Cable doesn't look right

Wondered if someone could shed some light on this please. I’ve started this cable cardigan which looks lovely in the picture but my reality is a bit different. I’ve just completed the first cable section and it’s a mess! The only part of it that looks correct is the bottom r/h part even though I think I’m doing the cable stitches correctly. Even if I’m not, there’s no explanation as to why the cable doesn’t line up properly with the ribbing as I’ve definitely knitted the correct number of stitches as per the pattern instructions. Also, it seems strange that the right side is the purl side in this instance. Is it me or the pattern (it was a free one) or both??!

The pattern does look good on the lower right against the reverse stockinette background. Are you using a cable needle to work the cables or doing it without a cable needle?
The left side and the second part of the right side cable look like left twist stitches rather than true cables. For the your pattern’s left leaning cable two sts are held in front, 1 or 2sts purled then 2sts knit from the cable needle.

The reverse stockinette background helps to make the cable sts stand out and is the correct way to work this pattern. That looks great.

Here’s also the 2/1 Right purl cross just for comparison.

Thanks for the quick reply. I’ve watched the two videos and this is what I’m doing. Well, the only thing different is that I’m knitting the cable stitches from the cable needle (yes, I’m using a straight metal one) rather than transferring them back to the left hand needle but I can’t see how this will make a difference? Also, I don’t understand why the bottom of the cable pattern doesn’t match up neatly with the ribbing as in the pattern photo.

I think if it were me I’d try putting the stitches held on the cable needle back onto the main needle making sure I don’t reorder them. I think that somehow you might be rotating the cable needle and knitting the second stitch first. I’ve done that. It wasn’t until I put the stitches back onto the main needle that I saw what was happening. I can’t think what the problem with rib and cable placement might be.

I’ll try that, thanks (after some unravelling :anguished: ). It could be that’s where I’m going wrong. The cable not matching up with the rib doesn’t look good but there doesn’t seem to be a solution unless I try and work out where the cable should start and amend the pattern accordingly.

You could work the cable stitches again before frogging to see if that’s the problem. If they come out right, problem solved. If they don’t, you’ve not invested much time. You won’t have to work an entire row, just enough of the stitches to try the cable again. I’d work the cross, work a few more stitches after the cable, turn and work the stitches in pattern, repeat as many times as needed to see if it’s working. I hope that makes sense. It’s a technique I use when frogging is gonna happen but why not test something first.

Maybe the cable needle is twisting before you knit the sts off it? That might twist the sts.

It looks to me like you have an error in your ribbing.
The rib in the pattern photo is a 2 x 2 rib and your project has mostly 2 x 2 rib but where the cable runs from you have a single column of knit rather than a double column. This has caused the cable to misalign with the ribbing on the left and has also effected where the cable runs out of the rib on the right.

In some patterns there is a decrease or increase row between the rib and the body of the sweater. Oftentimes the rib has no visual or design link to the body (which bugs me) and the 2 are like separate elements, frequently having a knit column interrupted before a cable by a decrease stutch which throws a slant or a purl bump or some other yuk into the fabric rather than a beautiful flow of uninterrupted Vs.
I’m quite picky about how a hem or cuff flow into the body or sleeve and will space my decreases or increases purposely so that they do not interrupt the flow. For instance where a pattern says decrease/increase x number evenly I might not, I make it reasonably even but only decrease/increase in the purl columns so the squished stitches are set back visually and allow the uninterrupted knit stitches to sit forwards and show off their loviness.
It takes a little extra time but if you use markers or yarn scraps (and put your feet up with a cup of tea whilst doing it) you will be able to work out where the cables will run up out of the rib and place inc/dec between.

Some patterns actually tell you exactly where to put those inc/dec so that it all works out. Some tell you where to put them and it still jogs at the transition.

Often my most prized part of a project is the little detail I know I worked out and which nobody else ever notices. But I know I did it.

Might be worth making a swatch of rib and cable so you can practise this on a test piece first. Swatches seem boring but are incredibly useful, I often leave my swatch on a stitch holder so i can go back and try out the next tricky bit, or some different types of stitches or different bind offs.

Good luck. It’s a lovely pattern.


Many thanks for all the helpful pointers. Here is my second attempt. Things seemed to be going much better when I transferred the cable stitches to the left needle to knit them, as advised (so I think I was indeed knitting the stitches in the wrong order) but then I noticed the top part of the cable pattern still looks wonky and I’ve no idea why as I really think I’m doing everything right this time.

Yes, it puzzled me those two single columns of ribbing in amongst the 2 x 2 rib but now I see the bottom of the cable pattern falls either side of them, so appears to be intentional (although still looks bad imo).


The lower portion of the diamond looks grand! Congrats for figuring it out.
The upper cables are still twisted however but you’re almost there.

