable and twisted-stitch "tree" in each of four sections. A braided cable border is knitted on perpendicular to the panel with mitered corners; then a leaf braid border; then a final braided border. Areas of stockinette stitch knitted in the round separate each border.

 Yggdrasil Afghan

Yggdrasil Afghan, Center Panel
Large projects like blankets and afghans can sometimes become dull knitting after a few feet—not so for this afghan, with its ever-changing directions and stitch patterns.

Making it Yours
The construction of this blanket makes it possible to easily customize it for your needs: Make it with just one braided border for an heirloom baby blanket. Add one stockinette border and a leaf braid border for a respectably-sized blanket to snuggle up under on the sofa. Or add one more stockinette panel and a final braided border for a queen-sized counterpane, as shown.

Download the Yggdrasil Afghan pattern today, cast on, and let us know how you'll be knitting it!


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Florida eve wrote
on Jan 16, 2014 7:25 PM

I am not a knitter is this available in a crochet pattern?

Charlotte13 wrote
on Mar 9, 2011 7:04 AM

My fabulous darling hubby is making this for me for our 15th wedding anniversary...isn't he sweet?

cablesqueen wrote
on Jan 13, 2011 2:11 PM

My last post was on Aug 14 2010.

I accomplished my goal. Finished the first small size baby afghan in baby blue.

knitted all of Sept until the first cables border in time for baby oct 9 2010. It was a smashing hit with the parents.

Now my second Goal.

Started Jan 2011 Second one in Aron/Ecru color.

Plan to Knit with a Picot Edging in time to show at the STICHES Convention IN Feb 2011 in santa Clara Ca.

on Jan 13, 2011 1:41 PM

Wonderful design. It was a pleasure knitting smallest size version in baby blue in september 2010 for my grandson born in october.

Now in Jan 2011 I am knitting another one largest size to be shared in the knitters convention in feb 2011. I plan  add a picot edging in thethe very end.

Love it.


Peggy J. wrote
on Nov 13, 2010 1:47 PM

I love the Yggdrasil Afghan and I started it a few days ago, but now I've gotten to the trunk of the tree and the directions have a grey box and the directions  say no stitch.  Please someone tell me what that means!  thanks, Peggy

on Oct 6, 2010 12:39 PM

I would like to knit this for a California King size bed, which would mean about 84" or so. What would you recommend I do to make this work?

Bunnytrax wrote
on Sep 24, 2010 5:45 PM

I love the pattern and really appreciate how the charts make it very clear (I can only imagine what it would take to write it out as a "traditional" pattern.)  I knitted my way thru the tree of life last spring and put it away till cooler weather.  Well now I'm stuck and just can't figure out how to get started with the large trellis cable.  I've got the provisional cast on, but how is it used?  And I can't figure out the 21 stitch repeat there's 91 stitches per side minus one for the selvage.  Can anyone help me thru this?  The blanket is beautiful so far and if I have to I can just put on a boring edge, but I'd love to do the trellis.

cablesqueen wrote
on Aug 14, 2010 9:28 AM

This is incredibly beautiful afghan.

I will knit this as my favorite project starting now.

I will make the baby afghan up to the Cable Border in Baby Blue,.

My first Grandchild is arriiving in October!!.

Cables Queen

cablesqueen wrote
on Aug 14, 2010 9:20 AM

I wanted to knit the tree of life afghan for my grandson due in october.I have already knitted the Cable sampler by Barabara Walker.I chose very difficult cables including one called cables from hell,  Saxon Braid. and many more. That became Large Twin size Bedspread.

I saw Nickie Epsteins tree of life Afghan by Lions Brand and wanted to knit that but I just found and fallen for this Yggdrasil afghan. I have landed. I am very happy to see the Saxon Braid Border which is my favorite cable to knit.. I will make this a Baby Afghan up to that border

I am starting to day sat Aug 14 2010.

My plan

1. Make this Baby Afghan up to  first cable Saxon Braid Border in baby blue color.

2.Make the complete Afghan in Aron/ Pecan color.

3. Make the center square as a large Pillow.

4. Make a pillows with cable pattern.

5. Better yet  I challenge myself to make a center square with  that cable and make a border of  the same just like in this Yggdrasil Afghan.

