What is wrong with my cabling?

So, I started the Irish Hiking Scarf so many people were making here yesterday and it was also my first try at cabling. My grandmother showed me how to cable and I brought the rest of my project home with me.

Well… I ended up having to frog about 16 painstaking rows because it just didn’t look right. My cables came out twisted and looked like purls on the RS of the scarf.

Every time I went to cable, it felt very tight. Almost like it was a struggle to get it off of the cable needle and onto the right needle. The thing is, I can’t really figure out what I did wrong.

I’ve watched Amy’s video and I can’t seem to locate where my problem is.

Do you guys have any tips on how to master this concept? I’ve been having a really difficult time.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since I first tried cables, it’s that knitting loosely makes your knitting life much easier. Easier to get stitches onto the cable needle, easier to knit them off of the cable needle.

I’m not sure how you’re ending up with purls on the right side… could you describe what it is you’re doing, or maybe post a picture?


I don’t know if I can help, but I have a couple suggestions.

Make sure you’re always cabling on a “right side” row. On the Irish Hiking scarf all the stitches in the actual cable will be knit stitches. There are purl stitches that border the cable, but no purl stitches on the right side of the actual cable. When you slip your stitches onto the cable needle, make sure you slip as if to purl - both when you slip onto and off of the cable needle. Otherwise you’ll be twisting the stitch (and if you slip knitwise both on and off, you’ll be twisting twice) and that will both tighten up those stitches so it will be hard to knit into them, and could make them appear purled on the right side.

One way to do cables that might be easier for you, at least at first, is to rearrange the stitches first, then knit them.

For example, slide 3 stitches purlwise onto cable needle and let hang in back (or front depending which way you want the cable to cross) of work.
Slip next three stitches from left to right needle purlwise.
Slide the three stitches from the cable needle back onto the left needle without twisting them (the leftmost stitch on the cable needle will be the first stitch you slip back to the left needle).
Slip the three stitches you put on the right needle back on the left.
Now you have six stitches on the left needle that have been “crossed”.

Knit all six stitches from the left needle to the right in the normal manner.

I hope this helps!

Happy Cabling! :happydance: :happydance:


I think that’s what I’ve been doing - twisting stitches!

I was pulling the stitches off the left needle as if to knit them!

I’m going to try your method tonight and if that fails, I’ll post a picture so you can see my knitting.

Thanks guys!

When you slip your stitches onto the cable needle, make sure you slip as if to purl - both when you slip onto and off of the cable needle.

You don’t have to slip the stitches back on to the regular needle from the cable needle, just knit them off the cable needle.


Knitting the stitches directly off the cable needle will make your life much easier.

However, can I recommend that at some point you learn how to cable without a cable needle? I taught myself how using the technique outlined at grumperina.com and it makes cabling soooo much easier, faster and more pleasant.

Here’s a link to do cables w/o a cable needle - good for cables w/o a lot of stitches. Good tutorial - click around, it’ll show how to do left and right-twist cables:


Good luck! :wink: