Knitting Tech: Reversible Cables and the Rivulet Scarf

When I see an Aran sweater my heart skips a beat. Oh, how I want to knit one of those beautiful, heavily cabled and patterned beauties. I've seen so many variations of the Aran sweater, but one of my favorites is this lovely cardigan jobbie–the Pewter Coat. I'm thinking of making this in the fall, but the Central Park Hoodie is next on the list, so the Pewter Coat will be second (or maybe third after a scarf that I just bought yarn for. . .). I guess the Central Park Hoodie is sort of an Aran project, though, with all of those cable sections.

And Another Thing About Cables . . .

I've been bombarding you with info on how to knit cables, and this post is no exception! In the new issue of Knits, there's a fab scarf by Rebecca Daniels, the Rivulet Scarf (click here for the free pattern) which is a wonderful cabled piece that looks great on both sides–something you don't see often in a cabled scarf. In fact, I once knit a cabled scarf project and did one end frontwards and one end backwards so that when I wrapped the scarf around my neck both of the cable fronts showed. I knit half of the scarf and then reversed the pattern so I was knitting the right side rows on the wrong side. I'm nothing if not determined!

I think you'll agree with me that most knitters love a well-placed cable, and with the reversible Rivulet Scarf, you don't have to go to drastic lengths like I did to get a cabled scarf to look good on both sides. (If you're new to cabling, see this Knitting Daily post for a basic cable video tutorial).

In most cabled projects, the cables are placed next to sections of stockinette stitch, reverse stockinette stitch, seed stitch, or some other background. This is necessary to make the cables stand out; if your cables are in stockinette and the background of the project is also stockinette, the cables blend a bit. (Some patterns call for this, but it's usually not the norm in cabled projects.) Because of this patterning, cabled projects are NOT reversible. In fact, the wrong side looks just plain weird–the cable crossings look like lumps in the fabric and it's obvious that you're looking at the back of the patterned panels (unless they're seed stitch or some other reversible pattern).

Making cables reversible uses one of those techniques that when you see what it is, you say, "Of course! Why didn't I think of that?" All you do is knit the cable in 1 X 1rib–there's no right or wrong side, just like in any 1 X 1 rib project: a waistband, cuffs, a collar, or even a whole ribbed sweater. You can't really see the rib on a reversible cable–you have to stretch it out to see the purls–but it makes a really dense, warm fabric. The 1 X 1 rib naturally pulls in on itself, hiding the purls, (which are actually the knitted stitches that show on the back of the scarf) and that's the magic of the reversible cable.

This scarf is a great knit for many reasons, but one of them is that the gauge–worsted weight on size 9 needles–makes it a really fast and rewarding project. Use the called-for yarn or try something with a little sheen–maybe a silk if you want a "cooler" scarf, or even a sock yarn for a finer guage. You can use any gauge for this pattern, you'll just have to cast on more stitches if you use a finer yarn.

For Your Viewing Pleasure

We feature the Rivulet Scarf on Knitting Daily TV this season, as an example of how to knit reversible cables. Here's that segment, with Eunny Jang, editor of Interweave Knits, showing you how to knit a reversible cable.


This clip is from Knitting Daily TV episode 301, which airs on your public television station. Click here to order the DVDs, or here to get a programming schedule. And click here to see more than 30 new free patterns from series 300 of KDTV!

Happy cabling!


P.S. Check out the new Inside Knits and Inside Knitscene blogs! 

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