Norah Gaughan is well known in the knitting world for her geometric feats of knitting. Her projects tend to turn knitting on its head in lots of different ways, so its no surprise that one of her particular obsessions when it comes to knitting is working with and designing cable patterns.
Her book Norah Gaughan’s Knitting Cable Sourcebook includes more than 150 original cable patterns, as well as instructions for 15 patterns to use them in. (See the patterns on Ravelry.)
The really cool part is that each cable pattern is shown in a large swatch, almost always with both written and charted instructions, and the book gives a Stockinette Stitch equivalent rating to each pattern, which tells you how many stitches in plain Stockinette the pattern uses up.
This is really cool because it makes it easy to substitute cable patterns in the projects. If, for example, you love the skirt but want to use a different cable, you know that the pattern used, called macrame, has an SSE of 32, so any pattern or patterns you want to use need to work out to 32 as well for the skirt to come out the same size.
The numbers are also helpful if you want to take a cable out of a project, because you know how many plain stitches need to replace it. If you’re designing your own projects you will still need to knit a swatch but you’ll have an idea of how much space the cables will take up before you begin.
I would say this is a book for experienced cable knitters who want to more deeply explore how cables are made and how to develop their own variations. While the basics of cabling are pretty simple, the patterns presented here get complicated pretty quickly, so a newer knitter approaching this book would need a lot of confidence to carry on. Information about which patterns are reversible or look good on the wrong side, how projects look worked in different yarns and variations on different cable patterns will be helpful to knitters of all skill levels.
The sections on getting started, yarn selection, chart reading and troubleshooting are helpful, and the patterns are nice. But looking through the stitch patterns is sure to inspire you to want to knit your own projects, whether a giant cabled sampler made out of a bunch of swatches, a slouchy hat with a giant cable or a delicate baby blanket with cables inspired by flowers. This is a msut have for cable lovers and might just turn some people who aren’t wild about cables (like me) toward the cable knitting camp.
About the book: 276 pages, hardcover, 15 patterns, 153 stitch patterns. Published October 2016 by Abrams, retail price $29.95.