How to Knit Cables
Why I love cables so much
I live in the Outer Hebrides and Celtic Knots are everywhere. I loved them even before I came to live here so I'm in heaven. Many knitted cables resemble Celtic Knots as the cables look as if they go 'under and over, under and over'.
The way to tell a true Celtic Knot, is if you follow the line - over, under, over, under etc, you should arrive back where you started. The knot should be continuous. Cables aren't always like that - but they do a great impression of it. And that's good enough for me!
Many people are frightened to attempt cables and I can understand why. I was nervous too when I first had a go. But to be honest, if you can do knit and purl stitches, you can cable. It really is that easy. And it's a great skill to have as there are so many lovely cable patterns out there. Baby blankets, scarves, sweaters, cushion covers, coats and even skirts!
So, let me take you by the hand and lead you into the magical world of cables.
What you'll need to knit cables
These suggestions would kit you out ready to start.
If you're already a knitter you'll probably have a few sets of needles. If you're just starting out, the bamboo ones below are a great buy.
When it comes to choosing the colour of your yarn, don't make it too dark as it can be hard to see the finished cables. Paler colours such as grey, pink or pale blue are ideal to get started on.
It's best to stick with a plain colour too - rather than a multicoloured or flecked yarn. Keeping to a plain colour makes it that much easier to see what you're doing and to understand how you got to the finished product.
Once you've mastered cables, the sky is the limit!
How to Knit Cables - Clear video instructions - knit in front of your pc and pause it while you knit!
If this is your first attempt at cable knitting, I would suggest that you have a trial run.
You can treat this like a tension square, which means that you knit (keeping count of how many rows you knit) until your knitting is a measurable square.
This will tell you what your tension is i.e. how tightly or loosely you knit.
The simplest cable is the rope twist. The cable itself is always an even number.
To start with, I would suggest casting on 12 stitches, knit a few rows and then start your cable. I've kept the number the same as in this helpful video.
Once you've mastered it, you could easily create the cabled scarf in the picture.
It's really a case of getting to understand how the cables go one way or the other and this is all down to whether the stitches on the cable needle are held at the front or back of your work.
Having a tension square of your cabled work can help you in many ways. Once you know how many stitches and rows make a certain size of square, it's easy to work out how many cables you would need to knit a cushion cover.
If you manage a scarf and cushion cover - the world is your oyster. And you will fall in love with cables...I promise!
If you're happier learning from a book, there are some great ones out there. Here are just a few to get you started...
This is a gem. Just look at that front cover - doesn't it make you want to knit? And that's half the battle really...if you're inspired you'll stick with it. And it's not that difficult anyway - really!
This is Melissa Leapman's follow up to 'Cables Untangled'. I've included it here because this lady really knows her cables and her books are inspiring!
This is slightly more expensive than the others but I've included it because Amazon reviewers were unanamous in their praise - it's got 5 stars right across the board.
If you really get bitten by the cable knitting bug, you might like to invest in this wonderful book which has more cables than you could ever imagine.
So how are you feeling about cables now?
Cables - good, bad or indifferent?
Helpful Links to All Things Cable and Knitting
- yarn.com - a beautiful online shop
The wonderful yarn shop who made the helpful video featured in this lens. They stock amazing yarns, a wonderful selection of patterns in pdf format (so that you can download them immediately) and a great closeout section where you're sure to find a b
- Amazing free cable patterns
- Free - yes, FREE cable patterns from Rowan...swoon
- Free Book of Cable Patterns
Just enter your email address and download a free book of cable patterns, including a sweater, scarf, pullover and a dreamy shrug.
- Eight Free Patterns for Cabled Sweaters
- Cable instructions with clear photos.
A lovely blog with some inspiring articles.
- Bulky cabled pillow
Another free pattern from Rowan (who can resist?) for a giant pillow with cables to die for.
- American to English Needle sizes and Yarn Types
Just in case you get confused...I know I do sometimes!
To Finish Up... - some inspiring projects. Just to show you what you can do with cables!
How cute is this skirt?
And you could make it longer...just keep knitting the main part before you add the bottom border.
How beautiful is this coat? I want to knit it soooo much...
I just love the way it kicks out at the bottom - must find the pattern!
Found the pattern! See below...
Found it! - Sorry it took a while but it's worth waiting for...
Take a Seat...
OK - I know this looks daunting - but actually it's not.
For starters, it's knitted on very big needles with very bulky yarn so it wouldn't take that long...
And what a talking point...come in...please sit down...oh, yes, I love it too...thank you (gloat, gloat). Just not sure about the bobbles - would they be comfortable to sit on? They'd probably flatten down after a little wear... It's just so beautiful, I'd be prepared to sit on the bobbles for a while :)