Category Archives: cable and rib

Hello, what’s this?

First, for those who asked, in a concerned way: no, I did not finish the shawl in time for Halloween. I am not in any way bitter about this, because Susan sent a loaner(!) Charlotte’s Web in a similar color – so lovely, it was an inspiration to me and difficult to return. So my Halloween costume was complete [I was part of a group that went as the Bennett sisters from Pride and Prejudice, and for the record, I actually sewed part of my dress, though not the part you see here with the fancy scoop-neck elastic. — ed.]. Thank you so much, Susan!

You would think that without a deadline, I would return to the Meadow Flowers Shawl invigorated…but no. I am not abandoning it by any means, but an odd moment brought me to my senses. Every Monday, I reflect on what I might take to Knit ‘n Drink Tuesday at the local watering hole. Meadow Flowers is not appropriate for a dimly-lit bar, and with my Trekking socks finished, and the Retro Ribs finished, I felt as though I had nothing to knit. I even swatched for the Ribby Cardi, but found that true gauge would require new needles – roadblock, as they say on the Amazing Race, so no go on short notice. Of course, there are socks: “I need to cast on for a new pair of socks – I have nothing to work on!”

But that’s not true.

There’s always the Cabled Rib Cardigan from Men in Knits. Started in September 2004, I stalled out shortly thereafter because a. it’s a big sweater with no end in sight and b. there are twenty cable twists on the back every four rows. Fiddly. I think this is what happened: I figured out how the pattern worked, then yawned at the prospect of repeating the same exact pattern for yards of knitting. But now, it’s the perfect almost-mindless project for the months of sweater weather ahead. And, slowly, I can see it growing. There’s ten inches and some change twelve and a half inches here, with four two and a half inches to go before the armhole shaping (be still, my heart – Shaping! Something besides “knit, purl, cable!”). Bonus “yarn pron” b r o o k l y n t w e e d-style stitch closeup here.

Because I am independently crazy like that, I had already started figuring out just how many stitches were in this sweater when I read about NaKniSweMo (answer: at least 97,936 – there are 35,000 stitches in the back alone). I wanted to know where I was in relation to a completed sweater, percentage-wise. Answer? It’s too soon to be thinking about the completed sweater – just knit.

Thing 2879 you might not know about me: I am a NaNoWriMo winner, class of 2002. It was a heap of fun (genre: chicklit, number of appearances by the dear, departed Peter Jennings: one), but given that I have just completed a freelance writing assignment that required a huge amount of writing, I’d rather commit to finishing making steady progress on the back of my oldest WIP by November 30 – after all, I have less than 22,000 stitches to go. Like the Retro Rib socks we saw in our last entry, this Cabled Rib Cardigan appears to be a Commitment kind of project; for the knitter of average speed, you have to really want to finish the garment because you may be knitting on it for several years (not counting any time it lays fallow in your project basket). [One side benefit of restarting this project? I found my missing socks – they were in the felted bag I use as a project bag for good ole Cable and Rib – woot! — ed]

So, is this blog going to be “all Cable and Rib” all the time for the next two years while I finish this sweater? First of all, I am finishing this thing before the end of 2007, if I have to ring in the new year with Dick Clark and my Addi Turbos. I am totally starting a knitalong called “I Thought I’d be Done By Now,” membership: me. Second, I have never been a “small project” kind of person, but I think that’s going to change – I’ve been watching the Lonesome Skeiners and getting inspired, plus the 2006 Knitting Pattern a Day had a few winners that I might or might not be looking into if I were making an effort to knit up my stash, which I totally am, one skein of Blackwater Abbey at a time, as I work my way up the back of this huge cardigan. Only nine and a half skeins to go – whee!

World enough, and time*

While it’s fair to say that I didn’t start my vacation knitting as we pulled out of the driveway, I did have a lot of time on my hands, so I got a lot of knitting done (insert cheering crowd noise here – or is that just me cheering?). Ten days on the road will do that for you. [There are a few pictures here if you want some non-knitting vacation photos, including lobster – ed.]

I had big plans to visit all kinds of New England yarn shops. If that sounds like a great vacation to you, here are a few words of advice: call ahead. Is the shop still there? Sadly, Cottage Craft fled Freeport in the face of rampant consumerism. Will the shop be open when you arrive? Bartlett Yarns is only open during the week – do these people have lives or something? This sign was worth the trip, though. Wool is also gladly received here, after all.

Furthermore, you and your traveling companion should have a mutual understanding of your itinerary – Halcyon Yarns fell by the wayside in our earnestness to reach lobster roll nirvana by dinnertime, and due to a tragic misunderstanding, I was under the impression that backtracking just 9 miles (plus shopping time) would put us woefully behind schedule in our quest to reach points north at a reasonable hour. When your husband says “It will take five hours to get there”, confirm that this is five hours from where you are, not five hours from the Maine border, two hours behind you.

But there was indeed stash enhancement, on a decorous scale. I was completely smitten with Green Mountain Spinnery, and loved my tour, personally guided by David (“well, if you won’t be around later, how about now?”). You should know that even though the Spinnery has a carder bigger than a Volkswagen Beetle, your house is bigger than their building. I have a really small cute house, and my house is bigger. Why I am not using all of this space to make yarn, I don’t know. I would put this bumpersticker on my car, though.

Thanks to the Interweb, even though I stubbornly refuse to learn to spin, I knew all about carding and setting twist. David was impressed, in a laid-back Vermont-y kind of way. I was impressed because they make a lot of yarn for such a small space, and they use machines, but once you see how important the expert human eye is to their process, it will make you want to buy out the shop. Someone made this yarn for you to knit with – who are you to say no? I contented myself with some Cotton Comfort to make lacy socks from the Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book.

Thankfully, even though I do not spin, there are those who will spin with me in mind – not too long after we discovered Halcyon Yarn had been left behind in error, we stumbled upon the Purple Fleece, a shop so out of the way I worried no other people would find it, but with handspun like this, it’s worth seeking out.

So far, it’s been all about the stashing – here’s proof of the knitting. When we last left the Cabled Rib sweater, I had been doggedly working away on it, and [shh!] had made a few errors in the seemingly simple pattern – I’m sure this never happens to you. I was disenchanted with my lack of skill and wondering if I should rip it all out and start again. Here is how I know my knitting skills are growing: I picked it back up after my hiatus, looked it over, and fixed the errors – all of them. Why not? I had all the time in the world as the RV rolled down the road, so who cares if I spend an hour figuring out why a rib looks funny or a cable twist has gone astray? For ten whole days, it was about the process, and it was good (see? it’s longer, too – actual progress in addition to improvements).

My knitting also went sightseeing: the sweater saw most of New England, and this photo was taken at Lake Meacham in the Adirondacks, and the finished Opal sock waved hello to Niagara Falls. I’ll let you in on a little secret – it was too hot and cramped to keep trying the sock on as I got close to the end, so it’s a little short. I’m going to have to pick out the bindoff and fix that by knitting more – and I’m looking forward to the fix.

* With apologies to Andrew Marvell


I’m not at all confident that I can go any significant amount of time without acquiring some knitting-related item. Last month, I bought sock yarn at the Fifth Stitch, and when Crafter’s Choice had just what I wanted, I joined and bought a stack of knitting books, including Knitting in the Old Way, Simple Socks Plain and Fancy, the Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, the Big Book of Knitting and The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques.

Even though I haven’t had time to digest all of that again (careful readers will remember that I’ve seen them all because I looked at them first through Interlibrary Loan), I just bought a copy of Knitting on the Road (it was on sale!)…and I recently got a copy of Vogue Knitting as a gift.

