Knitting Successful Cables

Hello everyone!  I’ve been asked to create a knitting tutorial on how to knit successful cables.  First left me begin by saying these are easily executed by any level of knitter – from beginner to advanced.  The only requirement or prerequisite is you must know how to Purl (P) as well as Knit (K).

I enjoy making cabled patterns – they are one of my favorite knitting patterns to knit.  While they used to intimidate I taught myself how to knit them successfully.   There are many configurations of cables but I’m going to take you step by step through the process of creating a 3×3 cable as I term it.  This cable pattern uses a total of 6 sts to create the cable itself and the “frame” around it uses 3 sts on each side.  You will need a total of 12 sts to knit this cable.

This is a pictorial and written tutorial.  I find this method beneficial to successful learning.  I am a visual/audio learner so I find it helpful when using a written tutorial to have it include photos of each step.  Ready?  Here we go!

To begin with I am going to give you the pattern followed by the photo/written tutorial:

Materials List:

Size 9 needles (24″ circular needles work best if you have them)

220 yds or more of Worsted weight yarn to obtain a nice length scarf or scarflette. I highly recommend Cascade 220 for this project as it contains 220 yds hence the name!

Cable needle

Cable Pattern:

Cast on (CO) 24 stitches (sts) using Long Tail CO method.

Rows 1-4:  Knit (K) every row. (Garter Stitch)

Row 5:  Slip (sl) 1 purl wise (pw), K5, place marker (pm), K1, P2, K6, P2, K1, pm, K to end (6).

Row 6:  Sl 1 pw, K 5, slip marker (sm), P 1, K2, P6, K2, P1, sl m, K to end.

Row 7:  Sl 1 pw, K 5, sm, K1, P2, Sl 3 sts pw to cable needle (cn), hold cn in front, K next 3 sts from left needle, K 3 sts from cn, P2, K1, K to end of row.

Row 8:  Sl 1 pw, K 5, sm, P1, K2, P6, K2, P1, sm, K to end of row.

Repeat Rows 5-8 of pattern to desired length of CABLE, then repeat Rows 5 & 6 once more.

Knit in Garter Stitch (GS) 4 more rows for opposite end border.  Bind Off (BO) using your favorite BO method.  I prefer Gramma’s Favorite Bind Off method as it lends a loose “chain crocheted” looking edge.
Now we will go through step by step with photos and written instructions of the above pattern!

First photo is of the CO stitches (sts).

24 sts CO.

Cast on 24 sts using Long Tail Cast on method.
Cast on 24 sts using Long Tail Cast on method.

Next:

Garter Stitch (GS) border of scarf or scarflette.  4 rows of Knit every row.  Rows 1-4.
Garter Stitch (GS) border of scarf. 4 rows of Knit every row. Rows 1-4.

After which you will slip the first stitch of each row of the cable pattern rows pw!  Here is a photo to help you with that concept if you’ve not performed this before.   Performing this every row creates a lovely edge to the scarf I find quite attractive.

Slipping first stitch PW every row to create an attractive edge to the scarf/scarflette.
Slipping first stitch PW every row creating  an attractive edge to the scarf.

Next photo shows the position of the working yarn after slipping the first st pw.

Shows the position of the yarn after first st is slipped pw.
Shows the position of the yarn after first st is slipped pw.

Back to straight knitting with the yarn correct position.

Move the yarn to back of your work and simply knit the next sts.
Move the yarn to back of your work and simply knit the next sts.
Executing the first K st after sl st.
Executing the first K st after sl st.
Regular knitting - easy once you see it right?!
Plain knitting – easy once you see it right?!

Now for the cabling section!

