Monday, April 13, 2009

Spike of Green Cables: Irish Hiking Scarf

[Spike's beloved Satch modeling Irish Hiking Scarf]

As with a lot of knitting techniques, I started out terrified of cables, convinced they would forever be beyond my skill set. And, as with other knitting related fears, I decided to face off with my cable-phobia by taking a class. That was years ago, and Deb was the teacher, and I remember the project was a little purse called Cute & Cabled. I remember because Deb seemed delightfully shocked that someone with my “tastes” (which run toward thrift store flannel shirts, old Levi’s, and hiking shoes on a good day) would sign up to learn how to make a cutesy bag.

But, of course, my goal wasn’t to have a purse I wouldn’t use in which to carry lipstick I wouldn’t wear—I gave the project as a gift. No, it was about the journey for me. I wanted to conquer cables, practice in the presence of a patient teacher, and gain confidence so that I could then turn around and immediately knit an incredibly complicated, oversized Aran sweater, one awash with hundreds of cables.

Yeah, right.

Okay, okay, so the Aran sweater dream fell by the wayside pretty fast, and then I forgot about cables altogether. Until one day, a few months ago I was bouncing around Ravelry when I stumbled upon the Irish Hiking Scarf, and it grabbed me. So I got out some cottony tweedy green yarn I had been saving for just the right project and I began to re-immerse myself in cables.

After a couple of months of pick-it-up-for-a-day-put-it-down-for-two-weeks-pick-it-up-for-a-day routine, I finally hit my pace and got into a daily rhythm. I could understand why which stitches were where, so I could work without referring constantly to the pattern. I even came to figure out when it was time for a cable row without having to use my counter. Which is to say cables finally clicked for me, I mean really, fully, and completely clicked. Don’t you love it when that happens?

Working with such an excellent pattern helped tremendously. I could knit at a very easy level but wind up with a finished garment that looks pretty darn snazzy. And I met lots of knitters along the way who, when they heard what I was working on, enthusiastically said, “I made that!” It’s like the pattern everybody knows.

But just in case you don’t know it, I emailed Adrian of Hello Yarn, who wrote the pattern to ask about sharing it. She wrote back right away and said she’d be fine with me sharing the pattern via a link. So here you go, everyone: A Link to the Free Irish Hiking Scarf Pattern! Thank you, Adrian. I LOVE MY SCARF.

And now I really will make plans for an Aran sweater. (No, really!)

What about y’all—fans of cable or not? And have you had one of those moments when a technique just clicked for you, you really got it? Do tell.

Here are some details from my process-- that one very weird picture? That's the scarf being blocked on some old towels.

1 comment:

Jan E said...

I've made the Irish Hiking Scarf twice as gifts (one even went to Antarctica!) It's simple enough not to intimidate and still interesting enough to keep one involved. Makes a great gift.