(Note: I now have a Knitting Design Blog with this information in a tidier format at http://www.christineguestdesigns.com/blog/ring-cables/ July 24, 2015)
I think that the closed ring designs in Barbara G Walker’s Charted Knitting Designs are ingenious. I’m a bit surprised that they don’t show up in more sweater patterns, her book was published way back in 1972 after all, and the trick is so cool. The effect is similar to the beautiful work Nicki Epstein did in Nicky Epstein’s Knitted Embellishments: 350 Appliques, Borders, Cords, and More where she couched i-cord down on a plain knitted background.
In another post I showed off my horizontal open chain cable, based on Barbara G Walker’s closed ring technique. This reminded me that I had developed a new way to work the increases in the bottom stitch of the closed ring. So I set about describing the process and photographing a tutorial. But I couldn’t help tinkering further, and what I wound up with was actually an improvement on my original idea. I also came up with yet another way to work it too. So I will list a second ways to make the bottom of the small ring smoother.
The top of the ring comes together magically on the last row: until then your ring looks decidedly gawky. The loops of the cables are alternately laid around the central purl stitch. Those loops lie horizontally, and that creates the illusion that the ring runs in a circle.
The increases at the bottom of the ring look much more awkward, pointy even. I tried to think if there were a way for them to be looped around their central stitch like the decreases were. This is what I came up with, sort of based on the tubular cast on, only worked around the central stitch, not a piece of waste yarn. I think of it as a Christmas tree increase, since they mount like a fern, and it’s December.
Making the tutorial was funny. I had to wait a few days for enough afternoon light to photograph them well (That North American Snow system hit us too, and I hadn’t ordered the boys’ boots yet either!). I asked M to take the pictures for me, but K kept trying to grab the pretty pink stuff Momma was playing with, and the tug-o-war resulted in blurry pictures.
Finally I plunked K into her enclosure, bribed M to entertain her from outside the walls, and took the pictures one handed.
I have illustrated the process for adding 6 stitches, but if you are working only 4 increases (for a small ring, or my horizontal open chain pattern) I will indicate when to jump to the end.
With yarn in back (always and forever, but I’ll try to keep reminding you) insert the right needle between the central stitch of the ring cable and the purl stitch next to it.
Draw up a stitch.
With yarn in back, slip the central purl stitch onto the right needle. Insert the left needle into the middle of the stitch you just drew up.
draw up a stitch without dropping the first stitch off the right needle. (This is the pattern you will be repeating for all the increases)
slip the central purl stitch onto the left needle
with yarn in back, insert the right needle between the central stitch and the stitch you just made on the left needle
draw up a stitch
slip the central purl stitch onto the right needle
with yarn in back, insert left needle into the stitch you just made
draw up a stitch (if you are working a small ring, slip the two stitches on the left needle onto the right and keep purling your background stitches, jump to the bottom of the page to see what it looks like)
slip the central purl stitch onto the left needle
insert right needle inbetween the central stitch and the last drawn up stitch, yarn over, draw up a stitch
slip the central stitch onto the right needle
insert the left needle into the drawn up stitch yarn over
pull up a stitch
slip the stitches on the left needle onto the right needle. When you come to them on the back side (or next round) remember to treat the drawn up stitches as knits on the front side, and the central stitch as a purl. they look a bit abstract as you come to them. Here is the Christmas Tree increase, worked with 6 added stitches
Christmas Tree increase with the purl stitches worked around it
If you work the large rings with 3 knit stitches in the cable as written in Charted knitting designs, they are fairly smooth at the bottom. They don’t need Christmas tree increases as much at the smaller rings with 2 knits in the cables. (Although I flatter myself that they do look better with Christmas tree increases!). And blocking covers over a multitude of sins. If all that drawing up loops with the left needle is too weird for you, then here is a way of using BGW’s methods of the large ring on the small one for a smoother start with less weirdness:
On the right side, K1b, k1, insert left needle into the into the bar between the last to stitches, draw up a stitch. On the next row, work purl, over, purl in the central stitch of the ring. P twisted when you get to that YO on the next row.
I myself plan to make all of my closed rings with Christmas tree increases though, I like them better, and I made them up. If anyone else has also made this up, I’d love to hear from you, I bet you have some other interesting ideas that I’d love to hear!