Grafting a Cable Cowl Pattern

For those of you who are working on honing your grafting skills and have moved beyond grafting knit stitches to grafting purl stitches as well, the next logical step is to graft cable patterns. And the Winter Thyme Cowl from Interweave Gifts 2015 provides the perfect opportunity to practice! If you picked up the Family Collection of Interweave Gifts 2015, you can purchase the Winter Thyme Cowl pattern in our store.

Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.
Winter Thyme Cowl

Grafting cable patterns is one of those things that knitters tend to think is much harder than it actually is. In reality, it’s pretty much the same as grafting a ribbing pattern. And if you’ve mastered this skill, grafting cables will be a breeze. This is especially true with cable patterns that have at least three plain rows between cable twists because the cable twists don’t come into play during the grafting.

However, some stitch patterns, such as the ones used in this cable cowl pattern, have cables worked on every right-side row, which means that the cables will have to be incorporated into the grafting. It also means that picking up stitches in the chain is just a little trickier because cable crossings are worked just above the provisional cast-on row, which distorts the cast-on edge a bit.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to deal with the distorted edge when picking up stitches from the chain, and I’ll also show you how to work cables when you graft.

The photo below shows the provisional cast-on, the row where the working yarn stitches are picked up in the chain (use a highly contrasting waste yarn for the chain so the working yarn stitches will be very visible). This picked-up row forms the base of Row 2 of the cable pattern (the loops will become knit and purl stitches when the stitches are grafted). The markers in the bottoms of some of these loops mark the stitches that will cross under other stitches at when cables are worked on the next row (Row 3 of the chart).

Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

After a few pattern rows have been worked, the cast-on will begin to curl.Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

The cables can obscure the loops in the chain, making them harder to find when the time comes to pick up them up and place them on the needle.Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

The loops are still there, but you may have to pull the cables aside in order to see them.Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

For the swatch below, I omitted some of the stitch repeats used for the cowl, and worked the pattern over 52 stitches, instead of 80. The cable pattern consists of twelve rows. Since the cast-on row counts as Row 2, I started with Row 3 after picking up the 52 stitches in the waste yarn chain for the top half of the swatch. I worked a few pattern rows before binding off the stitches. For the lower half of the swatch, I cast on 52 stitches (this time using a regular cast-on) and worked for a few inches, ending with Row 12 of the chart. (Obviously, when working the cowl, you’ll just continue knitting after casting on, ending with Row 12 when the cowl is the correct length.) Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

Notice on the lower piece that the 3/3 Right Cable in the center hasn’t been worked yet. This cable is worked on Row 1, and since that’s the pattern row I’ll be creating on the front needle when the stitches are grafted, I have to work the cable during the grafting. This is simply a matter of rearranging the stitches on the needle (as you do when cabling without a cable needle) and then grafting the 6 knit stitches as for any of the other knit stitches.Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

Before removing the chain, it might be helpful to run a lifeline through the loops that will be placed on the needle, just in case any of them get missed. Start the lifeline by inserting the tapestry needle from top to bottom through the half loop at the very edge (at the end opposite from where the cast-on tail is located). Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

Continue running the lifeline through every visible loop in the chain. Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

Watch especially for the loops at the sides of the cables because they will be more vertical than horizontal and it’s easy to miss them.Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

Make sure to count the loops as you go. The lifeline should go through exactly the same number of loops as were cast on. Because I picked up 52 stitches in the chain for my swatch, I ran the lifeline through 52 loops (including the half loop at the edge where we started the lifeline).

Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

Then, beginning with the end of the chain where the last chain was worked (indicated by the wider end of each chain stitch, where each new stitch enters the chain before it), unravel the chain, placing the stitches on the needle as you go.Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

Follow the lifeline as it goes through each stitch, keeping the needle in front of the lifeline at all times. Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

Some of the stitches will actually resemble yarnovers. These are the strands between cable crossings. IMG_14

After all 52 stitches are on the needle… IMG_15

Create a 53rd loop on the needle by looping the cast-on tail around the needle and then through an edge stitch to the wrong side. At this point, the lifeline can be removed.IMG_16

Now the stitches are ready to be grafted. Thread the grafting yarn onto a tapestry needle and hold the needles with wrong sides together, with the needle holding the cast-on stitches (and the extra stitch) in the back. Now it’s simply a matter of following the grafting sequences given in the instructions. The grafting sequences consist of four steps each: Step 1 on the front needle, Steps 2 and 3 on the back needle, and Step 4 on the front needle. Sequence A creates a knit stitch on both the front and back needles and Sequence B creates a purl stitch on both needles. Sequences C, D and E are basically just working Sequences A and B after first rearranging stitches on the front needle for the cables.

Sequence A

Sequence A (knit st on FN, knit st on BN)
Step 1 Pwise through st on FN, leave.
Step 2 Pwise through st on BN, remove.
Step 3 Kwise through next st on BN, leave.
Step 4 Kwise through st on FN, remove.

