Cabling without a cable needle

I am making a reversible cabled scarf from the book Cables Untangled. I started knitting the scarf using one of my dpn’s to cable with. Then I got to looking at how to cable without a cable needle. I really like the idea. I’ve been trying two different ways one from grumperina and the other from wendyknits . Both are similar but slightly different. I think I like grumperina’s a little better.

But I’m having problems with both of them. I think I knit too tight because inserting the tip of my needle into the three furthest stitches is really difficult to do, taking alot of concentration and dare I say force! I don’t think the yarn likes it, and it doesn’t make sense to spend all the extra time doing that when just cabling with a cable needle goes faster, at this point.

Any suggestions? I know I should probably loosen up but don’t want to do it on this scarf to maintain an even tension. Unless I frog and start over using this technique. I suppose I could do that, but I already have a foot of the scarft done. What would you do? Do you prefer to cable with or without cable needle?

I like the idea of cabling without a cable needle for the portability factor as well as not having to search for where the cable needle is.

i sort of think both of those are perilously close to dropping stitches. i use a cable hook- you slide the stitches off the needle, knit the next then put the ones from the hook back on the needle. when i’m not using it, i hook it into the piece a little bit down from the needles.

i like the hook more than a cabling needle or dpn, because i find that the CN and DPN sometimes slip out of the set aside stitches.

i see that you like the idea of going without an extra tool, but you should consider one, i was really frightened and frustrated by cables when i was using the CN, now i really sort of enjoy doing them.

I usually will go without a cable needle or hook if there’s only 2-3 stitches to crossover. I’m a loose knitter and tend to use a needle size smaller than what is usually suggested. This gives me room to do my crossovers. Any more than 3 stitches and I bring out the cabling needle.

Maybe go down a needle size, loosen up your knitting and that might give you enough leeway to do 3 stitch crossovers. You just have to make sure that you still maintain an even gauge throughout the whole piece.


I am about to start that scarf! How is it looking? What colour are you doing it in?

I’m really loving it! I was in the mood to start a cable project, and I had 3 balls of Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Natural Heather, which is a light tan color. The yarn itself is just so-so, but its what I had and I’m loving the pattern itself.

I have only read about the needleless cable. It always looked like a lot of fooling around to me when I have no difficulties using a cable needle with the little dip in it, or the hook kind. Some people love it thought, and it is always fun to learn new feats.

I only have one cable hook, and its a much smaller size than the needles I’m working with, so knitting off of it is kinda difficult. Thats how I started out this project actually. I’ve been using the dpn, and its ok…its just that I tend to lose it in the cushions of the couch, lol! Maybe I should just make a trip to the store and pick up some cable hooks…

Been considering getting KP Harmony cable needles, but I do kinda like the hook idea. Ugh! So many choices! lol…I’m so not a decision maker.

Hmm…now thats a good idea! So many options…bleh! :teehee:

Cabling without a cable needle is just another tool in the toolbox – good for some situations, not for others.

If I’m knitting with worsted weight wool on #8s and the cable is relatively narrow, my own fingers work better than any cable needle. If I’m knitting with fine or slippery yarn, I want the extra security of a dpn.

It’s like anesthesia vs “natural” childbirth – options, not imperatives.

I learned to cable without a cable needle. Use… a bobby pin!

Honest. Just bend it out to make a V. Slide the stitches onto it over the wavy side, then knit them off on the smooth side. When you don’t need it, just put it in/out of your knitting so that both ends stick out of one side, and the V bend is on the other side of your work.

If you lose it… well, there’s always tons more of bobby pins, right?



Great idea. :cheering: Knitters are so clever. Whatever it takes, whatever works are our mottoes. :thumbsup: Merigold

and, a bobby pin will definitely clear airport security!