Basic stockinette stitch cables are simple to knit, but the reverse side of the fabric is not particularly attractive. This isn’t a problem in a sweater or a hat, where the wrong side isn’t displayed. If you want a reversible fabric for scarves or wraps, there’s a simple solution to the right side/wrong side issue: work the cables over a reversible pattern. Cables can be worked over any flexible reversible pattern-garter stitch, seed stitch and ribbing are all good choices for reversible cables. In the class sampler, we transition from our basic cables into a K2, P2 rib cable. We are still working our stitches out of sequence, but now, we are knitting two stitches or purling two stitches in the cable itself, according to the pattern directions. The result is a fabric which is attractive (although different) on both sides.
As cables become more complex, the instructions for knitting them can be lengthy. Because you are an intelligent knitter, you will soon be thinking, “If only there was a way to work cables by following a picture.” And, because you are a clever knitter, you are right; there is an easier way to design cables patterns, using charts drawn out on knitters’ graph paper. Theresa Sternersen discusses cable charts briefly in Part 2 of her article on cables in Knitty.com. Barbara Walker’s Charted Knitting Designs goes into much greater detail about working from and designing your own charted patterns.
|Giant Embossed Plait Swatch, from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting, p. 180. One of my cable samples for Level II of the Master Hand Knitting Certificate (TKGA).|
So there you have it-some basic ways to work cables. Once you have knitted your sampler band, you can leave it as is, seam up the cast on and cast off edges and use it as a head band, or continue on to picking up stitches and knitting a hat. If you leave the band as a swatch, I recommend labelling each section and keeping both the pattern and the sampler in a notebook for future reference. Whatever you decide, calculate your gauge, wash and block the fabric, measure the swatch again, so that you will know what you liked and what you would change the next time you venture into cable knitting.