Wow. Or, as Aunt Steph would say, “Alls I gotta say is… whoosh!” 48 hours after the Ravelry ad for the Lenten KAL went up, and participation has doubled. I’m thrilled, super-thankful, and having to seriously re-evaluate my schedule as I start spending a whole lot more time every day answering emails and doing other administrative typing and clicking. THANK YOU and praise God that so many are interested in this. I think it will be a great time of digging deeper into the Bible as a united story.
Thankfully, we have a month before Lent actually starts. It might seem a little weird to prepare for Lent, since Lent is itself a preparation for Easter, but there’s plenty of liturgical precedent for this. The weeks before Lent, which have ungainly names like “septuagesima” and “sextuagesima,” are when we start to psych ourselves up for our Lenten disciplines.
These weeks are still in the season of Epiphany, when weekly readings are going through the story of Jesus’s life. Epiphany hymns (think “We Three Kings”) are an odd mix of major and minor keys, reflecting that even as we rejoice in Jesus’s incarnation, life, and ministry, we anticipate the suffering ahead.
That was an unnecessarily long introduction to say – while we’re waiting for Lent, let’s do some prep work!
First, if you’re in the KAL and haven’t already joined, there’s now a Ravelry Group for the Lenten KAL. It’s so fun to have a community to engage with during an MKAL, for support (especially if you’re a new knitter), encouragement, etc… and it’ll also be a good place to engage with others on their Lenten reflections.
Second, if you’ve never cabled before in your life, you should learn the basics before we get started.
- Probably the best place to start is with a swatch. If you go to this page and scroll a little past halfway down, there are a few videos on “decorative stitches.” Try the one that is called “Crossing Cables with a Cable Needle.” There are also a ton of videos on youtube.
- Before you start this KAL, it will help a LOT if you can perform both a right twisting and left twisting cable without too much fuss. These techniques will be elaborated on widely in the KAL, but if you have the general concept, you should be able to follow the directions.
- Another good idea would be to try to complete a small project with cables in both directions, like this dishcloth: Cables ‘n Columns Dishcloth.
- On the ravelry group, many are already trading good first cabling projects, if the dishcloth idea bores you!
Third, if you’ve never worked from a chart before, it’d be helpful it you at least gave it a whack. All the patterns do have written directions, but they are complex enough that it really helps to be able to refer back and forth between both written and charted directions. Here are the basics:
- All chart patterns work bottom up – meaning the first row you knit is at the bottom of the chart.
- When working flat (as we will be doing), the right side is read right to left, while the wrong side is read left to right. This is because you’re knitting back and forth.
- Pay attention to which side you are on – purls and knits are the reverse of each other on the reverse side (they are literally two sides of the same proverbial coin). This means that chart symbols will mean things like “knit on right side, purl on wrong side.”
- Give it a try on something small – again, dishcloths! Here is a ravelry search for dishcloths that have both written and charted directions, so you can refer back and forth: click here.
- My favorite on that search is a dishcloth for St. Hubertus – who, according to wikipedia, is “the patron saint of hunters, mathematicians, opticians and metalworkers, and used to be invoked to cure rabies until the early 20th century.” This gives me a tickle. Anyone know who the patron saint of knitting is? And whether they have a dishcloth?
There’s more ground to cover, but I think I will save that for another day – a 2-inch-thick textbook on the New Testament is calling my name.