Yggdrasil Afghan: A Study in Elegance

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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Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

33 thoughts on “Yggdrasil Afghan: A Study in Elegance

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.
    cables queen@gmail.com

  14. 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.

  15. “Download the Yggdrasil Afghan pattern today”

    I’d really love to – in fact, that’s why I registered – but the download link just comes right back here. Would someone PLEASE tell me where the actual pattern is?