Monday, May 26, 2008

Finally, a Cabled Tee

One of the first patterns that caught my eye when I started knitting sweaters again (after a 20+ year hiatus) was the Cabled Tee. Many members of the Ample Knitters group had made this sweater, and the pattern was even written for larger sizes without having to do advanced mathematics to adapt it, but I hadn't done cables for a long time and was a bit intimidated. Plus, I was having so much luxuriating with wool, alpaca, and cashmere, that cotton seemed a little boring. This yarn was a closeout at Web's, and it seemed like a good compromise.

Pattern: Cabled Tee by Maureen Taylor & Patricia Brunner
Yarn: Lily Chin Chelsea (30% merino wool, 35% cotton, 35% acrylic) – 8 skeins
Size: 1X
Needles: Knitpicks Harmony US #5
Modifications: Ribbing in the Twisted Rib pattern used in the Oblique cardigan

I love the way this pattern was written. Directions were given for a variety of sizes at three different gauges, so it wasn't necessary to recalculate anything. O that there were more patterns like this one!

This week I met a friend for a shopping expedition. She wanted to go to the anniversary sale at the Wooly Lamb, a lovely yarn shop in Pennington – not so far for her, but too much of a trip for me under normal circumstances. The staff was very friendly and they had by far the best selection of gorgeous yarns I have ever seen in a real live LYS. The only reason I managed to walk out empty-handed was their sale discount policy: On entering the store, everyone was asked to pick a little slip of paper out of a basket and would get the discount written on the slip. Mine was a 15% discount, and my friend's was a 25% discount. Another friend, who met us there, got a 35% discount! I simply couldn't bring myself to buy anything with my measly 15% off when other people could buy the same items for a lot less. A gorgeous alpaca-silk yarn for a sweater for me would have been over $200 at list price but with S's discount, I might have splurged... after all, my birthday is coming in another 5 months! The truth is that I didn't need it anyway, given the size of my stash, so maybe they were doing me a favor.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cabling on the Edge

In the many years I have knit sweaters with cables, I never knit (or even thought of knitting) a cable right at the edge. But the beautiful and original pattern by Anna Dalvi for the Mystic Light Shawl KAL includes a cable along the short edges of the triangular shawl. The cable provides for nice firm edges, as well as complementing the design, which also includes a cable down the center.

It was quite daunting to do a cable right at the edge at the beginning of the Knit-Along. Upon the advice of my sister, who managed to start this shawl before I did, I learned how to do the cables without a needle using this tutorial by Wendy Johnson. What a revelation that was! Once you get the hang of it, it is far easier than looking for the cable needle, juggling it around, knitting the cable, and putting it down again (hopefully in a place where it won't get lost before the next cable). It felt awkward at the beginning or the end of a row, but after a few tries it seemed perfectly natural.

Here is the finished shawl and a detailed view of the cables:

Pattern: Mystic Light by Anna Dalvi
Yarn: 2 skeins Fleece Artist Merino Sock 2/6 (764 yards)
Needles: US #7
Size: 34" x 68"

Another interesting aspect of this pattern is that it calls for fingering weight yarn, so it went much faster than most lace. The yarn (amazingly enough, I used the yarn suggested by the designer) is nice and soft, with good drape, and it should offer a little more warmth than lace-weight fabrics.

My very next project after completing this shawl is the Cabled Tee, a short-sleeve sweater with a cable down the front that branches up along the neck. Even after looking at the picture, it didn't occur to me that the cable along the v-neck was right at the edge. (Surely there was a stitch or two border beyond the cable???) In fact, the cable is right at the edge, just like the shawl. It really isn't any harder than a standard cable, though it can be tricky to move those stitches around without dropping the end stitch in the process.

What's next? A break from cables, though I'm sure there will be more in the not-too-distant future. Yesterday was the Cast-on for the Slow Bee Mystery Shawl, and here is the first half of the first clue. The recommended color is "something really cold, like white or natural yarn, icy blue or very dark violet or dark blue" with seed beads. After considering both Teal and Ice Blue Zephyr, both with silver-lined crystal beads, I finally decided on the teal, though both remind me of this photo that I took in Antarctica: