These two patterns are not really related, except that I originally created these designs for a yarn company, Our Back 40, to showcase their gorgeous Ne Plus Ultra Worsted 100% alpaca yarn. Our Back 40 called these patterns the Cabled City Mittens, Cabled Winter Headband and Cabled Infinity Scarf (I combined the instructions for the latter two into one pattern). They only offered the patterns as part of a kit, which included the pattern plus their yarn, and these kits were rather expensive. Understandably so-- their yarn is a real indulgence! But I'm happy that they generously allowed me to keep the rights to sell the patterns myself after a year, which gives knitters a chance to buy the pattern at a much lower price, and to choose their own yarn. They also allowed me to use their photos (first 3 photos, courtesy of our Back 40).
I did alter the designs slightly in the process of self-publishing them. The Ropes Beach Infinity Scarf or Cowl stitch pattern is a mirror image of the stitch pattern used in the Cabled Winter Headband/Infinity Scarf. This is because in the original design, the cable cross (one stitch over five) required putting five stitches on a cable needle and holding them behind the work; in the new design, the cable cross requires that one stitch be held in front of the work. This can be done quite easily without a cable needle, which makes the knitting go much faster. The new patterns still call for the ends of the cowl or scarf to be grafted using the duplicate stitch method; click here for a blog post describing this technique, as well as the unusual stitch pattern I used.
I chose to use Lobster Pot Yarns Hand-dyed Cashmere for the cowl. This is definitely still an indulgence (100% aran weight cashmere!), but it is wonderful to work with and to wear-- and of course any number of yarns could be substituted.
The cable chart for the Almy Cabled Mittens pattern is eaxctly the same as the original, but the rest of the mittens are worked in stockinette stitch instead of reverse stockinette. I made this change because it is virtually impossible to avoid "ladders" of loose stitches when working reverse stockinette in the round on double-pointed needles (dpn); this is because the yarn is held on the outside of the triangle formed by the needles, and thus has to travel farther every time it crosses from one needle to the next. (For stockinette stitch, the yarn is held inside the triangle, so if it is pulled tight when crossing from one needle to the next, "ladders" can be avoided.) And yes, maybe working on two circular needles or using the magic loop technique could prevent this problem-- but I prefer dpn.
For the mittens I used Spirit Trail Fiberworks Birte, a DK-weight merino wool/cashmere/silk blend. Using DK-weight yarn creates a slightly smaller mitten, which should fit ladies' hand sizes small to medium; if using a worsted weight yarn (as called for in the original pattern), the mittens should fit a ladies' medium tio large hand, or a men's small to medium hand.
The only other reason that these patterns are linked together is that I decided to name them after local Cotuit landmarks: the Almy Cedar Swamp (above) is a rare Atlantic white cedar swamp near our home. Ropes Beach is the home of the Cotuit Mosquito Yacht Club, the oldest junior yacht club in the country; the photo below shows the beach on the day of the Parent-Child Opti races.