I know this is knitting heresy, but I’m usually no fan of swatches. I find the little buggers an inaccurate determinate of guage. When I knit a four inch square, I inevitably work at a different tension than when knitting a full size piece. Besides, it just slows you down and keeps you from getting to the fun stuff—starting your project. However, what I do appreciate swatching for is the creative exploration of learning something new. It is easy to get into a rut with your knitting, especially for someone like me who is a production knitter. I’m always in such haste to get the next piece out that it is important for me to remember to slow down, look at a different stitch combination, and expand my horizons. Besides, it is a great way to use up some remnants, too. So. I hauled out my fabulous copy of A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by the Barbara G. Walker and picked a place to start.
Cable and Ladder
What appealed to me about this pattern is the unusual combination of cables and lace. I find it striking, actually. The pattern is a fairly straightforward 14 sts panel by 8 row repeat. It is easy to learn and memorize. If you aren’t already familiar with knitting abbreviations, click here to follow along.
For Flat Knitting: Cast on a multiple of 14 sts, plus 1. For my first swatch, I used the Fibre Company’s Fingering Canopy Yarn and size four needles. I cast on 29 sts.
Set-up Row (front side): Knit
Row 1 (and all other odd rows) : k1, *p2tog, yo, p11, k1, rep from*
Row 2: k1, *ssk, yo, sl next 3 sts to dpn and hold to back, k3, k3 from dpn, k6, rep from*
Row 4: k1, *ssk, yo, k12, rep from*
Row 6: k1, *ssk, yo, k3, sl 3 sts to dpn and hold to front, k3, k3 from dpn, k3, rep from*
Row 8: repeat row 4
And there you go. Repeat rows 1-8 as needed. What I like best about this pattern is that it lays nice and flat, so it would be wonderful for scarves, shawls, or collars. It would also make a beautiful insert panel in a sweater or jacket. I actually want to experiment with combining this knit with some ribbon running through the bits of eyelet. Hmmm. We shall see.
Note to you In The Round Knitters out there: If you want to knit this stitch pattern in the round, cast on a multiple of 14 sts ONLY and join for the round. Knit one row. Your first row of the pattern and all other odd numbered rows should be worked as follows: *k2tog, yo, k11, p1, rep from* . Even numbered rows are worked as listed above.
This second swatch is knit with the Fibre Company’s Terra on size 9 needles. Here, I wanted to expand the border sts a bit to mimic the stitch pattern between the cables. To do this, cast on the desired number of sts (multiple of 14, plus 1) and then add 4 more sts. This will add 2 sts to the beginning and end of each row. So, on a right side row, k2, work the stitch pattern to the last 2 sts, k2. On a wrong side row, k1,p1, work stitch pattern to last 2 sts, p1,k1.
And there you have it. Your turn!