Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Lessons

Besides the good advice and encouraging comment, Alpineflower sent me an email (most courteously, because she didn't want to monopolize the comments), reassuring me that cables are "fiddly" but not hard. Armed with that email (Literally. I printed it off and read it repeatedly while I went over pictures, instructions and charts, and a few times more once I started knitting.) and a skein of Lion Brand Organic cotton (I was not going to use the Blue Sky for my self-conducted tutorial) I have attempted cables.

Behold. Lessons one through eleventy-seventeen. Let me dissect this a little.

Did you know that cables are mostly illusion? Sleight of hand? Mess around with a few stitches in one row and the rest is just straightforward knitting? That's the good news. There are still an astonishing number of things to screw up. One might, for example, misread a symbol and knit a 4-stitch cable instead of the required 6-stitch. The first clue would be that one has more stitches on one side of one's cable than the other.

If one should decide to persist in this madness, one may find one's cable disappearing before it's time to twist again. Presumably the result of letting too narrow a cable wander on for too long.

Once that little problem is addressed, one might then find oneself falling into the pit of over-confidence, and decide to incorporate additional design elements. One will wallow there indefinitely, ripping out the tiny cables that don't line up, since one decided to flip between charts rather than mark up the book. When learning to cable, having the entire pattern in one place is A Good Thing.

Once one has bitten the bullet and found a pencil and drawn the symbols in, one will still have to learn to count. After that indefinite, interminable time down there in the pit -- time which will include a lesson in how not to knit into the back of the stitch to twist a 2-stitch cable (don't insert the needle between the stitches to reach the back, go around the first stitch) -- one may find that one has, at last, internalized the pattern and can produce a basic 6 stitch left-leaning cable flanked by 2-stitch cables. One will then assume that one can create a right-leaning cable, although one will not tempt the Furies by actually admitting this hope.

Since this is the compromise I had decided I wanted to achieve for the 2nd and 4th panels of the Blessingway blanket, this "one" was very happy.

I am, however, looking forward in dread to the swatches I will have to make for the center and corner panels.

Those cables tread the Labyrinthine ways. The twists shift across the knitting. The cables change direction. They entwine and interweave in a manner that would make an 18th century dancing master dizzy. I can envision cheerfully changing the center panel to something less knotty, but the corner motifs have me stumped. I'm going to have to figure this out and it's not going to be pretty.

Lesson eleventy-seventeen-one coming up.

2 comments:

diane h said...

Beautiful!

alpineflower said...

You're going to be fine.

And I'm defending my email - a comment is, by definition, brief. My email was decidedly...not so.

Hooray for learning a new trick!