Monday, July 14, 2008

Cable, and I Don't Mean Internet

This is my first attempt at cable stitches, using Familia M yarn and 3.0mm Milward circulars 40cm long. What did I use for a cable needle? A Susan Bates Quicksilver dpn, US size 2 (2.75mm), with rubber point protectors to prevent the stitches from slipping off.

I got the classic stitch pattern "Coiled Rope", a 3x3 cable design, from the Reader's Digest Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing and Knitting (Sydney, 1993), p. 468.

Multiple of 9 sts plus 3
Rows 1 & 3: *P3, K6*, P3 [or add Row 5]
Rows 2, 4, 6: *K3, P6*, K3 [or add Row 8]
Row 5 [becomes Row 7]: *P3, sl 3 sts on cable needle and leave at back of work, K3, K3 sts from cable needle* P3

What I learned:

1. If you use a dpn as a cable needle, it ought to be slightly smaller than the working needles. This is so you won't be tugging too much at the 3 stitches on the cable needle in order to knit them. Knitting those 3 stitches will be a tad tight and uncomfortable for the knitter if the cable needle is the same size. Also, there will be no gaping holes on either side where the cable "coil" occurs (Row 5).

2. I prefer to modify the stitch pattern to be an 8-row rather than a 6-row pattern. It results in a more comfortable looking coil. This is recommended especially when you are knitting with worsted weight.

3. I made a mistake in the rightmost cable in the above photo. You can see that I missed a knit stitch and it wasn't coiled in. After that I started using point protectors on either side of the dpn, counting very carefully. Also, make sure that in Row 5, after slipping your 3 sts to the cable needle, when you knit the 3 sts on the working needle, keep your yarn source between the cable needle and the working needle. This is so that the long yarn spanning the 3 sts doesn't show in the back. It's hard to explain but you have to see it to understand what I mean.

4. To put this in the center of a scarf, for instance, a pair of coiled ropes would be a 21-st vertical motif. Three coiled ropes would be a 30-st motif. I'd have to make sure the number of stitches I cast on allows for this.

5. It's fun! There are so many cable stitches to learn! What a lovely way to create texture! But this "coiled rope" is a personal favorite. There is a "simple cable rib" that is a 2x2 cable, flatter, less bulky. Of course I am not really ready to knit an Aran sweater yet, but you never know.

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