If you’re Rhinebeck bound, we would love to see you at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night. Details here.

Coming Unstuck

Dear Kay,
I have been absolutely confounded as to why my Ravelympics project has been such a slow slogger. I tend to function only on deadline, and having that excellent 17-day window of opportunity seemed like a great way for me to crank a sweater to send along to the sweater drive currently under way for Afghans for Afghans.
I was having a fine old time cranking these wandering, random cables. I was knitting in the round, and it was actually almost mindless to shift the cables a stitch to the left, a stitch to the right, occasionally twisting the cables when they ran into each other. Tra freakin la!
The trouble came when I stopped knitting in the round, after I divided for the front and back at the armholes. Doing these random cables in flat knitting is, like, 42% less fun than doing them in the round. You have to pay a lot more attention when you’re on the wrong side of this thing. You’re knitting the purls, purling the knits, and it’s not hard, but somehow less fun.
I started the sleeve late at night, and because I didn’t have size 6 dpns or circs, I dove in, knitting the sleeve flat. That’s where I really hit the Wall of Sloggery.
I don’t mean to be whiny about this, because I’m glad to be making a fashion-forward pullover for some unwitting Afghan boy. But I do think I’ll scrounge up a pair of circs for Sleeve 2. And I bet it will go, like, 42% more happily.
Up top you can see how this UNBLOCKED sweater fits a very, very skinny 12-year-old boy. It does fit, and not in a painfully tight way, but not in a way that a 12-year-old boy is all that happy about. The boy, who shall remain nameless because he’ll KILL ME I mention it, has a 26″ waist, for those of you keeping track of the ease/negative ease/uneasiness of this project.
The sleeve doesn’t have the sleeve cap on it, in case you’re wondering why it’s so short.
I have been relishing the blocking of this, knowing that the cables would open up considerably. It blocked tidily to 18″ across, so I will try to get the 12-year-old boy to model it again to see how it fits now.
At the top, I seem to have gotten Cable Twist Panic and threw in a bunch of last-minute twists.
I wonder when the back of this sweater will dry. In 2024, probably.
The sleeve was actually fun, now that I think of it, because I started to let the cables go all radical. One doesn’t ever cross anything until the very top. There are wide stretches of reverse stockinette. One cable follows the curve of the sleeve cap.
I had to add a few rows to the sleeve cap shaping so that it will fit the armhole properly. We’ll see how she goes.
I’m Just a Bill. Or Maybe a Knitted Bag.
Yesterday, the world’s greatest knitting circle (sorry, but it’s true) met, it being the second Monday of the month and all, at the downtown Nashville Public Library. (Next month: Monday, October 13, noon to 2 pm.)
Despite the fact that we were in our conference room, as always, I heard a gentle rustling sound, sort of like birch leaves in a late summer breeze. Or maybe the quite tulle skirt of a ballerina.
Or maybe Susan knitting a bag out of half-inch VCR tape.
This colorway, you ask? It’s America Rock.
PS Quick recap: The sweater above uses Rowan DK Tweed in Wine. Pattern is the Perfect Sweater (link in the right sidebar), size small. Size 6 needles. Cable pattern from a sock pattern in our new book.



  1. I love the way a couple cables seem to just meander across the front of the sweater in these long diagonals! I’m very intrigued by this random cable idea.

  2. I once contemplated knitting up cassette tapes, but couldn’t really think of what to make of them! A bag! Cool.

  3. I love this sweater! The color is fabulous and the meandering cables are even more fabulous.

  4. I love the fact that you see just enough of the unnamed 12-year-old’s face that you know he’s absolutely horrified by the idea that you might expect him to wear this in public!

  5. I expected to like this sweater but WOW I like it a lot more than I expected. I was afraid it would look too sockish? But it looks utterly cool. If his mother hadn’t knit it, and it weren’t wool, he would love it. Maybe.
    Definitely worth the slog for this great experiment.
    xoxox Kay

  6. I like the Cable Twist Panic after the armhole split, it gives the sweater a yoke pattern.
    I think you should name it Cable Twist Panic.

