Even after all these years, sometimes I just have to turn to you and say, “Ann. I love knitting so much!” This is one of those moments.
I started my first project from Field Guide No. 9: Revolution over the weekend. It’s the Ironworks Beret, and it’s my first foray into cable knitting in a while, a fun-size warmup for Bang Out a Sweater/Bang Out a Revolution this coming February. (My current frontrunner for February 1 is the Calligraphy Cardigan, but with sleeves, and perhaps maybe as a pullover—I have a lot to think about. But that cable has grabbed me and will not let go. It’s the tapering tendrils, Ann! It’s just too beautiful!)
The yarn: Jill Draper’s Windham, in the Chamois shade. This is a delightfully well-behaved yarn, smooth, round and sturdy. Perfect for hats.
I have knit a fair number of cables in my day. For me, cable knitting hits the spot where logic and intuition intersect, with just the right amount of gentle mental challenge. And there is no knitting more beautiful than a well-designed cable project.
I have never knit a Norah Gaughan cable, though. And even after working on this Field Guide with her, and knowing full well what she had in store for us, I am totally blown away by her brilliance now that I am knitting this little beret.
It’s like music. I can sometimes recognize when a piece of music is extraordinary, but not be able to articulate what makes it so.
I’ll hum a few bars.
This is no out-of-the-box cable. This is an out-of-Norah’s-head cable.
I mean, look at it: it’s both linear and curvaceous, industrial and graceful.
See this spot, where one of the “girders” of the Eiffel Tower starts? See how the shape of the purl background section tapers down to almost a knife edge?
That’s done in a very clever way. On row 16, you cable the first purl of that section into place on the outside of the 3-stitch cable. Then you purl that stitch again when you come to it on row 17.
On row 18, you work a slip-slip-knit decrease that nearly buries that purl stitch under the slipped knit stitch. Then, immediately, you cable a purl stitch back into the next spot. It gives the point of that shape extra sharpness. I love it and wouldn’t have thought of it in a million years. Norah is the queen of the taper.
Can I just say that I can’t wait to block this? I can’t wait to block this.
In short, I’m having a grand time. I can see a lot of Ironworks Berets in my future. This hat looks great on everybody, and by everybody I mean even me, and I generally look terrible in hats. I never thought of myself as a beret person, but after trying on Cristina’s test-knit a few weeks ago, I feel like I am one.
Me, in a couple of days. Note to self: get new sunglasses.