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Cabling without a cable needle

by Ysolda Teague May 08, 2014

Cabling without a cable needle

This is one of those little tricks that makes a huge difference to how fast and efficiently you can knit. Once you get the hang of it simple cables will barely interrupt your flow. For cables that involve multiple crossings at once or large numbers of stitches you’ll probably want the security of using a cable needle. 

Front crossing (left leaning) twists

Bring the right needle behind the work and insert it through all of the stitches that will be at the back of the twist, from right to left. 
Bring the right needle behind the work and insert it through all of the stitches that will be at the back of the twist, from right to left. 
Slip all of the cable stitches off the left needle, letting the loose stitches move forward. You can pinch them with your thumb and forefinger, but don't worry, they aren't going to hang free for long. 
Slip all of the cable stitches off the left needle, letting the loose stitches move forward. You can pinch them with your thumb and forefinger, but don’t worry, they aren’t going to hang free for long. 
Scoop up the free stitches with the left needle tip, inserting it from left to right. 
Scoop up the free stitches with the left needle tip, inserting it from left to right. 
Return the stitches on the right needle tip to the left. 
Return the stitches on the right needle tip to the left. 
All of the cable stitches have now been rearranged but not worked. 
All of the cable stitches have now been rearranged but not worked. 
The final step is to knit (or purl!) across them. 
The final step is to knit (or purl!) across them. 

Back crossing (right leaning) twists

Bring the right needle in front of the work and insert it through all of the stitches that will be at the front of the twist, from right to left. 
Bring the right needle in front of the work and insert it through all of the stitches that will be at the front of the twist, from right to left. 
Slip all of the cable stitches off the left needle, letting the loose stitches move to the back. It's easier to see what's going on if you tip the work towards you like this. 
Slip all of the cable stitches off the left needle, letting the loose stitches move to the back. It’s easier to see what’s going on if you tip the work towards you like this. 
Scoop up the free stitches with the left needle tip, inserting it from left to right. 
Scoop up the free stitches with the left needle tip, inserting it from left to right. 
Return the stitches on the right needle tip to the left. 
Return the stitches on the right needle tip to the left. 
and work across them. 
and work across them. 

Start with a sticky wool so that the free stitches stay where you put them. With a bit of practice you’ll be slipping those stitches free and scooping them up again in one motion — cable needle freedom in any yarn!


Ysolda Teague
Ysolda Teague

Ysolda designs knitting patterns, spent years teaching at events and loves to find new yarns and books to share.



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