Saturday, June 09, 2007

Adventures in midair cabling

I just flew to Atlanta and back, and while doing so decided to start an actual Object to justify all the knitting-related reading I've been doing. I had the pattern for this nice celtic cap and had read what all the stitches in the pattern meant (hey, I even practiced the first crazy double increase while making a small increase/decrease sampler) so I grabbed it, and some yarn and some needles, on the way out the door.

What it may someday look like:

What it looks like:

The sad thing about flying is that you are far from any knitting book or possible help when the moments of confusion inevitably hit. For example, this is the first time I ever knitted in the round. I cast on 96 stitches as nicely as I could and then...? "Join the work and knit 9 rounds of stockinette." Um, but I have a line and not a circle, how do I join? I stared at it for a while. Finally I cast on one extra stitch, nudged the first stitch across from right to left needle, knit these two together, stared at that for a while, and proceeded. It worked.

Also interesting is that now I know my preference for cabling / twisting. The closed cables on the cap start with just increases, but to my surprise I got to the first row calling for swapped-order stitches while still in the air over the east coast. All right, said I, I have no extra needle so I guess I will do this the no-cable-needle way. And I tried doing it the way in which you rearrange all the stitches on the left-hand needle before knitting and purling them. And lo, the stitches tried hard to slip down into the fabric and sneak through each other while I did so.

Ouch, said I, maybe I can find something to use for a cable needle. And I figured out that my Palm stylus is not so far from a US 6 needle. And I used my cable needle, and lo, the stylus when holding only 1 stitch fell this way and that way and I didn't have enough fingers.

Sigh, said I, it is time to try that other thing I mostly remember from Chapter 1 of Cables Untangled. In this one you transfer the first batch of stitches involved in the cable/twist from left to right needle, actually knit or purl the second batch and THEN swap their order in the manner directed. Finally you knit or purl the first batch. And lo, order was restored to my knitting, because the only batch of live stitches you leave hanging in the air this way is the second batch, the batch that just got a nice, loose extra row added to it and is thus much more accomodating. Thank goodness. The only hard part about this is figuring out where to hold the yarn while transferring that first batch over to the right-hand needle, and I'd rather do that than deal with the squirmy stitches of the first two attempted methods.

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