Combining cables when some start on the right side and some start on the wrong.

Hello fellow knitters,

I would consider myself to be a fairly advanced Aran pattern knitter, but I just can’t seem to get my head around this problem and what solution might be the best.

I have some old books with traditional aran cable patterns examples in them, and I would like to combine some of them into a scarf pattern. However some of the cables I want to use start on the wrong side and some on the right. I have thought of a few ways to get around this problem but would like to get some advice from others.


  1. I could just add in a row of seed stitch/garter stitch on the first row for the cables that start on the wrong side.
  2. I could skip the first row of the cables and begin with row 2 so that they start on the right side too, but then my rows will be uneven and I will be ending the cables at different points when I cast off and to me it won’t look right if one cable ends on a completed round and the others only half way.

I would appreciate any advice and guidance you could give me with this problem and look forward to your insight.

If you have any questions or need some clarification do please let me know!

Welcome to the forum!
Are the cables all in stockinette or are they a mix of stockinette and another pattern stitch?
Do you want all the cables to turn at the same row or can they be staggered?
It wouldn’t be unusual for different cable patterns to start with different rows of say stockinette stitch and then continue either in register or staggered. Usually the cables end on a plain row with the bind off rather than right at a cable turn anyway.
It might help to know the patterns that you’re considering combining.

Yes cables are all in stst, and I will include pictures!

Essentially the problem I have is one cable is a 8 row repeat and the other is 32, meaning that for every repeat of 32 I have 4 full repeats of the 8 cable…which is a symmetry that I would like to keep however, the 8 cable starts on the right and the 32 starts on the wrong side, so I won’t be able to keep the symmetry if I add in a filler row at the beginning of the 32 cable.

I’ve tried to just switch the knits and purls around in the first row essentially making it right side but I run into problems then with cable crossing.

I hope you can help!!

I don’t see any reason that these cables can’t be knit as written with just a tweak to the starting row on the Wishbone pattern. Work a row of the cable in stockinette for row 1 then renumber the following rows so that the cable cross becomes row 2 instead of row 1. Now the cable crosses for both patterns are on an even number row.
The Triple Cross pattern is rather intricate and doesn’t have a match to the Wishbone. Aran sweaters often run these cables independently. You may want to end the Triple with a row 32 then continue in reverse stockinette as the background while the Wishbone continues to a convenient end row.

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You might consider a lead in and lead out to your cables at the ends of the scarf. A few rows (or more) of a custom rib.
I did this with the bottom and top of a sweater with a cable insert and it worked out well for me. The cables look like they kind of continue without cabling rather than stopping (or starting) suddenly at a set row. I looked at each cable and ribbed based on whether the first row was raised or recessed. Raised is a knit or cable column and recessed is a cross over or purl.
For instance the rib might be
p3 k1 p2 k2 p2 k1 p3
for one cable pattern but then followed with
k2 p1 k6 p2 k6 p1 k2
for the next cable pattern.
I’ve just made these up as an example to give the idea. It’s kind of like a number of set up rows before the main event. It might be easier to design the custom rib when looking at a swatch of the cable rather than the pattern row instructions.
Then if the scarf is wider than the cable panels adding whatever custom rib you feel fits with what you already have. For my sweater I bordered each with a p3 then a regular k2 p2.
It gives the impression that the design has started although the cable pattern is not yet being followed, and could help to fill row 1 and row 32 where you have a row start discrepancy or it could be used in addition to salmonmac’s solution on the cable start rows.
Maybe try it on a swatch and see if you like the way it looks.
You might also consider what is going at each end of the scarf, if it is a cast on and bind off in pattern or some other border patterns or tassles etc. These might also be spaced out or designed with the cable and/or rib spacing in mind.

Just a thought.