Review of Unexpected Cables

Filed in Point of View by on February 11, 2016 0 Comments

When given the choice between texture or color, I will invariably choose texture – and cables were one of my first loves. I have always found the simple process of trading stitches, resulting in such intricate and complex fabric, fascinating.


I first met Heather Zoppetti when I was filming a segment for Knitting Daily TV. She was semi-local so she had driven to the hotel instead of flying and thus was able to give me a ride from the hotel to the studio. I immediately liked Heather due to her cheerful and unique (I mean that in a good way) personality. Once I saw her knitting I also knew that she was quite a talent. So this past January at TNNA when she offered me a copy of her latest book, Unexpected Cables, I jumped at the chance of getting a review copy.

When most people think of cable designs, the classic fisherman knit sweater is the first image that pops into mind; but you will find none of that here. The subtitle really says it all; this book is full of “feminine knitted garments featuring modern cable knitting.” And once you start browsing through the project images, you’ll really begin to understand what Heather means.

The book is divided into three chapters, each representing a category of cable designs. The first chapter, Refined, focuses on more delicate forms of cables, particularly those often thought of as twist cables (one stitch over one stitch). Each design makes use of this slightly more subtle fabric, resulting in a wide range of beautiful projects. Combining cables with lace is the focus of Chapter 2. This particular combination has long been a favorite of mine and Heather creates some very interesting fabrics through the interplay of the two techniques. The last chapter, Abstract, is probably my personal favorite in the book. The designs appeal to my own personal taste including a couple of concepts I had dreamed of, but never took the time to implement.

The “Penryn” sweater – image by Joe Hancock

Although touted in the introduction as having projects for all skill levels, in reality, a knitter would need at least advanced beginner skills in cabling and intermediate skills in working with charts to make these projects. Even in the glossary, there are not specific instructions for creating a basic cable; that knowledge is assumed. In addition, all cable patterns are provided as only as charts. Whereas I believe that this is actually the “right” answer, knitters who are uncomfortable with charts will not be able to work the designs in the book. In some cases, following the repeats may seem difficult for the less experienced, but as a long-time chart advocate, I believe the charts are presented exceedingly well.

The “Conoy” top – image by Joe Hancock

I also feel like Heather did a nice job of presenting a nice mix of projects depending upon each knitter’s interest. As you browse through the book you are not particularly stuck that all the projects fall into a single category. Instead you notice the nice variety of projects both large and small and how different each appears from the next. I also appreciate Heather’s selection of the colors and yarns used for each of the project.  Yarns are generally smooth and basically a solid color to allow the stitch pattern to be the focus. Although this seems like the obvious choice, it is not always the case.

“Drumore” socks – image by Joe Hancock

Heather Zoppetti is a designer in every sense of the term and her unique, fabulous style really shines in her latest book. If you are ready to take cable knitting to the next level, are looking for a textured knit that doesn’t look like everything else, or just want some beautiful inspiration, you can’t go wrong with Unexpected Cables.

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