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Choosing a Stitch Pattern: The Cable Stripe

Feb 11, 2013

I can spend hours looking through stitch dictionaries. There seem to be hundreds of designs you can make with just two knitting stitches: knits and purls.

    
These 1940s sweaters rely on wonderful stitch patterns to elevate fairly straightforward designs.
Stitch patterns have been used in sweater design for years, and the patterns from the 30s and 40s are really making a comeback. Here's Geraldine Warner, author of Vintage Design Workshop, to tell you more about choosing a stitch pattern for your work.

Stitch Patterns from Vintage Sweaters

A decorative stitch pattern can make all the difference to a plain sweater or cardigan. All you need is a knitting stitch dictionary to let your imagination run riot and uplift an ordinary modern knitting pattern into something really special.

Vintage designs incorporated many adventurous stitches, from lacy designs to cables to textured stitches such as the bobble stitch, which was particularly popular in the 1930s. In many books from the 1930s to 1950s knitters were encouraged to apply different stitches to their pattern in a "Ring the Changes" section.

Stitches from the simpler end of the spectrum weren't neglected either, and had a great practical use in the designs of the day: seed, moss, and rib stitches were often used to give greater elasticity to the fabric, resulting in a closer-fitting garment. Some patterns used a combination of stitches (ribbed side panels, a moss-stitch yoke) as another way to give a tighter fit.

A good look through your vintage designs will reward you with an idea of the more popular stitches used in vintage patterns and how they were used to best effect.

Cable Stripe Pattern

Two stitches for one: this great pattern is a twist on a classic cable. You can use it widely spaced throughout your sweater (maybe four or five bands) leading into garter stitch stripes at the yoke, or just a couple stitch patterns on either side of the garment would be effective. You could also repeat it in the sleeves.

Worked in multiples of 12 stitches over 10 rows for cable, and over 2 rows for stripes.

Row 1: (rs) *p2, k8, p2*, purl required amount of sts in between each cable strip; rep from * to *.

Row 2: Purl.
Repeat these 2 rows 3 times more (8 rows altogether).


    
Cable Stripe Pattern, from
Vintage Design Workshop
Row 9: *p2, cable (place next 4 sts onto a double-pointed cable needle, place at the back of the work, knit next 4 sts from the left-hand needle, knit 4 sts from the cable needle), p2*, knit required amount of sts per 1st row; rep from * to *.

Row 10: Purl.

These 10 rows form one pattern, so repeat for desired length.

Next row: (rs) *(p2, k1, sl1, k1, psso, p2, k2tog, k1, p2, purl required amount of sts in between each cable column)*; rep from * to *.

Next row: Purl.

Stripe Pattern

Row 1: *p2, (k2, p2) twice*, purl required amount of sts per 1st row; rep from * to *.

Row 2: Purl.

Repeat last 2 rows for desired length.

—Geraldine Warner, from Vintage Design Workshop

The Cable Stripe Pattern would look great on a sweater, but it's pretty versatile, too. Imagine it on a scarf or on the back of gloves, or even on the legs of socks! I love it.

For more stitch patterns and wonderful information on knitting vintage, get Vintage Design Workshop today!

Cheers,

P.S. How would you use the Cable Ribbed Stripe? Leave a comment and let us know!


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Comments

CheryeE wrote
on Feb 16, 2013 11:11 AM

This would be perfect for the backs of mittens or even as part of the cuff!

Rietreid wrote
on Feb 16, 2013 10:58 AM

I love the cable stripe pattern but don't understand it too well. Do I first do the cable stitch and then go to the stripe pattern or do they go together. I would love to use it on a sweater.

Looking forward hearing from you

Riet M Reid

k4tog wrote
on Feb 16, 2013 9:19 AM

I am going to use it on socks, but I think I will stagger the cables.

THanks for sharing, Love it!

A

WendyB@6 wrote
on Feb 12, 2013 10:15 AM

One thing to remember when adding a stitch to a pattern (besides the horizontal and vertical repeats) is to swatch, as many stitches with the same yarn and needles will give different tension, and vary the gauge.  

