Cables KAL: Cabling without a Cable Needle

June 8, 2013 at 8:00 am 2 comments

Our Cable KAL started quickly with many casting on the first day. Personally, I am a few rows from the end of the cable section of my first Barleycove boot topper with the last section of ribbing to go. I must admit 1×1 ribbing on size 2 US needles takes a little bit of time and isn’t the most exciting knitting. However, Madelinetosh Pashmina is a dream to knit, the silk and cashmere helps the yarn glide through your fingers but isn’t too slippery to cable without a cable needle. Which brings us to the topic of this post, cabling without using a cable needle to hold stitches as you do the cable cross.


My first Barleycove boot topper in progress

A few notes on what I have learned about this technique…

  • Cabling slippery yarn without a cable needle can be a challenge. You are more likely to drop stitches. So if you are using a yarn high in viscose fiber (made from cotton (rayon), wood cellulose (Tencel) or bamboo), silk, or nylon, you will want to exercise caution.
  • Needles with sharper tips are helpful.
  • Large cables over many stitches are more difficult to use this technique. It is ideal for 1×1 cables which can be very tedious with cable needle especially if they are frequent.
  • I usually only use this technique with cables of 6 or less stitches.

I have collected a few different sources with tutorials for cabling without a cable needle. They are written by some very talented knitting teachers.

  • From Techniques with Theresa: Cables – This article has a discussion of how cables themselves work, then talks about cabling with a needle and then without a cable needle. This is the method I use to cable without a cable needle.
  • From Glenna C. on her blog Knitting to Stay Sane: Cabling without a Cable Needle. I love this blog, it contains lots of great knitting information as well as great designs. Here is Glenna C. Ravelry pattern pages, a number of these patterns are in my mental knitting queue. If you are loving cables, you should check out her designs and keep an eye on the blog.
  • From Knitting Daily (from Interweave Knits): a post with several links with ways to cable without a cable needle, some are duplicates of the other two links I have given. But I found that sometimes slightly different explanations can help people learn a technique. So check out: Faster, Easier Cables: No Cable Needle, No Fear.

There are more videos and tutorials on this technique. If you don’t find my links helpful, then do some searching of your own.

Jamie's Off piste wo brim

Jamie H.’s Off Piste in progress

Cabling without a cable needle is a good technique to know. But not everyone likes using it or even uses it all the time. Like nearly everything in knitting, it is a matter of personal preference.

Short of taking away the needles and yarn, there is multiple ways to do nearly all knitting. I am sure if you have been reading my writing on knitting you know that I encourage finding ways to make knitting work for you. The same applies to crocheting. Give a group of crocheters yarn and hooks and you likely will see variation in their techniques. As much as people often want techniques to be black and white when they are explained, I have found there is someone who will do it differently and it will look very similar to my knitting. If I think it looks better, I usually want to figure out how they execute said technique to improve my knitting. So keep an open mind when learning new techniques and continue to seek to improve your knitting or crocheting.

Happy Knitting, enjoy the lengthening days of summer! Hurray for more knitting hours in the day!

~Angela M.


Entry filed under: KAL/CAL, Needle & Notions, Tutorials / How to. Tags: , , , .

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