Friday, October 16, 2009

How to Knit Cables: A Knitting Tutorial

Knitting cables has got to be one of my favorite techinques in knitting. Cables look difficult to the uninitiated beginner, but they are quite simple.

This tutorial will show you how to knit  an 8-stitch cable as part of a knit panel. Make many panels and sew them together into an afghan. Make the panel just the right length for a scarf.

To make my panel, I used a medium weight yarn and a pair of  6 mm (10 US) needles. For your cables, you'll also need either a double pointed needle or a cable needle with the funny bend that I suppose is there to prevent your stitches from falling off. I use a plain old double pointed needle for my cable needle which has served me well for an infinite amount of cabling!

To get started:

Cast on 24 stitches. Knit 4 rows of garter stitch ending with a purl row. Next row is the right side of panel.

You are now ready to set up your foundation row for the cabled panel.

1st row: (Right side).  K 4,  P 4, K 8, P 4, K 4
2nd row:  P4, K4, P8, K4, P4

Your work should now look like this:

This is where cable patterns can get scary for first-timers.

3rd row:  K4, P4, C8B, P4, K4

Don't panic! C8B means CABLE 8 BACK. You simply slip the next 4 stitches onto your trusty cable needle and take it to the back of your work. Here is what the cable needle will look like at the back of your work.

Knit the next 4 stitches from the left-hand needle not the cable needle which is still to the back of your work.

This is what your work will look like after you knit the stitches from the left-hand needle.

And then, knit the 4 stitches off of the cable needle.

Your first cable twist complete !

This is what your work will look like when you finish the 3rd row.

4th row:  P4, K4, P8, K4, P4
5th row: As 1st row.
6th row: As 2nd row.
7th row: As 1st row.
8th row: As 2nd row.

These 8 rows complete one cable pattern. Repeat these 8 rows until your panel is the length you want it.

This is what your panel will look like with another cable twist.

To end your panel:  after completing a row 8, repeat 1st and 2nd rows once. Knit 4 rows of garter stitch to match the beginning of the panel and cast off.

For a thrill, try C8F. Bring you cable needle to the front of your work. What happens?

Happy cabling!