There’s a chill in the air around here, and the leaves have been turning rusty shades of sun-kissed orange and red, and a switch has flipped in my brain. I’m knitting cables.
I picked up a gorgeous skein of Fleece Artist Blue-Faced Leicester Aran on sale at a local yarn shop in the summer. It’s just brown… but oh! What a brown! When I finally got around to winding it into a ball (by hand, off the back of a kitchen chair), I discovered that there are depths of warmth and coziness in the colours. As it ran through my fingers, I fell in love with the texture. It is soft and squishy and velvety, and I’m in love.
Here’s a little sneak peak of the pattern I’m working on, which, although it was inspired by this yarn, will probably be written for a worsted weight instead. We’ll see.
I find that my favourite designs come out of experimentation, not premeditation. Maybe that’s weird. I will sometimes dream and imagine all the things I’d like to knit, but the reality of those dreams doesn’t always work out. When I sit down and just get started, playing with the yarn as I go, I often end up with something very satisfying. Cables can be especially lovely for that, since they can travel around at will as I go. Hats make a great canvas, since they are small and easily re-knit if things go horribly wrong.
Have you ever sat down and played with a hat? Here’s a glimpse of what I do: Cast on something in multiples of ten, with appropriate-sized needles for your yarn, and just go for it. Throw in some evenly spaced cables, then let them travel around when you get bored. Maybe I’m strange, but I find that to be a fun and stimulating exercise. The first hat I cast on ended up being too small, so, about halfway through, I ripped it all out. The second hat was just right (since I had looked at my stitch count on hat number one before ripping it out to see how many more stitches I’d need). I had some nice, mindless cables at the beginning, then I started to get tired of them. Where can they go? I wondered. So I sent them travelling to see what would happen. I knew from previous experience knitting other peoples’ patterns how to move a cable around (most recently the Knotty gloves, of which I have made three pairs), and I knew I could always rip things out if I had to.
As I decided on one possibility, others were discarded or filed away in my brain for later. Maybe this will turn into more than one design for a hat, or maybe there will be matching mittens. Or leg warmers! (My one love from the 80’s.) Who knows? The point is that knitting is fun, and I can go on adventures in my own kitchen, with Yo-Yo Ma playing in the background. What a great life.