Cables: Improving and Troubleshooting

February 7, 2020

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  • Well, I have seen the images and they are very helpful. I will try to do that untwist thingy to make my stitches more neat. And it turns out I’m making a baby hat with cables and just finished the ribbing for the beginning, so there are some cables in my future. In a complicated table pattern, I keep track of my rows with pen and paper. I will set up different columns for the different types of cables that will be in that pattern.

  • Images came through for me, on Safari. Thank you, thank you for the tip about wrapping backwards for the purl st; I’ve had a sloppy gap there – in ribbing and cables – for years. Learn something new every day!

  • So helpful, thank you!

  • It has always bothered me to have enlarged knit st on cable. I just have to retrain my brain to do that east European purl consistently. Thanks for reminder.

  • Love your article! I am a very visual person and having a hard time “wrapping ” my head around doing the wrap. Could you maybe do a video sometime in the future? My ribbing would appreciate it.

    • Hi Judy, I think if you get some knitting in your hands and make a few purl stitches, you will see what to do. Wrap it the “normal” way (over the needle) for a stitch or two, and then try to do it by wrapping under the needle. I think you’ll quickly see the way to do it.

      • I agree with Judy. Any chance you could do a video so we could see wrapping the purl “under” the needle? It would be very appreciated.

        • I really like this video explanation. At the very end, she also discusses the specific topic here: using a clockwise-wrapped purl (“Eastern purl”) only on the first purl stitch as you’re transitioning between ribs, or from a cable to the background. This is basically using a Combination knitting style for only that one column of stitches.

  • Kate is, as always, brilliant.

  • Thank you for all this helpful info I have a question about the very top picture – the green one showing two rows of cables right and left leaning. It looks as if the right leaning is quite a bit tighter than the left. Can you comment on that please?

    • I noticed that, too, and wondered it.

      • “Wondered *about* it” is what I meant to type.

  • Great information. I never thought to use something like a cable needle as a counting aid. I always just eyeball it. Not always accurate!

    • Agree! This method is much better.

  • Would the technique to ‘wrap’ the stitches work when knitting M1R or M1L? I’m currently knitting something where between the M1s there is a slipped stitch and it leaves a hole, even when I pull the working yarn tight. It will be better when blocked (it’s a shawl) but just curious. Thanks!

  • Another life changing tips. I can’t wait to count and wrap my purl the opposite way.

  • I am constantly losing my place when knitting cables. Thanks for the tip on how to count the rows. Those Canadians are so clever!

  • BRILLIANT tip about using the cable needle to help count rows. It also gives you a consistent place to store the cable needle when not in use! (Can’t tell you how many of those suckers have been eaten by my knitting chair because I laid them down in the wrong place!)

  • This is such fantastic information!! Thank you!!

  • I learned to knit the European/Swedish style holding the yarn in my left hand, and can’t really translate to the American style. Are there any website the approach knitting in European style?

    • I’m not sure if you’re asking about purling the “short way” or one of the other tips, but if it’s about the purl trick:

      I just posted another reply with a link to a video I really like that demonstrates both ways of wrapping purls (counter-clockwise, a.k.a. “Western” and clockwise, a.k.a. “Eastern” or “the short way”) AND shows how that looks when controlling the yarn with the left hand (like you do) or the right hand (like Kate does, above).

      I can’t seem to link to my comment, so I’ll repost the video link here and hope I don’t get caught in a spam filter!

  • those errant stitches have always bothered me – I am obsessive enough that I tug them into shape , yes, all of them. Your method is, I am sure, far superior.

  • I just finished a cabled hat where I was constantly losing track of the row count–despite using a row counter. This will help tremendously. Thanks!

  • Love the row-counting tip! thank you for that.
    To tighten the left edge of a cable, I was told a long time ago to knit the last K stitch of the cable in the back loop. That simple twist seems to tighten the transition to the purl stitch nicely.

  • SO helpful! I hope I can remember to go “Right Back” to the instructions in my next cable project. Also looking forward to trying the short purl fix. Goodbye frustration and sadness! Thanks bunches!

  • So helpful to have your tips in one place. I’m bookmarking this article, thank you!

  • This answers my pesky problem of whether to count the row of the actual turn. I can really get myself hung up on issues like this.

  • Thank you v much for tip re wrapping wool around needle clockwise in purl stitch after a knit column to take up slack & even out tension …… I’m doing a double rib stitch sleeve in the round so when I come to next round do I just purl the stitch tbl (wool around needle anti clockwise as usual) or do I also do that stitch clockwise tbl??

  • Thank you, this has helped me a lot.

  • Thank goodness regarding loose or distorted stitches. I thought it was my knitting. I will indeed not panic, continue on knitting, and block at end of swatch.

  • Just FYI, if you are a left-handed knitter, a cable back leans to the left, and the cable front leans to the right.