Cables Queen

Honeychild82 wrote
on May 18, 2010 10:37 AM

I am incredibly picky when it comes to patterns. This one is absolutely lovely!  I've always loved a challenege when it comes to my knitting, something to showcase the yarn and the stitches is just perfect.  I really love this project! I'm currently on the first corner of the leaf braid border. I wouldn't dare make anything but the largest size, sometimes the sheer size of the project is challenge enough! (just look at my last blanket knit on size 2s.  Ugh.)   I can't thank you enough for this fabulous pattern!  It is written so incredibly, the charts took a little bit of getting used to, but I finally came to the realization that it's really charted well, even the cable crossing are easy to read, with the lines indicating the direction of the cross, and the color of the block indicating the type of stitch. Brilliant. Just brilliant. I want more! I'm planning on entering this in the State Fair this year. I need another pattern once I'm done!  

FrankieV wrote
on May 5, 2010 11:16 AM

Is there a KAL for the Yggdrasil Afghan.  I need help to get started (have the yarn and was all gung-ho to start on it), but have not gotten past the first few rows when I decide "this doesn't look anything like what I'm supposed to be doing". I learned to knit socks and the Kerry Blue Shawl on a KAL and think it would be great to have one for this.  

NoorW wrote
on Apr 14, 2010 10:18 AM

I have started this beautiful plaid. I hope my technical english is good enough to get this plaid made as I wanted. Noor from the Netherlands

on Mar 18, 2010 6:39 AM

Thank you for sharing your talent with us!  It is beautiful...I can hardly wait to get started.

Frances Carr wrote
on Mar 17, 2010 11:23 AM

I love this! I love the color Pecan! Thanks.

How would this make up in hemp rather than cotton? Would that make it sturdier than cotton and last longer? Be lighterweight? If so, what weight and brand name hemp would be suitable?

As a baby blanket, what yarn would make it machine washable?


stitch.knit wrote
on Mar 17, 2010 10:27 AM

Thought I was ready to begin knitting...........but, no.  Didn't have the correct DPN's to cast on to.  Drat.  

Got the needles & then hit another wall............couldn't see the directions!  :)  

Waiting now, to go get the directions & key enlarged.  There is no way I can knit a row without seeing the chart (and the key, until I memorize the symbols) at the same time.

So, all fired up and just the cast on row on my needles.  I used the magic loop method on the provisional cast on, so there was no joining necessary, and can tighten the loop whenever I'm ready.  Won't do that until I get a few more rows on the needles, as it will be too small to deal with otherwise.  

Quata wrote
on Mar 15, 2010 6:34 PM

re Yggdrasil :

I'm good at figuring out charts but why is there a large darkened area in the middle of the tree panel. Knitting on either side.  I don't know what that means.

Help. I've already started!

LMarie2113 wrote
on Mar 15, 2010 7:00 AM

I was given this pattern at a guild meeting Saturday by a Norwegian woman.  She's really excited about the pattern but isn't sure she can knit it.  It's gorgeous!  I ordered some sport weight worsted wool in light green to knit it.  - Lynn

Smyles wrote
on Mar 15, 2010 5:24 AM

Ok, Never done this before, but I was planning on knitting this lovely afghan before the knitalong wasannounced.  My daughter is going away to University in September, and this will go with her, as a memento of home.  

I am knitting it in a dark brown Debbie Bliss pure cotton.  The yarn is on its way to me, and I'm all ready and waiting to begin.  Looks like a challenge!

KathyB@4 wrote
on Mar 12, 2010 9:36 PM

I'm in Australia and Lion yarns are a little tricky to come by here.  I'm trying to work out a substitute and it looks like the yarn is knitted at a looser gauge than would be usual for an Aran-weight yarn.  Is that correct?

LiB wrote
on Mar 12, 2010 12:43 PM

Replying to Ede - you are starting with a provisional  cast on in the centre of the middle (tree) square. There are lots of online videos regarding the provisional cast on. I like the one that uses a crochet hook to loop the stitches onto your knitting needle.


Sharon@202 wrote
on Mar 12, 2010 11:01 AM

Love this pattern but I do not read charts. Is there a written out pattern?

LiB wrote
on Mar 12, 2010 10:09 AM

Thank you for the gift of this pattern. It is beautiful beyond words!


EdesPottery wrote
on Mar 12, 2010 8:31 AM

I thought I knew how to knit but I don't know how to start this project.  How do I find out what I am missing?  Ede