Now for the upper part of the diamond the cables are the same but the cable held sts to the back and held sts to the front switch sides. First work the cable sts held to the front so that the knit sts lean left. Then work the cable sts held to the back so that the knit sts lean right. That’ll complete the diamond shape / .

Once you get through this with a feeling for how the sts are twisting into the wrong order, you’ll be on your way with this lovely sweater.

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Thanks again, I’ll study this tomorrow as my brain is a bit addled now (it’s evening here). It looks like I’ll be able to finally sort the cabling out with your helpful instructions but the ribbing will need a lot of working out to get rid of the two single columns and tie the bottom of the cable pattern up with the double rib. It also means I’d have to start from the beginning again. Maybe easier just to find another pattern that I can follow verbatim…sigh!

The difference in the ribbing is not really noticeable. There are often aran patterns by the most proficient designers where the cables don’t align with the rib. I’ve never had anyone comment to me one way or the other about this alignment.
If it bothers you and it’s always something that you’ll see when you look at the sweater, then by all means start the pattern over. For me, it’s the galloping horse standard. If you can’t see it from a galloping horse, it isn’t a problem.

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It’s definitely a personal preference thing, I agree.

What size are you making? It looks like the ribbing is only out by one or two stitches and I note that the start of the ribbing rows differs between sizes. Could that be the cause?
With the ribbing, it looks like you’ve rotated the cable needle before working the stitches - could it have inadvertently twisted after you’ve transferred the stitches?

I’m (trying) to make the 18-24 mths size but all the sizes appear to have the odd two single rib columns so I suspect the cable pattern is designed to start either side of them even though the photo shows something different / much nicer! With my second attempt at the cabling I was careful to transfer the stitches back to the left needle to ensure I didn’t get them twisted but it still didn’t work out. Trouble is, as a novice I’m mostly fine now with following a pattern exactly but am not good at seeing when something’s wrong or needs to be amended…I know I should persevere but I think at the moment, I’d rather go on to something more straightforward and revisit this at a later date. It would be interesting to know if free patterns tend to have more mistakes, maybe an instance of you get what you pay for (or not as the case might be!).

I admire your persistence and agree that sometimes there are patterns and projects that need to be set aside for a better time. Each project you work will give you more experience with reading patterns and with knitting techniques.
Now and then work on a swatch with cables. Try 4 or 6 stitch cables to the right and the left just because they are a bit more straightforward than these knit/purl traveling cables. You’ll get it, I have no doubt.
I’d love to say that paid patterns are error-free but they’re not. A certain popular knitting magazine is notorious for it’s pattern errors. There are designers whose patterns (free or paid) are more dependable than others, ones who test knit their designs and text edit them or have this done for them.
Let us know what projects you’re working on and how things are going. We love to keep up on forum members and their work.

Thanks again for everyone’s help. I wouldn’t have got very far without it as I’ve no one to show me how (Mum and Grandma both avid knitters but sadly no longer here). I have just found out there’s a “knit & natter” group near me so plan to drop in sometime but it’s great to be able to come here for expert advice. In the meantime it’s cable practise for me (I did manage to complete a cable knit scarf ok at one point) and I have my eye on some “easy peasy” fingerless gloves, before I go back to more complicated stuff… just a bit of ribbing and then rows and rows of stocking stitch…bliss!


The pattern attached to your original post suggests that size one starts with K2 [P2, K2]; size two starts with K1 [P2, K2]; size three starts with [P2, K2]; and size four starts with P1, K2 [P2, K2].
This could account for your ribbing being out of sync. It’s worth highlighting the instructions for the size you’re making as it’s easy to read the wrong number.
Do you have a local yarn shop? It may be worth calling in and showing the cable technique - staff are usually very happy to help and often it’s a simple error to fix!
I’ve done most of my learning the hard way, ie through mistakes!!

I’ve bought a couple of patterns before but I have made just as many free patterns. My own personal preference for free is the Drops website, there is such a big collection I feel like I could knit for ever and not run out. I also seem to get on with they way they are written. That doesn’t mean I don’t get stuck (I do) but I’m comfortable with them. I have read that Drops patterns can be confusing though so maybe it is one of those individual things where some people like them and some don’t. Drops also have tutorial videos to help with bits of the pattern and they link these on the pattern page which makes them easy to find.

I hope you enjoy your next project and have a go with some different cables in the future.

Mel61, I thought I was following the right instructions for that size as I knew the largest size was noted last but it’s possible I may have got it wrong. I intend to revisit this at some point (don’t want to let it beat me!) and I’ll do as you suggest and highlight the relevant instructions in order to be sure. I’ve recently discovered the yarn shop in town where I bought my cable needles so I’ll bear it in mind they may be able to help as well.
Creations, I hadn’t heard of the Drops website…will investigate, thanks for the recommendation as always on the look out for things I may be able to knit.