Are you afraid to try knitting cables? You love the way they look - the texture and motion they give to garments, but the idea of adding another needle into the mix is more than you're willing to attempt?
Fear no more!! For I was once like you! Timid and leery of a third needle for stitches to slip off of. Because really, how would I possibly fix that kind of mistake when it takes every once of concentration to pick up a dropped stitch in a simple knit row? The skills required to make cables are basic. It's no more than slipping stitches and knitting (and sometimes purling). The tricky part is wielding that third needle.
It's typically a three step process:
1) Slip the stitches onto the cable needle and hold it in back (or in front) of the body of the project.
2) Knit the required number of stitches (according to the pattern) using the main set of needles (making sure the slipped stitches on the cable needle stay in back or in front of the project).
3) Knit the slipped stitches from the cable needle to the main needle.
That's it. Piece of cake right? I know you may not believe me yet, but I promise you can do it. The two biggest challenges I have with cables are making sure the stitches don't slid off, and actually knitting from the cable needle. While working on this cowl I had an ah-ha moment. I was looking through my supplies for a larger cable needle (I have several that were given to me when I started knitting) and I came across my 12 inch circular bamboo needles. Honestly these needles haven't been good for a whole lot (they're too small for most projects and the short needles are tedious to work with). But I thought why not use it instead of the short slippery metal cable needle? Ah-ha!
Right away I knew I was onto something. Once you slip the stitches onto the circular needle you can just let it hang in back or in front of your project. No more worrying about dropping stitches! When you're ready to knit the slipped stitches just slide them up to the tip of the needle and you're in business. I find that it really works like a dream. There was some concern that the hanging circs. would get in the way, and I imagine if you don't have a short stubby pair of 12 inchers that could be a problem. For me the piece of mind that I get from not worrying about dropping stitches is worth it. Don't have circular needles? I've been told that using a bamboo double pointed needle is a much better option than a slippery metal cable needle.
The other part of cables that took me some time to master is the language. Cable abbreviations seem confusing. The first time I saw C6F and C6B I was stumped. Now that I understand the construction of cables it makes perfect sense. Here's what I learned. Basic cables are formed when you work stitches in front and in back of other stitches. The C tells you you're making cables, the number is how many stitches you'll be using in total and F or B lets you know where to hold your slipped stitches. So C6F is a Cable worked over a total of 6 stitches, holding slipped stitches in Front. That means that you will slip 3 stitches onto your cable needle and let it hang in front of your main body of work. Knit 3 from your main needles, then knit the 3 slipped stitches. C6B is a Cable worked over a total of 6 stitches, holding slipped stitches in Back. So that means you slip 3 stitches and let them hang in back of your main body of work. Knit 3 from your main needles, then knit the 3 slipped stitches.
Like everything in knitting, cables come in many shapes and sizes. They can be classically simple or wonderfully complex. Personally they are one of my favorite fabrics. I love the texture and movement they bring to any garment. My desire to create cables is one of the reasons that I learned to knit! Using the short circular needles instead of a standard cable needle has really been a breakthrough! I still have plenty to learn, but understanding the language and how they're made makes me feel like I can tackle more complicated patterns with much more confidence!
So what do you think? Are you ready to give cables a try? I hope you do. And for my knitting friends who are well versed in the ways of the cable, I would love to hear from you! What kind of cable needle do you use? Do you have any tricks or tips to share? One last thing, I'm looking for my next cable project and welcome any pattern suggestions you might have.
Thanks so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me!
Until next time friends,
Be Blessed and Stitch & Read with Love!
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My name is Robin. I am a wife, mother and strong believer in the power of faith. I'm a maker, a crafter and an artist. I love exploring new mediums and sharing my adventures with you.
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