Review: Celtic Cable Crochet by Bonnie Barker

Celtic Cable Crochet by Bonnie Barker, Interweave, 2016. 128 pages. Paperback and digital formats available. Grade: A

There are 18 patterns in this collection. All of them are intended for women to wear. I bought this book looking for inspiration because I think in the future I’d like to make up my own accessories and garments with crochet cables. The cover says that the designs are all “modern,” which I suppose means that the usual kinds of cabled items won’t be found in here. I definitely got what I wanted and was not disappointed by the “modern” descriptor. The designs all play with shaping just as much as they work with cable panels.

The two sweaters featured in this set are truly fine examples of creative design with cables. The “Binne Cardigan” has an interesting shape, ending at the bottom with subtle ruffles that aren’t too strong to annoy, but with just enough ripple to add more pizazz to it. The “Orlaith Robe Sweater” may have an unfortunate name, making it sound like a bathrobe, but it is a very tasteful coat with lots of texture and eye candy.

The two ponchos, one of them a wrap “hybrid,” could be turned into afghans, and the hats and cowls are also very exciting, both to wear and crochet. There’s even a sweater-wrap hybrid, an innovative shape that seems to be becoming very popular lately in several crochet magazines. As with most books, it’s helpful to check out its Ravelry page to see how everything looks before considering purchasing the title.

The instructions look clear enough to understand and the sizing is also varied enough for people to work out something that will give them a good fit.

I think people that want to add cables to their crochet pattern collection would like to have this book as well as anyone like me that is looking for inspiration in their own creative efforts.

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Better late than never

It’s Thursday morning. I don’t think it’s too late to share a WIP. Wednesdays for me are not ideal for blogging because I have a lot to do at work.

I finished the knitting on my purple cardigan and I washed it. Now I’m very gradually sewing the buttons onto it. With any luck I’ll have an FO Friday post about it if I can manage to get motivated to sew more buttons.

While the cardigan was drying, on the weekend, I cast on “St. Enda,” a by now classic Alice Starmore design. It looks so complicated! Forgive the bad photo, please, I have to figure out what went wrong with my camera.

IMG_1561

The reality is: no, it isn’t as difficult to knit as it looks. First of all, you can mostly knit without a cable needle. The only place where you need a cable needle is when there’s a fancy maneuver to cross the stitches out of order. Second of all, the sand stitch on either end of the sweater is very basic and not at all difficult to execute from memory. The honeycomb panels are also easy to do from memory. I only look at the chart for the Celtic knot panels and by now only superficially. I just follow where the purl stitches wind up on every right-side row. That’s the nice thing about making traveling stitches that are almost always paired with purl stitches. You always know that the purls are the background so you can easily figure out where the knit stitches wind up. That’s why I only have to follow where the purls are shifted to on the chart.

My favorite thing about this pullover, besides the bold Celtic knot, is the ribbing. It’s all cabled. The same happens for the collar. It’s just refreshing to knit up a ribbing that isn’t 1 x 1 or 2 x 2. I’ve waited twenty years or so to knit something designed by Alice Starmore. It won’t be the last time, that’s for sure. I suspect that I’m going to get into an Alice Starmore “mode” of sorts. I have many of her books and there are quite a few sweaters – including a really nice gansey – that I want to make for myself. The only problem is that I need to be a little less selfish and knit at least one for José. I know he wants a light blue sweater, so I’m planning my next project with him in mind. I’m trying to decide between two sweaters, one of them by Starmore and another by a different designer. We shall see! First, I should probably get this sweater done, right?

Evergreen Aran (just once more)

About ten years ago I knitted Kristin Nicholas’s “Evergreen Aran” sweater from the Classic Elite pattern book Knitting the New Classics. When I casted it on it was going to be for me but then I met my partner and I let him have the sweater. He wears it every winter.

So now it’s finally my turn to have this sweater! I started it last week and so far, this is my progress:

better gray cable sweater

It’s going to take a while but I’ve got this under control! I’ve made it before, after all!

The rain stopped! Here’s my blue cardigan!

