July 13, 2002

I will master this pattern.

Until today this project and I were not getting along. I had started and restarted this piece about oh, twenty times (I'm not kidding) but no matter how much I'd concentrate on my tension, it would look shot. Friends, don't let Grandma tell you that uneven knitting looks like charming homespun, because it doesn't. It looks like crap. Clearly, my knitting style coupled with this yarn and stitch pattern were not a good mix. After countless times of ripping out, I wanted to cram my crinkly skeins of chunky yarn into a little padlocked box and kick the whole thing over a cliff with a flying pirouette.

But I didn't do that. I decided to not unravel my work but to set it aside and keep it as a reference while starting again with a new skein of yarn on another set of needles. It worked!

I discovered that after knitting each cable I would push the needle too far into the following purl stitch. This yarn is a bit stretchy, so that particular stitch would stretch out while tightening up stitches on either side of it. As a result, nearly each cable had holes after it, a problem I never had with previous cabled pieces I've knit. Also, there are segments of knit stitches on both edges of the right side of this work, followed by segments of purl stitches. On the right edge the last row of knit stitches were loose, but the left edge didn't have this problem. I discovered that when changing from a knit stitch to the purl stitch on that edge, I was knitting the purl stitches too loosely, and not tightening up because this particular yarn would glide too far down the needle.

So, I simply took care to keep the yarn close to the tips of the needles after knitting my cables, without knitting too tightly to avoid stretching the yarn. Also, I followed a tip in Montse Stanley's Knitter's Handbook on wrapping the yarn under purl stitches that are too loose, then untwisting them on the other side. End of too loose knit stitches on the right edge of the work. This pattern is now moving along nicely, and I knit with happy fervor. Montse, you may sound like a strict bitch of a schoolmarm in your book, but your techniques work.

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4 comments to this entry:

Cables, they just scare me. I look forward to seeing how this turns out!
Yes! I've done exactly that before, kept a piece to the side and started again with a pretty, fresh ball of yarn, LOL. It really does help to see the mistake in front of you, and I have made the same cable-to-purl-stitch mistake you're describing.
I never cease to be amazed by these cabled masterpieces. maybe one day, once I've mastered uh... plain things. hehe ;)
Cables are not hard! I definitely recommend you try. When I was learning how to knit, my third project had cables and I was surprised at how easy it was. Patricia, doesn't starting again with a fresh ball of yarn make you think that it'll come out better the second time around? I do that all the time, and with this project I used all the skeins of yarn because I restarted so much! They all looked recycled. Hehe.

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