I’m thinking about designing a rectangular shawl with cables. I read somewhere that cables are ribbing–is that true? If it is, do I need any kind of a border to prevent curling like stockinette does? I may do a border for decorative purposes or I may not; it would be nice to know I have a choice if the border isn’t a complete necessity.
The cable sts between the cross overs are like ribbing, but there’s more to a cable pattern than just those stitches. You would have a background, usually reverse stockinette, which if left as edge sts would curl. It really depends how you intend to make it - one large cable, several small to medium ones or what…
Cables are generally done on a background of reverse stockinette to make them “pop” more – this is what makes it resemble ribbing. The cable stitches themselves are knit on the right side (purled on the wrong side) and the few stitches on either side of the cable are purled on the right side and knit on the wrong side. Cables also pull in, just like ribbing does. It shouldn’t curl like stockinette, unless there is a bunch of stockinette right at the edges in your pattern.
If you did solid cables with no purl stitches on the right side, however, it would curl.
I also think that because it’s going to be a shawl, a border might be nice regardless of whether there is curling or not.
Cables could be described as ribbing - but they are not a symetrical rib - and they can be done on a variety of backgrounds. To be safe I would count on putting on a border to prevent curling. or you could do a large enough swatch to see if your particular cable pattern curls.
Thanks everybody!!! This is really helpful information!!!
Cable panels are typically done with a border of 3 garter stitches on each edge and three reverse stockinette stitches on each side of the twisted stitches. IOW, if you were knitting a piece with three cables it would look something like this:
(RS)K3, P3, work cable, P3, work cable, P3, work cable, P3, K3
(WS)K all the way across
That would give you a nice garter stitch edge and the reverse stockinette stitch background for your cables. You can also use two rev st st on either side of your cables as well. It’s personal preference. I’m knitting a pair of gloves for my dad right now that has a cable motif up the front center and I’m only working 2 purl stitches on either side of the braid.