And the winning cable is…

Leap-frogging hearts! Many thanks to DebiH, who named my wee heart ribbon pattern.

And many, many thanks to the dozens and dozens of you who wrote in with opinions, humble and otherwise, regarding the cable design for my sister’s modified Central Park Hoodie. Most of you suggested that the twisted ropes on either side of the panel were too heavy and detracted from the interlocking hearts. The minute I read those comments, I knew you were right! I tried a few alternatives, and in the end, I decided on Simple Is Best: No framing twists, just a couple of stitches in reverse St. st. on either side of the central cables, and then solid stockinette, all the way. (The sleeve in the photo is unblocked; blocking will make everything, including the framing stitches, spread out a little more.)

The sleeve/swatch on the left is still a work-in-progress, as I am experimenting with the final touch: How to work the stitches for the V that forms the point of one heart and the neck of the one above. You can see in the photo that some of the hearts are worked differently than others; but at this point, I am NOT going to rip it out. This sleeve will just have a bit more…personality and individuality.

This means…I've stopped swatching! WhooHOOO!!

As for sharing the cable pattern with you: What am I, the Grinch? Of course I'll share! Let me get a bit further on with the hoodie, and then I'll make some proper instructions you can download.

Why This Cable and Not Another?

Reading through last week's comments was very helpful, as it gave me some insight into what sorts of criteria you look for in a cabled design. That made me sit back and consider my own taste in twists…so here's a few of my own thoughts on the matter.

We’re in a culture that says More Is Better. More money, more time, more decorations, more gifts, more STUFF. For me, like so many of us, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that more is also better when it comes to cables, lace, texture, or colour in my handknits. If a single cable is pretty, then surely a sweater with all-over cables is prettier, right? Wellllll…clearly, it depends on the cable, as you yourselves pointed out over and over.

I was making that very mistake, trying to get all fancy-pants with the cable designs for this hoodie. In fact, one of the joys of the original Central Park Hoodie is its simplicity, its classic style, clean lines, and fuss-free knitting. With its original cables, the CPH is a quick–and addictive!–project; I know more than one knitter who has knitted the hoodie at least three times.

I decided to sit down with a pile of knitting magazines and the Ravelry pattern database to have a look through the various cabled sweater designs. I wanted to see if the designs I liked had anything in common with one another; I also wanted to see if, after looking at that many cables, my eye could start to tell a successful design from one that didn't work out quite so well.

I discovered that the cables I personally tend to like have one major cable “theme” set against a relatively uncluttered background; the cable themes I like are strong, clear, and usually involve some sort of closed ring design, such as a the Cable-Down Raglan at right. These cables are not only fun to study, they are easy for me to wear: These striking elements help to both express and balance my somewhat large personality (!), while the restrained background helps the garment to not overwhelm my short, round body.

As for all-over cables, for me, it’s a case of Look But Be Careful What You Wear. I like to look at them for sheer Knitting Eye Candy value: to learn about scale, pattern combinations, and how differently scaled cables look against plain versus fancy backgrounds. However, I don’t like WEARING all-over designs, as I feel that they just add more bulk to my lovely plump figure. An example of a cardi that has a lot of cables…but not tooo many cables… is Nora's Sweater, the purple one below.


Finding the Right Cable For You

Knitting a cabled sweater can be a really fun experience! If you’re at all hesitant about knitting an entire garment with cables, take some time first to get to know the sorts of cables you like, as well as the sorts of cables that look best on you. And remember: If you absolutely, positively love the look of a particular sweater, but are thinking about switching out the cable pattern, then carefully consider these three aspects: scale, shape, and complexity. Those features of the original cable itself are probably half of what you love about the sweater in the first place.

Thus: My leap-frogging heart ribbon is the exact same width-in-stitches as the original cable; it’s rounded and curvy, like the original; and it's low on actual twistiness, like the original. However, it expresses my sister and her loving, laughing personality perfectly.

What's your favourite cabled sweater or accessory? I want to see! Now that you've got me started thinking about which cables are popular and why, I want to know more about what you think.

– Sandi

Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. You can find her blogging here on Knitting Daily each week. Want more? Visit Sandi's personal blog, wiseheart knits. Or, if you're on Twitter, you can follow her: sandiwiseheart.

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