A knit cowl you’ve got to make (without a cable needle!)

I love small projects that pack a punch, and the Manitou Knit Cowl is one of those. It’s a design that beautifully pairs stitch patterns and yarn to make a stunning finished object.

Designer Jesie Ostermiller uses a simple traveling stitch pattern to swirl a variegated yarn upwards on a solid background. Check out the prettiness!


The traveling stitch is simply a 1/1 left cable, which is just one stitch traveling over its neighbor to the left. Here’s how you do it:

1/1 Left Cable: Slip 1 stitch onto cable needle, hold in front, with MC, k1, with CC, k1 from cable needle.

You probably know this, but the abbreviation “MC” means main color, and “CC” means contrasting color.

This particular cable is great to do without a cable needle. In fact, I think using a cable needle will just slow you down.

I have a tutorial about cabling without a cable needle that I want to share with you:

Lose that Cable Needle!

This tutorial is for cables of any size, although I don’t really recommend cabling without a cable needle for more than four- or five-stitch crosses, or fewer stitches in larger-gauge yarn, but you’ll soon figure out what you’re comfortable with.

Step 1: On a cable crossing row, work to just before the full cable group. With the yarn in back, slip all the stitches from the group purlwise to the right-hand needle to loosen them.

Step 2: For a cable crossing left (standard instructions: hold the cable needle to the front of the work), bring the left-hand needle to the front of the work and insert it into the fronts of all stitches that need to be held (Figure 1).


For a cable crossing right (standard instructions: hold the cable needle to the back of the work), bring the left-hand needle to the back of the work and insert it into the backs of all stitches that need to be held (Figure 2).

Step 3: Between the left thumb and forefinger, pinch the base of the slipped stitches firmly. Pull the right-hand needle completely free of all the slipped stitches (Figure 3; half will be on the left-hand needle; half will be free for a moment) and maintaining front/back position as established, quickly reinsert it into the free stitches. Make sure all the stitches are seated correctly on the needle; if they’re held firmly, the stitches won’t have twisted or moved at all during the time that they were dropped.

Step 4: Slip stitches on the right-hand needle back to the left-hand needle. The stitches are now out of order and will be crossed when they’re worked (Figure 4). Work as directed.

You can see how easy this would be to do with just one stitch! Try it—this knit cowl project is great practice for this technique.

Get the Manitou Cowl Kit today! You’ll get two skeins of Lorna’s Laces Haymarket (in colors exclusive to knitscene!), and the new issue knitscene handmade, which contains the knit cowl pattern. You’ll love this magazine; it speaks to the maker in all of us.





P.S. Do you have any tips or favorite methods for cabling without a cable needle? Leave a comment below and let me know!





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