Cabling without a cable needle

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Learn to make a left-twist cable (same as holding sts in front)

Learn to make a right-twist cable (same as holding sts in back)

Cabling without a cable needle FAQs

Q:  What makes this tutorial different from other tutorials?

A:  Other methods ask you to first rearrange the stitches on the needle, and then to knit them.  This method, which I first discovered in Annie Modesitt’s Confessions of a Knitting Heretic, asks you to rearrange stitches and knit them in whatever order which makes physical sense.  It ends up being much faster and with fewer maneuvers!

Q:  No matter how tightly I pull the yarn, I end up with a hole or a loose stitch at the base of my cable.  Why is that, and what can I do to fix it?

A:  In my experience, the holes and loose stitches are just the nature of making a cable cross, and don’t have anything to do with how tightly the yarn is pulled.  Fortunately, they are much less noticeable after the knitting is blocked.  If blocking doesn’t help, or the yarn is not very forgiving, you may want to try making the cable the old-fashioned way, with a cable needle, to see if it makes a difference.

Q:  You use a six-stitch cable as an example, but I have a different cable that I would like to make using this method.  How should I figure out the instructions for my cable?

A:  At first, I would recommend making the cable the old-fashioned way, with a cable needle, while paying close attention to what you’re being instructed to do.  If you’re asked to hold sts in front, that is the same as slipping sts with yarn in back.  If you’re asked to hold sts in back, that is the same as slipping sts with yarn in front.  After you’ve done this enough times, you might be able to visualize the maneuvers and then translate them to this method without needing to physically try it out.  All cables can be made without a cable needle, no matter how complicated!  The only limitation is the number of stitches.  In my experience, cables wider than 8 stitches may need to be crossed with the help of a cable needle.