What can I say? I read a lot before I started knitting, and I’m still a big reader. I just have to be careful that reading about knitting doesn’t cut into my actual knitting time too much. Apparently, I’m still managing to make some progress: here is the first half of my first short-row heel using the Magic Loop and Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ technique from Priscilla’s Dream Socks (IK, summer 2000) plus some well-timed help from Michelle (thank you!). Also? The Cabled Rib sweater first sighted in the last entry is several twists longer. I’m sorry for the poor photo quality – we’re having technical difficulty here at Knit One, Purl Too, caused in part by Daylight Savings Time (I cannot be the only person who considers “fall back” day my personal holiday – I get to sleep an extra hour!).

As far as acquiring things, can I just say right now that I’m a little afraid of the KnitFest marketplace? It looks like it’s going to be a bigger deal than I thought; more vendors, more stuff. I’m a little worried that I won’t be able to resist something really cool and I’ll become one of those knitters who has to sneak things into the house. I’m looking around every day for things I can sell to fund potential purchases. Who knows what I’ll find? I have to be prepared!

I’m also tempted to take my copy of Knitting on the Road to ask Nancy Bush to autograph it after my steeking class Friday morning. Yes, I’m getting up before dawn so I can take a class with Nancy Bush – and I’m prepared to behave like a groupie too. (I love your work, Nancy! Call me!). Friday is going to be ten kinds of fun.

Twistin’ the night away.

Better late than never, here is my MAN-ALONG update: I now know that there are twenty cable twists evey four rows in this pattern. Twenty ways to say “I love you” (every fourth row). It’s not as much of a PITA as it sounds, but the idea that I’ll do 600 of these twists before the shoulder shaping is a little daunting.

I’m making progress because I’ve promised myself that this is the first project I’ll work on each day – and I’m interested enough that this is often the only project I work on.

Today, however, was the exception – the Knit One, Purl Too staff (my husband and I) was up at the crack of dawn (before, really) to go and do our civic duty by voting. caninesforkerrysm.jpg I took along the Peacock socks, recently converted to Magic Looping, and looped away in line for an hour or so while waiting I know that knitting before breakfast means I’ve crossed some kind of line).

For the record, Magic Looping is much easier than it seems, and though I didn’t mind wrangling size 0 DPNs, this seems less fiddly (a knitter at my LYS said she had done a time study and found that, knitting speed aside, Magic Looping was 1.5 times as fast as DPNs). Next stop? Short row heel country (a special thank you to the editors of Interweave Knits for including an article on short rows in the latest issue by the estimable Veronik Avery)!

Bonus link: Reversible mittens knit with sock yarn – so cool (and another excuse for self-patterning yarn)!

What big feet you have!

First things first: the first Ribtips sock is done (look for a picture shortly) almost done (maybe ten rows to go before grafting), and let me just say I had no idea size 9 1/2 feet were so much bigger than size 6 feet – how could I have been so naive about how long this was going to take? I think realizing the foot was going to be longer than the cuff was a clue that I was in for more knitting than I expected. But it’s looking gift-worthy, so I’m pleased.

Second, the sadly shredded sock first mentioned here? I was in denial – that yarn was shredded as well, and left a hopelessly tangled mess – my dog was efficient. I have relegated the partially-finished second sock (sob!) to a dark corner of my stash, not to be spoken of anytime soon. When I started knitting again in earnest, I wanted nothing more than a pair of those swank self-patterning jacquard socks; thankfully, I have some backup Regia – now all I need is the time to knit it.

Third: In just a few short days, the Knit One, Purl Too staff (me, husband and dog) are hitting the road to Yellow Springs, Ohio for A Wool Gathering. I am also in denial about how I have convinced the entire family to go to a knitting-related event that lasts multiple days. Woo! Also? It’s at a dairy that makes their own gelato – woo woo! This is my first real vacation in quite some time – I’m a little excited.

[Fourth (shhh!): My husband doesn’t know this, but I’m about to frog the 3/4″ of the Man-along Cable Rib cardie and start over – I got a little too creative with my stitch counting, and refuse to continue with a sweater that will only get more wonky as time goes on. This does not bode well for a January 1 finish, but I’ve gotten religion as far as using selvedge stitches for seaming is concerned, so there you have it.]

