Red Scarf Project Connections Scarf
(Try saying THAT title three times fast!)
It's true that the Connections Scarf I designed for the Red Scarf Project
was my first cable-knitting project ever. I've managed to avoid cables
until now, thinking that wrangling the cable needle was just too much
fiddly knitting for this gal, thank you very much. Then my husband
Nicholas asked for a cabled pullover for Christmas. When I started in
about my distaste for cable-needle wrangling, he raised his eyebrows
and pointed at the knitting I happened to have in my hands at that very
moment: a sock being knitted with five very tiny, very fiddly, dpns.
I hate it when he's right.
So that's when I decided to design my red scarf pattern as a cabled
scarf. I used the designing process as a way of getting to know the
whole process of knitting cables: how they worked, how they fit
together, how to incorporate them into a pattern. I learned a few
tricks along the way, so I thought I would share those with you.
Use the cable needle that is right for you. I found that I
kept dropping the little short/straight needles made specifically for
cabling, so I tried a regular sock-sized double-pointed needle. Worked
like a charm, because my fingers already knew how to wrangle that one.
But that's just me. There's many different choices out there when it
comes to cable needles. Try a few until you find the one that works for
Corollary: Try cabling without a cable needle. It sounds
impossible, but you can learn to manipulate the cable crossings without
the extra needle. There are many cable knitters who swear by this
technique! I did the first end of the scarf with a cable needle, and
then I tackled the second end without one. The effort it took to learn
which stitches went where was well worth it, because now I feel as
though I am understanding cables instead of just knitting them by rote.
We have a list of online tutorials in our Techniques section.
Don't pull on the "held" stitches too hard. When you are
holding the cable stitches off to the front or back of your knitting,
don't pull them too far away from the rest of your knitting! Too much
pulling will distort the stitches in the area of the crossing. Keep
them as close to the main knitting as possible in order to help keep
the tension and texture of your cable stitches even.
What The Back Looks Like
Watch what you are doing.
Until you are comfortable with cables, cable knitting is not the time
to multitask! I made several whopping mistakes because I was trying to
knit the cables in a restaurant whilst talking with friends. Bad idea.
(Lots of ripping out ensued.)
Steam-block Cables wrong side up. This may seem obvious, but
just in case: If you are using a steam-iron to block your cable
knitting, do it with the WRONG side of the cables facing upwards, or
you will flatten all your nice intentionally-bumpy cables. Don't press down--keep the iron just a little bit above the fabric! And try using a pressing cloth to further help minimize the flattening factor.
You asked for it...Lynn G. asked if I would be willing to post a photo of what the reverse side looks like. There you go, Lynn!
What are your cable-knitting tricks?
C'mon, don't be shy. If you have tips on how to work with cables,
leave a comment! After all, if I'm going to be knitting Nicholas an
entire cabled pullover for Christmas, I'm going to need all the help I
Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.
What's on Sandi's needles? I am working out customizations
for the Husband Sweater so I will be ready to cast on when the yarn
arrives. What is the Husband Sweater? It's my nickname for the pullover
my husband requested I make him for Christmas.