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Book Review: Continuous Cables – An Exploration of Knitted Cabled Knots, Rings, Swirls, and Curlicues by Melissa Leapman

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Continuous Cables by Melissa Leapman is a large, wonderful book on cable knits. Though the cable designs featured within are quite complex, there is a clear tutorial on cables, far better than any tutorial I have ever seen. Cables have always looked daunting – even more so are the accompanying charts. But Leapman takes the time to describe a dozen different cable stitches and techniques – even how to cable without a cable needle. There are lots of tricks and tips specifically geared towards cabling, and two dense pages just on how to create closed-ring cables. Perhaps most invaluable is a detailed description of chart symbols – and how to read them.

There are 20 patterns included here. Most are very basic shapes, adorned with intricate cable patterns. “Stowe Cabin Throw Rug” features an intricate all-over braiding of multiple cables that is so dense it is almost impossible to imagine knitting it by hand. “Tweed Sampler Afghan” is a mish-mosh of three different cabled patterns that just comes off as a bit messy. I love the “Down Home Two-Color Throw Pillow”: Four different quadrants in two alternating colors, with contrasting cabled emblems in each. “Celtic Motif Throw” takes advantage of seed stitch to border the simple diamond-and-basket-weave Celtic knot pattern. “Sunday Brunch Place Mat” leaves the circle and line cables to the border, to allow a flat plateau for your plate.

Clothing: The “Sage Tunic” is long and straight with a high crewneck. It features an all-over curlicue design in horizontal bands around the body. That combined with the ric-rack cables on the sleeve make this just too much pattern, on too much sweater. “Swirl Pullover” is an intricate version of a traditional cabled sweater: interlocking swirls travel down the center, with a lattice pattern acting as filler on either side. “Honeysuckle Sleeveless Shell” has a traveling knot design down the center – individually, the pattern is almost heart-shaped; together, it has a corseted feel. Not crazy about “Quick-To-Knit Bulky Pullover” – a large Celtic knot right in the middle of your chest, surrounded by a cabled ring, is just not flattering on anyone. “Interlocking Cable Skirt” is surprisingly good-looking. The cables resemble interlocking chains, and don’t add an appreciable bulkiness. “Tweed Boyfriend Sweater” is meant for men, but with swirling, interlocking cables from end to end make it a bit too effeminate. The “Baby Blocks” are an adorable simple project, utilizing cabled Xs and Os.

The second half of the book is a cable stitch dictionary. It includes charts and instructions for about 100 different panels, motifs, and bands of cables. Invaluable for experienced cablers.

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