dusktreader knits

January 12, 2011

Getting Comfy with Cables

Filed under: Notions — Tags: , — dusktreader @ 5:30 pm

Before this year, I think I did about three cable projects:

  • A scarf that was too short and that I never wear.
  • An owl hat that is too short and that I never wear. (I should try blocking it properly. Or make another one. Or, I could even rip out to before the decreases and make it longer. Maybe I should do that. It’s an awesome hat, I don’t even know what my problem is.)
  • The Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers from Stitch ‘N Bitch Nation. (I wish I had a digital photo of these. They were my first cable project.)

I had nothing against cables, I just found them slow and I didn’t really understand them. When I read left-leaning cable, I couldn’t figure out which way to hold the stitches to make it lean left. When I read C4B (cable four back) I couldn’t picture which direction it would cause the cable to lean.

Then I went on a cabling binge. I did some armwarmers and incorporated a pattern from the Vogue Cable Stitchionary. I did a cabled beret. And now I’m working on another cabled beret. And it finally clicked, and now I know that if I want to make a left-leaning cable, I should hold stitches to the back of the work, and if I want a right-leaning cable, I should hold stitches to the front. So now I can check against a photograph of what I’m knitting to make sure I’m going the right way, and it all makes sense, and I don’t have to constantly double check. Knitting cables goes a lot faster.

I also learned to knit without a cable needle. My learning process went like this:

  • 4 years ago: Look up how to cable without a needle. See that it means taking live stitches completely off the needle and just letting them hang there. Freak the heck out.
  • 1 month ago: (Having completely forgotten the above.) Decide I don’t feel like using a tedious cable needle. Wonder what could possibly go wrong if I just, you know, drop the stitches off and just, sort of, let them hang there while I knit the next few stitches, and then pick them back up. Experience moderate success, albeit having to fix a few unravelled stitches.
  • 1 week ago: Decide to look up proper instructions for how to cable without a needle , find out I’ve been doing it right, but that if I pinch the base of the dropped off stitches they don’t unravel. Experience great success, and much faster cable knitting.

I am much less afraid of fixing unravelled stitches than I used to be. And now I want to see if I can design my own cable patterns.

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