My confusion over the tight braid cable made me put the whole Master Hand Knitting project aside for a couple of weeks. I wasn’t ready to call it quits on that tight braid (Swatch #15, first attempt), and yet I wasn’t able to find a solution to make it better. I even dolefully tried to finish it knowing that I wouldn’t like it. This was a non-starter. I guess that makes me a true “product knitter”. I can’t stand to work on something knowing that I won’t like the results and that it will serve no good purpose.
Now I’m fairly convinced that this “tight braid cable” really just isn’t a very good pattern (or maybe just a bad pattern for this size yarn and needles). Because it’s so tight, and there is no room for knit stitches that aren’t crossed in one direction or another, there is no place for a shadow to gather. Cables seem to need these shadow areas in order for the texture to stand out. Otherwise, like my first stab at Swatch #15, the strands cross, but it’s hardly visible.
So at last I cathartically frogged the 10-stitch “tight braid cable” and chose a related one. I really liked the look of the braid cables and I wanted to see how one worked. I found a 12-stitch braid cable on the same page of the old Harmony guide, framed it with 2 stockinette stitches then 2 purl stitches mirrored on each side. And then I dove in. Within half a repeat, I could tell that this was a much better pattern for me to work. It still had the interesting braid effect, but there was much more contrast between the highest and lowest points of the texture. Happy to be back on track, this cable went quickly and I blocked it and wrote up my “pattern” for it almost immediately.
I also wrote up some answers to some of the questions that referred to swatches that I have finished (swatches #1, #2, #3, #13, #14, #15 so far).
My next stumbling block seems to be the increases and decreases. For some reason, I feel irrationally intimidated by these. I know that I just need to stop procrastinating, and start knitting and everything will be fine. But somehow I keep telling myself things like “oh, I’m too tired right now, I need an easy knit” or “what I really need to do is finish this other project right now”… I think I hear those intarsia fingerless mitts calling…