New to Cabling .... C3B and C3F

Learning to cable and have made some practice swatches. I’ve got the C4 figured out, but I found a pattern that says to C3b, C3f but no instructions. Do you slip 1 st onto the needle, knit 2, then knit off the needle or is it slip 2 onto needle, knit 1, then knit off the needle? Is there a standard rule for cabling an odd amount of sts?

Thanks much,

The F and B refer to front and back. A C3b means to slip three sts on to the cable needle, bring them to the back, knit the next three sts and then knit the sts on the cable needle.

The C3f is the same except the resting sts on the cable needle are brought to the front of the work.

A series of these will make twisting cables.

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Hmm, I’m confused then … for C4, my instructions say to slip 2 st, k2, k2 from needle, crossing 2x2. Following the same logic … if you slip 3 sts, k3, k3 from needle, shouldn’t the instructions be C6F?

Here is the row:
K4, C3B, C3F, K6, C3B, C3F END K4
Per your instructions it would be … K4, sl 3 with needle in back, k3, k3 from needle, sl 3 with needle in front, k3, k3 from needle … correct?

No wait, the number in the cable term refers to how many sts involved total, not how many are put on the cable needle. So your C4 instructions are correct. Somewhere in the pattern it should explain the C3b/f, how many are on the needle, but yes the b and f tells you whether to hold the stitch(es) to the front or back of your work.

Thanks suzeeq! I thought the number in the instructions should indicate how many sts are used in the cable. My problem now is that I’m practicing from a large book of sample patterns and the only cabling instructions given are for C4f/b. Then it’s just pages of sample patterns with no further instructions. Guess I’ll just try it both ways and see what works. Thought maybe there was a standard rule for cabling an odd number.

Thanks again!

can you tell from the picture of the stitch pattern if one stitch is moving in front and in back of two? Or the other way around with two stitches moving in front and back of one?

The pic is pretty small, but I think it looks like 2 moving around 1. I’ll try that first. Thanks for the help!

Yep, there should be a picture of the cable and you can often tell from that which way the sts go.

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You’re right…my coffee hadn’t kicked in yet. :sleepy:

The last reply to this topic was over 9 years ago.
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My response:

Yes, respectfully, I’d like to clarify the meaning of C3B and C3F
After confusing the meaning of C3B and C3F, the cables on the sweater
I was knitting came out wrong. I searched online and found:
C3B means Cable 3 Back, Knit 3, then Knit the 3 cabled stitches.
C3F means Cable 3 Forward, Knit 3, then Knit the 3 cabled stitches.

I tried these directions, but the cables came out wrong.
So I knit a swatch and tried different combinations to determine exactly what C3B and C3F means.

Since I already knew that:

T3B means: cable 1 back, Knit 2, Purl 1 cabled stitch
Shorthand: T3B = c1b, K2, P1c
Total stitches in Twisting cable sequence: 3

T3F means: cable 2 forward, Purl 1, Knit 2 cabled stitches
Shorthand: TF3 = c2f, P1, K2c
Total stitches in Twisting cable sequence: 3

CB4 means: cable 2 back, Knit 2, Knit 2 cabled stitches
Shorthand: CB4 = c2b, K2, K2c
Total stitches in cable sequence: 4

CF4 means: cable 2 forward, Knit 2, Knit 2 cabled stitches
Shorthand: CF4 = c2f, K2, K2c
Total stitches in cable sequence: 4
CB8 means: cable 4 back, Knit 4, Knit 4 cabled stitches
Shorthand: CB8 = c4b, K4, K4c
Total stitches in cable sequence: 8

CF8 Means: cable 4 forward, Knit 4, Knit 4 cabled stitches
Shorthand: c4f, K4, K4c
Total stitches in cable sequence: 8

Since T3B and T3F, involve both Knit and Purl stitches, but all combinations of C4F, C8B and C8F involve only Knit stitches, I decided to follow the T3B (c1b, K2,P1c) and T3F (c2f, P1,K2c) cable sequences, with all knit stitches:
C3B (c1b,K2,K1c) and C3F (c2f,K1,K2c).

THIS WORKED! FINALLY after hours of searching and making errors, the cable came out perfectly!

Then, when I went to my craft/knitting group and started to share the problems I had had determining the meanings of cable codes meant, the most experienced knitter in our group called out, “C3B and C3F!”

Astonished, I asked her, “You had the same problem?”
She replied, “Yes, and I looked all over the internet and couldn’t find the right answer.”

After comparing notes, I was glad to see that she had come up with the same answer.

I want to post this information here to help other knitters avoid all the problems and hours of frustration that my friend and I had.

C3B = Cable 1 back, Knit 2, Knit 1 Cable stitch
C3F = Cable 2 forward, Knit 1, Knit 2 Cable stitches

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This is amazing! I couldn’t find any information either until I found your post that started 10 years ago!!! Thank you for keeping it up.
I just created an account and will keep you handy for future questions I might have in the future.
Happy knitting :yarn:

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Miri, welcome to the Knitting Help forum. You will find this site full of helpful people, posts, and videos.

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I found that 10 yo post too, but I am still not clear. Thanks for any advise you can give.
My Rowan “Alba” sweater pattern say:
C3B=slip next 2 sts onto cable needle and leave at back of work, K1, then K2 from the cable needle.
C3F=slip next st onto cable needle and leave at front of work, K2, the K1 from cable needle. This sounds the same but different.

The cables cross over and under each other. It makes the fabric “lean” left or right and travel under or over the other stitches.
C3B slipping 2 stitches into a cable needle and holding them at the back of the work, then knitting 1 stitch from your regular left needle, means you have crossed stitches over. The 3rd stitch from the needle has crossed in front of the the 2 on the cable needle, whilst the 2 on the cable needle cross behind the single stitch in front. Those 2 stitches appear to lean and travel from right to left.

You’re right, C3F sounds the same but different.
1 stitch slipped onto the cable needle and held in front. 2 stitches worked from the regular left needle, this brings them behind the single stitch and appear to lean right and travel under the single stitch.

It is just a mirror image so one travels left, the other travels right.

If you work as described in the pattern it will make sense when you see it and will produce the very pretty cable pattern.

Such an unusual design. Very glamorous.