Tag Archives: cables

I Wish My New Yarn Were Here

But it isn’t, so I’m still obsessing about my beret/mittens.  I haven’t really found a pattern on Ravelry that I’m in love with.  I have found several cable patterns that I like, from the one used on the back of Kristi Geraci’s Ailbe mittens to the much thicker pattern with a bobble from the front of Debbie Bliss’s Sara sweater. The problem is, I can’t figure out how to chart them in the round. In theory, yes, but I can’t make it work out so that there isn’t at least one cable that crosses the start of the round.

The chart from Knitty is here. As you can see, it doesn’t intertwine all the way around the mitten, but is charted as a panel for the front. I’d like to split it up and take it all the way around, but any way I put the repeat in, I find issues. Is this pattern just unsuitable for knitting in the round, or am I missing something completely obvious?

The best solution that I can come up with is to just move the start of the round one stitch to the left every time I encounter a cable like that. I’ll end up with a couple of extra stitches, but they’ll probably only be noticeable to me or another knitter who examines my hat to figure out the pattern.


Leave a comment

Filed under knitting

Knitting in the Round on Two Circular Needles

I haven’t gotten much done with my knit boots, but I can safely say that I’ve knit at least a bit on them every day since I’ve cast on, so they’re progressing, if slowly.  I’m liking the mock cable pattern because it’s simple and pretty.  I have made a couple of discoveries about the ins and outs of knitting two items at once on two circular needles.

Remember that when knitting on two circulars, you knit with only one needle at a time.  Leave the other needle hanging at the back of your work.

The first discovery is that, in order to prevent ladders, it’s easiest to move the back needle so that all stitches are on the cable for the very first stitch on the front needle.  That way, a light tug is all that’s needed to tighten up the tension.  (It’s also worth it to note that I knit with the yarn held in my right hand, which is taking the picture here, so the yarn is just hanging.)

My second discovery is that, even when the last stitch on the needle is a purl stitch, it prevents tangling to take the yarn to the back of the needle, like you would when preparing for a knit stitch.  Here the last stitch is a purl, so the yarn ends up in front.

However, I moved it to the back before continuing, so it’s coming out the top of the work and heading straight to the ball.

When I get to the end of this row and turn the work, it looks like this:

If the yarn were going under the front needle cable here, when I went to knit the first stitch on the left piece, I’d have to move it to the back.  Then it would be going through the middle of the loop created by my front needle.  It’s possible to knit like this (and I’ve done it a couple of times already on this project) but it’s a little trickier to keep tension because the yarn can rub and pull against the work hanging down from the needles.  At the ends of the needles, when you’re turning the work, you don’t really have to worry about this, since the yarn is more free there.

My woolly nylon should show up tomorrow, so my next dilemma is whether or not to cast on for the fuzzy pants then.  If I keep knitting at least a bit on the boots every day, it’s less likely that they’ll end up in the bottomless pit of unfinished projects, and they’re a better size for airplane knitting than the pants, so I can get a lot done on them while I’m on my way to my parents’ house for Christmas.

Leave a comment

Filed under knitting

How Two Circular Needles Changed My Life

When I first learned how to knit in the round, it was on a set of four aluminum double points that my great grandmother had.  I hated it.  I kept on poking myself in the wrists or in my stomach when I tried to rest my arms, and my ladders were epic.  Granny told me to give the yarn a little tug when I was doing the first stitch on each needle, but there were still ladders.  To this day, I hate double points.  I can handle them now, since my gauge has both loosened up and evened out, but I still poke myself when I’m not paying attention, and I still get the hint of a ladder.

Six years ago, I decided to knit myself a pair of gloves.  I’d knit mittens before, but they were always knit flat and then seamed up the outside edge, if they were finished at all.  The intended gloves never came to be, because after I’d divided the stitches into fingers I discovered that my hand proportions are all off and nothing was going to fit, but I did discover that the magic loop was a clearly better method than the dreaded double points.  Shortly after that, I knit myself a pair of mittens using the magic loop and some black yarn that I had on hand.  They were loosely based on a pair that my mom’s cousin had knit for her in college and which had never fit me because they were small on my mom’s tiny, dainty hands and I have gigantic, manly hands.

Then I was using the magic loop for everything.  This was the era of not finishing anything, so there isn’t much to show for it, but I did get pretty good at wrangling those needle cables into the proper shape.  I recognized that I was suffering from second mitten syndrome, so I tried to knit two mittens at once using the magic loop.  It was an epic failure.  The ladders made a comeback in a big way, my gauge tightened up like crazy, and the project got abandoned for all eternity to the black hole that is my under-bed zippered storage thingy (aka the cover that come on my mattress pad).

