Welcome to Part Two of our Cable Knitting, Shaping in Cables Midweek Masterclass. For Part One of the Masterclass, click here. Using a cabled hat as an example, we'll show you how to keep your cables in proportion when decreasing, how to lean your stitches the right way, and how to decrease your cables from the top down. Plus, we'll take a look at what decrease charts are like, and three fab examples of shaping in cable patterns and where you can get those patterns. Let's get started!
Keep your cables in proportion when decreasing
As your cable narrows, the number of rows/rounds between each set of cabled stitches will decrease. So where you might have 3, 5 or 7 rows between cable rows/rounds you will decrease this to keep your cable in proportion.
This is easier if you’re working in the round, as you don’t have to worry about ending up on the wrong side of the work if you reduce the rows/rounds by an odd number.
Sarah changes from cabling every 4 rounds to every 3 in her hat. If you’re working in flat knitting, it’s better to keep your cables on the RS of the work. Make sure there’s always an odd number of plain rows between cable rows.
Lean your stitches the right way when decreasing in cables
Your final decreases should be in the reverse stocking stitch ‘gutter’ between cables. Remember to keep things in proportion. If you have a gutter 12 sts wide, don’t reduce your cable column down to 2 stitches before decreasing the gutter! If you only have a few gutter stitches, leave them until the end, but if you have a lot, decrease them regularly with the cable column to keep everything in proportion.
When reducing the width of the gutter, these decreases should also lean inwards. Use a left leaning p2tog on the right-hand side of the gutter, and a right leaning ssp on the left-hand side of the gutter. Keep the last decrease which removes the gutter until the very end of your work. This will help the final edge of your knitting pull together neatly.
You can decrease your cables from the top down
If you’re working your knitting from the top down, you can reverse this entire principle to increase in pattern instead. Remember, as before, it’s better to increase between cables, rather than on the cable rows/rounds themselves. Increases actually tend to be more visible than decreases, so in this case it can be better to make more increases in the gutter, where they are harder to spot, and fewer in the cable ‘column’ of stocking stitch, where they will stand out more.
Example of a cable decrease knitting chart
3 great examples of knitting patterns that use cable shaping
Owls by Kate Davies
This pattern features fun ‘owl’ cables on the seamless yoke, which are decreased quickly to create the face and ears of the owls. Available here for £5 as a PDF download.
Caramel Cable Hat by Iris Wilde
You can never have too many cabled hats, so if Sarah’s pattern has given you the bug, why not try this fun make from Iris Wilde? The pattern even helps you use a new yarn. It’s free here!
Rialto Wrap by Debbie Bliss
This gorgeous wrap features complex cable ‘columns’ mixed with normal and reverse stocking stitch. The shaping is taken care of by subtle decreases throughout the wrap. DB108 (01535 664222, www.designeryarns.uk.com)