  7. And my children moan when I ask them to hold skeins of yarn while I wind… Wait till they see what other horrors can be visited upon them by a knitting mother: MODELLING in the blogosphere!

  8. The sweater is great. Did you promise “the kid” that he would be in the will?? Loved that bag. I have lots of old tapes. What’s the pattern? I don’t live on the edge, so would love to know how she is doing it.

  9. What a cool bag!! I knitted a bag out of plastic bags. My family thought I was nuts and it was a little time consuming cutting the bags into strips, but it was still a fun project. I think I’ll have to try the VCR tape 🙂

  10. The cables in the sweater remind me of ski tracks in fresh snow–I love it! As for the circs, go on ebay, you can get bamboo circs for 99 cents or so and even if you don’t love them to knit, you can use them for stitch holders!!!!!

  11. Cannot thank you enough for continuing to promote and encourage a4A campaign(s)! Love the cable sweater and can’t wait to see it in person in “the basement”. I owe my 10.5 year old a new sweater and am wondering if we would like the random cables (assuming he did not have to model it on internet).
    Pam R, SF

  12. Cannot tell you how much I love that prodigal cable on the sleeve that goes wandering off and finally comes home in the end.

  13. That 12 year old Afghani boy will most likely be at least as skinny as his American counterpart. I’m thinking that his fashion sense will lean more toward what is warm than what is cool.

  14. Well, really, can cables EVER be bad?? I just adore watching cables do their thing, no matter how randomly!
    And, VCR tape? Now that’s an idea I would never have thought of….

  15. I think I’d have done a steek for the armholes. It would have meant a bit of back and forth for the set -in sleeve cap, but overall it would’ve been good, I’m thinking.

  16. Love the cabled sweater!
    Does your friend want more VCR tape? I have lots from emptying my parents’ house…a great charity project, maybe? Anyone want them?

  17. handsome garment
    the colour is is very nice indeed

  18. Kristy, I second that emotion…
    I also enjoy the juxtaposition of the two cable sweaters, one traditional, one random. Cool!
    Ann, don’t worry about the slogging. It turns out that this particular “slog” has served to continue to keep the charity knitting fresh in our minds. And besides, your explaination of the reason for the “slog”, turned out to be the perfect tutorial for “how sleeves are made for sweaters that are knit in the round”–Special Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. I find this random cabling oddly compelling….

  20. Agree with Diane that your slogginess is our tutorial- God, I gotta get me one of these blog things, so I can turn my meandering creative process into something useful for others.
    The October 13th date for the next Nashville library knit circle sent me into a tiz– I was just telling a Portland friend I’ll be coming up that day because (Hallelujah!) you two are gonna be at Powell’s on your book tour! I am thrilled and trying to knit something worthy of the event (not to wear or show, mind you, just to be knitting on!). See you then!

  21. The sweater is great! Love the cables.
    And that bag is fantastic! What a great idea!!!

  22. ARG! I just got rid of all my old VCR tapes…probably 100 of them. I should have thought to take them apart and knit them up! Why, why didn’t I think of that?

  23. …just a bill — on CAPITOL HILL.
    Interplanet Janet: you’re a Galaxy Girl.
    And your sweater is a conjunction-junction [what IS my function?] of gargeous cables!

  24. Please stop knitting with VCR tape – it can give off toxic fumes.

  25. We have 100’s of VHS tapes sitting in boxes in the garage, with DVDs who watches tape? This is genius. Crocheted shopping bags, door mats for wet weather, oh m mind is reeling… get it. lol

  26. We have 100’s of VHS tapes sitting in boxes in the garage, with DVDs who watches tape? This is genius. Crocheted shopping bags, door mats for wet weather, oh my mind is reeling… get it. lol


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