Sl 1 st to the cable needle (cn) purl wise (pw).
Sl 1 st to the cable needle (cn) purl wise (pw).
Sl second st to cn pw.
Sl second st to cn pw.
And finally sl the 3rd st to the cn pw.
And finally sl the 3rd st to the cn pw.
Holding your cn in FRONT of your knitting needles
Holding your cn in FRONT of your knitting needles

Next you will:

Knit the next 3 sts from your LEFT needle
Knit the next 3 sts from your LEFT needle.
You are now ready to knit from the CN.
You are now ready to knit from the CN.
Bring your CN to normal position of left needle, insert your right needle and K off CN.
Bring your CN to normal position of left needle, insert your right needle and K off CN.
Repeat with second st on CN.
Repeat with second st on CN.
Repeat with final (3rd) st from CN.
Repeat with 3rd (final) st from CN.
This is what your cable should look like at this point.
This is what your cable should look like when you’ve finished with that portion.

The following photo is what your cable should look like at the end of the row:

Your cable should look like this after you've completed Row 7.
Your cable should look like this after you’ve completed Row 7.

Now you’re ready to finish your cable section by:  P2, K1, sm, K to end of row.

I have not included any tutorial photos of the row following (Row 8)  as it is simply following the pattern with nothing special – just remember to sl your markers as you come to them.

I am including a photo of where I am in the progress of this scarf.

Cabled patterns build quickly and projects are completed quickly.  Another reason I love knitting them.
Cabled patterns build quickly  – yet another reason I enjoy making cabled projects!

***NOTE:  A helpful hint to keep track of your cable rows is to make a chart checking off which row you completed.  I make charts of this type before I begin knitting the project.  This is in addition to using your row counter or  a separate piece of paper keeping track of your total row count.  I realize there are knitters that check off the row they are currently working vs the row they just completed.  I find in knitting cables it is confusing to use the former method.  You really don’t want to miss count as cables are on the difficult side to tink (knit spelled backwards) them and get them right. *** 

Just as with any other technique you learn the more you knit cables the better you will be at making them and they won’t intimidate you at all.  After I completed my first cabled pattern successfully I chose 3 patterns each one a bit more complex than the previous to build on what I’d learned and to challenge myself.  I am confident when knitting cables now as a result of having done so.  If this sounds like a good idea for yourselves I highly recommend perusing Ravelry for patterns.  Many are free!

Cable needles can consist of a double point needle (dpn), pencil, anything that is straight and double ended.  I’ve been known to use a straw (unused of course) when I had nothing else to use.  You always pick sts from left needle with one end of the cn and knit off the opposite end when knitting from it. If I just made this clear as mud please go back to photos and/or ask for clarification.  My point in sharing this info with you is if you don’t have an actual CN and don’t have the finances to spare to purchase a set of them it’s really okay.  I’ve also been known to use one of my needles from one of my interchangeable needle sets as a CN.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  Please feel free to leave questions and comments.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Knitting!

The Linnster ♥

Knitting Tutorial – Lacy Summer Socks

This blog is for those already having knit a pair of socks by hand as well as people wanting to learn how.  For this particular pair of anklets you must have a good working knowledge of knitting terms/abbreviations.  The pattern is designed by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter for Lorna’s Laces Hand-Dyed Yarns.

This tutorial includes pictures.  I find it helpful to have pictures to view when attempting a new technique.

Before I begin any knitting I create my chart(s) and any pattern notes that will aide in knitting the project .  You will find the photo of this below.

Notes and charts I created for ease of knitting the Lacy Summer Socks.
Notes and charts I created for ease of knitting the Lacy Summer Socks.

1) You will notice the different colored highlights on the pattern.  This helps me stay on point when there are multiple tasks to be executed in a single round.  2)The larger chart I made is for keeping track of what row and repeat I am on while knitting the lace portion.  3) The smaller of the charts I created for the cuff and heel flap preparation.

I used Karbonz by Knitters Pride Size 1 dpn’s (double pointed needles).  The yarn I used was Berroco Alpaca Sock Yarn which has a slight halo to it but not significant enough to disrupt the lace pattern.  Photo below shows the cuff completed and ready for knitting the heel flap and heel.  This is what yours should look like at this point in the project.

