Thursday, November 12, 2009

Continuous-loop cable design

Fleegle has set the challenge: simplify. I tend to make things more and more complicated in knitting, to the point where (to myself anyway) I call it "Stunt Knitting." Yes, in my mind it's written capitalized.

The type of knitting I've been complicating lately is a style I call "Continuous Loop Cable Entrelac."

The design goals of this type of knitting are these:

1. produce knitted cables that appear to have no beginning and no end.
2. make these cables with one continuous thread of yarn.
3. minimize grafting.

The way I solved this challenge was to knit entrelac squares that bear diagonal cables. The cables can cross each other where the corners of four squares come together.

The simplest continuous loop would be a simple, uncrossed loop. Such a loop can be created with four entrelac squares that bear diagonal cables.

With a simple loop the beginning and end of the continuous cable have nowhere to hide. It would be possible to graft the beginning and end together, and that's a legitimate choice, but it conflicts with design goal 3.

To avoid grafting the cable itself, the simplest possible loop is a figure-8. With this shape, I can hide the beginning and ending of the cable under a cable crossing.

Figure-8 loop in continuous loop cable entrelac

1. Draw eight squares arranged in a two-by-four rectangle.

2. Indicate the grain of the knitting with a line in each square (this show how the squares are perpendicular to each other, without deciding on the direction of knitting yet.)

3. Draw in a diagonal cable on each square.

4. Draw in how the cables flow from and cross over each other.*

5. Indicate the direction of the cable with chevrons. The cable must start and end under a cable crossing to be able to appear continuous.

6. Indicate the direction of knitting the squares with arrowheads added to the lines in step 2.

7. Number the squares in order of knitting.

8. Diagram each square separately, showing its connections to previous squares.

When it comes time to present the diagram, I usually remove the chevrons I added to the diagram in step 5.

To be continued...

*There are generally two possible ways to do this; I usually have to try both ways to see which would be easier to knit.

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