Cables without a cable needle

I was perfectly happy making cables with a cable hook. I’ve been doing it that way for 30 years! But Saturday morning I was ready to try something new. I poked around the web and found Grumperina’s tutorial, and it worked pretty well. But there was a point in the process where it felt like it might all go kerflooey if I had a klutz moment. I figured practice would make perfect, and I successfully completed four out of four cable crosses. But I was still a bit uneasy.

When I was at OFFF, Chris Was showing me her current cabley project, and I asked her if she uses a cable needle. Nope. So she showed me the way she does it. I love it! So much that I had to take pictures of the process. Here I am, ready to make a six stitch cable, left over right (cable needle would go to the back, if I were using one). Yarn in back, since the cable will be made with knit stitches.

step1

Insert the right needle tip into the second set of three stitches.

step2

Pinch the six stitches at their base. Slide the left needle out of the six stitches. (The right needle is still in the second set of three stitches.)

step3

Insert the left needle into the first three stitches (the ones hanging out without a needle!), and then slip the three slipped stitches from the right needle back onto the left needle. (All stitches are slipped purlwise.)

step4

All positioned and ready to knit!

step5

Knit, and voila! A completed cable. I never felt like I was going to drop any stitches.

stepdone

For a cable that twists in the other direction (cable needle would be held in front), the right needle would be inserted into the second set of thee stitches from the back side of the knitting.

back cross

Again, pinch the stitches at their base, slide out the left needle. Insert the left needle into the first three stitches (the ones hanging out without a needle), and then slip the three slipped stitches from the right needle back onto the left needle. (All stitches are slipped purlwise.)

back cross 2

Easy as pie!

And as promised, here’s the shawl pin I bought from Toolman! It’s all bubinga; the light color of the leaf is from applying heat. Gorgeous, n’est-ce-pas?

shawl pin

Here’s a closeup of the leaf.

shawl pin detail

It’s for my Shetland Triangle, which you can see under it. I love it!

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10 responses to “Cables without a cable needle

  1. The pin and shawl underneath are both pretty.

    I’ve been doing cables without needles for quite some time, it is really the only way to go if you don’t want to pause. But isn’t the way you’ve done it exactly the same way described by Grumperina, Wendy Knits, etc? Maybe they don’t point out the important part of using your fingers to “pinch” the stitches so they don’t unravel.

    Right now I’m working on a cable that requires 2 cable needles. Eeks!

  2. That was a very clear explanation – thanks.

    I love your shawl pin. May it not be a “falling” leaf! VBG!

  3. Great pictures..I have been using Grumperina’s tutorial for awhile now, but this method looks more straightforward. CPH is looking good…great color!

  4. I only have one question, how did you keep track of your cable hook for 30 years? I’ve never had one that I could actually locate for more than 5 minutes. Which is what forced me to learn to do without. Great pictures, that’s just how I do it now. Good to know I’m doing something right.

  5. I glad you’ve mastered this because I picked up yarn at offf to make e a little aran type sweater and I haven’t mastered cables even with a hook! Next knit night!

  6. Oooh, pretty pin, beautiful shawl :)

  7. I’ve tried doing needleless cables before but also had that feeling of them getting lost if I wasn’t careful. I’ll have to give it a try again this way. Thanks for the pictures!

  8. very helpful.

  9. I, too, learned Grumperina’s method altho’ it took me a while to internalize it. It does take some practicing. I have also taught a class on how to use this method. I sure makes doing cable work a breeze!

  10. Wow thanks for such a cool pictorial explanation of how I do it. I think I will be sending people here whenever they ask.