 

 

 

 

 

Sequence B

Sequence B (purl st on FN, purl st on BN)
Step 1 Kwise through st on FN, leave.
Step 2 Kwise through st on BN, remove.
Step 3 Pwise through next st on BN, leave.
Step 4 Pwise through st on FN, remove.

 

 

 

 

Sequence C (2/1 RPC on FN; 2 knit sts, 1 purl st on BN)
Rearrange 3 sts on FN as foll: Sl 1 st onto tapestry needle and hold in back, remove next 2 sts from FN temporarily and transfer 1 st from tapestry needle back onto FN, then return 2 live sts to FN. Work Sequence A 2 times, work Sequence B once.

Sequence C

 

Sequence D (3/3 RC on FN; 6 knit sts on BN)
Rearrange 6 sts on FN as foll: Sl 3 sts onto tapestry needle and hold in back, remove next 3 sts from FN temporarily and transfer 3 sts from tapestry needle back onto FN, then return 3 live sts to FN. Work Sequence A 6 times.

Sequence D

 

Sequence E (2/1 LPC on FN; 1 purl st, 2 knit sts on BN)
Rearrange 3 sts on FN as foll: Sl 2 sts onto tapestry needle and hold in front, remove next st from FN temporarily and transfer 2 sts from tapestry needle back onto FN, then return live st to FN. Work Sequence B once, work Sequence A 2 times.

Sequence E

 

The grafting chart below shows the order in which the sequences must be worked to recreate Rows 1 and 2 of the chart. (I modified the repeats of the cowl chart to work with the 52 stitches in my swatch.) Reading the grafting chart from right to left, start by working Sequence A 3 times (as indicated by the numbers in brackets at the bottom of the chart), then work Sequence B 3 times. The next repeated section is worked over 7 stitches: *Work Sequence B 2 times, work Sequence C over 3 stitches, then work Sequence B 2 times; rep from * once more. Work Sequence B 3 times, work Sequence D over 6 stitches, work Sequence B 3 times. Work the next repeated section over 7 stitches: *Work Sequence B 2 times, work Sequence E over 3 stitches, work Sequence B 2 times; rep from * once more.  End by working Sequence B 3 times, then working Sequence A 3 times. (Click the chart to enlarge.)

Engelcowl_graftingChart

The photos below show how each cable crossing in Sequences C, D, and E is worked. For the 2/1 RPC in Sequence C, the first 3 stitches on the front needle are rearranged (not worked) by inserting the tapestry needle into the first (purl) stitch and holding it to the back.

IMG_17

Then the next 2 (knit) stitches are slipped off the needle and the purl stitch is returned to the needle.IMG_18

Then the 2 knit stitches are returned to the needle in front of the purl stitch.
IMG_19

Then simply work Sequence A twice (over the 2 knit stitches) and work Sequence B once (over the purl stitch). IMG_20

In this photo, we’re just about to work Sequence D over the center 6 stitches, which involves working a 3/3 RC on the front needle.

IMG_21

Insert the tapestry needle into the first 3 stitches on the front needle and hold them to the back.
IMG_22

Drop the next 3 stitches off the needle.IMG_23

Replace the first 3 stitches on the needle. IMG_24

Return the 3 live stitches to the needle. IMG_25

Work Sequence A 6 times.

IMG_26

And to work the 2/1 LPC in Sequence E, rearrange the first 3 stitches on the front needle by inserting the tapestry needle into the first 2 (knit) stitches and holding them to the front. IMG_27

Slip the next purl stitch off the needle and return the 2 knit stitches to the needle. IMG_28

Then return the purl stitch to the needle in front of the 2 knit stitches. IMG_29

Work Sequence B once over the purl stitch and work Sequence A twice over the 2 knit stitches.  Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

And the seam is perfectly invisible. Interweave's Joni Coniglio walks you through grafting a cable cowl pattern with step-by-step images.

So now you can add cables to your grafting repertoire!

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About Joni Coniglio

I'm senior project editor for Interweave Knits and knitscene. My husband and I moved to Colorado from Nebraska in January of 2011. We packed the moving truck in blizzard conditions, but the weather was sunny and dry when we unpacked on the other end. We took that as a good omen!

One thought on “Grafting a Cable Cowl Pattern

  1. Thank you so much for this beautiful tutorial. I had bought the IK Gifts 2015 deluxe edition, and I was looking forward to knitting the winter thyme cowl, as I love everything by Moira Engel, specially her cowls. I admit I was a little intimidated by the idea of grafting in pattern, even with the article that explains it with diagrams. I had similar diagrams when I tried to graft the Eloen cowl, that has a similar construction, with ok-but-not-great results.
    I plan to knit the cowl next Fall, and when I am ready to graft, I’ll be grateful to be able to com eback to this page and have a close-up look at what you did.

    and, your result is beautiful!

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