Our next pattern involves one of my favourite knitting techniques: cables! Before I learned how to knit them, cables used to intimidate me. All those twisty bits! Must be hard, right? I could not have been more wrong. Cables are a piece of cake. (Maybe not vanilla cake, but still cake. Maybe something a little spicier, like carrot). The magic of a cable is simply knitting stitches in a different order than they appear on the needle. That doesn’t sound so bad right? Let’s take a closer look. First you’re going to get familiar with these little guys:
Those things up there, are cable needles. There are a few different styles of cable needle, but they all essentially do the same thing; help you hold a few stitches aside to knit later. No cable needle? A spare double-pointed needle will do just fine. Don’t worry if your cable needle isn’t exactly the same size as your knitting needle, it just needs to be large enough that it doesn’t slip out of your stitches.
Your pattern will tell you whether you need to hold the stitches on the cable needle in front of your work, or at the back. If you hold your stitches to the back, your cable will cross over to the right. If you hold your stitches to the front, your cable will cross to the left. Our afghan clue #7 uses both right and left leaning cables:
C6B = Slip next 3 stitches onto cable needle
and leave at back of work. K3, then K3 from
C6F = Slip next 3 stitches onto cable needle
and leave at front of work. K3, then K3 from
Here’s how to go about knitting your C6B:
***Please note pictures are for instructional purposes only and do not represent the entirety of what pattern #7 will look like when completed***
Slip next 3 stitches onto your cable needle without knitting them. Make sure to slip them purlwise so as not to twist your stitches. The “B” in C6B stands for “back”, so we should let the cable needle hang out back.
Next we knit the next 3 sts as if nothing ever happened.
Now comes the twist! Slip the 3 sts from your cable needle back onto your left needle…
… and then K3 like nothing happened there either!
OR If you like, instead of slipping the cable needle stitches back onto your left needle you can knit them directly from the cable needle itself.
Your right-hand needle determines your tension, so again, it’s okay if the cable needle is a slightly different size that your knitting needle. Whichever method you choose, your finished C6B should look something like this:
See how the stitches cross over to the right? Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Our pattern also includes twisted stitches, which are essentially just two stitch cables – one stitch crossing over another, whereas the C6B had us cross 3 stitches over 3.
Tw2R = Knit into front of 2nd stitch on left
hand needle without slipping stitch off needle,
then knit into front of 1st stitch and slip both
stitches off needle together.
To knit a Tw2r, skip the first stitch on the left needle (do not knit it OR move it to the right needle), and instead knit into the 2nd st on the left needle:
Without slipping that 2nd stitch off the needle, then knit into the first stitch that you previously skipped:
Now slip both stitches of the needle and you’re done!
Next time I’ll walk you through cabling 102: cabling without a cable needle! Look for that tutorial and our Mystery Afghan Clue #8 coming Wednesday January 27th.