The Yarnologue

Off the Needles: Loreto Cowl

I finished knitting the cabled Loreto Cowl from Mirasol book #23!

I used the Kutama yarn called for in the pattern. Kutama is a Quechua name meaning “woollen blanket.” That is appropriate for a yarn that is 50% Alpaca, 50% Highland Wool.

This yarn is warm and springy, making it lovely to knit with and wear.

Cream section of my Loreto cowl

Cream section of my Loreto cowl

The cowl in the pattern book is shown in blue. I know some people have trouble visualizing a project in a different color once the see the sample in the book, so I made mine using three colors to give you an idea of how it will look.

Light grey section of my Loreto cowl

Light grey section of my Loreto cowl (Can you see the mistake under my nose?)

This was a fun knit. Despite the complicated looking cables, it moves along quickly once you get going. After you work the eight row repeat once it is easy to see the pattern developing because it is so regular.

Dark Grey section of my Loreto cowl

Dark Grey section of my Loreto cowl

With a little focus you could probably finish this cowl in a week or so. Plenty of time to wear it before spring!

There are a lot of great patterns in the book.

The Tacna pullover uses the same cable as the Loreto pullover.

The Tacna pullover uses the same cable as the Loreto pullover.

If you adore the lattice cable used in the Loreto Cowl then you’ll probably love the Tacna pullover. Isn’t it beautiful? You can make the Loreto Cowl to become familiar with the pattern before starting the sweater.

If you aren’t ready to tackle a sweater, there is a lovely pair of fingerless mitts in the book as well.

Fingerless mitts are a fast and fun project.

Fingerless mitts are a fast and fun project.

Don’t Fear Cables

Many knitters are scared to work cables because they look so complicated and mysterious.

However, there is no reason to worry. Cables are just stitches worked out of order.

Besides, what’s the worst that can happen? You have to pull out a few rows and try again. We’ve all done that and we know yarn can be very forgiving.

Since you are working stitches out of order you need a way to get around the stitches you are temporarily skipping.

That is where a cable needle comes in.

Use the cable needle to move the stitches out of your way.

Use the cable needle to move the stitches out of your way.

When you are ready to work a cable you slip the assigned stitches to the cable needle purlwise without working them. (By “purlwise” I, of course, mean to go into the stitch as though you were going to purl it. This helps prevent it from getting twisted.)

Then you push them to either the front or back, as the pattern directs. Work the required number of stitches on the left hand needle, then work the stitches on the cable needle.

See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?

In the picture I’m about to work a back cable, which in the pattern is written C4B. That means to work a back twist cable over the next 4 sts.

When you see a cable notation in a pattern the number will indicate the total number of stitches involved in the cable, but you’ll cut it in half. So a C4B is over 4 sts, but you’ll deal with them 2 at a time. Move 2 to the cable needle, work 2 off the left needle, work the two on the cable needle.

This holds true for however big or small that number is. A C10B would be managed 5 sts at a time. See the pattern?

The Loreto cowl also involves twists. In this pattern the difference between a cable and a twist is that the twist involves purl stitch as well as knit stitches. But they are worked just the same as a cable. You move stitches out of the way and work them later. You might just be purling two of them instead of knitting all four.

The abbreviation key in the book explains how to work the various cables and twists used.

Many people prefer not to use a cable needle, but I’m not that brave. They say it is faster because you aren’t fiddling with a third needle. You should try it for yourself and see which method you prefer. If you do an internet search on “knitting cable without cable needle” you’ll find many videos and blog posts about this alternate method.

But it might be easier to get a lesson at your local yarn store since you’ll have someone available to answer questions.



  1. beautiful cowl! congratulations!!! I always think a little mistake is the thing that proves it’s handknit. I guess that’s how I justify all my mistakes 🙂

  2. That’s what I told myself when I decided to ignore it!

  3. I seldom buy books/patterns – but this is a MUST. Thank you so much for sharing! The entire reason I learned to knit was to make my hubby a giant cabled sweater. I allow one mistake to stay – if it is out of the way, to release any negative energy that might of been around during the making….. just me! 😉

  4. Hi Mary.

    That’s a neat idea. I like that.

  5. Sabrina Dotson

    March 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Wow, that came out really cute. I love the intricate design too.

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