Cabling w/o a cable needle?

I heard this technique mentioned in one of the threads. Of course I forgot which one, so I can’t quote it.

Is it possible to cable w/o a cable needle? If so, where can I learn? And why has this secret key to the peaceful path been hidden from the general public? Was the Pentavarite involved? :?? tee hee!

Really, if it’s possible, I MUST learn! I’m starting a poncho and I’m modifying the pattern by adding a more complicated cable than it calls for. I’d love to be able to do it w/o having to switch between needles.

well i think i saw one of the ladies at Sit n knit doing it without any needle at all but i couldn’t really figure out what she was doing and kept getting distracted.

you could always do it with a spare DPN or are you talking about doing it like she was without a needle at all?

I do it all the time! It’s fantastic. It does involve slipping stitches off the needle completely, which freaks some people out for fear of dropping them but they are off momentarily while you reverse the order of stitches and then off you go. I find it much less cumbersome and actually enjoy cables this way. For me, I’ve only really tried it with small cables (6sts max), I haven’t figured it out with big complicated cables. Here’s a few links for you:

ooooooh i did that last week on a little cable i was using and i was losing stitches so i stopped it…so instead of leaving them hang there you are actually just taking them off, switching them around and then working them?

i was losing the stitches when i started working the second set of stitches so that was what made me stop it…hrmmmmm :thinking:

theres also mock cables…

I’ve tried it, but much prefer the security of a dpn. I get all tense and feel like I have to rush to get the stitches back on. I don’t like getting tense over knitting. :wink:

Yeah, you don’t leave the stitches off. All of the stitches are back on the needle in whatever reversed order is called for before you start working any of them. It’s a matter of preference, I don’t like cable needles I find them cumbersome and they really get in the way, my stitches don’t come out even and I didn’t like working cables because of that reason. Some people enjoy the security of using a cable needle. Whatever works for you! With larger cables, I would still use a cable needle, but with smaller ones (for example, in the pattern Starsky from there are lots of small cables (like 1x1 cables) that work great without a cable needle.

I can’t wait to get home and try that!! I like the method where all the stitches go back on the needle before you start working them. So clever!!

It’ll be great for the pattern I’m trying right now, it’s all 2x2 cables and is annoying to keep using the cable needle 3 or 4 times in a row.

<raises hand> Can work get out early today???

I prefer doing cables w/o a cable needle unless I’m making large cables. Right now I’m making Calla without a cable needle. I use the method that is explained in The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe. I insert my right needle tip into the far stitches that will end up being first on my left needle. (e.g., For a 4-stitch cable, I insert the right tip into the 3rd and 4th sts on the left needle.) Then I slide all the cable stitches off the left needle. Since my right needle tip is holding half of the stitches, the only ones completely off needles are the ones that would normally be on the cable needle. Next I insert my left needle tip into the dropped stitches and move the cable stitches on my right needle tip back to the left needle. Then the cable stitches are twisted and ready to be worked. The only thing to remember is which side of the knitting to insert your right needle tip when you begin: 1) insert tip from the back for a left-twisting/front cable; 2) insert tip from the front for a right-twisting/back cable. If the pattern doesn’t mention which way the cable twists, here’s what to look for: If it says cable front, that means left twisting; if it says cable back, that means right twisting.

Grumperina does hers a different way:
Instead of working all the stitches at the same time, she splits it up. I had trouble with this method, but I’m sure there are those out there who prefer this method over the one I use. It’s just a matter of preference. :wink:

Thank you, Knit Queen!!!

I just tried it on my lunchbreak, and it worked! I didn’t lose any stitches and I really ENJOYED it! wooo hooooo!

I found the site to be the most helpful, but had a key point about bringing the yarn forward on back cables and to the back on front cables while you rearrange the stitches.



Now that I think about it, where you put the yarn (front or back) doesn’t matter for the tripod method, only if knit half and THEN twist, like the grump method. I guess I can stop that little bit of “magic”. (You know, magic, when you’re not sure how or why it works, but if you click your heels together three times and just follow the pattern, it somehow works out!)


I had never even considered cabling w/o a cable needle, but i’ve definitely bookmarked some of these sites for future reference!

It sounds a little more confusing for a beginner, but a lot less to mess around with when you’re deep into a project. Woo Hoo!

I still think of myself as a beginner.

I’d only done one afghan square with a single cable in it before, but it was enough that I got the hang of the cable needle. I found that I picked it up quite easily from the pics and instructions on the tripod site, and now I love cabling even more!