Free EBooks



Knitting Tech: Reversible Cables and the Rivulet Scarf

Jul 29, 2009

When I see an Aran sweater my heart skips a beat. Oh, how I want to knit one of those beautiful, heavily cabled and patterned beauties. I've seen so many variations of the Aran sweater, but one of my favorites is this lovely cardigan jobbie--the Pewter Coat. I'm thinking of making this in the fall, but the Central Park Hoodie is next on the list, so the Pewter Coat will be second (or maybe third after a scarf that I just bought yarn for. . .). I guess the Central Park Hoodie is sort of an Aran project, though, with all of those cable sections.

And Another Thing About Cables . . .

I've been bombarding you with info on how to knit cables, and this post is no exception! In the new issue of Knits, there's a fab scarf by Rebecca Daniels, the Rivulet Scarf (click here for the free pattern) which is a wonderful cabled piece that looks great on both sides--something you don't see often in a cabled scarf. In fact, I once knit a cabled scarf project and did one end frontwards and one end backwards so that when I wrapped the scarf around my neck both of the cable fronts showed. I knit half of the scarf and then reversed the pattern so I was knitting the right side rows on the wrong side. I'm nothing if not determined!

I think you'll agree with me that most knitters love a well-placed cable, and with the reversible Rivulet Scarf, you don't have to go to drastic lengths like I did to get a cabled scarf to look good on both sides. (If you're new to cabling, see this Knitting Daily post for a basic cable video tutorial).

In most cabled projects, the cables are placed next to sections of stockinette stitch, reverse stockinette stitch, seed stitch, or some other background. This is necessary to make the cables stand out; if your cables are in stockinette and the background of the project is also stockinette, the cables blend a bit. (Some patterns call for this, but it's usually not the norm in cabled projects.) Because of this patterning, cabled projects are NOT reversible. In fact, the wrong side looks just plain weird--the cable crossings look like lumps in the fabric and it's obvious that you're looking at the back of the patterned panels (unless they're seed stitch or some other reversible pattern).

Making cables reversible uses one of those techniques that when you see what it is, you say, "Of course! Why didn't I think of that?" All you do is knit the cable in 1 X 1rib--there's no right or wrong side, just like in any 1 X 1 rib project: a waistband, cuffs, a collar, or even a whole ribbed sweater. You can't really see the rib on a reversible cable--you have to stretch it out to see the purls--but it makes a really dense, warm fabric. The 1 X 1 rib naturally pulls in on itself, hiding the purls, (which are actually the knitted stitches that show on the back of the scarf) and that's the magic of the reversible cable.

This scarf is a great knit for many reasons, but one of them is that the gauge--worsted weight on size 9 needles--makes it a really fast and rewarding project. Use the called-for yarn or try something with a little sheen--maybe a silk if you want a "cooler" scarf, or even a sock yarn for a finer guage. You can use any gauge for this pattern, you'll just have to cast on more stitches if you use a finer yarn.

For Your Viewing Pleasure

We feature the Rivulet Scarf on Knitting Daily TV this season, as an example of how to knit reversible cables. Here's that segment, with Eunny Jang, editor of Interweave Knits, showing you how to knit a reversible cable.


This clip is from Knitting Daily TV episode 301, which airs on your public television station. Click here to order the DVDs, or here to get a programming schedule. And click here to see more than 30 new free patterns from series 300 of KDTV!

Happy cabling!


P.S. Check out the new Inside Knits and Inside Knitscene blogs! 

Knit Cardigan Patterns From Knitting Daily: 7 FREE Knitting Patterns

Every knitter has dreamed of the perfect cardigan pattern that he or she might knit some day. From a cozy cable knit to luminous lace, this free ebook will be your dream come true. This is a wonderful and varied collection of cardigans-which is one of the most important pieces in your wardrobe. You'll want to make every one of these knit cardigan patterns, so download your free eBook now and get started (and don’t forget to tell a friend so they can enjoy their own copy!).

Download Your Free eBook Today



Featured Product

Stencil Girl Trees, 9x12 Stencil

Availability: In Stock
Price: $14.00

Art Supplies

9x12 stencils; these are the real deal, laser cut from 7 mil mylar - strong yet thin. They will hold


Related Posts
+ Add a comment


MO Knits wrote
on Oct 31, 2009 9:58 PM

Thank you so much for showing a new tech. I always enjoy trying something new with my knitting!!! I cant wait to get my other 15 projects done so I can start a new Thanks again and happy knitting!!

