Today’s post is going to be a photo tutorial on how to do double-knit cables. It’s taken directly from my pattern Six Braid Wedding Ring Scarf, and offered here now for free (you still have to pay for the pattern, I’m afraid, but it’s a great pattern!).
The tutorial starts with a little bit about strand management in double-knitting – because the best looking DK cables have a reverse stockinette background. It then goes on to talk about the cables themselves. This is an advanced tutorial on double-knitting. Basic tutorials can be found all sorts of other places- on the web, in books, in knitting magazines, etc. (though I might post one here as well if there’s enough interest).
Double-Knit Cable Tutorial
One of the most important techniques to learn in advanced double knitting is strand management. Double-knitting always has at least 2 strands that one must manage, but for any given stitch only one strand is ever used (the active strand). The other inactive strand(s) must be hidden.
Normally when stockinette on both sides is desired this is done by keeping the 2 strands together so that both are in the back when a stitch is knit and both are in the front when a stitch is purled. Thus, the inactive strands are never crossing in front of whichever side is active but are instead staying between the 2 layers.
Reverse stockinette is done slightly differently but still follows the principle of strand management: never let your inactive strands cross in front of your active work, i.e. if you’re knitting a stitch on the front side, the inactive strands must be held in the back and if you’re knitting a stitch on the back side, the inactive strands must be held in the front.
With reverse stockinette, you’re purling the first stitch of a pair and knitting the second, thus for the first stitch the active strand is in front and the inactive strand is in the back. For the second stitch the active strand is in back and the inactive strand is in front.
Reverse stockinette stranding
Cables in double knitting
There are several types of cables possible in double knitting but there are 2 types that are encountered more often than the others: forward cables and back cables. Whether the cables are stockinette, reverse stockinette, or a mixture of the two, they still follow the same basic principles explained below. As always, strand management is key.
Back cables only require a single cable needle.
1. With all strands in back, slip the first stitch onto the cable needle.
2. With all strands in front, slip the next stitch onto the cable needle.
3. Continue in this fashion until all necessary stitches are on the cable needle.
4. Hold the cable needle in back and make sure the strands are in front of the cable needle; knit the next stitch as the pattern calls for, i.e. a knit stitch with all strands in back for stockinette, a purl stitch with the active strand in front and inactive in back for reverse stockinette.
5. Move the cable needle to the front with the strands move behind it; knit the next stitch as the pattern calls for.
6. Continue in this fashion until all necessary stitches have been knit.
7. Knit the stitches from the cable needle as the pattern calls for.
Forward cables require 2 cable needles.
1. With all strands in back, slip the first stitch onto the first cable needle and hold it in front of the knitting needles.
2. With all strands in front, slip the second stitch onto the second cable needle and hold it in back of the knitting needles.
3. Continue slipping stitches onto the appropriate cable needles until all necessary stitches have been slipped.
4. Drop the cable needles in front and back as established so that they’re out of the way and knit the rest of the stitches as the pattern dictates.
5. Knit the 1st stitch from the 1st cable needle as described.
6. Knit the 1st stitch from the 2nd cable needle as described.
7. Continue in this fashion knitting from the 1st followed by the 2nd cable needle as established until all the stitches have been knit from the cable needles.
And there you go, double-knit cables. If you’re looking for a pattern to use this fancy new technique with, might I suggest my Six Braid Wedding Ring Scarf? It’s a warm, breathtaking knit and perfect for the cold days of winter, fall, and early spring! The original is done in the colors and yarn I would wear, but check out these projects for gorgeous alternatives: salilouisa’s Six Braid Wedding Ring Scarf, CalimeSerie’s Six Braid Wedding Ring.