Tag Archives: cables

Ridgeback Mountain Giveaway!

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Last summer I designed a hat and cowl set, Ridgeback Mountain Set, for Craftsy. I picked their Highland DK as I really liked the natural brown color and the firm hand. This yarn isn’t soft like merino BUT it feels very comfortable to both knit with and wear and most importantly it will be durable enough to look good for several years.


Both the hat and cowl are knit in the round which has the lovely bonus of all stitches being knit with no purl! The pattern stitches are a subtle 1×1 series of cables. You can knit these directly on the needles without ever needing to grab a cable needle as there are only 2 stitches involved! I love how with just a simple left and right crosses you can create some beautiful textures.

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The hat decreases are all worked into the pattern – you can see that the ‘leaf’ pattern on the crown has the decreases at either edge.

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The cowl is double thickness as it’s knit in the round from side-to-side. This extra thickness gives it great stability so it stands very nicely around the neck. One side of the cowl is stockinette stitch and the other is dense textured stitch. This means that you have a tighter cowl at the back where you want it to tuck inside your coat! When the cowl is finished you undo the provisional cast-on and graft the start and end stitches together for a totally seamless finish.
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Now for the giveaway! Everyone that purchases the pattern for the set in January will be entered into a draw for 3 skeins of the Cloudborn Highland DK yarn that craftsy gave me. Entry is automatic.
I’ll draw the winner on the 1st of February so you can get knitting when the weather is still cold enough to need it!

Stepping up your Cables

If you can knit basic cables there’s nothing to stop you from stepping your cables up to the next level. The basic cable building blocks are either cables that cross knit with knit stitches and cables that cross knit with purl stitches. You can find tutorials for all of these here.

With those basics you can knit any type of cable now! There are however a few things that can trip you up with new cables. The first thing to watch out for is how many stitches cross over in each direction. Shown here are 2 cables that use 6 stitches. However the cables are not identical.

This cable shows 3 knit stitches crossing over 3 knit stitches.

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This cable shows 2 knit stitches crossing over 4 knit stitches.

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By learning how to read cable charts you can make yourself a fluent cable chart reader. If you are able to get all of your information from the chart it means that you can really speed up your cable knitting as you don’t have to keep referring back to the written directions.

By mastering cable charts you can really start to understand them. Complex cable patterns are almost always going to be shown in chart format as it much more visually accessible and a more compact way of giving information. For simple or intermediate patterns you can also have written directions but as they get more complex written directions can become very unmanageable. As a designer it’s much more difficult to check written directions for accuracy.

So how do you read charts?

  1. Look at the stitches under the cable.4
  • Are they knit or purl?
  • How many stitches are there?

2. Look at the cable stitches.23

  • How many stitches that are shown for each side of the cable?
  • Are they knit or purl?
  • Which way does the cable cross?

3. Look at the stitches after the cable.actual-4

  • Are they knit or purl? Did any change from knit to purl or the other way around?
  • Did any decrease?

If you can answer these questions then you can knit any cable without a key for the chart! All of the information you need is directly there on the chart, if a stitch changes from knit to purl it has to happen in the chart (or else it’s a mistake!). If there are less stitches after the cable it means that a stitch was decreased behind the cable. This is why I love charts – what you see is what you get, there is no hiding, the stitches have to make sense!

TIps

Sometimes knitters have difficulty reading charts due to the symbols used or the size of the chart. Make it as easy as possible for yourself; highlight the symbols to make it easier, blow the chart up to a larger size. If necessary you can even redraw the chart!

Track your chart by using Knit Companion electronically or use a magnetic board if you’re doing it on paper. Mark off each row as you work so you can’t lose your place.

Do you want to try out your new found cable skills? I’ve put a cable bundle together on ravlery with 25% off for until the end of the day (Irish time) on the 20th by using the code CABLES for any pattern in the bundle. Have fun with your cables!

Any other tips?  Just add them here!

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Working with Cables

Cables can intimidate a lot of knitters; they look complex and seem difficult. There are huge variations in cable patterns but to start with learning how to do some basic cable stitches can open up a world of new patterns. One of the reasons I love cables so much is the texture they create. The stitches are moving across the surface of the work so it changes it from flat to three-dimensional.

Sheephaven from IYC 2016

Sheephaven from IYC 2016

I still remember the first cable I ever did, I was astonished at how straightforward it was! I had built cables up in my mind as a huge milestone and difficult skill to master! I was working on a basic stockinette stitch baby sweater and I just added one single four stitch cable to the front. It wasn’t complex but it was enough to allow me to jump in and it opened up the world of cables for me!

So what is a cable?

