Cable Trick, for spectators

The season has started. The spectating/knitting curling season for us as fans of our daughter’s curling team began last weekend. Spectating from behind the glass while knitting this weekend was a reminder of  what an emotional roller coaster ride it is to watch your child (even when they’re grown up) do what they love to do, win or lose.


Team Harrison (playing China here).  With a newly constituted team we didn’t know what to expect but 5 wins and 2 loses put them into the playoff quarter finals where they lost to the team that won it all. Yay Team.

I knit so I don’t chew my finger nails to bits. I’ve been doing this for years so I am aware of some of the pitfalls in choosing the wrong project. Is tense knitting going to show because there will be some. Can I do most of it while still  watching? Can I sit in a chair and not disturb any people around me because it is often a tight squeeze which I realized the time I took straight needles. Imagine needles ends waving around in front of my neighbours. Yeah you get the picture.

This was a good project choice. Thick wool which will not show when things got tense. It’s worked on a circular needle. Cable Trick (see below) meant I could keep track of cable crosses easily. No cable needle needed so it can’t fall on the floor and get lost. Straight forward knitting between cable crossings.


Preparation is everything. I spent the day before getting my project ready. I cast on and then with removable markers, set up where I wanted the cables to go. The thin metal markers are the raglan markers and the coloured plastic markers indicate my cable locations: a small cable on both sleeves and a larger cable down the front and back.


I did the first set up round, increasing stitches between the cable markers. Cables suck your fabric in so you need to increase stitches before working the first cable cross. I decided to do it right away. This is the sleeve cable.


The set up started with 4 sts: 1 border st, 2 cable sts, 1 border stitch. I want to have a 4 st cable so I will increase 2 sts in these 2 cable sts in the next round.

I used a new to me increase which I thought worked quite well. This is a variation of the Kf&b:  Knit into the front of the stitch and without taking the stitch off the needle, insert right needle into back of  the same stitch and slip it. Take stitch off left needle. You have increased one stitch. One of the stitches is knit and the second stitch was slipped.


Once I was set up like this and worked the first cable crossing, this project was ready to go.

You may be wondering if crossing cables is a good choice for a project where your mind is partly occupied. Keeping track of when to cross is the trick to working good cables.

Here’s the TRACKING WHEN TO CROSS CABLES Trick. Every time you cross a cable you create a hole right where the cross took place.


When you are close to working the next crossing stick a needle tip, pencil or your cable needle into the hole of the last crossing and run it up behind your work, popping it out right below the working needle, between the edge of the cable and the next purl border stitch. All the bars between these two stitches will be on top and you can count them.


I’m crossing this 4 stitch cable every 4th round as follows:  The first bottom bar showing is the round where I did the last cross (Round 1 cross cable). The next 3 bars indicate the next 3 rounds (Rounds 2, 3 & 4 work as set). Cross cable again on the next round (Round 1 cross cable).


You can keep checking to make sure you on the correct round to make the next crossing. It makes cables in this nice thick wool the perfect project.

Thanks for reading,


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Cabin Fever Patterns on Ravelry



Spiral Stripes

I went diving into my stash for worsted weight yarn for another Any Gauge Raglan pullover. I found 6 50g balls of royal blue (300g in total). A great colour but not enough for a sweater. I didn’t find any sweater amount of anything else that caught my eye. What to do? Spiral Stripes, that’s the answer. I have lots of single balls in several different colours. I’m going to go stash diving to see if I can find 4 more colours that will go with my royal blue. Wish me luck.

For quite some time I have thought that a raglan would be perfect for working Spiral Stripes (also known as Helix stripes). This method gives you single rounds of stripes without any jog at the beginning of the round.

I’ve worked Stash Buster Socks with 3 colours and with 4 odd balls I worked the Stash Buster Striped Hat using spiral stripes.

These are the rules I follow:

  1.  One more colour than sections your project is divided into.
  2.  Do Not Twist when changing colours.

That’s it.

Rule 1:  Divide your project into sections and work with one more colour than the number of sections. You can use markers to make arbitrary divisions in your project or use any natural sections your project may already be divided into. The sections do not have to have the same number of stitches. For example, a sock can be divided into the front of the leg and the back of the leg. My Top Down Raglan will be divided into 4 sections: Back, shoulder, Front, shoulder. There are 4 markers, each placed between these sections. At each of the markers the colours could change. Since I have 4 sections in this raglan pullover I will be looking for 5 different colours.

Rule 2:  Do Not Twist. Usually when changing colours you would pick up the new colour so that the old and new colour link together (twist around each other). This prevents holes at the change. For this method of stripes you purposely Do Not Twist the colours at the change.

I’ve knit this method in the Stash Buster Socks with great success. I used 3 colours and divided my sock into 2 sections (front of leg, back of leg). At the colour change spot, I took the colour I just used, placed it to the right and dropped it. Then I picked up the new colour from the round below (it will be sitting right there where you need it) and began knitting the next section of my sock. The two colours do not twist.

These socks were knit with a solid purple colour, a solid green and a variegated brown/pink/gold combo.

In this photo the purple has just been used and placed to the right and the green from the round below will be picked up to start knitting the next section.

Stash Buster Sock P1040010 (636x640)

Can you see that the green round will continue over the brown/pink variegated round on the left needle? All the rounds are continuous so there is no jog.

So far I have knit 5 pairs of socks. The Stash Buster Sock is a great for those lonely 50g balls of sock yarn you might have in your stash. Pair them up with some interesting friends and see what magic happens.

Stash Buster Sock P1040016 (640x621)

I’m starting my Spiral Stripes Raglan this week. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. This is the result of my stash dive.


