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And the winning cable is...

Dec 10, 2010


Leap-frogging hearts! Many thanks to DebiH, who named my wee heart ribbon pattern.

And many, many thanks to the dozens and dozens of you who wrote in with opinions, humble and otherwise, regarding the cable design for my sister’s modified Central Park Hoodie. Most of you suggested that the twisted ropes on either side of the panel were too heavy and detracted from the interlocking hearts. The minute I read those comments, I knew you were right! I tried a few alternatives, and in the end, I decided on Simple Is Best: No framing twists, just a couple of stitches in reverse St. st. on either side of the central cables, and then solid stockinette, all the way. (The sleeve in the photo is unblocked; blocking will make everything, including the framing stitches, spread out a little more.)

The sleeve/swatch on the left is still a work-in-progress, as I am experimenting with the final touch: How to work the stitches for the V that forms the point of one heart and the neck of the one above. You can see in the photo that some of the hearts are worked differently than others; but at this point, I am NOT going to rip it out. This sleeve will just have a bit more...personality and individuality.

This means...I've stopped swatching! WhooHOOO!!

As for sharing the cable pattern with you: What am I, the Grinch? Of course I'll share! Let me get a bit further on with the hoodie, and then I'll make some proper instructions you can download.

Why This Cable and Not Another?

Reading through last week's comments was very helpful, as it gave me some insight into what sorts of criteria you look for in a cabled design. That made me sit back and consider my own taste in twists...so here's a few of my own thoughts on the matter.

We’re in a culture that says More Is Better. More money, more time, more decorations, more gifts, more STUFF. For me, like so many of us, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that more is also better when it comes to cables, lace, texture, or colour in my handknits. If a single cable is pretty, then surely a sweater with all-over cables is prettier, right? Wellllll...clearly, it depends on the cable, as you yourselves pointed out over and over.

I was making that very mistake, trying to get all fancy-pants with the cable designs for this hoodie. In fact, one of the joys of the original Central Park Hoodie is its simplicity, its classic style, clean lines, and fuss-free knitting. With its original cables, the CPH is a quick–and addictive!–project; I know more than one knitter who has knitted the hoodie at least three times.

I decided to sit down with a pile of knitting magazines and the Ravelry pattern database to have a look through the various cabled sweater designs. I wanted to see if the designs I liked had anything in common with one another; I also wanted to see if, after looking at that many cables, my eye could start to tell a successful design from one that didn't work out quite so well.

I discovered that the cables I personally tend to like have one major cable “theme” set against a relatively uncluttered background; the cable themes I like are strong, clear, and usually involve some sort of closed ring design, such as a the Cable-Down Raglan at right. These cables are not only fun to study, they are easy for me to wear: These striking elements help to both express and balance my somewhat large personality (!), while the restrained background helps the garment to not overwhelm my short, round body.

As for all-over cables, for me, it’s a case of Look But Be Careful What You Wear. I like to look at them for sheer Knitting Eye Candy value: to learn about scale, pattern combinations, and how differently scaled cables look against plain versus fancy backgrounds. However, I don’t like WEARING all-over designs, as I feel that they just add more bulk to my lovely plump figure. An example of a cardi that has a lot of cables...but not tooo many cables... is Nora's Sweater, the purple one below.

 

Finding the Right Cable For You

Knitting a cabled sweater can be a really fun experience! If you’re at all hesitant about knitting an entire garment with cables, take some time first to get to know the sorts of cables you like, as well as the sorts of cables that look best on you. And remember: If you absolutely, positively love the look of a particular sweater, but are thinking about switching out the cable pattern, then carefully consider these three aspects: scale, shape, and complexity. Those features of the original cable itself are probably half of what you love about the sweater in the first place.

Thus: My leap-frogging heart ribbon is the exact same width-in-stitches as the original cable; it’s rounded and curvy, like the original; and it's low on actual twistiness, like the original. However, it expresses my sister and her loving, laughing personality perfectly.

