Knitting Cables and Textured Stitches with Lily Chin

Lily Chin's Textured Tote Bag

I've been infatuated with many a knitted bag, but I think I may have finally found my true soul mate: the Textured Tote Bag, from Lily Chin's book Power Cables.

Lily's bag hits the mark for me in several ways. It's large enough to carry my knitting project, notions bag, and a small handbag; it's a really attractive bag, with the cables and textured stitches weaving in and out of each other; and it's really fun to knit!

Being a mixed-media gal, I have to tell you that while I was certainly attracted to this bag when I got Lily's book, I really fell for it after seeing Lily's new Knitting Daily Workshop DVD, Reversible Cables, where Lily talks about her trials with textured cables and shares her hits and misses (she said her first experiments were with garter-stitch cables, and both sides turned out "ugly"; she's hilarious). She demos her successful garter-rib cable designs and seed stitch-rib cable designs, which are showcased in several of her patterns, including the Textured Tote Bag.

The section about textured cables is fascinating to me because of the simple techniques that Lily employs to make such a bold statement.

These cables are simply four-stitch ribbed cables that cross back and forth over a bed of garter stitch. Because the rib pulls in in such a way that the knit stitches bury the purl stitches, the cable looks like a two-stitch cable, and it looks the same on the reverse. It's such a successful technique, and I love the impact it has on this bag, in this Earth-toned color of Berroco Linen Jeans (a linen/rayon yarn that' perfect for a work-horse bag).

Here's what Lily has to say about her cable technique: "The very first experiment I did when developing reversible cables was to work them in garter stitch, which was far from successful. Not wanting to give up on garter stitch altogether, I experimented and researched some more. I discovered that in order for any other textured stitch (such as garter or seed stitch) to be incorporated into a viewable cable, it must be confined to or contained within only one strand or set of stitches. The other set must be stockinette (or ribbing, which draws in and looks like stockinette). Basically, view this as a mixed pair! See how the other texture "snakes" its way around the stockinette or rib column? The idea is to have contrast between the smooth and the textured. Not only do alternating textures emphasize movement, they also impart another layer or dimension."

Here's a preview of Reversible Cables:

Just like the Textured Tote pattern, there's so much to love about this DVD: the cutting-edge techniques, the inspirational and achievable patterns, and Lily herself! I adore this DVD, and I know you will too. Get your copy of Reversible Cables with Lily Chin today, and join me in my adventures in textured cable knitting.


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