Cables are a wonderful way to add interest and texture to your knitting. The very basic cable looks a lot like a rope in the middle of a field of purl stitches. However, there are hundreds of patterns out there that will teach you how to make large, beautiful, complex cables. Looking at a cable on your sweater makes it seem confusing, but it's not at all. All a cable is is a group of stitches that are knit out of order on your needle. To get your stitches out of order, you put them on what is called a cable needle and hold them to the front or back of your work. After knitting the next few stitches, you slide the stitches on the cable needle back onto your left needle and knit them.
Step 1: Gather Materials
For this instructable, I'll be knitting a simple swatch with two identical cables. I got the "climbing cable" design from this book:
Erika Knight. Cables & Arans: 250 Stitches to Knit. 2007. Interweave Press LLC: Loveland, CO. 70.
Here's what you'll need:
Step 2: Cast on stitches
This swatch consists of a 3 stitch purl border, 1 4-stitch knit cable, 1 purl stitch, a second 4-stitch knit cable, and a final 3 stitch purl border. Therefore, cast on a total of 15 stitches. I like to use the long-tail cast on method.
Step 3: Row 1
This is a base row in which you establish the pattern of the swatch. You will notice that it repeats in rows 5, 9, and 11.
P3, K4, P1, K4, P3
P means purl, K means knit. Please see one of the excellent instructables on these stitches if you are unfamiliar with them.
Step 4: Row 2
This row is knit as the exact reverse of row 1. You will notice that this is repeated in every even numbered row.
K3, P4, K1, P4, K3