Instant Cables

If you love cables as much as I do, maybe for the variety of textures they create or for the flair and grace they add to any knitted fabric, but have always been intimidated to try them, then a new cable basics eBook is just what you need to get started. Eunny Jang and our friends at Interweave Knits have created a fabulous, instantly downloadable eBook A Step-by-Step Guide to Knitting Cables. This eBook includes a thorough, basic how-to; a tutorial for reading charts; and instructions for four staff favorite projects.

Here's a sneak peek directly from the eBook:

Rope Cable
Left Cross
Right Cross

All cables are created by knitting stitches out of order, manipulating the stitches so that they cross over one another. When these crossed stitches are combined with knit and purl textures, the illusion of "strands" twisting over and around each other is created. In A Step-by-Step Guide to Knitting Cables, we'll look at several cable types and work through knitting them step by step.

The Basic Cable

The most familiar type of cable is a simple rope cable. A rope cable is worked over a set number of stitches that are (usually) worked in a straight column, without moving over background stitches to the right or left.

The cable strands are most often made of stockinette stitch (knit on right side, purl on wrong side), which tends to come forward when viewing the right side of the work.

The background is usually worked in reverse stockinette stitch (knit on wrong side, purl on right side), which tends to recede when viewed from the right side. The flanking areas of reverse stockinette stitch make the central stockinette-stitch cable pop forward in high relief.

The actual cabling in a rope cable couldn't be simpler. At predetermined intervals, and usually while working a right-side row, half the strand stitches are placed out of sequence before knitting.

Cable instructions and chart keys often direct you to do something like "slip two stitches onto a cable needle, hold in front, knit two, knit two from the cable needle." This means that you use a third smaller cable needle to hold half the strand's stitches out of the way, knit the former second half of the strand first, then knit the former first half of the strand. Doing so switches the order of the two halves, making them pass over one another and creating a cable crossing.

If you hold the first half of the stitches to the front of the work while you knit the second half, you will have a left cross, where the first half of the cable passes over the second. If you hold the first half of the stitches to the back of the work while knitting the second half, you will have a right cross, where the first half of the cable passes under the second.

Rope cables typically repeat the same cross direction over and over for a continuous twist that resembles a rope.

And there you have it! For more great cable tips, instantly download the new eBook A Step-by-Step Guide to Knitting Cables.