Choosing a Stitch Pattern: The Cable Stripe

I can spend hours looking through stitch dictionaries. There seem to be hundreds of designs you can make with just two knitting stitches: knits and purls.

These 1940s sweaters rely on wonderful stitch patterns to elevate fairly straightforward designs.

Stitch patterns have been used in sweater design for years, and the patterns from the 30s and 40s are really making a comeback. Here's Geraldine Warner, author of Vintage Design Workshop, to tell you more about choosing a stitch pattern for your work.

Stitch Patterns from Vintage Sweaters

A decorative stitch pattern can make all the difference to a plain sweater or cardigan. All you need is a knitting stitch dictionary to let your imagination run riot and uplift an ordinary modern knitting pattern into something really special.

Vintage designs incorporated many adventurous stitches, from lacy designs to cables to textured stitches such as the bobble stitch, which was particularly popular in the 1930s. In many books from the 1930s to 1950s knitters were encouraged to apply different stitches to their pattern in a "Ring the Changes" section.

Stitches from the simpler end of the spectrum weren't neglected either, and had a great practical use in the designs of the day: seed, moss, and rib stitches were often used to give greater elasticity to the fabric, resulting in a closer-fitting garment. Some patterns used a combination of stitches (ribbed side panels, a moss-stitch yoke) as another way to give a tighter fit.

A good look through your vintage designs will reward you with an idea of the more popular stitches used in vintage patterns and how they were used to best effect.

Cable Stripe Pattern

Two stitches for one: this great pattern is a twist on a classic cable. You can use it widely spaced throughout your sweater (maybe four or five bands) leading into garter stitch stripes at the yoke, or just a couple stitch patterns on either side of the garment would be effective. You could also repeat it in the sleeves.

Worked in multiples of 12 stitches over 10 rows for cable, and over 2 rows for stripes.

Row 1: (rs) *p2, k8, p2*, purl required amount of sts in between each cable strip; rep from * to *.

Row 2: Purl.
Repeat these 2 rows 3 times more (8 rows altogether).

Cable Stripe Pattern, from
Vintage Design Workshop

Row 9: *p2, cable (place next 4 sts onto a double-pointed cable needle, place at the back of the work, knit next 4 sts from the left-hand needle, knit 4 sts from the cable needle), p2*, knit required amount of sts per 1st row; rep from * to *.

Row 10: Purl.

These 10 rows form one pattern, so repeat for desired length.

Next row: (rs) *(p2, k1, sl1, k1, psso, p2, k2tog, k1, p2, purl required amount of sts in between each cable column)*; rep from * to *.

Next row: Purl.

Stripe Pattern

Row 1: *p2, (k2, p2) twice*, purl required amount of sts per 1st row; rep from * to *.

Row 2: Purl.

Repeat last 2 rows for desired length.

—Geraldine Warner, from Vintage Design Workshop

The Cable Stripe Pattern would look great on a sweater, but it's pretty versatile, too. Imagine it on a scarf or on the back of gloves, or even on the legs of socks! I love it.

For more stitch patterns and wonderful information on knitting vintage, get Vintage Design Workshop today!


P.S. How would you use the Cable Ribbed Stripe? Leave a comment and let us know!

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