I really love the cable stripe.  Thanks for sharing it!

BettyLou wrote
on Feb 11, 2013 6:58 PM

Great idea. I have been using them for years for sock patterns. Never run out of ideas.

peacemanga wrote
on Feb 11, 2013 5:09 PM

same questions as Tamarque (decreasing sts without balancing with increases)

and Behrens219 (knit sts between cable columns rather than purl)

tamarque wrote
on Feb 11, 2013 4:29 PM

tried a swatch and have a question.  the pattern goes from a 12 st cable to a 10 stitch stripe.  There is no indication for increasing back to 12 st for the the cable.  further, reducing to the 10 st stripe  removes  quite a few stitches if used across a row.  is there an error in the printing of the stitch pattern, or is there something that i have missed?

nancy ring wrote
on Feb 11, 2013 3:40 PM

Dear Kathleen,

I love the vintage cable stitch.  I will probably use it in a prayer shawl which I will donate to church for the ladies to wear when the air conditioner gets too cool.

I haven't decided on the color.  Maybe a pastel or solid color.

Thanks for the pattern.

Nancy

ZassZ wrote
on Feb 11, 2013 2:43 PM

So fortunate to have a collection of issues of various vintage patterns.  Given to me by a friend who closed her aunt's knit shop.  Wow what a stack of patterns and articles.  Pull them out on a leisurely eve and really enjoy.  As you mention, use these to bring a different life to articles of clothing or incorporating into a basic pattern is very nice.  

Kathleen,

Thank you for this article and if some haven't tried this yet, it is a good approach to think about in your knit designing.  

5grandkidz wrote
on Feb 11, 2013 2:38 PM

This is a lovely cable pattern and three ways to use it come to mind.  First, vertically along the back length of a sweater, one cable row only over each shoulder blade from neck to rib trim.  Secondly, as a double cable pocket trim on cardigans or even on a pullover.  Thirdly, as a single/double cable row  vertically through the center of a scarf.  The seed stitch appears to look like a tiny "x" and makes the cable pattern more interesting.

Kathleen, are there any revisions/corrections for these directions at this time?

5grandkidz

indadell wrote
on Feb 11, 2013 2:32 PM

I would like to be added to your knitting daily email.  my email is : vivndoug@q.com

goose grass wrote
on Feb 11, 2013 2:27 PM

A tablet sleeve would sure look nice with your pattern. I'll give it a try.

Behrens219 wrote
on Feb 11, 2013 1:08 PM

When looking at the picture of the cable stripe pattern, I see knit stitches between each cable strip.  Shouldn't the directions for Row 1 of the cable pattern and Row 1 of the stripe pattern say "KNIT required amount of stitches in between each cable strip" instead of purl them?  Otherwise you will have a garter stitch area between each cable strip instead of a stockinette area as shown in the picture.  .  

Judy Welles wrote
on Feb 11, 2013 12:44 PM

Socks.  Definitely socks, as that's what I knit the most anyway.  I'd love some feedback from more experienced knitters about how many stitches to add to my usual 60 to account for the slight pulling-in that the cables will cause.

raveldog wrote
on Feb 11, 2013 8:13 AM

I have a very plain, lightly felted deep gray wool jacket (slightly heavier than a shirt) that's been begging for a new life. I just bought a lovely toned-down red tweed yarn to knit pockets and a collar to overlay on the pockets and collar that are already there. I've been thinking "cables and texture," and this gorgeous cable stripe is absolutely perfect for the pockets; your timing in posting this could not be more perfect!!

on Feb 11, 2013 8:13 AM

Since the cable will pull the width of the fabric in, the cable part could be used for the waist or the cuff and the plain part where a wider piece of work was required all accomplished without increases and decreases.  It is a very pretty swatch.

Wendy Leigh-Bell

Sglad1210 wrote
on Feb 11, 2013 8:06 AM

I am going to make a dishcloth with it right now!