For my pointe shoe covers, I did some research and decided that knitting two at a time on two circulars would be the option for me.  (Credit goes to Sheron Goldin’s 2 Socks on 2 Circulars for the method that I used to cast on.) After checking out the technique on an ancient, stiff-cabled circular from Granny’s collection and a Knit Picks needle whose cable keeps popping out, I decided that it was worth it to buy two Addi Turbos, both US 8, in 24″ and 32″.  (I love Addi Turbo needles.  I love them especially now that they’ve changed to the more flexible blue cables.)  I made a variety of swatches in a variety of cable patterns, and cast on this morning using a 2×2 rib with a mock cable in each rib every 4 rows.  It’s the simplest of all the patterns I tried out, but for trying a new technique, I think that might be the best idea.

I also wound my gigantic skein of Caron One Pound into two yarn cakes, put them in a plastic bag with the top tied off, and cut holes for the yarn to go through.  The best part of this is that I can pick up the bag and haul it around without worrying about the yarn getting twisted and tangled near the balls, and the yarn cakes lie flat so the bag doesn’t roll around.


Filed under knitting

Organizing Swatches and Knitting Boots

I knit tiny swatches.  They’re usually about 2″ square.  I’ve just never bought into the idea that you need a 4″ or 6″ square to check gauge accurately.  Maybe it’s just that I’m cheap, but I’ve never had any problems checking gauge and stitch patterns over 1.5″ and then converting.  Sometimes, I don’t even check the gauge at all, since I’m always so close to the listed gauge for every yarn, and it just doesn’t matter that much for some things.  Of course, this leaves me with lots of little squares of knit fabric that got lost in my stash with astonishing regularity, and were always unlabeled.  Enter the index cards.

A 3×5 card is the perfect size to hold one of my little swatches (or 2, if I’m testing a couple of different stitch patterns) and my notes on what yarn it is, what needles I knit the swatch(es) on, and what the measured gauge is.  I can even paper clip the ball band to the card when I finish the ball.  Then they get stacked together and tossed in a box, where I can flip through them whenever I need to look up care instructions or check what the original gauge was.

I just cut a 1.5″ square piece of muslin or other scrap fabric and staple it to the top of the card.  I make my notes, and pin the swatch to the muslin.  This way, I can remove the swatch whenever I need to examine it more closely.  For things that I don’t swatch, I still note the gauge that the finished item ended up with, and I pin on the trimmings after I weave in the ends.

It’s working pretty well so far.  I’m going to need to pick up more index card boxes eventually, because the swatches and paper clipped bands are thick, and I need to figure out how I’m going to organize things.  Should I order them alphabetically by yarn manufacturer?  By yarn weight or gauge?  By color, fiber, date, or how much yarn remains?

Regardless of that, my latest consideration is my pointe shoe covers.  I’m putting the pattern together like a top down sock, but I’ve never knit a sock before.  I don’t know how I managed to knit for 16 years of my life and never even cast on for a sock, but that’s how it goes.  I bought some worsted weight Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks, and the gauge, of course, works out exactly as it’s supposed to on the recommended needles, but now I’m afraid that I don’t have enough.  With that in mind, and considering the fact that I’ve never encountered a heel gusset before and I haven’t done short rows in several years, I’m going to knit up a test pair in some Caron One Pound cheap acrylic.  The swatch for that, on a smaller needle to get a tighter fabric, is on the far left in the photo above.

I’m making them large, with no calf shaping, so they’re bulky and warm over the ankles and can fit over my pointe shoes.  I’m looking at cable panels for the front and back of the boot, and some intricate cabling to go down the side and split half to the instep and half to the heel flap.  I’m just glad that with this yarn cabling without a needle isn’t a problem!  My Cornflower Cowl was an exercise in patience with the slippery yarn on fast Addi Turbos.

My fuzzy pants are on hold until I get a JoAnn shipment with some woolly nylon.


Filed under knitting, organizing

Cornflower Cowl Progress

I’ve made a bit more progress on my Cornflower Cowl, and I think it’s looking pretty good so far. I cast on 144 stitches instead of 112, since my yarn knits up at 28 sts per 4″ instead of the 22 sts per 4″ of the recommended yarn.  I’ll also have to knit longer to make it proportional, but I think I’m nearly 2/3 of the way there.

Leave a comment

Filed under knitting