At it’s most basic cables are just stitches crossed over each other. You do this by moving some stitches to an extra needle (the cable needle) and holding them to the front or back of the work. Then you knit (or purl) the next few stitches, and go back to work the stitches that you had held. These cables can be worked over any number of stitches, either crossing an even or uneven number of stitches.

So you can see that cables don’t have to begin as a complex, difficult skill. This is something you can work up to as you begin to understand how they work. Cables begin increasing in complexity when you introduce purl as well as knit stitches. This is because your cables can now start travelling across your work as well as just being in a straight line vertically. From there you can also start using cable crosses to ‘hide’ a change from a knit to a purl stitch so that you can create stitch patterns that appear and disappear within the cable panel.

Here are a few examples of all of these different types:

  1. Basic vertical cable that repeats the same cable cross in a vertical line.

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    Cable from ‘Killybegs’ in Contemporary Irish Knits.

  2. A travelling cable that allows the knit stitches to cross over the purl background so that the cables ‘travel’.

    Cable from 'Ardara' in Contemporary Irish Knits.

    Cable from ‘Ardara’ in Contemporary Irish Knits.

  3. A more complex type of cable where you have stitches changing between knit and purl behind the cable cross.img_4362

In the first of my cable tutorials I’m introducing a basic 2 by 2 knit cable crossed to the right and the left. I’ve explained how you work it in the video and the text describes what that particular cable would look like when drawn in a chart.

New pattern – Shaniko!

I’d like to thank all of you for your naming help, I’ve been inundated with names here on my blog, on ravelry, facebook and instagram!
I’ve decided on the name – Shaniko. I both like the sound of the name and the history behind it which seems very fitting!
Congrats to Andrea for picking the winner.
However I want everyone to win on this one so until the 8th of November code ‘IMPERIAL’ will get 20% off the pattern price for everyone :-) You just need to ‘add to cart’ and then you’ll have the option on checkout to use a coupon code.

Shaniko

This is actually one of the longest patterns I’ve ever written, I wanted to demystify more complex patterns so full stitch counts outside each of the charts are given on the raglan and at the waist shaping. Each of the 5 charts is also written out for anyone who dislikes charts and I’ve given details of German Short Rows for working the collar. For short rows in Moss Stitch its definitely the nicest way of working short rows!

Hope you enjoy; this is a great cardigan to keep your mind busy on cables and is super warm when you’re finished.



Blog tours and coming patterns

Last weekend I traveled to Dublin for my Short Row Knits book launch with This Is Knit. It was such an enjoyable day; there was so much love and support from friends and customers I cannot thank you all enough! This Is Knit did a lovely blog post about the event here. I never get photos when I’m doing events, I think I’ll have to find myself a full time photographer to bring along with me :-)

The Short Row Knits blog tour is still running along, with some lovely reviews and great giveaways. Yesterday there was a review from Ann Kingstone and you can find upcoming (or past) stops here.


Next week I’m going to have a new pattern coming out, BUT I’m having a hard time coming up with a name. It’s a cosy, heavily cabled cardigan that uses Imperial Ranch Columbia Yarn. The yarn is rustic but soft, with a subtle colour that can be worn with everything.
I think the name should be rustic and a bit American west – the closest I could come up with was ‘Hickory Chips’.
Do you have any ideas? I’m offering a free pattern if you can find a I name I use!


My Craftsy Classes are Live!

I’m really happy to be able to tell you that my two craftsy classes are now live!

The first class is Celtic Cables and it will work you through how to work cables and read cable charts.  In addition to this you’ll get the exclusive Portulaca Cardigan that was designed just for this class.  The class is set up like a full cardigan knit along (KAL) working you first through measuring yourself and choosing the perfect size.  Then helping you decide if there are any small adjustments you’d need to make for your body size.  From there we’ll work through every step of the cardigan, swatching, casting on, working the body, sleeves and then joining it all together for the yoke.

If you’ve never incorporated cables in garment knitting this is a great introduction or perhaps this is your first cardigan?  The class is nicely set up for helping knitters along – you watch the video and then you can ask me and your fellow knitter questions.  You can also jump in and help other knitters out if you’ve got answers or suggestions for them.  All projects that knitters are working on can be linked to the class so you can see what other knitters are doing in the class as well.

The second class is actually a free class on Short Rows.  As many of you probably know already I’m fairly fond of short rows.  There are many, many ways of working short rows and in this class I talk about a few different ways of working them.  But more importantly I talk about how to break a short row down so you can see exactly how it works and what you’re trying to do with it.  This can make a lot more sense of short rows!  The final two classes cover different things you can do with short rows.  We look at shoulder slopes and set in sleeves using short rows as well as creating short row bust shaping.  Now do be aware that as this is a free class I won’t have any interaction in the class.  You can still talk with other knitters in the comments though and discuss how you’re using short rows in your projects.