Timeless Designs from Cassie Castillo

Reading the profiles of Knitscene's featured designers is something I look forward to with each new issue of Knitscene. In the Fall 2013 issue, Cassie Castillo is featured, along with four of her beautiful knitwear patterns.

Rosemary Cardigan     
June Mitts

Here's an excerpt from the article about Cassie:

Modern Vintage

While many designers stumble into their craft, Cassie Castillo knew from the start that she'd make a career of it. At ten years old, Cassie was handed a Learn to Knit kit-a book comprised of instructions and a few illustrations that ultimately caused years of miswrapped purls. Fortunately, the dolls that received her knitted garter stitch dresses were never known to complain.

By her late teens, Cassie found herself in the halls of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in California, where she went on to earn a degree in fashion design.

Despite being fueled by creative projects, Cassie's time at FIDM pushed knitting by the wayside in favor of fabric-based designs. It wasn't until she landed her first gig as an assistant designer at a women's sleepwear company that she even thought to pick up her needles again. Inspired by a coworker's handcrocheted scarf, she set out for a few new learn-to-knit books, this time with a little more advanced construction and proper illustrations.

Emmylou Shawl
Alison Pullover

Her deep understanding of construction helped Cassie to master cabling, lace, and counterpanes, and she quickly realized that she could develop her own patterns instead of having to work through the complications of "translating" the small-scaled vintage patterns she desperately wanted to make. And so she set out to do her own thing, inspired by a vintage aesthetic married with an everyday-wear appeal.

Fast forward a couple of years, when Cassie ditched the fashion industry for something a little less ruthless: managing herself and designing on her own time. She's now living the dream as an Army wife and profound knitwear designer. As a veteran Knitscene designer, Cassie has been providing stylish, graphically driven designs to Knitscene for over three years. Each season, Cassie proves that she can reinvent a classic silhouette in the most flattering of ways.

In this issue, Cassie has delivered once again with four timeless pieces that are driven by visually appealing textural elements.

The Rosemary Cardigan was inspired by Cassie's favorite cardigan that she affectionately refers to as her grandpa sweater due to its V-neck and pockets. Bored with the idea that the stitch pattern must live in the body, Cassie shifted her focus to the sleeves, giving them an interesting zigzag cable made with a twisted stitch pattern. This cardigan will serve as a perfect outfit staple this fall, whether paired with your favorite boots or pencil skirt.

The Alison Pullover is a slimming sweater you'll mix with every pair of jeans you own. The garter stitch yoke and princess line cables fuse together in this garment, ultimately creating a flattering hourglass shape.

The June Mitts approach functionality in a dramatic way. Designed to be long enough for ample wrist coverage, these mitts are made with a twisted stitch pattern that creates cable-like decorative ribbing that will keep your hands warm while you drive and even while you're knitting.

Cassie designed the Emmylou Shawl using the fundamentals behind sewn ruffle construction. The initially large cast-on may seem a little daunting, but the stitches decrease quickly, creating a drapey ruffle that will elegantly decorate your shoulders.

These days, Cassie spends her time knitting, tending to her vegetable garden, scribbling sweater sketches, and baking homemade bread. And the faithful guardian, Che (Cassie's loyal Chihuahua-miniature pinscher mix), well, he stays by her side championing her progress, adorned in his own hand-knit sweater.

—Robin Shroyer, from Knitscene, Fall 2013

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P.S. Which of Cassie's designs is your favorite? Mine is the Rosemary Cardigan. Tell us your favorites in the comments!


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