Jordyn of Jackass Collective
From loyal customer to inspiring artist, Jordyn’s journey with knitwear has been a masterpiece of creativity from the pandemic.
Whether it’s cozy leg warmers, chic sweaters, or elegant dresses, Jordyn’s creations redefine knitwear. Her artistry knows no bounds, and her work is a testament to the spirit of Baaad Anna’s.
Join us in celebrating Jordyn’s vibrant and imaginative world and brand new website. Follow @jackasscollective for a glimpse into the extraordinary.
What inspired you to become a knitwear designer, and how did your journey begin?
In the early days of the pandemic I learned how to crochet by watching YouTube videos. I played around with a few free sweater patterns and didn’t think much of it. Social media kept showing me other content creators accounts, knit garments, stitches and blocking techniques. I was curious about the drape and garment construction of knitting vs. crochet. I was crocheting with a lot of tension (and stress) and my final garments were incredibly stiff. I was working with acrylic yarn as it was accessible and budget friendly while I was exploring a new hobby. The combination of my tension and the acrylic yarn made for a really uncomfortable sensory experience when wearing the final garment. I was really unhappy with my finished pieces. A few months later I started a Fashion Business program and wanted something to keep my hands busy during my Zoom classes and that was when I finally decided to learn to knit and to experiment with different natural fibres. I still occasionally crochet these days but find it’s a little bit harder on my hands and wrists vs knitting.
How do you stay inspired and keep coming up with fresh design ideas?
Since I am still a new knitter and still have so much more to try, I find that learning a new technique ( a new stitch, garment construction, colour work etc) combined with a technique I am familiar with always sparks a new idea of what I can combine for the next garment. Doing something I am familiar with keeps me grounded, but adding in new unfamiliar elements keeps me on my toes and the wheels in my brain turning.
What challenges do you face when designing knitwear, and how do you overcome them?
I have a learning disability called dyscalculia which affects my ability to understand math or number based information. I struggle with reading patterns a lot! Dyscalculia makes it very challenging to correctly count a number of stitches to cast on or to count rows. This causes a lot of frustration and a lot of wonky designs. I very quickly learned how to just freehand a garment. I rarely ever take notes of cast on stitches, count rows or aim for a specific size when creating a piece. I let the piece talk to me and just go with the flow and this has taken almost all the stress and complications out of knitting for me. On the rare occasion I do purchase and follow a pattern, I follow it very loosely! I usually don’t count rows for length as listed, I just work until the sleeve or waist hits where I want to be. This is something I struggle to explain to other fibre artists or other creatives. And something a lot of people don’t understand, something that’s part of my creative process I will always have to explain or receive criticism for.
Do you have any advice for aspiring knitters who are just starting?
F**k around and find out! Do not be scared of errors or mistakes. As a very tactical learner myself, I learn BEST when I royally screw up a design or technique. In the future I will remember the error I made and work to correct it or try something new. There also is no right or wrong! While it can be comforting to try other people’s techniques or ‘rules’ when you are first beginning, do not be nervous to step outside of those pre written boundaries.
Do you have a favorite type of yarn or specific fiber you prefer to work with? If so, why?
I work a lot with mohair, boucle, thick/thin and bright bold coloured yarns most frequently. Different textures alway catch my eye. It’s very rare that I knit a garment with all one colour/texture or ‘sweaters quantity” of yarn. I create a lot of scrappy pieces, I find it mesmerizing to work up a garment with so many colour and texture changes. As someone with ADHD, I find I can get bored or uninspired to work a garment using one colour. The added steps of weaving in so many tail ends is always worth it to me to see how the chosen colour palette will look as a final piece and then challenge myself to style that garment in a way that compliments the chaos of the colours and textures.
How do you choose the right yarn for your knitting projects? Are there any factors that are particularly important to you?
I am a very intuitive artist, I do not put a lot of thought into buying new yarn/bringing new yarn into my stash. Thinking about buying yarn for a specific pattern is something I’ve never done. I am drawn to yarns with different textures or colour combinations/variegations and I let the yarn tell me what it wants to be made into. I have moved away from using acrylic or other non-breathable yarns. I prefer working with natural fibres these days. My skin is very sensitive to acrylic or polyester, the lack of airflow makes me incredibly itchy and sweaty. I have a lot of sensory issues so when shopping for yarn or fibres I keep in mind how soft the product is.
What role does the local yarn store play in fostering a sense of community among knitters?
There are so many different types of creative brains and I think small yarn stores showcase that really beautifully. You get to see and touch different yarns or fibres from artists that may be local to you, may be across the country, maybe an entirely different country. You see things that have been paired together that you would have never thought to put together and get a glimpse into someone else’s creative process. I adore seeing the contrast in all the different brand identities sitting side by side on the shelves. I think shopping locally always inspires me because I get to envision other people’s mood boards, work spaces and colour palettes and then take all of that into consideration for what I am shopping for. Or it can sit in the back of my brain and come back to me down the line for the creation of my next piece. As I am writing this I am picturing an empty yarn store, no other customers around on a slow day. But if it’s a busy day and the store is packed with other shoppers, you have the chance to talk to someone you maybe would never meet, about their project or goals or wants. Share ideas and bounce thoughts back and forth. Share knowledge of a specific product, fibre or technique. I think that’s really important in a digital age, it’s a great reminder of all of the other generations of knitters and crafters that came before us, that passed down their knowledge and creativity.