The patterns included in this section are designed to give you an idea of the many ways you can use this simple crossing technique to create a rich variety of cables. Although standard or rope cables are the most basic cables, you aren't limited to those. You can also create
A double cable that looks like a horseshoe. ^ Open cables, where the cable strands separate. ^ A braid cable using three, rather than two, cable strands. ^ Allover cable patterns, like honeycomb cable.
Practice the cable patterns in the following sections in order to improve your cabling technique. Each cable panel includes 3 set-up stitches on both sides of the cable. These set-up stitches make a crisp transition between the background fabric and the cable itself.
Adding cables to a basic pattern
The combination of knit panels with purl panels (think ribs) and crossing stitches over stitches causes cable patterns to pull in widthwise. A sweater worked in a cable pattern will be significantly narrower than one worked using the same number of stitches in stockinette stitch. You need more yarn and more stitches for a cable sweater than for one of the same dimensions in a knit/purl pattern.
If you decide to add a cable (or several) to a plain sweater, be sure to increase enough stitches after you knit your border in order to maintain the overall width. Although there are no hard and fast rules, you'll be safe if you add 1 to 2 extra stitches for every 4 stitches in your cable. If you have a ribbed border, you can add the stitches evenly on the last ribbed row. Chapter 6 has instructions on making increases.
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