Just before the beginning of each new year, I choose a new stitch or technique to learn. This time I am intrigued by cables. After working several simple cable projects this year, I plan to master cables in the new year.
Cables are showing up in a wide variety of crochet projects, from hats and scarves to afghans and sweaters.
Crocheted cables are created with a combination of front post stitches and back post stitches. Post stitches are made just like regular stitches, except instead of inserting the hook through both loops, insert the hook around the post of the stitch. For a front post double-crochet stitch, insert the hook from front to back to front and pull up a loop for the first part of the stitch. For a back post stitch, insert the hook from back to front to back and pull up a loop. Finish the stitch as usual and Ta Da! You have just created a post stitch.
Jodi Euchner’s cabled baby blanket, Sólás Caomh, from Interweave Crochet Spring 2009, and the Atomic Hat by Linda Permann, from Interweave Crochet Winter 2011, are beautiful examples of crocheted cables.
Let's look a little closer at the construction of a cable. Cables are made by alternating rows of crossed stitches and rows of uncrossed stitches; the crossed stitches are a bit taller than the rest of the stitches in the row to keep the fabric from puckering as you create the cables. You work triple crochet cable stitches in a row of double crochet stitches. Got it?
Do you have your hook and yarn ball handy? Work several base stitches (I made 42 double crochets, then on the second row, I worked three regular doubles crochets through both loops). Now let's start the cables:
Skip the next 3 double crochets and work a treble crochet around the front post of the next double crochet. Work a treble crochet around the front post of the next each of the next 2 double crochets. Next, work a treble crochet in each of the skipped double crochets, beginning with the first skipped double crochet.
There are a few handy tips to remember when you are working cables. Long stitches, such as treble crochets, worked over skipped stitches can become loose. Pull the loop on your hook tight before yarning over. When working the stitch, hold the yarn overs and original loop close together when yarning over and drawing through the loops. This will minimize unsightly gaps.
Keep your pattern close at hand. Even advanced crocheters refer to the pattern when working the cable-cross rows of a cable. Sometimes it's hard to remember if you work the second set of stitches over or under the previously worked strand of the cable. With the digital magazines, I keep the pattern on my laptop, which travels with me wherever you go. Digital magazines make great travel companions. Plus the pages never wear out!
And finally, don't let the intricate look of crochet cables intimidate you. Use these tips and jump in. A great introductory cable pattern is the One for All Family of Mitts, from Crochet Accessories 2010.
You’ll find more cable patterns with the Twisting Vines Scarf and Frosted Windowpane sweater from Interweave Crochet Winter 2010. You will find more great cable patterns and techniques in back issues. All of the back issues are available for a limited time, so treat yourself and have fun exploring a new technique.