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Crochet cables

Nowadays, I seem to spend much more time crocheting than I do knitting. In fact, I think it might be more than a year since I last picked up the needles! I’m quite happy for the hooks to dominate my creative time instead – crochet is a wonderful, flexible craft and there’s always something new to learn. But there is one aspect of knitting that I miss: cables.

I remember when my granny first showed me how to make a knitted cable, using an extra little needle with a quirky little kink in it. Crossing over the stitches wasn’t easy and I found it very fiddly with my child’s hands, but the finished effect was like magic. Ribbons of twisty, turny, flowing stitches were so elegant – I loved them. I spent hours knitting more rows of that swatch, just repeating the one twist she’d had time to show me.

So you can imagine my delight when I heard that you could create cables in crochet. However, a quick glance at the patterns totally scared me off – they seemed so complicated and I had no idea what a Post Stitch was. It was a good year before I had enough crocheting confidence to tackle Post Stitches (which are ridiculously easy) and then another few months before I tackled my first crochet cable for this cowl.

I learned a lot from that project and so when Simply Crochet asked me to put together a guide on cables and a simple cable project, it was a pleasure. In fact, the biggest pleasure was working up a variety of crochet cable swatches – it showed me just how many different effects you can create with the technique and it reminded me of that first knitted cable swatch that my granny showed me.

Eventually, I decided on a simple 2-stitch twist and made this cabled headband:

Cable headband

Cable headband

Cosy headbands seem to be a growing trend for winter headwear (apparently they’re good for avoiding ‘hat hair’) and my fashionista friend had been wearing one last winter, so I knew I was onto a winner. I made this one way back in October, and by December they seemed to be in all the shops!

While making the headband, I learned that forming a crochet cable is actually quite straightforward – it’s trying to write it down in pattern form that makes it seem complicated! It’s so hard trying to explain that you work this post stitch into that post stitch at the front, then skip some stitches, then work some more post stitches into post stitches at the back, then go back to the skipped stitches… for me, it’s highlighted just what a physical skill crochet is and exposed the inadequacy of the human language (or at least written crochet patterns!) to explain how to do that physical skill.

Anyway, the important thing is that the finished headband looks great, with all the flowing elegance of the knitted cables I love – plus, the Drops Air Mix yarn is super-soft on your head. Actually, it took a while to find a cable pattern that looked right with the yarn – it’s so soft and fluffy, many of the cables I tried lacked definition. In the end, I went with a 2-stitch twist with a 2-stitch gap at the centre to help define the two interlocking lines. The fuzzy yarn has actually worked amazingly well in making the stitches merge into each other so the lines flow beautifully along the band.

Cable close-up

Cable close-up

I’m really pleased with this make and feel much more confident with crocheted cables now. I’ve worn the headband quite a few times now and no one can believe it when I tell them I made it and that it’s crocheted. Even my crochet friends! That makes me smile 🙂

If you’re interested in getting the pattern, it’s in issue 40 of Simply Crochet, which is on sale now.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in Crochet

 

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Crochet cables & bobbles

Firstly, apologies for no blog last week – I spent my day off on a training course, although I can’t say I learned an awful lot (it was still good though).

I have been doing a lot of learning elsewhere though, specifically about crochet. I’ve started working on a publication that covers more advanced crochet techniques, such as cables, beading and surface crochet.

It’s not essential that I learn all of these techniques because we have some expert contributors, but there are many that I’d like to learn, so now is the perfect time! Plus, I know it will make me feel more confident when I’m proof-reading pages.

Whenever I’m learning a new technique, I like to actually make something at the same time as practising it. So I made this manly grey cowl for my other half, incorporating some new-to-me techniques:

Grey cable & bobble cowl

Grey cable & bobble cowl

Slate grey is his favourite colour, so I found this DK yarn in my stash and used quite a big hook (6mm) for a chunky feel. I started off working a treble foundation row instead of working chains and then working stitches into the foundation chains (if you’ve never tried this technique, I highly recommend it).

I joined into the round and continued in trebles. On the next round, I used stitch markers to mark out every 10 stitches, which would help me keep track of where to place my bobbles and cables on the following rounds.

On the next round, I worked a 4-stitch cable at every stitch marker. It took me a while to get the tension right – too tight and the whole fabric puckered; too loose and it just looked like strands of yarn instead of a stitch.

On the next round, I worked a 7-treble bobble at the halfway point between two stitch markers. If I made it again, I might work more than seven though because they look a bit more like clusters than bobbles, in that they don’t stand away from the fabric very far. They still look good though (and he won’t know the difference).

So I alternated the cable round and the bobble round, and added an extra round of plain treble stitches at the centre to space out the bobbles a bit more. By the time I finished the cowl, I was cabling and bobbling on auto pilot!

Luckily, he really likes the cowl, as does everyone else who sees it, which makes me smile. In fact, it’s so nice that I’ve started to borrow it (it’s so cosy in the wind and the grey goes with everything!). As you can see, even my bust (I’ve called her Betsy) likes it:

Cowl on Betsy

Cowl on Betsy

Perhaps I’d better make my own cowl while learning some more techniques…

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Crochet

 

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