How to work mini-cables without a cable needle

Simple mini-cables, like those featured in my Beeswax Hat, Cowl, and Mitts, are easy to work without using a cable needle. If you're a cable lover, this is a brilliant trick to be familiar with - especially if you have a tendency to leave your notions bag in another room!

My favourite method is the 'slip and switch' method, which mirrors the movements of k2tog and ssk decreases. The difference is that after rearranging the stitches, you work them individually instead of decreasing them together.

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Magic loop: yes, it is!

After my success with two-colour brioche for the It's New To Me KAL back in October, I decided to keep up my upskilling momentum and try another new technique that I've been vaguely meaning to try for years: magic loop!

If you're not familiar with it, magic loop is a method of knitting a small circumference in the round; an alternative to using double-pointed needles (which I'm prone to dropping).

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A post-Gift-A-Long post

I can't believe we've come to the end! It's been a whirlwind few weeks helping behind the scenes in the Gift-A-Long, keeping up with the threads, and handing out prizes. While being a moderator has kept me extra busy, it's also been incredibly fun and exciting and I'm looking forward to doing it all again next year. :)

My fellow Hand & Arm Things host Becca worked out the final stats for our category:

Final tally is 238 finished projects (!!) (64% of those declared), but more importantly…
  • nearly 300 people participated in this thread alone,
  • sharing more than 450 GAL-designer-related projects (some not for hands but that’s totally cool),
  • calling out more than 250 GAL-eligible patterns for us to appreciate.

The ongoing parade of WIPs and FOs provided an incredible source of inspiration from the great colour choices, skilful stitching, beautiful yarn (including handspun), and lovely patterns people chose. I found out about new-to-me methods of construction, such as starting a pair of mitts with the thumb and it growing from there (Lee Meredith's Either/Or mitts), and cool-looking techniques like slip-stitch crochet (Yuliya Tkacheva's Snegurochka Mitts), and some just really beautiful cable designs I hadn't seen before (Olga Beckmann's Morosko mittens, and Kelly G.'s Cèilidh Fingerless Gloves).

Another big source of excitement was seeing my own designs pop up! My Beeswax Hat was actually the tenth-equal most popular pattern, with 11 finished projects during the GAL. In total there were 22 finished projects from my patterns, which is pretty amazing! Here are a few of my favourite photos from the 22, including two Beeswax Hats, an Ascent hat, and a Silverwing shawl:

knittingvortex's Beeswax

UkeeKnits' Ascent

rebekafish's Darkwing Duck!

theaburras' Beeswax Hat

For participating designers, a traditional part of the Gift-A-Long is sharing other designers' work. An obvious way of doing this is using their patterns for our own projects, which I did with my GAL socks, and we've also been sharing our favourite patterns on our blogs and other social media. I've been posting collages of great knit designs on my Instagram account. These are a few of my favourites from the past few weeks:

Star Anise by Svetlana Volkova (top left), Singing Beach by Bonnie Sennott (top right), Crisp Apple Strudel by Katy H. Carroll (bottom right), and Same Wavelength by Kristina Vilimaite (bottom left).

Stornoway Throw by Anita Grahn (top left), Icterine by Hunter Hammersen (top right), Tree Rings by Andrea Rangel (bottom right), and Badlands Mitts by Kathryn Folkerth (bottom left).

Hudson by Shannon Cook (top left), Ballydesmond by Irishgirlieknits (top right), Dancing with Bears by Carol Sunday (bottom right), and Grellow Love by Clare Devine (bottom left).

Another cool way to share each other's work while getting to know each other better is to interview fellow participating designers on our blogs and podcasts. I've been lucky enough to have been interviewed three times during this GAL! Once by Stephannie Tallent for her Sunset Cat Designs blog (Interview: Amy van de Laar), once by Vikki Bird for her blog (GAL 2016: Meet Amy van de Laar), and Carolyn Macpherson also featured me in an episode of her podcast The Next Beautiful Thing:

Thanks for the ride, everyone! Hope to see you all again next year. 💛

New pattern: Multifaceted Mitts

Presenting Multifaceted Mitts, the fingerless mitts version of my Multifaceted Mittens! Personally, I love mitts. Having my fingers free is so much more practical, plus I get to show off my nail polish... ;)

Features:

  • all-over stranded colourwork pattern inspired by crystals
  • twisted ribbing at the cuffs and mitt-tops
  • short-cuff and long-cuff options (mitts shown with long cuffs)
  • full-mitten version also available (separately or both in an ebook)
  • requires less than 50g of fingering-weight yarn in each colour
  • one size, to fit 7-8" palm circumference
  • pattern includes colourwork charts

Like the mittens, the mitts are knit in Knitsch Sock yarn from Holland Road Yarn Co. This time I chose 'Sweet Pea' for the main colour, a really strong vibrant pink, and 'Silver Lining' again for the contrast colour (because of its shimmering-metal illusion).

The mitts have a few extra little details, like the two-colour ribbing at the top of the thumb. This allows for a decent amount of ribbing while also continuing the colourwork pattern. It's slightly awkward to switch between knit and purl stitches while also switching colours, but it's only for a small area (and the effect is really worth it).

For details, and to download the Multifaceted Mitts pattern, visit its pattern page on Ravelry or Loveknitting. An ebook with both patterns (at a reduced price per pattern) is also available on Ravelry.

New patterns: Rose Jam

Some of you may have gathered I have a bit of a thing for roses. I like to look at them, smell them, and for good measure, eat them! Rosewater and rose jam are lovely in desserts and baking, and fun to experiment with. My favourite combos are quince jam made with rosewater (recipe here), and rose jam on scones with whipped cream. :)

It was only a matter of time before I came up with a rosy knitting pattern, and in fact I've made two: the Rose Jam Hat and matching Rose Jam Mitts.


The stitch pattern is inspired by rose petals, which sometimes have a very sweet heart-shape in some old-fashioned and wild varieties. Like so:

Rosa moyesii, at Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens

Hat features:
  • all-over mini-cable texture inspired by rose petals
  • the petals flow smoothly out of the ribbing and up to the crown 
  • a one-skein project (128-160 yards of worsted-weight yarn)
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid colourways
  • two adult sizes, photos show larger size  
  • both charted and written instructions. 


 Mitts features:
  • all-over mini-cable texture inspired by rose petals
  • the thumb gusset emerges naturally from the stitch pattern
  • a one-skein project (140 yards of worsted-weight yarn)
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid colourways 
  • one size, to fit 7-8" palm circumference
  • both charted and written instructions. 


The 2-stitch cables in the hat and mitts can easily be knit without a cable needle, making these quite straightforward projects for an intermediate-level knitter. I've included a guide in each pattern based on this excellent method.

The yarn I used for my hat and mitts is the famously-squishable Malabrigo Rios, in the semi-solid colour 'Ravelry Red'.



The Rose Jam Hat and Mitts are available as separate patterns, or together.

Ravelry links: Rose Jam Hat and Rose Jam Mitts, and the ebook Rose Jam.
Loveknitting links: Rose Jam Hat and Rose Jam Mitts.

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The little white flowers in some of the photos above are from Mum and Dad's Viburnum opulus, known to us as the 'Snowball Tree'. After our Rose Jam photoshoot, Dad took photos of me messing about and making the tree 'snow'. And then he made an animated gif. ;)