In other news, out of curiosity, I looked into thrummed mittens (I always want to say “strummed” – is that disrespectful?), mostly because I am about to frog a charity mitten I had almost finished, but didn’t like the looks of. I liked the dots on Stephanie’s mittens, and even through she’s promised a thrumming report, I’m a girl that likes to do her own research. Here is a free pattern for thrummed mittens from Yarn Forward, and I now understand that they are essentially, stuffed. so now, not only do I think “strummed,” I think “turkey” when I see mittens. “Strummed, stuffed turkey” – I’m hopeless, and potentialy senile. Is it just me, or do thrummed mittens seem like cheating in the two-color knitting department? Not that I’m bitter about giving up (temporarily) on the two-color sweater or anything, but working with short lengths of roving gives very little opportunity for the yarn/roving to tangle and frustrate the knitter. Easier knitting? What fun is that?

Mitten bonus: I’ve wanted to make the Broad Street mittens from Knitty ever since I saw the pattern Here are some handy tips if you want to make them too.

In the “tips” department, file away these Salt Peanuts tips – now that Theresa has finished her Salt Peanuts, I am inspired to knit this all over again (thankfully, it’s already in my stash). Salt Peanuts bonus: The Salt Peanuts knitalong.

Bonus bonus link:A really good-looking twisted-rib sock pattern. Yes, that’s right, more ribbing!

Every day is a holiday…in September.

At first, I thought I was in a knitting slump. It was so hot that even my Fixation sock was sticking to my Brittany needles, so it was going….very…slowly. But as I come to the end of sock #1, I’ve already begun thinking about what’s next, and I have to admit two things:

1. I may not be in the frame of mind this fall to teach my hands a fiddly technique like two-handed, two-color knitting.

2. In knitting terms, the holidays are right around the corner – I better get started on holiday gift knitting.

Longtime readers will remember that i finished my last 2003 holiday gift in the car on the way to Christmas dinner at my mother-in-law’s house. Oy. That was the capper on an all-too-hurried holiday season, so this year, I’m saying I’d like to finish knitting gifts by November 1. I have several on my list already:

Danny Oulette’s Crossing Cables socks in Mountain Colors’ Bearfoot Granite Peak for a friend with big feet.

A cabled hat from Knitter’s Stash for another friend in cranberry Classic Elite Montera , and the Nordic Sweetheart Hat for her husband (so I will get some two color practice, even if the Lopi goes back in the stash. Besides, Nanette says smaller-gauge two-color projects are better for beginners, and who am I to argue with the expert? I’ve wanted to make that hat for awhile – so there you are, another project rationalized).

A doubleknitski hat for my brother in law, and a hat for my sister-in-law (perhaps the Frugalhaus cabled hat).

All these hat people have been waiting for quite awhile – I started blithley tossing off “I’ll knit you a hat” prior to the *last* holiday season, so I feel some urgency to put up or shut up, knitting-wise. So Nanette is having sock month, Michele is having post every day for a month month; I think September will be “get started on my holiday knitting” month for me.

So, of course. what did I do? After organizing my knitting basket, I started something else. It’s just the back, and it’s an inch if I’m lucky, but isn’t it beautiful? It’s the Cabled Rib Cardigan from Men in Knits in Blackwater Abbey Yarns’ Bluestack, a lovely tweedy grape, with flecks of brown and red and blue. A knitting slump, even a small one, is helpless in the face of such great material. I can’t help but pick it up, something which makes Knit One Purl Too’s Yarn Purchasing Watchdog (my husband) very, very excited. Is this a holiday gift? Realistically, no – but I’ll have fun trying (isn’t that the same thing they say about making babies?).

Bonus link: The cable needle as fine jewelry; I prefer cabling without, and I still can’t look away.