Monday, January 27, 2014

Conquering Cables

Another day of hibernation here in the Midwest. Yes, I realize it's winter but, it's not Alaska were temps below zero are the "norm". But hey, who am I kidding...this weather gives me a valid excuse for staying indoors and getting some knitting done. Always a good day when I have a chance to prolong my knitting time.
Now that we have some time, let's take a look at cables! I have so many people tell me they have not tried to cable because it looks too hard. I am here to tell you it's not! Yes, there is a third needle involved, to hold stitches in place, but like any other stitch you will be knitting with only two needles at a time.
So go ahead and cast on 12 stitches using your favorite cast on method.
(RS) Row one: knit.
(WS) Row two: purl
Row 3: Purl 3, the next 6 stitches will be used for the cable, and then the last 3 stitches will be purled. (P3, C3F-K3, P3).
Rows four, six and eight: purl
Rows five and seven: knit

These 8 rows are the pattern repeat. If you want to make the price wider, do so in multiples of 12.
P,P,P C3F-K3, P,P,P Place marker P,P,P, C3F-K3, P,P,P and so on.

C3F defined:
The cable will be made using 6 stitches. Depending on the pattern, a specified number of stitches will be held in front or in back of your work. Sounds a little confusing but I have included some pictures. I find being a visual learner, pics help tremendously.
For this cable repeat, we will be placing 3 stitches on a cable needle in front of the work. Don't panic if you don't have a "cable needle" there are many items that will work. I have been known to use a double pointed needle, pencil, coffee stirrer or anything else that is round and not bigger in circumference than the needles I am using.

Begin by working the first 2 set up rows as they are commonly referred as. Row three is the cable row, start by purling the first 3 stitches, place the next 3 stitches on the cable needle and hold in front of your work. These stitches are just going to hang out in front of your work while you go ahead and knit the next 3 stitches from the left needle. Looks funny? then you probably are doing it right. NOW, the 3 stitches on the cable needle need to be worked. You can either place these stitches back on the left needle (careful not to twist) or as I do, knit directly from the cable needle. Work should look twisted and feel a bit tight. The last 3 remaining stitches on the left needle will be purled. Turn work and purl back. Continue in stockinette stitch for 6 more rows.

If you plan on going wide with this, I strongly recommend using markers between each repeat. It helps to keep your place and any mistakes can be caught very early avoiding needless frogging of repeats done correctly.
I also suggest starting out with a medium weight yarn for the sake of manageability. I am using a # 4 designated yarn in Aran color. In this weight a 2 or 3 repeat sequence makes a great scarf width. To keep from curling, add 3 stitches on each end. Place a marker after the first three and before the last three stitches to remind your self these are edge stitches and not pattern stitches. Knit all edge stitches of every row.
K3, Place marker (PM), *P3, C3F-K3, P3*,repeat pattern between stars to desired width, PM, K3.

Give this a try, let me know how you did, post a pic or send an email.
Welcome to the world of cables. Beware, they can be addicting!
Thanks for visiting,

Three stitches on cable needle in front of work

 knit 3 stitches for first part of cable

Knitting stitches from cable needle
Notice needle is in front