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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Celtic Knots and Cables: Kathryn Gunn

In late April I attended a class organised by the Embroiderers' Guild of SA on Celtic Knots and Cables. It is a venture into a slightly different stitching world to the one the Guild usually inhabits. I went along, partly for that reason, and partly because I like knitting cables and I was interested in learning a bit more.

Kathryn had prepared an enticing kit with notes, two balls of cream wool, embroidery thread and two prepared iCords. She also had a range of coloured wools for which we could swap our cream balls. I chose a blue.

We were also able to browse her selection of relevant books.

We began by looking at a range of knots, prepared by Kathryn, from simple to complex. We then used one of our iCords to make a fairly complex knot, following a diagram. It was moderately difficult but informative. The knots  have lots of potential for three dimensional embroidery.

We then got stuck into knitting cables. We were all keen to get knitting - perhaps,in retrospect, I might have benefitted from examining the cables before I plunged in. I ended with a much improved understanding - mostly from making mistakes!

The bag which was our sample project had 6 cables, all different.

I chose to knit in the round - a decision I'm pleased I made. I knitted the circle base on 5 double-pointed needles then changed to a circular needle and followed the cable pattern. This got me started, but didn't help me to understand the cables. It was only when I stopped following the chart and began following the row below that I was forced to work out how each cable was working.

Cleverly, the cables were designed mostly with a one-stitch cross-over, so they could be worked without a cable needle. It was a great way to demonstrate - by feel as well as diagram - how cables worked.

As well as the obvious contrast of left-over-right versus right-over-left cables, we saw the effect of adjacent single-stitch cables going both the same and opposite ways - also a three-stitch plait.

The designing of the cable exercise into a bag was especially clever - and pleasing to my practical soul. I finished the bag quite quickly at home. I also added a knitted handle.

Because I had chosen to change my cream wool for coloured, the iCord that Kathryn had so generously provided did not work with the bag, so I made another in the same wool. I chose to do this by French knitting (what my South Australian-born colleagues call Tomboy) rather than knitting.

It's a long time since I did French knitting, but it worked up quite quickly.

The resulting bag has errors in the cabling - but records my learning and is really useful for holding my current knitting project!

Thanks to the Kathryn, my fellow students and the Guild for the workshop.

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