Cable trickery

My goodness! After 1100+ votes, it seems my readers are utterly confused as to what I might have chosen to knit this weekend :).

Perhaps there was a bit of psychological projection involved: “Mmmm, I’m embarrassed to admit that I started three new projects this weekend, so you must’ve done it!” Or maybe some wishful thinking: “Gosh, I wish I had the determination to stick to my current WIPs; I hope you’re stronger than I am!”

But the truth is that I’m entirely predictable. If you’ve been visiting long enough, you know I either finish projects, or frog them. Sometimes there are hiatuses, or various other pauses, but I’m not the type to start a gazillion new things and never see them through.

However, moments of instability are not ignored – I know myself better than that. If I’m dying to start something new, I don’t withhold it from myself. The consequences of denial are too awful to bear: boredom, indifference, and finally, entry into a frantic state of cast-on-itis: everything in sight, all at once, without any thinking.

Sometimes a few novel rows are all I need. Instantly my fingers are calmed, my mind is soothed, and all current WIPs start to look attractive. Therefore, I had a simple momentary lapse in monogamy: cast on something new, worked on it for a bit, then quickly set it aside. Jess was right on:

It’s been far too long since I’ve knit a pair of socks. I’m dying over here! Grandma’s moratorium is proving too difficult to stomach. In a moment of weakness, I caved:

Meida’s socks | Nancy Bush | Favorite Socks

A thoughtful friend showed this pattern to me back in April 2005 – it was originally printed in the Spring 1997 issue of Interweave Knits. Ever since then I’ve wanted to knit it – so pretty, so delicate! Then domesticat went ahead and knit it, and I fell in love with Meida all over again.

Because the socks are short, and domesticat was able to squeeze a pair out of a single skein of Lorna’s Laces, I figured I could use the lone skein of lilac LL I recycled from the Hidden Passion socks. Maybe it will be enough. Grandma’s feet are big (US 11), so truly maybe.

To minimize agony, I weighed the skein of LL before I started (56.9 grams), then cast-on the toe using Judy’s method. I’ll knit until I use up half of the skein. Will 28.5 grams be enough to make a sock for grandma? How many repeats above the ankle will there be? Time will tell.

Not surprisingly, I’m making those fancy cables without a cable needle. Yes, you can do all kinds of cable trickery by swooshing stitches here and there, no extra needle required! Unfortunately there’s no set rule for converting standard cable instructions into needle-less ones. The combinations and permutations are too many for that kind of thing. Typically I visualize what the designer intends, which stitches go where, and in what order, then proceed from there. Sometimes I’ll actually grab a cable needle and follow the original to make sure I’ve got it right! It’s only knitting, why not experiment?!?

See if you can follow along :). The author writes:

Place 2 sts on cn to front, k2, place 2nd st on cn onto left needle, knit 2nd st, then knit st on cn.

I do:

Slip 2 sts wyb, k2. Transfer 3rd st on RH needle (it’s the leftmost of the slipped sts) to LH needle from the front, knit it. Transfer 3rd st on RH needle (the remaining slipped st) to LH needle from the front, knit it.

Ta da! Give it a try!

P.S. For the curious/astute: take a look at this collage. Do you notice something funny? (DC, please don’t kill me for using your photo!)


44 thoughts on “Cable trickery

  1. Kitman

    Another nice sock pattern! I like the color too. Your cabling tutorial without using CN is very informative and useful!Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lauren

    Hmm… the leafy bits on Domesticat’s sock and the original seem to point upward, while yours point downward. Is this, perhaps, a cuff-down sock that you are working toe-up instead?

  3. Lexy

    You’re doing toe-up and the others are top-down… I believe this is also causing your cables to switch directions from the original?d

    c’est non?

  4. Shamiran

    The red socks were top down with the opposite cable twist as the white sock… Your sock is toe up with the opposite cable twist as the white sock.

    Clever, Clever! I like how you make us think about stuff!!! 🙂

  5. friday

    I am currently knitting Meida’s Socks. If you want to save yarns, it might be a good idea to decrease one or two repeats from the leg pattern.

    Good luck!

  6. Haley

    i can’t believe over a thousand people completed your poll. wow. very impressive. those of us with little, rarely-read blogs are in awe of that kind of following. hope your socks go well. can’t wait to see how your WIPs progress.

  7. Brenda

    I think these are pretty socks, but they don’t look very snug around the ankle to me (even in domesticat’s photo), so I will be curious to see how yours turn out.

  8. Magatha

    There are instructions on how to knit these cables without a cable needle with the pattern in Favorite Socks.

    Also, I wasn’t confused at all about what you were doing this weekend, I simply did not know and indeed guessed wrong. You perhaps were confused as you failed to act predictably for all of us?

