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austerity gym kit

February 22, 2011

This is a post about the joy of cables. It was my elder daughter who got me thinking about them. I was struggling with my first bit of stranded colourwork (about which there may be a post in the future, if the result is not too embarrassing) and she said that really she thought knitting was best when it was exploiting texture ‘because that’s when knitting does things you can’t do with anything else’. To elaborate, she cited her sister’s Owls sweater, saying that there was no other medium with which you could achieve the same effect.

I can see what she means, and although I obviously couldn’t go along with the implication that there is little point in using yarn to play with colour, I do think that cables offer all kinds of very particular interest and enjoyment, both for the knitter and for the person who is wearing them.

Cables are playing quite a part in my new fitness regime. One of the many joys of leaving the gym has been abandoning Lycra in favour of wool, and this hat and scarf have accompanied me on almost every outdoor ‘workout’. Each of them in their own way exemplifies why cables are so brilliant.

Yup – I blogged about spring and the next day we woke up to snow.

The hat – Habitat by Jared Flood – is, I think, a good example of what my daughter means by the uniqueness of knitted texture. It is fascinating both to look at and to handle – and of course the design is only one of an infinite number that can be created from the intertwining of different cables of varying sizes. Ravelled here.

The scarf, on the other hand, has a very simple design but it is the warmest one I have ever had, for the simple reason that the cables make it so thick. I am sure this must be one reason why cables were so popular among fishermen negotiating the icy waters off the British Isles.

It is also delectably squishy.

One disadvantage of using cables for scarves is that, normally,  they are not reversible, which means you have to spend a long time carefully arranging the thing around your neck – definitely not something I want to be doing when I am itching to get out onto the moors. You could argue that since I’m only likely to meet sheep, it doesn’t really matter, but I know I would find it infuriating to have the ‘wrong’ side showing. The joy of this pattern is that the cables have been designed to make the scarf completely reversible. Hence the name of the pattern – Palindrome. Ravelled here.

I need to knit some cabled mittens next!

Any dedicated knitters who are reading this post might have noticed that I am also wearing a handknit cardigan – Tangled Yoke by Eunny Jang. There are three reasons why I haven’t blogged about this garment in detail:

  1. It is not particularly well made.
  2. The cables in particular leave a lot to be desired.
  3. I am enormously proud of it.

I feel that to draw attention to the deficiencies in my knitting would be a bit pointless – especially as I am nevertheless so pleased with it. And yet I do love the cardigan: the cable pattern is, to my mind, very beautiful and what is more it required vast amounts of concentration. In fact I was only able to work on it when we were on holiday in Wales and everyone else was asleep so there was total silence in the cottage. Now the cables are puckering a bit and there are some gaps where the 1-into-5 stitches are pulling on the main body of the garment. Also the button band is wonky. But I am so pleased that I completed it and so love the memories of our holiday that it evokes that I wear it for several days each week. And that, I suppose, is another joy of handmade clothes – they might not be perfect but they are unique and they are ours!

Tangled Yoke ravelled here.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sue permalink
    February 23, 2011 9:55 pm

    Stunning stuff, no wonder you are in love with your cardi!

    • Joanna permalink*
      February 26, 2011 10:39 pm

      Thank you so much!

  2. February 25, 2011 3:25 pm

    Did you knit that Owl sweater? That is adorable! And I love the color of your new gym kit! Very pretty ~ and probably goes quite nicely with the colors of your austerity gym!

    • Joanna permalink*
      February 26, 2011 10:38 pm

      I did knit the Owls sweater and it is not difficult. It’s a really popular pattern, for good reason.

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