A quick report on our first week of the kal. We wound a lot of yarn to get started--boy, the big Eco hank winds into a giant center-pull cake about the size of a tree stump! This sweater is designed for traditional, bottom-up, flat knitting, so we all checked our gauge and got started on the back ribbing. The ribbing is knit with a smaller needle to keep it snug. Above the ribbing, the cable pattern starts. The first tip is to use stitch markers to separate the columns of different cable and double seed-stitch patterns. The second tip is to follow the pattern charts. The pattern charts are large enough to read (yeah!) and follow a simple rythym: seed stitch, Cable A, Cable B, Cable A, Cable C, Cable A, Cable B, seed stitch. The Cable A pattern is very simple and separates the other, more complex cables. Cable C is wider, working up the center, with Cable B on either side. The different sizes vary in terms of the width of the double seed panel that is worked to form the sides of the sweater. Since there are no cables or complicated pattern on the sides, it is easy to customize fit with some waist shaping or, even, bust darts, if you think that is necessary.
Tip 3 is to visually check your cables to make sure they look right after every 2-4 rows. If you are uncomfortable pulling our cabled stitches, (Tip 4) add a lifeline every inch or two of knitting. Last tip, Tip 5, these are pretty simple cables and are very agreeable to dropping stitches down a few rows to correct any mis-turned cable or two. It is always easier to do this with your work laid flat on a table than with it in your lap. You can identify the stitches that need to be reworked; it could be 2 or 4 or 8. Let these stitches do a controlled drop as many rows as needed and pick them back up using a double pointed needle. Notice that the horizontal strands of yarn that you have "freed" represent the working yarn that you used to make the original stitches. Remember, working yarn in back for a knit & working yarn in front for a purl. A crochet hook one size smaller than your knitting needles, or a knitting repair hook, is the best tool for recreating stitches. Stay calm. The worst that can happen? You choose to pull everything back to the problem row. That's not big deal.
In the picture, my knitting stops where I noticed I followed the wrong row in the Cable B chart about 4 rows back. I'll be dropping stitches to fix that tonight. Don't look for other mistakes--I've decided to treat them all as design elements!