OCD Cable Knitting

So I’m not exactly a dedicated blogger. My commentaries tend to be told to the air or to my patient hubby, occasionally broadcast on Facebook, and for knitting-specific thoughts, I post on Ravelry. Ought one to share every synapse firing with the planet? Surely not, but perhaps one ought to share a tiny bit more, especially useful bits. Being a geeky sort — only a small serving of Asperger’s Aspic, thanks — I believe thoughts that might benefit someone else need sharing with the world directly, not merely transmitted to the air via ESP. One other thing. I’ve decided to write this post however it comes to me, using the written language formed by reading too many British authors at a young age, plus old Pogo cartoons and Ogden Nash. Enough exposition, on to the knitting.

I was looking forward to the Humanity Mitts project as comfort knitting. Cabling and 2-at-a-time mittens may not sound comforting, but after fiddley projects involving I-cording, sewing in a purse lining, my first lace weight scarf (in progress), and of course the dreaded Mantis, it was time for something familiar. Love the yarn, Sublime Cashmerino Silk Aran, and having completed three of Jared Flood’s Habitat hats, this derivative pattern was one to look forward to. I swatched, cast on, happily knit to round 5, and came to a full stop. Continue in p1, k2 ribbing. Purl, knit knit, purl…wait. You want me to knit a stitch that was previously a purl? What have I done wrong? …searching for errata…none… People say what a wonderfully written pattern. Yes, fine, but what about knitting a purl? ‘T’aint fittin’. Is it? Finally I found a Raveler who posted a reaffirming comment along the same lines, so at least I wasn’t crazy. After closer examination at maximum zoom on others’ project photos, I determined that this k-over-p technique produces angular cables that at least don’t look broken. Maybe a tad jaggy. Still, I couldn’t bear it, so I decided to add a simple cable switch on round 5, spent entirely too much time in Excel charting it, and have the result to share. (Finally, we get to the “something worth saying” portion of this post.) Here’s the chart.

I hope the cable symbols make sense to you, dear reader, as I could find nothing on the ‘net representing a 5-stitch cable with a purl. My text notation was made up too, and I don’t care for the number of characters, but it does tell me exactly what to do. 2b:p1-k4 means, cabling without a cable needle as I now prefer, take 5 stitches to the right needle, grab the rightmost 2 in back, swap with the other 3, and put back on the left needle. Then purl 1, knit 4, and done. The color coding derives from my usual highlighter-on-paper markups, so I figured I’d save myself that step. The pic of red cables shows how it works in yarn.

Finally, I do realize others who have knitted these mitts have made this change too, so what exactly did I bring to the party? Specificity. (Mrs. “Be Spe-cific” Nelson from McLean Middle School would be proud.) Should one find oneself knitting under the influence of a crisp white zin while watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, by wild happenstance, one can rely on this chart rather than on lightly pickled gray matter.

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13 thoughts on “OCD Cable Knitting”

  1. Updated this post to spell out that round 1 changes from the simple p1, k2 ribbing to the cable-modifying round on subsequent iterations.

  2. I am in awe of the way you think. i want to make these fingerless mittens. they are so warm and cozy. but i am scared.

  3. I loved coming across this post in search of a way to chart a particularly difficult pattern. Not only did I discover a fellow Buffy fan, I also learned something new. I was hoping you could tell me how you created the special symbols on Excel?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Rose. The special symbols are just a font that I found on the Internet. Look here for a lengthy explanation or just scroll to the bottom to grab the font. Install that, then in Excel’s menu choose Insert | Symbols, choose the knitting font, and you can pick whatever symbol you want to use.
      You may also want to check out this knitty.com article.
      Buffy binge watching on Netflix was great for knitting! Usually light, fluffy, and fun. Happy charting!

  4. Hi, Susan!
    I’m about to knit this lovely mittens when I notice the unusual cable style in the pattern. Then, I cam across your blog! What a relief! However, the picture seems to be missing a while ago, and I’m not sure what should I do. Could you please upload your chart again? That would be great help!

    Thank you!

  5. Hi. Knitting your revised cable pattern fingerless gloves. Since two extra rows are added for the revision of purl stitch is the gusset still stared on Row 33 or row 35. Thanks for help

    1. I didn’t mean to add rows, but I should have been more clear. The original pattern calls round 17 a repeat of 1, and I added it to the chart. You repeat the chart, doing round 1 only the first time. The next time you use what I show as round 17 instead of 1. The gusset starts on 33. I’ll add a slightly different chart to clarify. Hope this helps!

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