Needle Tips: Cables Without A Cable Needle

After finishing my dissertation, I finally picked up knitting needles again, for the first time in MONTHS! It was really satisfying to pick a hibernating project (I’m currently working my way through this gorgeous pattern from Alice Bell) and carry on with it as if I’d never been away.

Unfortunately, when I opened my knitting bag, on the train, on my way to York for the DHP conference, I found my cable needle had gone walkies. Ballbags! However, there is a method for knitting cables WITHOUT A NEEDLE…! How, I hear you cry! Well, let me show you…

First a heads up: I'll be showing you a cable moving LEFT, and for the purposes of the demo, I'll be doing 2x2 cable (because that's what I happened to be working on at the time...) but the principles work for any size cable.

First a heads up: I’ll be showing you a cable moving LEFT TO RIGHT, and for the purposes of the demo, I’ll be doing 2×2 cable (because that’s what I happened to be working on at the time…) but the principles work for any size cable.

1. Skip the first two stitches on your left needle, and stick your right needle into the next two stitches, purlwise

1. Skip the first two stitches on your left needle, and stick your right needle into the FRONT of the next two stitches, purlwise

2. THE SCARY BIT: slip the two skipped stitches OFF the left needle, leaving them in a limbo land. Move slowly - you don't want to lose them!

2. THE SCARY BIT: slip the two skipped stitches OFF the left needle, leaving them in a limbo land. Move slowly – you don’t want to lose them!

3. Move the next two (picked up) stitches completely off the left needle onto the right

3. Move the next two (picked up) stitches completely off the left needle onto the right

4. Pick up the two dropped with the left needle. Phew, I bet you feel safer now...

4. Pick up the two dropped with the left needle. Phew, I bet you feel safer now…

5. Shift your two moved stitches back from right to left needle. You've essentially crossed over two sets of 2 stitches!

5. Shift your two moved stitches back from right to left needle. You’ve essentially crossed over two sets of 2 stitches!

6. And now simply knit each stitch in turn... Magic

6. And now simply knit each stitch in turn… Magic

7. Cable! If you want the cable to run RIGHT TO LEFT, simply follow the same steps, but pick up your initial two stitches in step one up from the BACK instead of the FRONT.

7. Cable! If you want the cable to run RIGHT TO LEFT, simply follow the same steps, but pick up your initial two stitches in step one up from the BACK instead of the FRONT.

Round and round she goes...

Round and round she goes…

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