Monday, December 13, 2010

Crazy Cables

Once you get the hang of knitting you should try and challenge yourself with something that looks hard but is quite easy (assuming you have the knit and purl stitch down pat).  If you are ready for something new, try knitting cables.  They look very impressive when they are done, but, when the pattern is followed, it can be done painlessly.

My very first cable attempt was done on scrap yarn that I knitted up a swatch piece.  Sorry to say, I no longer have that little piece of cable, but I have moved on since then.  My first project was an Irish cabled sweater.  Yes, let's go for gold, I don't want to settle for bronze.  I jumped from a swatch piece to an Irish cabled sweater.  I never admitted to being crazy, but I have high hopes!  So, in my search for the perfect pattern, I asked my Aunt Eileen.  She is the person who taught me how to knit.  She is my great aunt that is like a grandmother to me.  She lent me (let see, over 10 years ago) a Irish knit instruction booklet.  This booklet has a copyright date of 1967!

The pics inside are even more classic!

The Bernat company is still around and going strong; their website offers a blog and free patterns.  The Bernat Book of Irish Knits had the perfect pattern: a classic pullover.  The yarn I chose (sorry Bernat) was Paton's Classic Wool.  It is 100% merino wool in the classic cream color Aran.  I bought it from Smiley's Yarns which can be found on the web.  They literally have yarn for $1!  I don't think this yarn was a buck a skein but it was wicked cheap. 

This sweater was orginally knit for my boyfriend (who became my husband, then my ex).  There is folklore that if you knit your spouse or partner a sweater, then the relationship will sour.  I knew this going into this project, but I knitted it anyway!  I mean, who really believes in that old superstition anyway?  The sweater certainly did outlast the relationship, but at least I was smart enough to hold onto the sweater! 

This sweater, I thought, would take me a few months to knit.  I typed out the pattern so I could read it easily and write on the paper.  Well, to make a long story short, it took over a year to knit!  With all that time invested in it, the boyfriend/husband/ex only wore it a handful of times.  During the piecing of the sweater, he had complained that it was going to be too tight, then I knitted side panels to extend it, then he complained that it was too bulky.

See why I kept it!

I had knit the side sections in moss st, then knitted the cables, and then the middle section was done in popcorn st.  This was very time-consuming and I had to pay attention.  So, watching TV while doing a project like this is not recommended.  At this stage, I would have considered myself an Advanced Beginner.  Only a beginner because I did not know how to seam very well.  You can notice the side seams where I added the extra panels.  For my first cable project, I impressed my Aunt and myself! 

Close-up of cables

I wear it on those few chilly days a year as a cover-up/jacket because it is too large for me; I wear it anyway and I love it.

My next cable project came years later and it was a scarf.  The pattern came from Family Circle Easy Knitting (now it is published through Vogue and is called Knit Simple).  I had a ton of extra Paton's Classic Wool (apparently, I overestimated my yarn requirements) and knitting it up with that.

The scarf was cabled along the bottom edge of each side but carried only three cables through the neck/body.  I was hooked from the look of the ends so I gave it a shot.  After the sweater, this was a piece of cake!

Cute, huh?

Oh, yes, and it had a rolled edge.  The original yarn for this pattern was a soft, fluffier mohair or something.  The end cables had almost a halo appearance to them.  I was being frugal, so no halo effect, but I really liked it anyway.  The side cable always rolls in.  I never blocked it, so that may prevent that from occuring.  Blocking is when you wet the garment either with a spray bottle or a steam iron, set it out flat, shape it, and place a towel with heavy items on it to "set-in" the shape.  It is effective method with sweaters, but not sure if it works on scarves. 

Ends are my favorite part!

My latest cable project was a skirt pattern from knit.1.  This is a hipper knitting magazine for the younger knitters.  The teens and early twenties knitters don't want the stuffy patterns of some of the classic knit magazines.  This is a nice choice for them.  I was in my late twenties when I subscribed and I can see that I would not knit half the patterns, but I enjoy looking at what people can create.  The skirt was knit with Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool.  The pattern had cables running diagonal throughout the skirt with a rolled hem/edging.

I see a color theme going on here...

I finished this skirt the Christmas before last, while visiting my sister in MA.  I have to admit, when I was done, I put it on and thought, "No way am I wearing this in public!"  Let's just say it was very form-fitting and I would need some leggings under it to cover myself up!  It did come out nice, I just am not confident enough to wear it as intended.

Waist cables are a nice feature

My beau and I had a holiday housewarming party and I thought, I want to wear that knitted skirt.  Again, I put it on and could not do it.  Then I got an idea, "What if I wore it as a shirt?"  Marisa from New Dress A Day blog does it all the time!  I threaded a grosgrain ribbon through the cabled waist, put a tank top underneath to protect my skin from the itchy wool, threw on a shrug and viola!  I skirt-top!

Last pic of the evening

It was a cute way to finally wear my knitted cable skirt.  I got several compliements, so I thought that I should've done this ages ago!  Along with my top, I also showed off my early Christmas present from my sister.  She sent it to me and told me to open it up and not wait until Christmas.  She surprised me with a cabled blanket!  I have been talking about knitting one myself forever and she must've got sick of hearing me say that because she did it!

So nice!

Isn't is wonderful?!  I have it displayed on the couch, but I actually have it in my bedroom at the end of the bed.  It has been in the 40's and 50's here in FL and this blanket is the perfect weight for that added warmth.  Even though my sister did not blog about it and take pics along the way, I had to feature it in mine. 
Thank you agian, Kathy!!! 
Cable close-up!

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