Posts Tagged ‘loom knitting’


I recently had the fabulous opportunity to interview Isela Phelps, loom knit designer and author of the new booklet, Learn to Knit Cables on Looms. Isela’s new booklet is a beautiful, glossy, soft-cover booklet with 9 brilliant designs that will take you on an exciting cabling journey. Inside the booklet, you will find helpful directions on making cables, including photographed visual aids. Cables can bring beauty and sophistication to your projects and Learn to Knit Cables on Looms is definitely an important addition to any loom knitter’s library. This booklet has a little something in it for everyone, whether you prefer socks, afghans, or purses and bags. I was trying to narrow down to one favorite project and just couldn’t choose between the Fairamay Shawl on page 12 and the Jamie’s Mitts on page 14. I think I am going to have to make them both. See how wonderful they are?

Here are some thoughts Isela shared in the interview about cables, her new booklet, and designing:

I love the look of cables, but have been afraid to try them. What advice or recommendations can you give to those of us who are just starting to try cables?

My number one recommendation is the following: take it slow. At first, it is going to be difficult and the instructions are going to read extremely bizarre, but they work. As you keep practicing, your cables would look better and better. In the famous words of Dory, (from Pixar’s movie Nemo) “Just keep swimming” or in our case, cabling.

(For a little extra motivation, maybe hum Dory’s song while you work on your cables)

The projects in the booklet are all written for large gauge looms like the Knifty Knitters. Do you have a favorite gauge for cables?

Cables look great on any stitch gauge, they look great knitted with thin yarns and with chunky ones too. They are just lovable!

The book has a really nice variety of projects in it. Do you have a favorite type of project to use cables in?

Socks. Oops, I said it again. Socks are my ultimate favorite project and I try to incorporate cables into them all the time.

You have so many lovely designs. What do you like most about designing?

Working out a challenge. For example, the earflap hat in the booklet. I had this idea in my head for this hat, I sketched it out and it looked great, until it came time to knit. I came to a road block when I had to decrease for the crown. I wanted the cable to continue up with the crown shaping which meant that the cable had to decrease too to go along with the shaping. I sat for a few afternoons writing, drawing, knitting, frogging but when everything was done, I felt extreme satisfaction!

Way to go Isela! It’s a very pretty hat. If you don’t have the booklet yet, here is the lovely Cion Earflap Hat featured on page 26 in the booklet:


Inquiring minds want to know – Where do you find the time to bring us such fabulous designs?

I really don’t have much free time. I am a person that has to be busy 24 hours a day and I try to squeeze all my activities into the 18 that I am awake although I book the entire 24. I sleep very little and when I am awake, I work as fast as I can (or as little as possible) on chores around the house, then I take care of my kiddos, while taking care of the kiddos, I drag my knitting, or my books around, so while they play I am either knitting or researching. If I don’t have my nose in a book, or my hands occupied with my knitting, I am at the computer. Much of my success, if I may call it that, has to do a lot with a supportive hubby. He is there for me and for the kids whenever we need him. The guy even goes to pick up cable needles and stitch markers for me from the yarn shop when I am on a tight deadline! So there you have it, my secret… it is Sam. I take some of his hours of his day and put them into mine.

I have the clean as little as possible down pat. I wonder if I can borrow Sam?

Finally, a lot of work goes into a project like this. What is one thing you would like to tell us about creating this booklet?

This booklet has been one of my most favorite projects to work on in my “looming career”. I was able to research and play around with a concept that has had me intrigued since childhood. Although I am very good at creating cables on needles, I wanted to bring that world into the loom knitting community and American School of Needlework allowed me to do that by providing me with this opportunity. Cables may look complicated but they are not, it is simple knitting with a few twists and turns that shape an ordinary project into something extraordinary. I sometimes think of cables as a person’s life. We are thrown little obstacles in our lives but each one of those obstacles polishes/shapes us into something better. I hope that the booklet helps others become enamored with cables and, like me, that they may take every chance they get to throw a little twist in their knits!

Wow! That’s a really neat way to look at things! Thank you Isela for this chance to visit with you and learn more about you and your new booklet! It’s been delightful!

Thank you Jenny, for having me on your blog and for hosting the tour of my little booklet.

Anytime, Isela! Thanks for sharing your talents with us and inspiring us.

So, if you don’t already have your copy of Learn to Knit Cables on Looms, hop on over to Decor Accents, Inc and grab one! Have a great day!


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Today I have froggie brain. I have been working on an important knitting project with a deadline. I worked on it for a few days and then repeated a row out of turn. Being relatively new to how knits work, I didn’t know how to frog back just part of the project and wound up ripping the whole thing out and starting over. No problem, right? I could just double my efforts and make up for the lost time. Progress resumed for a week and all was going better and then A BIG PROBLEM! It was awful! A run in the last stages of the project. It would not be fixed and had to be undone : ( I fretted for many hours and lost heart and confidence. On the bright side, I learned to frog back some – and not ALL of a project. And so, this morning has found me thinking about the advantages of frogging and even the advantages of not frogging.

Years ago, I was given a box of yarn and a crochet hook. The yarn had been in my mom’s closet for some time. She had inherited it from my grandmother and some of the colors were a bit funky. She didn’t feel that she had time to use all that yarn so she offered it to me and tried to teach me to crochet. Now, my mom is right handed and I am a south paw and learning from her was a bit tricky. We started with granny squares. I made a dozen or more wobbly granny trapezoids and then the perfectionist in me just gave up. This was just a craft I wasn’t skilled at! That box of yarn went to live on my closet shelf…

Fast forward a few years. Holidays were approaching and our budget was tight. I decided I wanted to try to crochet dishcloths to give as gifts. If they all turned out ugly, I could still use them to wash my dishes. So I went back to my mom and asked her to try to teach me again. And this time, it worked out great! I stitched up dishcloth after dishcloth – and got better and better. Soon I tenaciously ventured to try new things and before long, I was fairly skilled with my hooks. Crochet became my favorite past-time (and still is). Now, like many other needlecrafters, yarn goes with me everywhere, is stashed everywhere, and is purchased even when I don’t really know what I’ll use it for… yet!

Now to get to the heart of this post, this better, more skilled yarn girl came across some of her dozen or so grannies. “Oh, how awful these look!” I thought to myself. And I commenced to rip frog them. I yanked out all those sad looking grannies and used the yarn to make new, better looking ones. Some time later, a few co-workers asked if I would teach them to crochet. I gladly agreed and we started on dishcloths (even if they don’t turn out pretty, they are still functional, lol) Initially, a couple of my friends were experiencing the same discouragement I had felt when I first started. Like all beginnings, there were some bumps in the learning process. Tensions were not perfect and some stitches went missing. I kept reassuring them that they would overcome it. Some time later, I came across a few grannie ‘un-squares’ that had missed my big frogging. Did I frog them right away and make better ones? Nope! I saved them for the next time I teach a friend to crochet. Now I can use them to illustrate a very humble, bumpy beginning that turned into an ability to produce much nicer, prettier stitches.

Go ahead and frog those special projects and make them right. Take the valuable lessons that come from committing and then fixing a mistake. But once in awhile, maybe when working with scraps/stash, save those oopsies for a reminder that once in awhile, everyone experiences the occasional setback – and show them to someone who needs a little pep talk! Have a great day : )

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My name is Jenny Stark.  This month marks a year since I first picked up a set of Knifty Knitters and began loom knitting.  (My love of yarn arts started about 10 years ago with crochet)  To celebrate this year mark, I am trying out a new blog and updating my posts.  So, welcome and come visit once in awhile : )  Have a great day! 

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