UFO Thursday ~ Tools of the Trade for VICKIE

Judging from comments left in my posts about past Aran Knitting, I’ve learned that cable patterns are one of those things that impress the dickens out of non-knitters.  But I’m here to testify that those patterns are a lot easier to learn to do than they look like they should be.  To me, knitting cables is far easier than knitting lace with-all-those- yarn-overs-and-slipping-of-stitches-only-to-pass-other-stitches-over-slipped-stitches.

Knitted cables are formed when specified groups of stitches switch places.  Those designated stitches are moved from the left hand needle to a handy little cable needle which is held in either the back or front.  The next stitches on the left hand needle are knitted, the stitches from the cable needle are knitted and, low and behold you have a cable.  Simple knit stitches trading places.  Simple purl stitches occasionally thrown in for good measure.  Reading a chart.  Handling a cable needle.  That’s it.

Cable needles come in all shapes and sizes.  They are short needles, pointed at both ends that are used to hold stitches while you work a cable.  My favorite cable needle is not pictured because it has mysteriously disappeared, but it is the kind that is shaped with a bend in the middle and looks like the letter “u.”  The different shapes of a cable needle prevent the stitches from falling off the needle while you work the cable.  Like regular knitting needles, everyone seems to have their own favorite shape.  At the moment, I’m using a Brittany wooden cable needle.

I keep track of my rows using a trusty magnetic board and one row counter.  In past projects I used several row counters for each individual cable but found that was too much work.  So presently, I just use one of the cylinder type row counters that fits on the needle to keep track of the total number of rows I knit.  Then, should my magnetic strips slip out of place on the chart, I can always do the math and figure out exactly where I am.  Once again, everyone has their favorite way of doing this.  Of course, the ultimate skill is simply just to ‘read’ your cables and use no chart at all.  I usually don’t get to that point until I’m halfway through the project.

Last UFO Thursday I showed you my favorite little ‘star’ star stitch markers.  Now I am going to show you my second favorite stitch markers.  These gold plated metal spacer rings are doing an excellent job of keeping my cable patterns separated on the Vickie RIGHT FRONT.  They capture the ‘Celtic’ theme of Vickie and seem fitting for this Aran sweater.  I have just finished shaping the armhole and will cruise along for several inches before shaping the neck.

I  look forward to UFO Thursdays and spending the entire day dedicated to just one UFO…..steady, consistent knitting and, hopefully, I will have a completed VICKIE by January 1, 2010.

8 Comments on “UFO Thursday ~ Tools of the Trade for VICKIE

  1. I agree……..cables are so much easier to knit than lace! My goal after Christmas is to finally knit lace.(LOL)

    I use the same method as you to keep track of my charts.

  2. I loved your star stitch markers. I ran to my HL to look and no luck. Would you mind telling me where you found yours? I think those would be great little gifts for my knitting friends.

  3. Love your stitch markers. My favorite cable needle is half of my broken dpn. I have a few broken dpns & my neighbor grinds the tips so that I can use them as cable needles.

  4. While I do not find cables difficult, lace is definitely my thing.

    I am a confirmed no cable needle cabler, and have not looked back.

    Those magnetic boards are wonderful.

  5. I agree with you about the cabling over lace. And I
    started the Vickie Cardigan at the end of the summer,
    but have put it on hold to knit Christmas presents. The
    pattern in that sweater is so easy to follow. I, too, have
    to use the chart instead of just learning the pattern but I
    think that is because I knit other projects at the same
    time and by the time I go back to the sweater, I have
    forgotten the pattern. I love how the Vickie sweater is
    working out. My favorite cable needle is one of my
    double pointed needle (sox needle) a few sizes down.
    I have tried just about all the cable needles around and I
    love using the dpns. And last, but not least, could not
    knit a pattern like the Vickie and lace items without the
    use of the magnetic board.

  6. I love your magnetic board. I didn’t realize you were from Colorado (haven’t been reading here long) until I scrolled down and saw your picture of the May D & F tower. Beautiful shot! The knitting book club I belong to is currently reading Wuthering Heights, I see you’ve read that on your Novel 100. Nice to find your blog with things in common 🙂

  7. I love those stitch markers! My favorite cable needles are those plain straight ones, preferable wooden so they don’t just slide out of the stitches.

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