Monday, August 17, 2009

Celtic Cable Neckwarmer - Finished

I got the most beautiful buttons today at Twisted to complete the neckwarmer. It was such a quick project, only a week total and that's not even working on it every day. And, as it turned out, I had plenty of yarn to finish it, plus a small handful left over. I did stop at 18" instead of 20" before the buttonhole band, and it fits me perfectly that way. I don't have much else to say about it, except that I LOVE it, and here's a pic of it sporting its fabulous finishing touches!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cabling without Cable Needles

Knitting Daily released their Fall 2009 gallery today, featuring designs from the latest issue of Interweave Knits, along with a Digital Supplement to the magazine, which includes, among other things, a free pattern for a very interesting cabled scarf, and a two page spread on doing cables without any extra hardware. The technique isn't significantly faster (or perhaps that's only because I lack practice), but what really makes it exciting for me is that I no longer have to juggle three needles at a time, and that's a relief.

When working with larger gauge projects, the extra needle isn't such a huge deal - I have those fat, bent or bobby-pin shaped cable needles that hang down away from my hands so politely. But it seems that the only cable needles I can find smaller than a size 10 simply look more or less like dpns, with or without the offset bit in the middle. When in use, they swivel about like a twirler's batons, searching determinedly for the most inconvenient place to poke themselves into, which usually winds up being directly between my hands, the yarn, and the needle I'm trying to work from. Then, of course, especially with the perfectly straight ones, there is always a danger of the cable needle simply falling out of the stitches if you're not careful.

This new technique (and I say new because it's new to me, and recently published on Knitting Daily, but it's simple enough that people could have been quietly doing it for ages), basically involves taking the stitches off the left needle, switching them about into what would be their final position anyway, putting them back on the left needle, and proceeding to knit or purl them as they lie. It does take a bit of manual dexterity, but hey, we're knitters, right? We've already got that down.

I've already practiced this technique with the next few rows of the Celtic Cable Neckwarmer, and much to my relieved delight, the results are completely indistinguishable from the cables done with the needle. It was awkward at first, as all new skills are, but I'm getting comfortable with it pretty quickly. Other WIPs that still need cabling and will afford me extra practice: the Aran Wrist Warmers, the Cabled Boatneck Pullover and the Bella Scarf (Ravelry link - must be a member to view).

But, because nothing is ever perfect: there is a simple but very important mistake in the directions given in the Digital Supplement. I have already written to Interweave about it, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, but in case they don't fix it before someone links to it from this post, I'll spell it out:

On page 10, in Step 2, where it says that you'd insert the needle into the front of the stitches if you'd normally hold the cable needle to the back, and vice-versa, this is WRONG. If you're supposed to be holding the cable needle to the back, insert the left hand needle through the back of the stitches that would go on the cable needle. If you're supposed to be holding the cable needle to the front, insert the left hand needle through the front of the stitches that would go on the cable needle. In other words, Figure 1 will actually produce a left-leaning cable, not a right, and Figure 2 will produce a right-leaning cable, not a left.

Otherwise, it's a great technique, I haven't had any problems with it, and I will continue to use it whenever I can!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Celtic Knot Cables

WOW. Malabrigo Worsted, despite its snuggly roving-like texture, produces some eye-popping cable definition. I started working on the Celtic Cable Neckwarmer by Lindsay Henricks a couple days ago, and the results so far are stunning. Not to mention soft as a baby lamb.

Her pattern calls to work 20" of cable work before starting the buttonhole band. I'm a little anxious I might run out of yarn, since I'm using leftovers to begin with. But hey, I have some of the same yarn in a different color, which I could always switch to for the buttonhole band if needed. It'd be a neat contrast.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Muppet Scarf

A few months ago, in a raffle at my monthly CGOA guild meeting, I won some of the most truly hideous yarn I have ever had uglying up my stash. Now, I was not attempting to win this yarn. Unfortunately, it was attached to a crochet pattern book that I *did* in fact want to win, badly enough that I had put all my raffle tickets in for just that one prize. And I did win that book. Hooray!

But I also won two skeins of dark orange Sirdar Snowflake and a whole mess of skeins of popsicle blue and pale pink fun fur.

The fun fur I will probably, eventually, either unload on the gracious people at Goodwill, or on someone who actually thinks fun fur is, well, fun.

As for the Snowflake, I haven't been able to escape the notion that this yarn looks like the wool of some unlucky orange muppet, and that someone, somewhere, will thoroughly enjoy wearing a long furry scarf that looks like it was vomited up by Sesame Street. So, to that end, I pulled out my biggest circular tips - let's do this as quickly as possible, shall we? - and got to work. Plain ol' garter stitch, 20 stitches across, on the size 11's, seems to be producing a nice, fluffy, airy... dark orange muppet pelt.