I am happy to be wearing my blue cabled cardigan, which I finished on Monday. Here are some pics of me wearing it:

I think it’s important to show off a sweater when it’s scrunched up and you’re sitting down because that’s how it will look in real life. I think it looks wonderful all scrunched up with a button half buttoned!

For anyone curious about this free pattern, I added notes on my project page to explain how I didn’t follow the instructions exactly. Firstly, I didn’t want to sew sleeves so I knit them in the round. Second, I hated the collar and button band in the directions so I made up my own that can be rolled up with the sweater pinned closed with a couple of cool pins (I still haven’t bought them. I need to go shopping for some) or with the band lying flat and buttoned up in a more traditional way.

I finish things and I keep on knitting

Quite a few months ago I finished some vanilla socks (my own personal in-my-head pattern) and I never bothered to photograph them or talk about them much. Here’s a pair I knit up with Rowan Fine Art hand painted sock yarn from the cuff down:

Photo Sep 25, 3 39 49 PM

After that, I finished a pair of toe-up socks with some rainbow sock yarn I bought at Tiger and now I’m happy to report that I have my own toe-up pattern in my head, although I’m going to experiment with the heel in the future:

Photo Sep 25, 3 40 29 PM

I’ve also finished a few other things but I didn’t bother to photograph them and I’ve already given them away. That’s life!

This is what I’ve been working on:

Photo Sep 25, 3 35 40 PM

Yup, I’ve got all that on the needles. I’m still working on that blue cardigan. The back is almost finished. I blogged about this before, but the photo was yucky. Here’s a better detail on the stitch pattern:

Photo Sep 25, 3 36 04 PM

This pattern is simply called “Cabled Cardigan” and it’s published by Hayfield. Of course, I’m not using the suggested yarn. I prefer something more wooly, so I’m using Drops Nepal.

I’ve also decided to invent a scarf with a traveling XO cable. The scarf will be reversible and maybe one day it will be a free pattern offered on my blog. Who knows? I’m having fun with this scarf. It’s very easy for me to knit.

Photo Sep 25, 3 35 54 PM

Quite naturally, I’ve been making progress on those vanilla socks with little shell rib I talked about in my last post. I’m still on the first sock, but I’ve turned the heel, decreased the gusset, and now I’m just ticking away at the foot portion:

Photo Sep 25, 3 35 46 PM

I think that’s a lot of knitting. Let’s see if I can keep my attention focused long enough on my cardigan to finish it. I love knitting it, but for some reason I just get distracted. Every time I consider casting on yet another thing I just sit on my hands for a moment and then work on my cardigan. That should do the trick, I think, at least for now… dun dun DUN! (*sinister knitter laugh*)

Why not knit a raglan sweater flat?

I’ve started another sweater. It’s a cardigan, so it really makes sense to knit it flat. The pattern I’m following isn’t named very creatively. It’s called “Cabled Cardigan” by Hayfield.

As usual, I didn’t buy the suggested yarn. Instead, I’m using Drops Nepal, because I got it on sale. I really like the color and I’m enjoying how this sweater’s stitch patterns look:

Photo Jul 13, 1 37 34 PM

One of the refreshing things about this sweater is that the background isn’t your typical reverse stockinette or seed stitch. Instead, it’s rice stitch. The cables, nine stitches wide, are separated by bars of slipped ribbing. This cardigan will knit up pretty fast and it’s an easy project.

I finished my Arguyle

Finally, I got it done. It’s happily drying on the blocking table. Photographing it today was quite the challenge. I tried it on before I blocked it and I attempted to take some photos (with plenty of sunlight, by the way) and they just came out horrible. I just won’t put those here. They’re so bad that you might turn to stone if you looked at them. I tried folding it and placing it on a table near a different window and the photo still came out pretty gloomy, but good enough:

Photo Jul 03, 12 48 46 PM

The place where I do my blocking is pretty blah in terms of lighting but here’s the photo anyway:

Photo Jul 03, 2 16 14 PM

Regardless of the bad photo, it still looks like it’s happily drying on the blocking table. I’d say it’s smiling.

This sweater took me about seven months to knit. It’s too hot to wear it now, but I have the fall weather to look forward to so I can wear it.