Ready for heel flap and heel to be completed
Ready for heel flap and heel to be knit.

The photo below is what your sock should look like after having completed the heel flap and heel.  I discovered an easier way to execute the short rows which shape the heel.  I look a few stitches ahead and when I’m getting near the “space” created by the previous short row  I count the stitches left to knit before the next K2tog or P2tog is to be knit.  

Heel flap and heel completed
Heel flap and heel completed
Heel finished
Heel finished

A closer view.  If your sock does not look like this please rip back and knit the heel flap and heel again.  If you still have a problem leave a comment (insert photo if you’re able) and I will do my best to assist you in getting it correct.

Now we’re onto the next portion of the sock which is the gusset.  This is the tricky part or can be.  I have found an easier way to execute this.  While I’m thinking of it also there is an error in the pattern I found.  You MUST knit an additional 6 rows after having completed the short row heel portion of the socks.  You will not have enough rows in which to pick up the required amount of stitches for the gussets if  you miss this.  You will knit 1 row, purl the next, knit another row, purl the next, knit the next row, and purl one last row.  After this you will have enough rows to pick up the required amount of stitches.  When picking up the stitches remember to skip the first stitch and pick up in the next stitch.  You will pick up a stitch in every stitch until you have the required amount of stitches picked up.  I apologize I am lacking a photo of the sock at this point.  The easiest way I have found to pick up stitches is as follows:  Use a 2nd needle to go through the stitch you are picking up the stitch in, use your working needle to wrap the yarn around and bring through the stitch.  I have plans of creating a video of this technique.

Now that your gussets have been created it’s time for the most fun and enjoyable portion of this pair of socks…the lace pattern!  I use a locking stitch marker as it will stay on and in the right position compared to a non-locking stitch marker.   Simply attach it to a live stitch in the center between Needles 1 and 3.  One thing to remember when knitting this section of the socks, NEEDLE 2 is the ONLY needle you are concerned with knitting the lace pattern.  Needles 1 and 3 are always straight knitting and decrease needles.  Decrease rounds are always straight knitting rounds and are always odd numbered (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc.)  The decreasing is executed until you have a total of 66 stitches remaining on your needles. This sock pattern uses 3 dpns for the live sts and needle #4 is your needle of execution.  On Needle #1 you will have 16 stitches, Needle #2 will have 33 stitches and Needle #3 will have 17 stitches on it when you are finished decreasing.  Y9u will continue knitting after the decreases have been made as the sock will not be long enough for an adult at that point.

Close view of the lace pattern.
Close view of the lace pattern.

This is what your sock should look like after having completed the lace portion.  Next is the toe decrease.  For size 9 shoe it is 3 pattern repeats.  I did not knit the additional 1-8 rounds as the pattern directs.  Upon blocking they were just fine, it’s entirely up to you if you want to do so.  If you need them larger simply repeat another pattern repeat before you begin the toe decrease.

Now that your sock is approx 2″ short of the length of your or your recipients foot it is time for the toe decrease.  One thing to keep in mind it is a total of 16 rounds before you cut the yarn, thread your tapestry needle and go through your remaining stitches.

On blocking form
On blocking form

I did not block it in this manner as I didn’t like the shape it was going to create in doing so.  Next picture shows properly blocking socks.

Blocking in process
Blocking in process

I soaked the socks in warm water with Eucalan for approx 45 minutes after which I rolled them in a terry towel squeezing out the excess water as I rolled.  I placed the roll on the floor and stepped quite firmly on it further squeezing more water out of the socks.  I gently unrolled the towel and placed each sock on a blocker for drying.  The total drying time was 3 days.  

If you have any questions regarding the construction, yarn used, needles, etc. please leave a comment and I will be happy to answer and help you.

Thank you for reading my first instructional blog.

Happy Knitting!

The Linnster 🙂