Reading a cable pattern

Hi! This is my first time using a site like this (blogs, etc) so I am sorry in advance if I am not going about it the right way. I am a trying to advance my knitting skills and want to try a cable sweather but I do not understand the patterns. the one I am interested in right now has a panel pattern of 6 rows but when I go to start the pattern it only used the first 4 rows and then says to continue in patterns until it measures . . . I have tried reading a few of the cable knit patterns and I think I am obviously missing a key ingredient. Help?

Is there a chart that shows all rows? Many times the first few rows are for the setup and then you’re directed to the overall pattern. If there’s a link to the pattern, that will help us assist you in figuring it out.


Good for you on trying those Cables. They really are lovely and impressive far beyond their difficulty.

Your pattern generally has the cable pattern rows numbered: Row 1, Row 2, etc. Often it will say, Purl across the cable stitches on all wrong-side rows. THat means knit the knit stitches on the wrong side, and purl the purl stitches, the ones with the lumps.

Sometimes the first row or so will be to establish your pattern. Then the following rows form the repeated portion of the cable pattern. So out of your 6 rows, perhaps the first 2 rows sort of set the stage. Then the last 4 rows of your pattern are the ones you repeat over and over to form your lovely cable stitch.

Without the actual pattern or a chart like suzeeq suggests, there’s not much more I can say.


Thank you for your reply, the following is a copy of the first part of the pattern. As you will see it gives you 6 rows for the panel pattern but when you start knitting the back it states that the “These 4 rows form pat. Panel pat is now in position. Cont in pat, keeping cont of Panel Pat. . .” that is where I get lost, what happens to the last two rows that actually have the cable pattern in it? How do I fit in the rows 5 and 6? I was thinking of running into Michaels store and hope some working knows how to read knitting patterns and can explain it to me.

Panel Pat (worked over 10 sts)
1st row: (RS). P1. K8. P1.
2nd row: K1. P8. K1.
3rd and 4th rows: As 1st and 2nd rows.
5th row: P1. C4F. C4B. P1.
6th row: As 2nd row. These 6 rows form panel pat.

**With smaller needles, cast on 103 (119-135) sts.
1st row: (RS). K1. *P1. K1. Rep from * to end of row.
2nd row: P1. *K1. P1. Rep from * to end of row.
Rep last 2 rows once more inc 1 in center of last row. 104 (120-136) s

Change to larger needles and proceed in pat as follows:

1st row: (RS). P1. [(K1. P1) 3 times. Work 1st row Panel Pat] 6 (7-8) times. (K1. P1) 3 times. P1.
2nd row: K1. [(K1. P1) 3 times. Work 2nd row Panel Pat] 6 (7-8) times. (K1. P1) 3 times. K1.
3rd row: P1. [(P1.K1) 3 times. Work 3rd row Panel Pat] 6 (7-8) times. (P1.K1) 3 times. P1.
4th row: K1. [(P1. K1) 3 times. Work 4th row Panel Pat] 6 (7-8) times. (P1. K1) 3 times. K1.
These 4 rows form pat. Panel pat is now in position. Cont in pat, keeping cont of Panel Pat, until work from beg measures 16½ (17-17½) ins [42 (43-44.5) cm], ending with RS facing for next row.

I think These 4 rows form pattern' means that they are the set up rows -forming’ the cable pattern. Do rows 5 and 6 next and repeat all 6 rows for the pattern.

I had a different answer, but I read sue’s answer and read the pattern again, and I think mine was wrong and Sue’s is right. :slight_smile:

It took me a while to figure it out…

Thanks for all your help, I will give that a try and let you know how it turns out! Thanks again!

Yes, I think Suzeeq is right… not the easiest to figure out!

For the record, I’ve seen times when a cable pattern will say something like, “2nd row and all even # rows: knit the knit sts and purl the purl sts.” It’s the right-side rows, the odd-# rows that get the pattern’s cabling worked on. So occasionally, there may be 8 rows total, but the directions only count the 4 right-side rows that the pattern’s cables work on - the wrong-side rows are nothing to worry about, so the pattern essentially assumes you know to work the stitches on that side however they fall.

Does that make sense?