    Just tweeking you a bit. 😉

  9. Alex

    I knew it! I was among the 24% that voted for that option because I personally know that the siren song of a sock cannot be resisted for long.

    (First time commenter here. Your blog has been an inspiration to me, so I thought I’d comment at least once.)

  10. Rachel

    The white ones appear to have been knit top down (by looking at the direction of the individual stitches – direction of the v). Either that, or if my vision was playing a trip on me, then the photo was simply reversed (mirror image).

  11. Laura Neal

    Love that yarn color! So pretty! I have been eyeing that particular lace for a while now. I have a cute tank top with it that I want to knit, now to find the time! sigh!

  12. Abi

    I really appreciate the tutorials on cable less cable knitting but when I tried it for Shedir, I found the stitches seemed really uneven and went back to useing a cable needle. Do you have any further tips or do you think it was the stretchy yarn I was using?

  13. Bonnie

    Love the color, but I wish the “wings” weren’t upside down. The upward movement of the original is lost. Looking forward to seeing how they turn out, though!

  14. Grace

    I knit those socks for my sockapalooza pal in Koigu! They were a blast to knit, but I did knit from the cuff down. They were very pretty even in the varigated yarn and they were so much fun to knit (VERY quick, too!). Enjoy!

  15. AnaMarie

    I’m glad you can stick to the same projects until they’re done. You also knit much more quickly than I do, so that must help! I have a very bad case of start-itis; I generally get to the point where I need to start something new before I can continue on an old project. The opposite cables are a riot!

  16. Jenni

    As has been said before, the pattern is flipped as you work them toe-up. Interesting that you chose to work the pattern in the same manner as you would for cuff-down (thus the flip). I wonder what the cuff will look like – perhaps a little picot edge-effect?

  17. Holly

    I’ve made these socks before using a cable needle which was a bit fiddly. I’ll try your method on my next pair. Love the Interweave book on socks. By the end of the year I’ll have made every pattern in the book.

  18. Laura

    Okay many things are different. Your wings are upside down (compared to the other socks) AND the cable crosses in a different way from the white sock. AND the red sock cables cross in a different way from the white sock.

    I assume the wings are upside down because you’re working the sock “backward.” But the cable crossings being different on the white sock tells me that the cable crossing instructions are wrong or they flipped the photo in the book. (I’m assuming the white sock photo is from the book.)

  19. Laura

    To clarify the last post, the cable crossings on your sock and the red sock are going in the same direction but both are in the opposite direction from the white sock.

  20. Anne

    I love them! You make me drool over Favorite Socks every day. Amazing!!

    Also, I can’t wait to see your fir cone scarf, I was thinking of starting one of my own because yours is so beautiful.

  21. Shamiran


    From my previous post I feel pretty confident in saying WHAT you did… but I’m pretty sure I think I know WHY you did it though… Could you be trying to make them symetric??? 😉

  22. Shamiran

    This ‘puter just kicked me off the internet!!! HOW RUDE? 😉

    I was going to add that the picture being reversed is highly likely based on the instructions you posted.

  23. April

    They’re gorgeous! I think I knit a Fair Isle pattern upside down once, I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be top down and it did it bottom up, but it still looks good, just like your sock =) A little creative difference is good.

  24. Shelda

    It’ll be interesting to see what the swoop direction does to the border at the top. But toe-up is really the only way to go when you’re worried about the yardage. They’re loverly socks; another pattern that has been on my list for ages.

  25. E to the M

    As my daughter would say, “Your sock it uppy side down.” I’m interested to see how the sock look toe up, maybe a little less menorah-ish than the top down version.

  26. Stephanie

    If I had guessed, I would have guessed new socks for Grandma. I’ve been eying those socks too, but I think a lace stole is in the near future.

  27. Erica

    Don’t forget, it’s 28.45 grams of wool for exactly half. Just funning you! I’m starting my first pair of socks. Keep up the great work!

  28. Christy

    You do such a gret job with those needle-less cables! Your tutorial is what I used to teach myself how, and man is it faster! Thanks so much!

  29. gray la gran

    they’re pretty, the socks you started! i knitted those soon after they appeared in interweave … out of cashmere 🙂

    thinking of those socks makes me think that i do need more cashmere socks!

  30. Constance

    Hmmm… are the vees between cables on your meida socks upside down from the other pictures?

    Delurking, by the way, to say you’re so like me, it’s scary. There are points of difference (completely different taste in projects, and whatnot), but all in all, it’s creepy.

  31. charli

    Don’t ask me why, but I was happy to learn I guessed correctly. Isn’t that crazy?

    Love those new grandma socks!


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