Learn this New Kind of Crochet Cable!
Brenda K. B. Anderson is a skilled crochet designer that is known for thinking outside the box. In this technique article, “Post Free Sideways Cable Featuring the St. Croix Scarf” (originally from Interweave Crochet Fall 2016), she explains a new way to make crochet cables that doesn’t involve the use of a post stitch. If this article interests you, be sure to check out Sue Perez’s new cabling technique called “Live-Loop Cables” available in the most recent issue of Interweave Crochet Fall 2017. You can never have too many cables! Read on to learn how this technique is worked with Brenda K. B. Anderson.
As a fan of constructing things in unusual ways, I often wondered how to make sideways cables. I had made V-shaped cables in a sideways manner, but I wanted a more traditional-looking, twisting sort of cable. When I started swatching for a chunky cable scarf, I became determined to figure out a way to make cables that would allow me to work the scarf sideways. And I did it! The St. Croix Scarf is the scrumptious result.
In the resulting scarf, the long edges look so neat and clean that they don’t require any additional finishing. With this method of making cables, the fabric is soft and drapey, unlike the thick, stiff fabric that can result from crossing all those post stitches using a bulky yarn. In addition, the stitchwork doesn’t leave prominent holes at the sides every time the cable twists.
This scarf is worked sideways, with the ribbed sections worked in turned rows, and the cabled section worked with the right side (RS) facing. The cable is worked with four separate balls of yarn, each used in a different row; the four rows are crocheted simultaneously by working a few stitches at a time from each ball. The St. Croix Scarf is worked in a solid color, but for this tutorial, I used four different colors to show the technique more clearly.
Start by winding three balls about the size of a large orange from different colored yarn (or, if you’re feeling confident, three balls from the same-color yarn). Set aside. Work setup rows as indicated in the pattern; if you are working just the swatch shown here, work setup rows with twenty-four stitches.
To start the cable section, with RS facing, using the first ball of yarn, work 1 hdc blo into each of the next 4 sts, place st marker in following st, remove hook, and elongate working loop (or use stitch marker to secure working loop so that it does not ravel) (Photo 1).
Using the second ball of yarn, insert hook under the back bar of the 1st hdc st (Photo 2), yo and pull up loop, ch 1, beginning with the same st, work 1 half double crochet in the back bar (hdcbb) into each of the next 4 sts, remove hook, and elongate working loop (Photo 3).
Using a third ball of yarn, insert hook under the bb of the 1st hdc st from the second ball of yarn, yo and pull up loop, ch 1, beg with the same st, 1 hdcbb into each of the next 4 sts (Photo 4).
Make sure to move the other working strands of yarn out of the way.
Continuing with this third ball of yarn, and beginning with the marked sc below, work 1 hdc blo into each of the next 4 sc sts, place stitch marker in next sc, remove hook, and elongate working loop (Photo 5).
Using a fourth ball of yarn, insert hook under the bb of the 1st hdc st from the third ball of yarn, yo and pull up loop, ch 1, beg with the same st, 1 hdcbb into each of the next 8 sts, place st marker in 5th of these hdc sts, remove hook, and elongate working loop (Photo 6).
Right-handed crocheters should pick up the bottom, right-most working loop (left-handed crocheters should pick up the bottom left-most working loop) and place on hook. Move the other working strands of yarn out of theway (note that in Photo 6, ball two is held out of the way to the right). Beginning with the most recently marked stitch, two rows above loop as indicated by the gold arrow in Photos 6 and 7, using ball one, work hdcbb into each of the next 4 sts (Photos 7 & 8).
Note that in Photo 8, the two blue yarns have been moved to the right and lie across the RS of the work. This is because we are about to work the tan yarn into the stitch at the tip of the arrow; if they were not moved to the right, they might get stuck on the wrong side (WS) of the work.
Continuing with ball one, insert hook into blo of the marked sc 2 rows below as indicated by the gold arrow in Photo 8, work 1 hdc blo into each of the next 4 sts (Photo 9), and then place st marker in next sc st.
Remove hook and elongate working loop. Place right-most working loop on hook (or left-most for left-handed crocheters), 1 hdcbb into each of the next 8 sts, place st marker in 5th of these hdc sts, remove hook, and elongate working loop.
Repeat these steps with each ball of yarn until there are only 4 hdc sts left to work into. Right-handed crocheters should pick up the bottom right-most working loop (left-handed crocheters should pick up the bottom left-most working loop) and place on hook. Move the other working strands of yarn out of the way.
Beginning with the most recently marked stitch (the stitch that is two rows above loop), 1 hdcbb into each of the next 4 sts (Photo 10 ), and fasten off, leaving long tail. Place right-most working loop on hook (or left-most for left-handedcrocheters), 1 hdcbb into each of the next 4 sts, and fasten off, leaving long tail (Photo 11). Fasten off two remaining working loops, leaving long tails.
Ta-da! The cable section is done! (Photo 12)
After you work the cabled section, you will work 1 row of slip stitches. It can be difficult to maintain a loose enough gauge when working slip stitches. Try this tip: When you make each sl st, pull up on each loop to elongate each stitch just a little more than you normally would. Pull upward on the new loop as soon as it passes through the old loop to keep the old loop from shrinking too much. Normally we pull to the right (if we are working right-handed) or to the left (if we are working left-handed), which causes the old loop to shrink.
Continue following pattern to complete scarf. Enjoy!
• Each time you add another ball of yarn, leave a beginning yarn tail of about 11 inches (28 cm). This will later be combined into the fringe, and you will not have to weave in your ends.
• Use stitch markers to keep track of your working loops and stitches where the cable twists. This will help you keep track when you are first learning how to make the cable. As you get used to the pattern, you may be able to skip marking stitches and just elongate your working loops when not in use so that they do not ravel.
• Working with four balls of yarn at once can get messy! Take time to untangle the yarns as you work.
• This is not speedy work. The cable is a little slow going, but be encouraged by the fact that you are working four rows at once.
Brenda K. B. Anderson is the author of Beastly Crochet and Crochet Ever After (both by Interweave). She lives in a little house in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her awesome husband and their hairy baby, Mr. Kittypants. Recently they have happily added two nearly hairless babies to the mix.
Will You Finally Try Crochet Cables?