Why I haven't done a cabled sweater in a while, that is.
I love cables. I love the little magic that happens when you rearrange a few stitches on a knitting needle. I love they way they create shadows and hollows and depth in even the most boring yarn. I love the way they dance across the fabric, making something static look like it's in motion.
What I don't love is how. long. they. take.
This is my progress on the Aran Cardigan:
I think (with no modesty whatsoever) that it's just beautiful. The wool is as woolly as you could possibly get, still full of lanolin and springy and scratchy (in a good way), and it shows the cables perfectly. There is no way this stuff will ever stretch or pill or, for that matter, wear out. I am going to love wearing it.
But I think I've spent as long on the left front as I usually spend on a whole sweater. Part of the issue is that I don't have very good spatial orientation, so I have a hard time memorizing charts. Part of it is that I added seven inches to the length of this sweater (seven!), because the original is only 20 inches long, which would put the hem somewhere above my belly button. Part of it is that, for reasons known only to the designer, who undoubtedly does not suffer from the same degree of asymmetry-aversion as I do, the armhole shaping cuts into the main cable--but only by three frickin' stitches, which is just enough that it throws off the balance of the cable, but not enough that it looks intentional. [This could not be allowed to stand, so after working halfway up the armhole, I ripped back and reworked it to keep the cable intact. This will require a slight shortening of the sleeve cap, when I get there, but it's not a big deal. And it's important that I be able to look at the finished product without hyperventilating, so it's worth the trouble.] But most of it is simply that it takes a lot longer to stop and rearrange the stitches as you work them. (I can't even imagine how long this would take if I were using a cable needle. Please, if you like knitting cables--or are planning to do so anyway--take a few minutes and learn to cable without a cable needle! It's not hard at all, and it simplifies the whole process immensely. There's a link over in my sidebar to Grumperina's truly excellent tutorial.)
I'm not complaining. Actually, I'm patting myself on the back for having the cleverness and foresight to realize that I don't have the patience to knit an entire sweater covered in cables, and so choosing one that only has cables on the front. (It's all a lie, of course. It was completely accidental. Although I have made several all-over cabled sweaters--Death By Cables, anyone?-- including one in a 50 inch chest that I designed myself and had to have done in only three weeks--god save me from ever making that sort of choice again--I have a selective memory where cables are concerned. It's like childbirth. No matter how much it hurts while it's happening, no matter how clearly I remember the pain, it seems to have no bearing on my decision to go through it again.)
Fortunately, we finally got season four of Lost from Netflix, and we're trying to catch up before season five starts in a few days, so there is a lot of knitting time built into the next few days.