MO Knits wrote
on Oct 31, 2009 9:58 PM

Thank you so much for showing a new tech. I always enjoy trying something new with my knitting!!! I cant wait to get my other 15 projects done so I can start a new Thanks again and happy knitting!!

beasweetie wrote
on Aug 8, 2009 4:32 PM

I am desperately looking for the directions to the "Here and there cable scarf"  If anyone has it, please email it to  Thanks so very much.  

on Jul 31, 2009 10:45 AM

This is absolutely a fantastic idea.  The Aran cables are my favorite, but did not like the scarf idea because of the back side looking so ugly.

Thank you so much for this idea.  I will adapt patterns accordinlgy.


AZKnitter wrote
on Jul 30, 2009 5:14 PM

Wonderful video and article!

defarge007 wrote
on Jul 30, 2009 1:15 PM

I'm a subscriber to Interweave Knits, Spin-Off, and Piecework and just glanced at the scarf when IK came in the mail.  Mea Culpa!  This is a really neat technique..why didn't I think of this?!

In worsted weight yarn this is probably a little heavy for Pacific NW weather, but perfect for Easterners and the artic winter regions of the Mid-West.  I think my son  who is currently stationed in Wn. D.C. would really appreciate something like this (but don't tell him).   Thank you for this clever video clip. - Janet

JeanO@8 wrote
on Jul 30, 2009 11:53 AM

Thanks, Eunny. You're an excellent teacher and I appreciate all your technical

knitting tips! Jean O

JeanneS wrote
on Jul 30, 2009 9:29 AM

Thanks for sending this pattern and You Tube really made reversible cables understandable!!!

Jeanne S

lagram wrote
on Jul 29, 2009 7:10 PM

Thank you Eunny for slowing down the knitting in the video for the reversible cable scarf demo.  It is fabulous.  I'm going to the yarn shop tomorrow - can't wait to try it out.


mogurt wrote
on Jul 29, 2009 5:08 PM

this sounds so great! I have wondered for a long time how this could be done.

Seems fairly simple.  Thanks, Eunny...  P.C. Reno. NV.

CoralS wrote
on Jul 29, 2009 4:19 PM

What a great technique. I haven't thought of making the cables as ribs to make them reversible.  So cool!  Thanks!

AmyS@124 wrote
on Jul 29, 2009 3:21 PM

Another very nice reversible ribbed scaf  pattern is the Here and There Cables by Norah Gaughan, which is in the book Scarf Style.  It is a more wintry, bulkier, manly scarf that I made for my brother last Christmas.  He loves it for Ohio winters.

ShelleyR wrote
on Jul 29, 2009 3:11 PM

super tutorial and great inspiration! Thank you

on Jul 29, 2009 2:31 PM

I'm not sure what's up the the videos, but I've let our support team know.

The videos are also available on YouTube--just search "Interweave." You can see a bunch of technique stuff there, and a lot of videos from past seasons of KDTV.

Naoko S wrote
on Jul 29, 2009 1:40 PM

Another easy way to make a reversible cable scarf is to do twists on both sides.

e.g., RS  p6 k6 p6 k6 p6 k6

       WS k6 p6 k6 p6 k6 p6

Twists on the knit stitches on both sides.

Ellen wrote
on Jul 29, 2009 1:02 PM

I love your website very much.  I especially like the dta loading which makes it possible to download for me.  I cannot thank you enough for ALL your support and making knitting even more fun.  Thank you again VERY much.

SueM@75 wrote
on Jul 29, 2009 12:13 PM

Peggy, I'm with you on this.  Something is just not working with these videos for everyone.  Very fustrating.  Sue

moulderp wrote
on Jul 29, 2009 11:37 AM

I love the videos. Thank you very much. I wish that your shows were available for viewing on our local Flint/Detroit stations. I used to watch on PBS but now that we have the "new and improved" box, I can't view your shows.

LuanneR@2 wrote
on Jul 29, 2009 11:30 AM

Though I'm sure the Rivulets pattern is beautiful,  I don't see what all the fuss is about re: cables and reversibility.  I don't agree that the reverse side of cables looks weird.  It just looks different.  And if you weave in ends carefully, you'll find that only another knitter, and a pretty expert one at that, can tell which is the right and wrong side.  Non-knitters, like the loved ones you will give many of your projects to, don't care.  They love both sides.  At least that's my experience.  I have a huge cabled afghan that my family has always used on both sides, and if I mention that it's wrong side out, they give me a look that says: "Only you would know or care!"  Similarly, I notice my friend wearing a cable and lace shawl I made her with the wrong side out, and when I point it out I get the same look.  So if you just feel compelled to learn a new pattern, fine, but it's not something you need.

PeggyY wrote
on Jul 29, 2009 11:27 AM

This is the second video that I tried to watch, but it wasn't available. What's wrong?