Cabling without a Needle (Plus a free pattern!)


My current project in Kathleen's Knit-a-Long—the Central Park Hoodie—is a cable pattern, and I'm saving tons of time doing the cables without a needle. In the fall 2009 issue of Interweave Knits there's a Beyond the Basics lesson on this technique, and I thought I'd present it here, too. I don't recommend this method for use with slippery yarn or with big cable crossings (crossing more than four or five stitches over each other), but for most of your cabling needs, it's magic!

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.


Check out our new DVD workshop, Classic to Creative Knit Cables with Kathy Zimmerman (whose friends call her the Cable Queen). I wish I would have previewed Knit Cables last week. I was watching TV while knitting on the Central Park Hoodie, and I did two complete cable chart repeats with the cable crossings going the wrong way. In the last segment of the workshop, Kathy demonstrates fixing miss-crossed cables without ripping back rows! I ripped back about twenty rows, but next time (and I'm sure there will be a next time!) I'll be able to avoid the frog. Katharine Hepburn Knitted Cardigan



Today's free pattern is Kathy Zimmerman's Katharine Hepburn Cardigan (photo at left), which first appeared in Lace Style. Made up of tiny rope cables and lace, this pattern harkens back to the 1950s and one of the icons of that era, Katharine Hepburn. This sweater begs to be worn with a skirt and a scarf around the neck, but it's equally at home over a fitted tee-shirt and some nice jeans. It's a true classic. Plus, the pattern gives directions for a bolero version for even more variety. This pattern is available in our recent free eBook, Knit Cardigan Patterns From Knitting Daily:7 FREE Knitting Patterns. So click on the link and get the free pattern, plus six more cardigans to keep you busy this fall!

Kathy Zimmerman says cabling can be hazadous to your stash, and I couldn't agree more.

Cable on!







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