Making Cables Without a Cable Needle

If you’ve looked at the pattern for Astrophil you’ll see that it is all 2/2 cables. I’ve always found working with a cable needle to be cumbersome and slow so I thought I’d share how I work these small cables without a needle.

There’s nothing special about it – you just have to be brave enough to pull stitches off the needle and rearrange them into the order they will be in the cable. A firm pinch keeps the loose stitches from unraveling. This tutorial breaks it down into painful detail but once you see what’s going on – rearranging the stitches so you can work straight across – it becomes a quick and intuitive way to work a repetitive cable pattern.

2/2 Left Cable (Front Cross or C4F)

1a. To work a cable that will cross up and to the left, start by inserting the tip of the right needle through the back of the 3rd and 4th stitch on the left needle (these two stitches will be the two in back in the final cable).

1b. Firmly pinch the 1st and 2nd stitch on the left needle between your thumb and forefinger (these two stitches will be the two crossing in front in the final cable). Now slide all 4 stitches off of the left needle – stitches 1 & 2 are kept from unraveling because you are pinching them, while stitches 3 & 4 are on the tip of the right needle.

2. Insert the tip of the left needle into stitch 2 and then stitch 1 – left to right, everything keeps it’s original orientation (aka no turned stitches).

3. Slip the stitches from the tip of the right needle back onto the left needle – remembering to place them back on the left needle in their original orientation so that they won’t be turned or twisted.

Now you have all four stitches back on the left needle in the following order (from left to right): 2, 1, 4, 3. Stitches 2 and 1 cross in front of 4 and 3.

4. The stitches are in their proper order for a left cable. All you need to do now is knit straight across.

2/2 Right Cable (Back Cross or C4B)

1. To create a cable going up and to the right, you will once again rearrange the stitches to be (left to right): 2, 1, 4, 3 – with stitches 4 and 3 crossing in front of 2 and 1.

Insert the tip of the left needle into the front of 3 and 4. Pull all four stitches off the left needle, pinching 1 and 2 so that they don’t unravel.

2. Insert the tip of the left needle into stitch 2 and stitch 1.

3. Slip stitch 4 and stitch 3 back onto the left needle, making sure they are in their original orientation and not turned or twisted.

4. All four stitches are now on the left needle and in the order they will be in the final cable (left to right): 2, 1, 4, 3. Knit straight across to create the cable.

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