I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, I love cables. It must be my Irish heritage. (I love potatoes too!) I’ve been thinking as I’ve been knitting the last few projects have had cables and they’re a bit frustrating at times (when you reverse a cable and don’t notice it) and they can be somewhat meditative.
I find some really great help for knitting on YouTube these days. Have you looked for help there? I have also sent people, particularly new knitters to KnittingHelp.com which is a wonderful place, too. Once you learn how to cast on and the basic two stitches … knit and purl … there are all kinds of patterns of stitches and then there are cables. It’s fun to take a trip to the library or book store and check out some of the stitch dictionaries to see the breadth of patterns that you can make with just two stitches. And there are cables. Basically a cable is just a series of twisted stitches; one or more stitches are held aside and then put back on the needles.
I’m an “old” girl and I have been knitting the English way for too long to make it easy to switch. I’ve tried but haven’t perfected it yet – and, quite frankly, don’t have time to practice with all the knitting work that I have on my list. (I told you I have several WIPs and have added two more to my list. They’re sitting on my work table in my new atelier waiting for me to pick up yet another pair of needles and get knitting!) Anyway, back to the topic at hand …
There are two ways to make a cable stitch. One that I’ve had in my Christmas gift pattern is just a simple two stitch twisted knit stitch. To make this stitch you simply knit into the second stitch on the left needle without slipping it off and then knit into the first stitch and slip both stitches off. (In the next row or wrong side, you’ll knit the two stitches straight or without a twist.) A pattern of these twisted knit stitches is really attractive and it’s a very simple way to begin. You don’t even need a cable needle for this!
Another simple cable pattern is a four stitch cable. Follow this pattern:
Row 1 (RS)- K4
Row 2 (WS) – P4
Row 3 – Slip 2 onto cable needle and hold in front (left leaning cable) K2, K2 from cable needle
Row 4 – P4
Row 5 – K4
Row 6 – P4
Row 7 – Slip 2 onto cable needle and hold in back (right leaning cable) K2, K2 from cable needle
Row 8 – P4
Repeat 8 rows in pattern
See – easy!
When I made the cowl for my daughter, I used the Frosting Scarf pattern from the blog I Like Cake. She taught me a way to make the cables without a cable needle but by pinching the stitches and switching them around. See her pattern for the instructions … it takes a few repeats to learn it and be comfortable but it certainly does make it easier!
Speaking of cable needles, you definitely get what you pay for. I really don’t love the metal ones that you can buy at the big box stores. They are very thin and very slippery. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a cable in the middle of a complicated pattern and having your cable needle fall out of the stitches and into your lap. I’ve lost bunches of them knitting on decks! Anyway, I love the bamboo sets of cable needles. I bought a set of Brittany cable needles which you can buy on Amazon or at your LYS. They have three different weights and they won’t fall out of your knitting nearly as quickly. (They’re sneaky little devils!)
Give the cable patterns a shot and don’t forget to breathe! Learning new stitches can be challenging (and even seasoned knitters make mistakes) but it is fun to “get it” and see your skills progress!