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Shaping in Knitted Cables (Part Two) Midweek Masterclass

In Part Two of this week's Midweek Masterclass, we're using a hat as an example of how to decrease in cables, but you can apply these tips and techniques to knitting jumpers, scarves, socks and blankets. 

8th March 2017

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

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

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

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. 

What did you think of this week's Midweek Masterclass? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter! Missed a Masterclass? Don't worry! Simply click here to find all of our classes so far.

Example of a cable decrease knitting chart

Decrease knitting chart

3 great examples of knitting patterns that use cable shaping

Owls by Kate Davies

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

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

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)

What did you think of this week's Midweek Masterclass? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter! Missed a Masterclass? Don't worry! Simply click here to find all of our classes so far.

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