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Monday, August 10, 2009


I like to knit socks using 5 double pointed needles. I've had a go at magic loop, two circulars and a combination of dpns and circulars but really, 5 needles is best for me. So when a pattern calls for two cable needles and I've already got 5 needles on the go, I call that excessive.

Vilai is one such pattern. Actually, I've never seen a cable that called for two cable needles before but these are very gorgeous socks so you can forgive them for being demanding. I've devised a method for knitting this specific cable within this pattern without using any cable needles and thought I'd share it. It's nothing new and not the most elegent of solutions but I'm rather fond of it. It's not an introduction to cabling without a cable needle (jeez, there's got to be a quicker way of saying that) so if you're not familiar with the technique you might want to have a read of this and a little practise before you embark on my method.

Step 1: I split the sts evenly over the four dpns, 18 on each.

Step 2: Work to the last three stitches on the first dpn. This dpn becomes a surrogate cable needle (see, not terribly elegant as the dpn is a bit long and pokey, but it gets the job done). Move this dpn to the front of the work.

Step 3: With yarn in front, slip the next stitch purlwise. This is the purl stitch that would have gone on the second cable needle.

Step 4: Work the next three stitches, k1tbl, p1, k1tbl. They are the purple ones below and the slipped purl stitch is the pink one.
Step 5: Slip the three stitches from the "cable" needle to the LH dpn. You now have a free dpn.

Step 6: This is the arrangement of stitches so far.

Step 7: This is where you use the cabling without the cable needle technique. WYIF insert the free dpn into the back of the slipped purl stitch. (I forgot to WYIF at this stage so the photo isn't completely accurate.)

Step 8: Hold on tight to the first four stitches and slip them right off the RH dpn. If you don't hold on, all kinds of chaos can spring forth (that didn't make it into any photos because it's hard to rescue knitting and photograph it at the same time).

Step 9: Quick as you like, slide the RH needle back into the three left most stitches only, i.e. the stitches that were waving around in the air and not the purl stitch already on a dpn.

Step 10: Purl the stitch on the back needle. Nearly there! You now have a free dpn again.

Step 11: Continue with the free dpn, working the rest of the stitches. Voila!

I have to admit, that after the previous post, I couldn't face tinking. I'd already had the socks on hold for several days while I had to find my camera and then charge it's battery and then find my circular needle/secret weapon so I really wanted to get moving again.
After two pattern repeats, it seems to fit well so I'm sticking with the 2.5mm dpns. If anything, it's slightly tight at the top edge.
Such a pretty pattern!

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At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Becky said...

I'll give this a shot when I get started on mine! I'm not a fan of magic loop, although I've been contemplating it for these socks. Hope to cast on by the end of the week...

At 10:53 PM, Blogger La Cabeza Grande said...

Wow! I still haven't got a handle on the technique though I've decided that I'm OK with that :o)

I get why it's excessive when you're already wrangling 5 sticks though. Beautiful work, Noblin.


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