Diagram of cable, prior to cable crossing row

Cables in knitting are formed by crossing stitches, and creating a twist in the fabric.  Every cable pattern is basically just a variation on this theme.  This tutorial illustrates how to cable by knitting a very basic 6-stitch cable. As you see below, you will be knitting the leftmost 3 stitches first, then the rightmost 3 stitches, and this re-ordering of the stitches will form the cable crossing.

1. Knit (or purl) along until you reach the cable, then stop.

1. Knit (or purl) along until you reach the 6 stitches that form the cable, then stop.

2. Slip the first 3 stitches of the cable, one at a time, from the left-hand needle onto a cable needle. This cable is a front-cross cable, which twists to the left, and so you will just let the cable needle drop to the front of the work. If you were working a back-cross or right-twisting cable, you would drop your cable needle to the back of the work.

3. Knit the next 3 stitches from the left-hand needle.

3. Knit the next 3 stitches from the left-hand needle.

4. Lastly, knit the 3 stitches that were on hold on the cable needle.

4. Lastly, knit the 3 stitches that were on hold on the cable needle.

Then you’re done, and since you knit the 6 stitches out of order, you created the twisted in the knitted fabric which forms a cable!  Continue knitting as established, and your cable will show more clearly after a few rows.  Typically, you will only do this cable cross maneouver every few rows (for a 6-stitch cable, you will do a cable cross every 6th rows, for a 4-stitch cable, you will do a cable cross every 4th row, etc.)

This 6-stitch cable is the cable pattern used in my Chunky Cable Hat – a free pattern.

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So I had decided that as part of my knitter’s development it was time to knit a shawl.  Note, this is not a stole, but an authentically ‘get your granny on’ triangular shawl.  Though this undertaking involved the obvious danger of looking ridiculous, I had seen many photos of hip young people wearing shawls such as this like scarves, and figured I could pull it off!  So I dyed some recycled cashmere, and eventually cast on!  Laminaria (a free pattern from Knitty.com) was an absolute joy to knit, and I got through it in 4 days!  I took the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria and got a lot of knitting time in both ways, so that helped.

My husband and I had to sleep on the couch one night so that I could block the shawl out on our futon!!  The yarn is approximately fingering weight, and I used a 5mm needle, and it required approximately 500 yds.

unblocked shawl

HANDSPUN FINGERLESS GLOVES:

These are really easy, fast and satisfying. They’re a great project that takes very little yarn, which is good for a beginner hand-spinner.

Size:
These were designed to fit a fairly average female hand measuring 7 1/2″ to 8″ around just above the thumb.
Yarn:
Any yarn that will allow you to make gauge will do. I’ve used a combination drafted hand-spun single that is 11 WPI (wraps per inch), and looks like somewhere between DK and sport weight. I used about 110 yards, but your yardage may vary depending on the row gauge you get.
Gauge:
4.5 sts / inch, 8 rounds / inch in stockinette stitch on US #6 needles (or size to obtain gauge)

I knit these gloves on a long circular, using the magic loop method. They could just as easily be knit on double pointed needles.

HAND:

CO 30 sts.

Place marker at start of round, and work 15 rounds (@2″) in *K2, P1* rib. (30 sts)

Knit 10 rounds knitting all stitches. (30 sts)

To increase for thumb, alternate these 2 rounds 4 times:

Increase round A: K2, inc 1, K to last 2, inc1, K2
Increase round B: Knit

Now there will be 38 sts on the needles.

Now knit around to last 3 sts. Drop live yarn, and using scrap yarn, knit the next 3 stitches (to end of round), then the first 3 stitches of the next round, so you have 6 stitches knitted in the scrap yarn. Then transfer these 6 scrap yarn stitches back onto the left-hand needle, and pick up the live yarn, and knit over these scrap yarn stitches again, using the live yarn. Finish this round knitting straight. (38 sts.)

To decrease after thumb, alternate these 2 rounds 2 times:

Decrease round A: K2tog, Knit to last 2, SSK
Decrease round B: Knit

Now there will be 34 sts on the needles.

work 10 rounds (@ 1 1/2″) in *K2, P1* rib. (34 sts)

Bind off using decrease bind off:
K2tog through back loops, put the stitch created back on LH needle, then K2tog tbl again, … etc.

THUMB:

pull out scrap yarn, and put the 11-12 live loops created onto needles.

1: With new yarn, starting by working across bottom loops (closest to the wrist), knit 6, knit up 3 stitches in gap between bottom and top stitches, then knit across 6 top stitches, then knit up 3 more stitches in gap between top and bottom stitches. (18 sts.)

