Cables too tight

Hi there, I am having trouble with cables. The pattern I’ve got is MillaMia children’s Magnum cardigan. The wool they recommend is MillaMia naturally Soft Merino, unfortunately, I’m on a tight budget and found Drops merino extra fine on offer and thought this might be a good substitute. I also live in Wales, UK which means we don’t have as many sport weight yarns as in the USA. The needle size is 3.25 mm.
I’m new to making cables but have managed to work out the way the cables are formed, the problem I have is that they become very tight even when I knit as loosely as possible.
Looking at the picture on the pattern the cables look very soft, mine don’t!! especially with the three center cables which consist of 12 stitches, so knitting the second set of stitches from the cable holder is quite tight, any advice would be greatly appreciated thankyou.

Your cables look beautiful, but you are right they are tighter than wanted to achieve the same look as the pattern picture.

It’s not your knitting that’s causing a problem.

The yarn you’re using is a DK rather than a sport weight. I substitute yarns a lot and I also knit on a budget but I pretty much stick to a yarn of the same weight so I can achieve gauge and get the right kind of flow and drape in the pattern.

Others may have some other ideas for you but if it was me I’d save this yarn for a different project (one which calls for dk) and buy a sport weight for this cardigan.

Here’s the drops yarn list which I find really helpful

There is a yarn in the drops “A” category which is sport and fingering weight and more likely to achieve a better knitting gauge for the pattern. It is called Drops Baby Merino which they list as sport weight. You might have a look at that or one of the other finer yarns for this project.

I also live in the UK
Woolwarehouse have drops baby Marino on sale just now so you could get it at a reduced price and it would work out quite cost effective
Here’s the link in case you are not familiar with this online shop.

I usually buy yarn for a couple of projects in one order to get free delivery too. They have some great sale yarns which keep me browsing for far too long!

Whatever yarn you choose may turn out differently after washing too. I’d suggest a gauge swatch made in cables and washed an dried, so you can judge what the final piece will feel and look like before working up the whole project.

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On a budget could mean you have to use the yarn you already bought. Salmonmac or someone else might have an idea or three about adapting this pattern to your yarn. Otherwise I think finding another pattern might be your best option.

Magnum Cardigan

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As noted, the problem isn’t your cables which look very good, but that the yarn is much thicker than the pattern calls for (21sts/4inches rather than 25sts/4inches). You could try going up a needle size or two which would make a larger size sweater. You could also use the numbers for a smaller pattern size but you may not want to do so much fiddling with the pattern.

It may help to look at the yarn suggestions on the Ravelry page to see if one will work or to look for a lighter weight yarn at Knit Picks or Drops as Creations suggested for a good yarn at a reasonable price.

Hi, I’m wondering if the cables are tight because you are working them too frequently? The cables in the centre of your picture look like they should be the looser cables at the front of the pattern. These are worked over a higher number of rows than the narrower cables on either side of the front? Sorry if I’m not interpreting the pictures correctly but it looks like you’re working all the cables at the same rate

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Btw, you don’t have to start again! You can drop down the twelve stitches and rework the stitches with a crochet hook, making the cable cross at the appropriate row!

Thank you so much for your help and advice, especially as you too live in the UK. I shall certainly have a look at the baby merino yarn, I must admit I was a bit sceptical about my yarn but wasn’t sure what else I could use, thank you again.

I’ve just had an Eureka moment, I’ve had another look at my pattern instructions and you are quite right, I have been adding an extra twist on the 3 central cables, I’ve undone everything and started again and it’s totally different without that row of cable.!! A timely lesson in reading instructions carefully ( i wasn’t confident that I could do the crochet hook tip!) Thank you.

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Thank you, I find looking for substitute yarn quite a problem especially if I need something a bit cheaper than the recommended yarn, I’m going to use all your suggestions in future to help narrow down the baffling choice of yarn. Thank you again.

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I’m glad it’s sorted - it’s so frustrating when you can’t see what’s gone wrong!
If you have a problem in the future, this clip shows how to repair!!

Wow I’m so glad I joined this forum , so much great help and much needed advice from everyone thankyou so much from an inexperienced knitter!


Thank you for your help.

We’re glad you joined top.
This is a lovely welcoming site. I found I when I had a yarn problem and have been here ever since.

There is a great site called yarnsub which will show you some different options for yarn, you can add/change fi,terse to suit your preferences such as animal fibre, synthetic fibres, lower price etc.
Sometimes this very helpful… although I doesn’t tell you what is on sale.

Hope this project goes well for you and I hope you’ll post a photo when finished.

I know what it is like to use the not-exactly-the-same yarn for a project. I often want to use up leftovers so it will never be exactly like the original pattern. In this case, my question is - Did you knit up a sample to gauge? It looks like you have to use a smaller yarn or a larger needle and adapt the pattern. This may seem daunting to you but very doable. When you are short on yarn you can always undo your sample and use that in your project. You just can’t do a full wash and size but you will have an idea of what the results will be like, even so. There is no law that says a swatch has to be 4"x4". 3x3 or 2x2 depending on the yarn and pattern to get you gauge. Or make it oblong 2" by 6" - a few inches of garter or stockinette and then the lace, cable or whatever specialty stitch. Remember knitting can be fun if you aren’t obsessed with the outcome but get into the process and understand it. Then it becomes a fun challenge. Try not to have time limits. They will take away from the fun of exploring in your project.

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I agree with what you are stating salmonmac…I had left over yarn that I wanted to get out of my house and made a few sweaters using it but had to use a larger needle for one to get the pattern done correctly and after a few rows in I noticed it was a little bigger so I did as you’re stating and went down to the next smaller size . It turned out fine!

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An update of my Magnum cardigan

I have managed the back now onto the left front, and this is where I need help once again!
After casting off 5 stitches and completing the row for armhole shaping the next instructions are : Keeping armhole edge straight Dec one stitch at neck edge on every 3rd row. Work straight until front measures etc.
I don’t know what it means by straight, is it to carry on without Dec, can you help please.

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The back of the sweater is beautiful! I love those neat cables.
Yes, “keeping the armhole straight” or “work straight” similar to the instruction to “knit even” means to work without increases or decreases in this section of the pattern.
It’s going to be such a pretty sweater.

Thank you so much for your quick response I can now carry on!! I had a feeling it was to carry on as usual with the pattern but wasn’t sure. Thank you again for your continued help and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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