Knitting Cables

You have probably admired heavily textured Aran sweaters but thought such complicated patterns were beyond your skill level. Although an Aran design is not a good choice for your first project, it is something you'll be able to accomplish after honing your skills. One of the main features of an Aran design is the cable.

Cables are usually made on a background of reverse stockinette stitch because the bumpy background enhances the smooth cable twists. A cable is basically stitches crossed over each other on the right side of the work; they twist to the right or the left depending on whether you cross to the front or the back of the work. You will need a cable needle. You can use stitch markers to set off the stitches to be cabled, or you can just read your stitches (know the difference between the reverse stockinette background and the stockinette stitches of the cable) to see where to work the cable. Cables are worked over varying numbers of stitches, usually in stockinette stitch. One of the most common cables is based on four stitches.

Back Cross Cable, or Cable 4 Back (C4b)

The four-stitch back cable slants, or crosses, to the right. To make the cable, work to the beginning of the stockinette cable stitches, slip the next two stitches onto the cable needle, and hold it in the back of your work. Knit the next two stitches on the left needle (fig.18a), and then knit the two stitches from the cable needle (C4b made).

Back Cross Cable: Figure 18a
Back Cross Cable: Figure 18a

Front Cross Cable, or Cable 4 Front (C4f)

The four-stitch front cable slants to the left and is made in exactly the same way as the back cable, except that the cable needle is held to the front. Work to the beginning of the stockinette cable stitches, slip the next two stitches onto the cable needle, and hold it in the front of your work. Knit the next two stitches on the left needle (fig. 18b). Knit the two stitches from the cable needle (C4f made).

Front Cross Cable: Figure 18b
Front Cross Cable: Figure 18b

Knowing how to join new yarn to your work will come in handy for many knitting projects. Learn how on the next page.