2: K10, K2tog, SSK, K4 (16 sts)
3: Knit

Knit 7-8 more rounds even, then BO using decrease bind-off (described above).

FINISHING:

Knit second glove same as the first. Weave in ends, block if you find it necessary, and enjoy!!

So the apartment now has colour, and I have the most amazing space I’ve ever had in which to adore fibre of all kinds: my craft corner!! OK, it’s more like an alcove, … and lets face it, it basically takes up the entire dining room… but I am overjoyed, to say the least.

So I’ve also been making some stellar progress on the Lady Sweater – I’m done the body, and part-way done one of the arms. I’m VERY excited, as I intend to ACTUALLY FINISH this sweater, and that will make it my first! Hopefully my aran cardigan will follow soon after…

I’ve also been unravelling more thrift-store sweaters, and dyeing roving, and doing a bit of spinning.

The blues/greys roving is polwarth sliver that I got from birkeland bros. here in Vancouver, and hand-dyed using the hot pour method (stovetop). It felted very slightly (not as bad as I have done before, but still not great), so I think I’m going to go back to the oven-dyeing method, which I think is a little safer.

Here are a couple of yarn shots of some spinning tests I’ve done with this roving:

I’ve recently realized that I hadn’t gotten around to trying plying recycled yarns to create newly spun yarns. So I got out the spindle; and had a go.

I haven’t knit with this yet, so I’m not sure yet what the result will truly be, but it looks pretty successful and beautiful to me! Perhaps I over-plied it a little.

Next I will try a 4-ply cabled yarn, so that the twist that I add into the first ply will be balanced by the second plying.

I’ve also blocked the first part of my pillow cover project; a yellow lace medallion in bulky angora/wool recycled yarn.

In the kitchen, I cooked up some deep purple sock yarn… OK, I’ll admit it, this was not the colour I initially shot for… But when the teal which I’d lovingly coveted turned to dark green after I added the vinegar and the yellow dye really STRUCK, then I had to dump in other random bits of dye I had hanging around, and voila! purple. Not bad though!

I’ve also been to the thrift stores, and had some success;

  • Mohair/nylon sweater, which I over dyed to wear.
  • 100% lambswool LS sweater
  • 70% angora 30% nylon MEGA sweater in flourescent orange (AMAZING!!)
  • felted wool cable sweater, which I’ll make into a felted bag
  • 70% silk 30% nylon short sleeve sweater – very slinky yarn, which takes dye well
  • and last but not least, a 100% cashmere long-sleeve women’s sweater, in a purple I actually like!! This might have to be a vest? Or a hat+gloves set? Mmmmm something with cables? Maybe doubled up and bulky… Very exciting, that’s for sure!

70% silk / 30% nylon recycled yarn

I feel like the last little while has been a very productive time for me, but I haven’t really taken many GREAT pictures; so I don’t have the ‘money’ shots which inspire me to blog! Regardless, I’ve been spinning very regularly, working with the polwarth fibre I dyed previously to blue/greens. This is the first ball of a fingering-weight 2-ply. I’ve finished spinning the last of the fibre into singles, and I’m almost done plying the second half. I think when I’m done I’ll have 300 yards… what will I do with it?!?

I’ve also started to try to learn to spin a bulkier single; which I’ve found surprisingly hard to get at all consistent. One problem is that the roving I’m trying to spin felted slightly in the dying process… MY fault!! I am also not used to the heavier spindle, which spins more slowly. Pics of that inconsistent bulkish yarn will eventually go up.

This hand-dyed, recycled bulky wool-angora is another result of my recent productivity. All told it is 5 skeins of nice, bulky, solid yarn, 722 yards. I’m moderately happy with the results of the dyeing, and I plan to start making cushion-covers for my couch with this yarn soon. It will be nice to have the instant gratification of knitting with bulky yarn for a change!!

Finally, I’ve saved the best for last (or maybe it’s not really the best?) Swatches. Of my birthday yarn, which I have already swooned over enough.

stockinette stitch

woven herringbone stitch

seeded or mock rib (top) / seed stitch (below)

mock honeycomb stitch

woven transverse herringbone stitch

daisy stitch

I’ve just recently signed up for Ravelry, and I think it’s pretty cool. Especially when I’m looking for a pattern or for design inspiration! Anyways, my username there is ecwessel. I wasn’t quite smart enough to use the ‘damp city knits’ alias… ahhh this internet world is confusing and convoluted to me at times!  Check it out!  I’ll eventually post all my patterns on there (yeah, I know I only have 2 up on the blog so far, but more will be coming soon!)