EVENTS: On Saturday September 8 Cabin Fever will be at the KW Knitting Guild’s Knitter’s Fair in Kitchener, ON. It’s a terrific show with tons of vendors and lots of like minded knitters. Drop by and say hello.

Thanks for reading,


Cabin Fever patterns on ravelry.

Sleeve Angst

I’m on the sleeves of my latest pullover. This is Not my favourite part of the sweater but I want sleeves so here I am, slightly irritated but determined to get these done.

I’m working with stash wool which is hand dyed and has some colour variation between the skeins (it’s been in my stash quite a long time). I knit the entire body of the pullover working 2 rounds with one ball and 2 rounds with a second ball. That evened out the colour really well.


I started working my sleeves in the round but …

Continue reading “Sleeve Angst”

Dyeing with Tea (Sweater Dunking)

My first prototype for the Any Gauge Raglan is finished. I’ve been knitting this pullover for several weeks and calling it the Pepto Bismol sweater.


It’s a bright pink colour which I would never wear or even knit with usually but it was in my stash, and is now discontinued, so was perfect for my first experimental sweater. There was the real possibility that it might not work out at all and then nothing is lost except my time. It’s not that I don’t like pink but I favour a very pale pink colour with lots of white in it and this is not that.

So what should I do when the sweater actually worked out? Once I had the yoke done I figured I should just finish it up since everything was going so well. The whole time I knew I couldn’t wear it. Continuing to call it the Pepto Bismol sweater was probably a clue.

This is where the tea comes in. I had been reading up on home dyeing (without chemical dyes) and the idea of tea was kind of interesting. I put a piece of pink yarn in my tea cup, which I was actually drinking at the time, just to see what would happen. I liked it.

I’m at my camp where I don’t have a proper kitchen but I can handle making tea. I steeped 3 pots of tea with 10 tea bags in each time and poured it into lots of cold water in a rubbermaid bucket. I wet the sweater with the hose and then I dumped it in.


Yup, the whole thing, in it went. I left it outside on the deck for 24 hours. I don’t think it changed colour after about 3 hours but I left it in anyway. Next morning I had to work to get the sweater tea-free but after several dunkings in cold water I thought the water was coming up pretty clear.

The tea took the brightness off. It’s more of a rose colour now I guess. Still pink but not so bright (it’s a little bit more orangey than this photo shows).


I’m happy with the results. I’m really glad I took the chance and did it. This sweater has a story now.

Do you have a sweater that you can’t wear because of the colour?

Share this with your knitting friends. They might have a sweater that could use a tea bath. Thanks for reading,


FOLLOW ME and I’ll send you a Gauge Free hat pattern. It’s a great stash buster.

Cabin Fever patterns on ravelry

Raglan Sleeve Freedom

Have you ever checked the measurement of your arms? Does the sleeve of every sweater you knit come out correctly for you? Is that stopping you from knitting for yourself?


We use the bust measurement to choose a sweater size to knit but does that mean that the corresponding sleeve is going to fit also? As I age I find I need larger sleeves than many patterns will give me, especially if the pattern is written by someone younger and smaller. If you are busty you may find that you need a narrower sleeve than the pattern is going to give you. If you are plus sized you definitely need to check your arm size against the schematic to check the fit.

Continue reading “Raglan Sleeve Freedom”

Any Gauge pattern in progress

I’m working on an Any Gauge Raglan Top Down Pullover. Yes, that’s quite a mouthful. I’ve been thinking about this for some time. What if you had a couple of patterns that you could cast on with any yarn? You could gleefully dig into your stash or go for a nice stroll through your favourite yarn store and pick any yarn you want, any colour, any weight. What freedom!

I’ve worked out sweaters with stitch numbers for many gauges in my Cabin Fever multi-gauge books. Any book with the title Need A … has all the stitch numbers you need for many, many gauges of yarn.

This time I wanted to write a recipe style where you do some of the math. I know, I know, you hate math. But it’s pretty simple with a calculator and a little bit of direction. More on that later. Phew, let’s put off the discussion of number crunching until much, much  later.

I thought this would be easy to do. A raglan sweater with any gauge for any size, how hard could it be? The first hang up was how to get all the sizes started correctly with as little math as possible. (Oops I said that nasty word again.) I think I have that worked out. This pullover will have a rectangular neck opening. The neckband will be picked up later and finished with a smaller needle. Not my usual way of working a Top Down Raglan (since I usually start with the neckband itself) but compromises must be made to avoid too much math bother at the beginning.

One beat up camp chair as a manniquin.

I have now thought up 4 more neckband options to make it look different. So far I’ve knit this pullover with a ribbed neckband and 2 sets of short rows to raise the back of neck and keep the front of the neck low. I like the squarish neck. What do you think?


You might have noticed that I worked the neckband before finishing the sleeves. I wanted to see how it would look. Now that I know I like it i can finish.

Thanks for reading. Follow Me and I’ll send you a gauge free hat pattern. Get started on your Christmas and charity knitting now.


Cabin Fever books and pattern on Ravelry




Are you a Sweater Knitter?

Are you a sweater knitter? I am. Even in the middle of summer I have the compulsion to cast on. My enthusiasm for the scarf I am knitting is wearing off. I’m not sure why. I am not deterred because a fingering weight scarf is a lot of knitting. A sweater obviously is a lot, more than a lot, of knitting. So that’s not it. It may be that small needle knitting requires more small motor skill than I can maintain for long. I have a yearning for larger needles.

I am trying out a Crochet Cast On. Have you done this?


Continue reading “Are you a Sweater Knitter?”