Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cables Crazy!

I have recently recieved a copy of the 'Learn to Knit Cables on Looms' pattern booklet by Isela Phelps and I have to say that at first I was a little scared. Terrified, actually. But I don't know why! Look at the beautiful items I created in the pic above. and that was just in the past week!
I had done 2 stitch cables on a hat at Christmas last year and a headband right after that, but I didn't do anymore cables until last week. It wasn't that I wasn't willing to do them, just sorta moved on to other things. I was participating in the Ravelry Group Loom-Along and we were doing Cabled Mitts for the month of February and they were just so much fun. I think they turned out so beautifully and am very proud of them.
So, with the confidence that I gained from that project I sat down to flip through my pattern booklet and see what other cabled projects I could do. The beginning section of the book has tutorials on how to do the preferred cast on, common stitches used, bind off, decreases, increases, and most importantly of all, the various cables. Yes, I said 'various'. There aren't just one kind of cable b/c you have 2 stitch cables, 3 stitch cables, 4 stitch cables, and 6 stitch cables. All of these have a right cross method and a left cross method.
Yes, my head was swimming when I skimmed through all of this, but since 'Finding Nemo' is one of our favorite movies around my house, 'just keep swimming' always pops in my head when I reach a challenge. After all, I am one of the most stubborn people you will meet. LOL!
I glanced at the selection of patterns on the outside of the book and skimmed through them throughout the book. They are all gorgeous and tempting! It includes a throw, backpack, purse, hat, scarf, mitts, socks, a baby sweater, and a shawl. I want to do them all, but so far have only completed two of them.
I sat down on Monday afternoon and picked the Cabled Purse. It has 6 stitch right cross and 6 stitch left cross cables. At first it was a little tricky, but I finally worked out a process. I have found that if you keep your knitting loose on all rows, not just the row before the cables, that it is much easier to make your cables. I am very proud of the finished product b/c not only was it my first project with 6 stitch cables, it was my very first handbag! It is so gorgeous that I plan on making them as Christmas gifts for my MIL and three SILs this year...but don't tell them and spoil the surprise. :D
On Tuesday morning I was stitching my handbag together and choosing another project. These cables were so addictive! I picked the Cion Earflap Hat. I had lots of left over yarn from the Cabled Mitts and wanted a hat to go with them, so this was perfect. Too bad that it is getting too warm here in NE Mississippi to wear my mittens and my new hat, but at least I am prepared for next winter!!! I love how the cables appear to be braided. It is so unique and sophisticated.
I really suggest this pattern book to all. Even if you are a beginner, Isela has included the tutorials and instructions you need for every step. There are plenty of pictures to help you out. And the pics of the projects themselves are just inticing.
If I wasn't already interested in Isela and all the work she does for the loom knitting community, this booklet certainly gave me the courage to jump up and talk to her. I am sorry to say that I couldn't have a sit down chat with her personally b/c of the whole living half way across the country from eachother obstacle. But, I was privileged enough to get a few precious moments of her time to get some 'cables' questions answered via the internet. :D So, let's all sit down with Isela for a moment and see what she had to say. Grab your cup of tea (TAZO green tea with herbal infusions for me) or coffee and a little snack, sit back, and pretend you are with us. :D

1. What colorways do you think are best for doing a cabled knit?
Cables show up better with light color yarns. The cables kind of disappear
when worked up with dark color yarns. However, cables on a dark colored sweater are a great way to add some subtle appeals

Solids or multis/ombres?
Solids usually allow the cable to “pop” more. The variegated yarns tend to
hide some of the cable qualities. I do want to mention that it is best to use a
yarn that is smooth to allow your cables to show, some yarns such as boucle
would hide the beauty of the twists created by the cables.

2. Do you think that shades matter? Lighter shades versus darker ones?
Lighter shades usually work best for having a cable that shows up best.

3. Is there a weight of yarn that works best or do they all perform well as long as you are using the appropriate gauged loom?
All the different weights of yarn perform fairly well with cables as long as
they are used with the appropriate size gauge loom.

This is great to know, so that I can make cables for socks using an EFG loom and the appropriate yarn, just as pretty as I would if I were using a super bulky yarn and a KK loom. :D

4. What is your personal preference of yarn weight, color, and looms that perform best when creating a cabled knit?

If my goal is to make the cables noticeable, I would most likely use a cream
color yarn, bulky weight, and the appropriate loom gauge that works for the yarn

5. If you had to choose your most favorite pattern from the booklet, which would it be and why?
My favorite pattern from the booklet is the Fairamay Shawl. My grandma who
taught me how to knit when I was little always wore a Reboso (shawl) and when I was knitting it, I was thinking of her and imagining her wearing it in the
mornings while she sipped her morning coffee. In a sense, I knitted the shawl
for her. My dream is to deliver it to her this year when I go back to Mexico to
visit her. We haven’t seen each other for about 15 years and the shawl is a
token of my love and a way to say thank you for everything she did for me,
especially for sharing her love of knitting and crochet with me

This is my favorite pattern as well (followed by the throw) so now it is even higher on my list b/c of the sentiment that you put into it. :D
Thank you Robin, it was a pleasure being with you on your blog and answering
the questions. I hope you find some of the items in the book inspiring.

Oh, no! Thank you! I have enjoyed our time together and got some good tips on how to continue my cables addiction! I hope to incorporate cables in some of my own designs in the future. It was great visiting with you, Isela.

You can purchase the 'Learn To Knit Cables on Looms' pattern booklet and Isela's 'Loom Knitting Primer' at Decor Accents Inc. And don't forget to pre-order your copy of Isela's second book in the 'Loom Knitting Primer' series that will be coming out in mid-May on!


Anonymous said...

Thank you Robin! It is wonderful. Thank you, thank you.

The mitts and the hat match perfectly! I love them.
ps: you can try doing the braid for the cuff of the mitts too.

up all night loom knitting said...

You did an awesome job writing this! I really enjoyed this post. I am starting that cool bag. I went and got some handles the other day.

Bethany @ Gettin' It Pegged! said...

Fabulous review, Robin!!!
I absolutely LOVE your cabled're a pro. :)


Grammarholic said...

Someday, someday, someday I'll be able to do this kind of thing as well as you. Thanks for sharing the convo with Isela. So informative to read that sort of thing and it's much appreciated.

guppygirl said...

Yay! I can make comments again. I totally love your cabled projects. When are you sending me that fabulous purse?

vicki kirby said...

I love the cable book. I made Jami's Mitts, and Adestan slipper socks. I am having a problem with the Cion earflap hat. I wish someone could tell me how to start from 2 stitches from the I- cord to increase for the ear flap. I have tried everything. If someone has good instructions for this please send them to me at I would be so thankful.

insideanartistsmind said...

I live in NE Mississippi too!