You might think you already know a lot about cable knitting, but if you haven't read Melissa Leapman's Continuous Cables: An Exploration of Knitted Cabled Knots, Rings, Swirls, and Curlicues, then you still have some things to learn.
Leapman is a knitting design innovator who has turned her attention to developing new motifs and techniques for closed-ring cables, meaning rings, swirls and other shapes that might be used as a single motif in the middle of a sweater or as part of a highly textured throw or sweater.
The first part of Continuous Cables provides a detailed introduction into how to knit cables, beginning with the basics needed to work traditional cables, as well as the tricks for working closed-ring cables.
Because cables change the gauge of a knit fabric, stitches must be rapidly increased to work the cable and then just as quickly decreased when the cable is finished to keep a garment, pillow, or whatever else you're knitting at the proper gauge.
Leapman has developed special techniques to make this rapid stitch shifting easier, and numerous drawings make the steps for all parts of the cabling process easier to understand.
This introductory section also includes information on chart reading and a glossary of all the chart symbols used in the book, as well as information on more basic knitting abbreviations and tips for working closed-ring cables into projects of your own design.
The book includes 20 patterns, ranging from relatively easy designs to more complex, highly patterned projects. The pattern section begins with a pillow and a hat; projects that are small and easy to complete and help knitters get the hang of the different techniques required to make these cables.
These beginner patterns also have the cable patterns explained in words as well as charts, which is a big help for people who might not be that comfortable with charted knitting. Other projects only have charts for the cables.
The rest of the patterns are divided into projects for the home, women's clothing and gift patterns (for men, babies and children). These patterns all rank as intermediate to advanced. A comfort with traditional cables would be helpful before tackling any of the projects in the book.
Some of my favorite patterns in the book include the Fireside Afghan, worked with a Celtic-inspired knot pattern; the ladies' Quick to Knit Bulky Pullover, worked with a body of Seed Stitch and a large motif centered on the front; the adorable Baby Blocks; and the full of texture Child's Cables and Knots Pullover.
There are also a couple of men's sweaters, a shoulder bag, a skirt, a hoodie, a sleeveless shell and more patterns for the home, including a placemat and a throw rug.
Women's patterns range in size from 32 to 52 inches, depending on the project; all have at least five sizes.
The most interesting part of the book is the collection of cable motifs Leapman has designed and included. There are cable panels, best used as a centerpiece on a project, motifs that can be used all over a project, and horizontal bands that are great for borders.
Any knitter with a love of cables and a penchant for design will go wild with these patterns; others will love to see all the options available with these techniques and may even decide to throw a funky cable on an otherwise basic sweater.
While this book is not for new knitters, it will provide those with some experience a refreshing challenge and a fun new way to look at cables.
Publication date: October 2008.