I'm Back in the Saddle(s) Again

Thanks, Antibiotics!  I'm almost completely better, even though on Saturday I was hoping just to get well enough to die. I can see why, before they knew better, physicians used to hand out Penicillin like it was PEZ: When antibiotics work, they REALLY work.

Campbell's better, too, though Lindsay and Phillip are still lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut.  While the other patients barked in the background, I sat up in bed and made saddles for my FLAK.

They're upside down in this shot, but hopefully you'll be able to tell: they're interlocking hearts. Since the saddles continue down the whole length of each sleeve, I couldn't resist having hearts.  On my sleeves.  Get it?  And look! The cables even mirror!  And not because I was clever enough to get that right the first time, either.

Remember when I was wondering what happens when you just flip a cable chart upside down to work it from the top down?  The answer is this:  Nothing.  Almost.  Cables that are symmetrical from side to side will reverse perfectly, like this:

Here's an affable wee 2/2 LC (2 over 2 Left Cross), as seen in its natural habitat of bottom-up knitting.

2-2 LC.jpg

Here's the same little 2/2 LC, rotated 180 degrees, as would happen when working the chart upside-down.  No problem!

But this cable cross is not the same from side to side: It's a 2/2 LPC (2 over 2 left purl cross)

2-2 LPC.jpg

See what happens when we turn it? Not only are the purl symbols now on the lower half of the symbol; they're on the wrong side of the cable cross.

So even though you could probably get used to reminding yourself as you work that the purl indicators are all backwards, it would confuse some of us (cough-me-cough) all the way to the neurologists' office.

Lucky for me, I have a swell cable-charting software machine, which allowed me to redraw the entire chart, reversing every cable cross that flipped wrong.  Which I still managed to get backwards in several spots (see cross-outs and scribbles on my chart in the photo above) before I sorted it out.

But what should you do if you don't have charting software?  Here are my suggestions:

1.  Don't use any cables that aren't reversible.  Don't be like me and fall in love with a bunch of directional motifs, unless you are sure you can work them upside-down.  If in doubt, rotate your chart and swatch to make sure.  If there are only a few culprits, try correction fluid and/or highlighters to fix a copy of your chart.

2.  Work your FLAK from the bottom up.  Although the FLAK is a top-down garment, you can get Janet's book Aran Sweater Design HERE, where she describes how to work the very same sweater from the bottom up.  You should probably have this book anyway, because it's really good, and has gobs of information you'll use in this, and future cabled projects.

3.  Break down and open a vein.  It won't hurt much!  For only $99 US, you can use the very same charting software employed by yours truly.  CLICK HERE to see the tutorial, and download the free instructions.  If you've ever wanted to change a cable, or a lace, or a stranded colowork design, you'll be happy you did this for yourself. There's a really helpful Ravelry support group for this product HERE, in addition to fantastic direct customer support.

And while I'm enabling you, I might as well suggest that you try out this little gem: The Cable Knitting Handbook, by Annie Maloney CLICK HERE. Check out Annie's Ravelry group HERE for more on her wonderful (and unusual) cable designs. Click on the "Pages" tab there for a wealth of information.

That about covers my progress on cable finding, choosing, and/or placement, up through FLAK part 3.  How's everyone else doing?