Deep breath. Another.
I have spent the last four days knitting and unknitting the first 12 rows of the Irish Hiking scarf. I've tried to make the cables with a straight, wooden cable needle, a metal, gullwing cable needle, and a metal, u-shaped cable needle. I would have enlisted the help of a friendly unicorn to hold the stitches until I needed them again. I would have invoked the knitting fairy to hold the stitches on her wand...
Two out of three cables would come out fine and pretty, but the last one on the row would be a holey mess. Even if I thought I could stand that elongated last stitch, I couldn't maintain my concentration, and I'd find myself knitting across purl areas, purling across knit areas, and dropping stitches - all in anticipation of the next row of cables.
Yes, I looked at several websites that showed how to do cables without needles. Neither the pictures nor the instructions made sense to this mildly-dyslexic knitter. I'm sure the technique would be liberating if I had a clear idea of how cabling works to begin with, but - I don't. Yet.
Ridiculous. But not hopeless. I did not give up. Ever the librarian, I did some research and found two tips in two books in one Barnes & Noble. (Bless Barnes & Noble. The cafe is my English-Breakfast-tea-and-scone haven in my untidy world.)
The first tip: holes and elongated stitches can be avoided if one loosens the stitches. I usually knit very loosely - so loosely, in fact, that I have to go down at least two needle sizes - but this scarf and its cables have been tight tight tight. If I loosen up on the cables, at least they won't pucker.
The second tip: if you have trouble controlling those little cable needles, try a double-pointed needle instead. I dashed from Barnes & Noble to Michael's and bought a package of bamboo DPNs. YES!
If all goes well, I'll be a happy girl, because I love entwined, serpentine cables, and I want to try them in all sorts of patterns with all sorts of wool.
To be continued ---