Cable from an occupant

I love it when a plan comes together.

Having completed — well, as good as completed — my family-oriented Christmas knitting, I had only projects for myself on the needles (Diamante socks, and a nascent Simple Knitted Bodice). But meanwhile, the end of the kids’ school terms loomed, and with it the problem of teacher gifts, a deadline in the face of which I usually find myself absolutely flummoxed, waiting to be rescued by a tin of cookies or candy made by Noel.

This Ravelry discussion (members only, still) convinced me I could actually knit them something. With yarn I already have. And with beautiful needles I bought six weeks ago and still haven’t had a chance to use.

Enter Fetching, one of those patterns that nearly every knitter seems to have knitted already five times. But I’m still a novice knitter, and I have never met anyone in person who’s knit them, and I’ve never seen anyone wearing them. I don’t think that translates to overexposed in my book.

A little pair of fingerless gloves in worsted-weight yarn. Even though I’ve never knit gloves before, it’s a tube with only one little finger tube attached — how hard can it be? Except for one thing: it has cables. I’ve never knitted cables. To knit cables, you have to actually knit the stitches out of order, which requires holding a few on a different needle and then bringing them back into the body of the work after knitting a few more, thus causing the knitting to “cross over” itself. Cables are Advanced Knitting. Cables are scary.

But I was too in love with the idea of knitting on the Harmony needles and making the teachers’ gifts myself and trying the glove thing to let cables stop me. And so you see before you my first cables. Simple ones — just four stitches, crossing over only one way.

Yet I still had to fiddle with them. After doing the first two cable rounds with a spare double-pointed needle and really struggling to hold two needles in my left hand, I decided to try cabling without a needle. I had digested Grumperina’s illustrated tutorial a few months earlier, so after a refresher course and a long shower rehearsing the moves and the logic behind them in my mind, I gave it a go. It took three tries on the first cable to get the sequence right (hold the yarn in front while slipping the first two stitches, pick them up from the back after knitting the next two), and a few more to realize the crucial importance of dropping the working yarn while repositioning the midair stitches onto the right needle (so your tension doesn’t pull out the stitch you just made).

Like so many techniques I try for the first time, though, it looks far better than it has any right to. (Not that you can really see it in these pictures, which I took with Archer’s camera since mine is on its way back to Canon headquarters.) I’ll be binding off the top edge tonight and essaying new technique #2: the thumb!

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2 Comments on “Cable from an occupant”

  1. Deanna Says:

    They look good! Cabling is scary and awkward the first time – like a lot of things in life.

  2. Jenn Says:

    Donna, dearest–you can no longer claim to be a novice knitter. You are skilled and proficient and have done things that I have yet to do (though you egg me on to finally knit some danged socks). 🙂 It looks great–aren’t cables so much fun?

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