new techniques: the crochet rib & cable
One of the best parts about knitting, crocheting, and making in general is that there’s always something new to discover. I’ve been a fibre-crafter for well over a decade now (wow, way too make yourself feel old, thinking like that!) but even now, there are so many different types of patterns and techniques that are still completely new to me.
One of those things is the elusive crochet cable.
I was a knitter first, so I’m definitely more well-versed in knitting techniques, and I have to admit… I’m a bit of a cable fiend. My sister loves delicate lace knitting, and I’m a sucker for a big chunky cable. From historical reference like celtic knots, to simple rope twists, from big bold braids, to intricate nature-inspired patterns, I find the texture and look of knit cables to be irresistible. But when it came to crochet cables, while I love them, I’d always been a bit intimidated to try it myself.
At the moment, I have a lot of acrylic scrap yarn lying around, remnants of projects I’ve made for my nieces. They’re frustrating amounts of scrap as well, not quite enough for a complete project, but too much to neglect completely. That being said, they provided me with the perfect opportunity to try my hand at crochet cables.
As it’s the Christmas season, I’ve been spending more time in actual physical high street shops than I have in a while, and I noticed an abundance of colourful, skwooshy (real word), and cosy winter hats. And while in retrospect, a hat seems like an obvious use for scrap yarn, it took me seeing a bunch of real-life ones that I like to make me realise that I could do it myself.
I found this hat pattern, and was totally taken with it. A little read-through of the pattern notes revealed some really clear written instructions, and some great video links, which meant that with a deep breath and a cup of hot cocoa at my disposal I felt pretty armed to give it a go!
I chose the pink yarn for the project based on two things; a rough estimate that I had enough of each colour, and the fact that I couldn’t picture a single other project that I would use the baby pink shade for. It’s not really me (but was perfect for my niece to be fair). And it turns out, I was fairly spot on.
I know that crochet is a bit for of a yarn-eating craft than knitting, so while I had initially hoped to used the darker pink for both the brim and the pompom, it turns out I was playing serious yarn chicken at the end of the brim - but it did work out! And while I was puzzling over making a dual-coloured pom, pom with the little bit extra dark and the main body pink, I remembered something. A few months back, I’d bought myself a mini-stash of cream faux fur pom keychains that I thought would someday be useful for crafting, and the thought of tempering all that pink with a bit of cream actually made the hat a lot more of an appeal future finished object, rather than just something to teach me a new technique.
Halfway-ish through, and I can safely say that I have no idea why I was so intimidated by crochet cables for so long. Like a lot of crochet techniques, they’re simple to memorise and rhythmic. I think the toughest part is finding a clear explanation of the different way you manipulate the stitches to get them to create the defined pattern - but the talented designer Diyas at Luqy and Mary Yarnworks totally delivered for me.
I’ll share more details of the hat as I get closer to finishing it, but of course, with the holidays a’coming it’s not at the tippy-top of my list. But I suppose the lesson for me was, there’s no reason not to try.
What techniques are at the top of your must-make list? What are your favourite learning resources?