What's your favourite cabled sweater or accessory? I want to see! Now that you've got me started thinking about which cables are popular and why, I want to know more about what you think.

- Sandi




Sandi Wiseheart
is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. You can find her blogging here on Knitting Daily each week.
Want more? Visit Sandi's personal blog, wiseheart knits. Or, if you're on Twitter, you can follow her: sandiwiseheart.


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Central Park Hoodie

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Cable-Down Raglan

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Work these fluid cables from neck to hem in the Cable-Down Raglan.

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Comments

on Mar 1, 2011 5:42 AM

Definitely the vertical drop stitch pattern wins hands down.  Very elegant.  Have to start another scarf in that pattern as soon as I've finished the current one. From

"Scarfaholic" - and it's very hot here 37deg Celsius and humid - but the car is airconditioned!

JenniferM@4 wrote
on Dec 19, 2010 10:51 AM

Sandi, I thought you had disappeared! I have both your blogs fed into My Yahoo page. For some reason the most recent post showing on either is from September. I was missing reading about your yarn exploits and wondering if something (likely something bad) had happened to prevent your posting. Clicking a link in a recent Knitting Daily e-mail showed me that there were more recent posts. I'm caught up now and no longer worried about your health or other possible disasters. Only worry is why my feed is not updating. I tried redoing them and came up with the same results. Will have to check manually I guess. Thanks for being there. Jennifer

kimvanputten wrote
on Dec 18, 2010 9:49 PM

I love anything by Elsebeth Lavold; wonderful cable patterns that are kept simple.

Ce53 wrote
on Dec 18, 2010 5:04 PM

Are you willing to share the instructions for this pattern? I'm sure I'm not the only one interested in using it for a very special project. (If asking 'just isn't done, please let me know and forgive me for being rude; I'm new to this yet)

MaryF@2 wrote
on Dec 15, 2010 4:48 PM

I think you're quite right about "less is more".  So many projects seem to be done out of colorways that leave no color undyed, paired with a lace or cable pattern that disappears into the many colors.  

chris@59 wrote
on Dec 15, 2010 2:23 PM

the Leaping hearts look much much nicer. Simplicity is beautiful.

LynneW wrote
on Dec 15, 2010 12:54 PM

Lovely. And I like the new uncluttered cuff, too. I haven't yet worked my way up to cables, but I would make the effort for your leapfrogging hearts design!

DonnaW wrote
on Dec 14, 2010 1:06 PM

I've been knitting for decades but am a relative newbie when it comes to cables.  My favorite (also my only) cabled sweater is the Central Park Hoodie, which I call my Glacier Park Hoodie because I used Montana merino wool in the Lake MacDonald colorway from Beaverslide Dry Goods. (BTW, I used your seaming tutorials to put it together.  Thanks!)  Favorite accessories are my Fetching fingerless mitts and Coronet hat and the Koolhaus hat made for my daughter using her handspun yarn.  Sorry, these are all very popular patterns with simple cables, and you've seen thousands of them!  Oh--almost forgot my Naive socks.  Love 'em!  I agree with you about all-over cables; for me they are best on socks, throw pillows, etc. rather than sweaters.  I'm interested in cable designs of Janet Szabo and Annie Maloney.  Love the sweaters pictued in your post.  I'm especially glad to see Nora's Sweater again and do hope it will be your next one.

geooben wrote
on Dec 13, 2010 8:11 PM

Where can I find the pattern for the Central Park Hoodie?

stinks wrote
on Dec 11, 2010 12:17 PM

if I purchased the Central Park Hoodie and would like the revised pattern , does this mean I have purchase another pattern???  

stinks wrote
on Dec 11, 2010 12:15 PM

I purchased the Central Park Hoodie.....   does this mean I have to buy the pattern again???

SusanneF wrote
on Dec 11, 2010 10:20 AM

My very favorite cabled thing that I made ever is Vivian by Ysolda Teague. I've also made several of her hats, Struan and Gretel.