New Ideas in Knitted Cables

You all know how much I love to cables; in fact I just bought a pattern yesterday for a simple cable pullover.

I was looking at the pattern and I thought about changing the cable, so I picked up Lily Chin's recent book, Power Cables, to get some ideas. The cable in the pattern is a horseshoe cable, but I came upon the braided cable in Lily's book (photo below), which I think I'll use instead.

Most stockinette cable work is set off by reverse stockinette or some other stitch so the stockinette cables really stand out. I like the idea of the a stockinette sweater with a stockinette cable, though. It'll look like the actual sweater is somehow braided together in the front! At least that's how I hope it'll look…


Something else that intrigued me when I was browsing Lily's book is the unique cable charting system she's devised, which is really easy to use.

She charts the cable by putting the number of stitches per set at the bottom and the number of plain rows at the side, adding the the number of purl stitches (or seed stitches, or garter stitches) on either side of the cable.

So, to work the cable chart at right, you cast on 8 stitches, knit 5 rows (with a purl stitch at the beginning and end of each row), knit a left-crossing cable row, knit 5 more rows, do another left-crossing cable row, and so on.

I can't wait to try this cable pattern, and I thought you might like to try it, too, so here it is!

   Braid Cables
by Lily Chin

I said before that in cables, it takes two to tango. But there can actually be more than two parties in a cable relationship.

As for braiding hair, you need three strands or sets for a braid cable. Looking at the diagram at left, you will see that the middle-position set will cross one way with the one on the right but will cross the other way with the one on the left.

You can make this a smaller or larger braid by changing the numbers in each strand; adjust the number of rows between crossings accordingly.

To manipulate a braid for even more complex-looking patterns, just add more braids, the mirror image of the braid, or a half-drop.

(A half-drop is a rope cable with staggered crossing rows on every other cable. It's one of the most common variations on a simple cable.)

Braid Cable
CO 18 sts (3 strands × 6 sts in each strand).
Work 8 rows in st st.
*FiRST CROSSING ROW: work 6/6 Right cross (cn in back), k6 (work next 6 sts without crossing).
Work 7 rows in st st.
SECOND CROSSING ROW: k6 (work next 6 sts without crossing), work 6/6 Left cross (cn in front).
Work 7 rows in stockinette stitch.
Repeat from * for pattern.

This stitch would be excellent in a bulky scarf—I'd love to try it in a bulky 100 percent alpaca, or something equally luscious. The sample cable has a few garter stitches at the edges, too. Why don't you try it as a scarf? And post a photo in our Reader Gallery if you do!

Power Cables is such a wonderful book. Lily Chin is a master knitter, teacher, and designer; I promise you'll learn a lot from her book.


Post a Comment