The Deep Denim Stash has been excavated. I have cast on my Calligraphy Cardigan for real, in the darkest shade of Rowan Denim, which is called Nashville.
My knitting needles are blue.
My cable needle is blue.
My hands are blue.
I’m deliriously happy. Only 8 rows done in these photos, so the oval of the Calligraphy cable is just starting to open. Having worked through the chart for my swatch, it feels like an old friend. All the symbols make sense, and I’m a happy blue knitter.
On the right: a sample square for the Picket Fence afghan, also in Rowan Denim. The darker shade in the blanket square is the color my Calligraphy Cardigan will be after its first washing: a warmer, softer blue that will continue to fade with washing and wear.
A note on the yarn: Rowan Denim, also called Rowan Original Denim, is the yarn I’m using for my Calligraphy Cardigan. This yarn recently was discontinued, but Rowan carried it for decades, so there is a lot of stock still out there, if you look around. In other denim news, Rowan recently introduced a new yarn, Denim Revive, made from recycled cotton fibers. Needless to say, as a fan of Rowan and lover of any yarn with the word “denim” in the name, I will be checking out Denim Revive. I am intrigued by the look of it, by the patterns designed for it by Martin Storey, and by the expanded (beyond blue) color palette. However, Denim Revive is not a substitute for the original Rowan Denim, in that it’s not intended to shrink or fade. Both these qualities are special to me and other denim-lovers. We shall soldier on, with just the slightest quiver of the lower lip.
And now, for two small tips that enhance my cable-knitting experience.
Tip No. 1: Enlarge the Chart
Due to the knitting bag-friendly trim size of the MDK Field Guides, the charts in the print edition are—how to put this?—petite. Enlarging the chart is a kindness for the eyes, especially if you knit at night in the glow of the TV.
I don’t follow my own tip, though. I’ve got a heavy magnifying paperweight (it came with a dictionary) that I just plop on top of any part of the chart that is uncertain to the naked eye. But using a magnifier is really just a non-digital method of chart enlargement.
So: enlarge the chart. Your eyes and brain will thank you. It’s a mood-lifter.
Tip No. 2: Highlighter Tape Is Our Friend
I stick a piece of highlighter tape right under under the row I’m working.
I left blue fingerprints on my highlighter tape.
This saves a lot of squinting and re-orienting myself to my place in the chart. Highlighter tape unsticks and resticks very easily, like a Post-it note, so you can keep repositioning the tape as you work your way up the rows of the chart.
Ann, I know you use an actual Post-it note to mark your place in a cable chart. This appeals to my frugality: use what you have on hand. A multi-purpose office supply is better than a single-purpose office supply!
So, a Post-it is great, and certainly better than using a ruler that slides around, or nothing at all, to keep your place.
But if you have some highlighter tape, its transparency is nice. You can see what has gone before, which reinforces your sense of knowing where the heck you are.
One roll of highlighter tape (from Lee Products Co., billed as “A Removable Alternative to Highlighter Pens”) has 393 inches of tape in it. That should last me a good long while even if the piece I am using loses its stickiness. I keep the roll of tape in my knitting tool kit, because I only use it for knitting, and that way it doesn’t get lost in a desk drawer.
So much of life is about knowing where things are.
A Farewell Tip
One last tip, that I fear is too obvious but here goes: if you want to know how many stitches are in a cable symbol on the chart, so that you can quickly locate it in the abbreviations guide, just look at the row above the symbol, and count the stitches on the WS row. Example: the big right-leaning cable at the center of row 7 has 9 stitches above it on row 8.
Sometimes doing that will avoid the necessity to even look up the symbol.
It took me a while to figure that out, so I share it.
One of the 9 stitches is a purl, which is what makes life interesting.
I would love to hear readers’ tips on working cables and navigating cable charts. Answers on a postcard, or more conveniently, in the comments, please!