Have you ever started a cabling project only to discover that your yarn choice was all wrong? Your cables faded into the background, or were just unbearably limp and flat? Your stockinette, while smooth and drapey, didn’t have the promising stitch definition that would suggest gorgeous cables?

A pleasant contrast:

Crystal Palace Panda Wool | 51% bamboo, 39% wool, 10% nylon | Basil Curry colorway (0443)

In The Knitter’s Book of Yarn Clara Parkes explains that cabled yarns, such as Panda Wool, have “incredible stability and the strength to withstand far more abrasion than their once-pied counterparts.” Thus, she endorses the use of cabled yarns for socks and says that they “truly excel in rendering cables and more complicated stitchwork.”

You mean, a most excellently defined ribbing?

And heel gussets to make one weak in the knees?

Yes, indeed!

How do you know if the yarn you have slated for your next cabling or sock project is “cabled”? Well, it has to be made up of “multiple-plied yarns that are then plied together.” Check it out!

Postscript: Panda Wool is technically a “multi-strand” not a “cabled” yarn, though the properties of the two are the same for our purposes. To read up on the difference, check out page 177 in Clara’s book. Also, apologies for taking so long to mention The Knitter’s Book of Yarn – though released months ago, I bought my own copy only recently. Before I was borrowing my library’s copy, which was always recalled after only a week or two :).


24 thoughts on “Cabled

  1. Miss Ripley

    That yarn looks delightful! I’m working on my first pair of socks right now (Toe of sock 1 in progress!) and I’ve started looking at sock yarn in a whole new light. I’m going to have to see if I can find something similar at my LYS. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. marycatharine

    I love The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, I’m fairly certain that I’ll have my copy hanging around for years to come. The Panda Wool is lovely and it does make quite the heel gusset.

  3. tantej

    Wow! Those stitches truly pop! I’ve been thinking about trying Panda Wool. This just gives me one more reason. Oh, and the book! I was recently gifted a copy. Another big Wow!

  4. Judy in MN

    You had me going for a moment there. That yarn is delicious! But when you showed the last photo with the plys separated,I was squinting and looking and twist angles and thinking, Hmmmmmm….then I saw your postscript. Ahh…that explains it. I knew that for a true cabled yarn the final plying should be in the opposite direction of the originals.

  5. michele

    I’ve yet to try the panda wool, but I’ve made some pairs out of panda cotton and I really like it. It’s splitty as all get out but extremely squishy and cheap. I’m working with a new one of theirs called maizie – it’s corn fiber with a little nylon. It’s not as splitty and my sock looks almost suede-like.

  6. Debbie

    I just finished a pair of socks for a little one out of the Panda Cotton, and I love it. I’ve made several socks for kids with it. I would love to try to the wool, now. Crystal Palace has added a new one: Panda with silk! Gorgeous colors in that one!

  7. Cornflake

    You are such an enabler! I read your post, then tripped on the Interwebs and my credit card fell on six skeins of Panda Wool…

    I love your blog! I’ve been lurking for a while. Thanks for the great reviews!

  8. Katie

    I agree that the book is fantastic…so much great information, and I’ve already made two patterns from it! I have some Panda Wool lurking in my stash too…thanks for reminding me!

  9. SallyT

    Okay you tease, show us an FO!

    Thanks for the post on Panda Cotton. I’ve been wanting to try it but can’t locate it locally. Since I have to buy it on line, it’s nice to know it works well for socks!

  10. Dana

    I just finished my first pair of panda wool socks and love them. Really love them. I made mine in “menswear” (which my husband calls “cross-dresser” because he says no man would actually wear that colorway) and they are lovely–warm and great stitch definition.

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