Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cable Surgery

Today, I would like to talk about doing a little cable surgery. I was half-way done with the second sleeve of my Nantucket Jacket, when I noticed I made a little (hah!) mistake:

I had crossed the cable twice for no apparent reason. And what was worse, I didn't notice it until at least 25 rows later. I could have frogged down to before the mistake and re-knit. I could have ignored it and went on. Many very good knitters did indeed urge me to forget it and move on. I stewed and stewed over what to do, and then realized the fact that I was stewing over it meant I had to fix it. So, Cable Surgery it was.

Step One: Knit until you reach the stitches which comprise the cable. In this case, we are working a six-stitch, P1K1P1 cable. Slip all the cable stitches off the needle and ravel them all down past the mistake, then put the cable stitches on a dpn:


In this case, my dpns are quite a bit thinner than my working needle. It's probably better to have dpns close to your needle size, because you are going to be re-knitting your ravelled stitches and your gauge will be off if your needle size is too different. In this case, I was too lazy to hunt up different dpns.

Step Two: Using the closest loop from the ravelled stitches, begin re-knitting your cable:

Here, I am preparing to purl the first stitch of the six-stitch cable. Just like regular knitting, you bring the yarn forward to purl and take it to the back to knit.

Step 3: On the correct row, work your cable:

You can do this with a cable needle as you would normally, as shown here, or you can also use your two dpns to first cross your stitches and then knit them in order, whichever works better for you.

Step 4: Continue re-working each ravelled row, being careful to use the closest loop of ravelled yarn, taking each in order:

Here we have the first cable correctly re-worked. Now it's just a matter of working up the ladder, keeping track of each row as you work it so you can cable on the correct row. Note that I have quite a bit of looseness in the left-hand stitches. I fixed this by distributing the slack among the other stitches as I finished each row, by inserting a needle point into each stitch in turn, making each one a little bigger. The closer your dpn size is to your working needle size, the less slack you will have on the edge. This also means you will have less yarn to make your last couple of stitches, so you may have to do a bit of maneuvering to get the stitches on the needle. Make sure you don't twist your stitches as you make them.

Step 5: When you have re-worked all the rows, slip the stitches from the dpn back on to the working needle. You're good to go! A couple of tugs sideways and lengthwise helps reshape the stitches, and after a good wash and block, you probably won't be able to tell which cable got the surgery: What? You've never used your cat as a prop before?

14 comments:

Sharon said...

Good work on getting the problem fixed! If I'd decided to frog back, then I wouldn't have thought about just doing it in the area that the problem is in, so this has been very educational too!

P.S. Yep, Guzzy is a Saluki! He's a real charmer too!

Beverly said...

You are braver than I. I have no problem dropping stitches to fix mistakes, but I haven't had the nerve to do it with cables. Thanks for the tutorial.

errs said...

Wow! Impressive! I would've frogged the whole thing. Maybe that's why I'm still doing scarves & shawls. LOL

Kathy Kathy Kathy said...

What a fricking headache. I would have had to do it too. Nevermind my unmatched cables on the angora socks. This is different. hncbxtxi

maryannlucy said...

my goodness you are brave! and thanks for the instructions too, but I am not sure I could trust myself.

Batty said...

That was a brave thing to do! Granted, if it didn't work, you'd hav to frog back anyway, but still... just looking at those pictures makes me have to lie down.

--The person who left a row of uncrossed cables in her sock because she didn't feel like ripping back but is now feeling lazy by comparison

Rebel said...

DUDE! I'm impressed with your surgical precision! I'd have left it as is... in fact, I probably never would have noticed.

PS - send me your address & I'll send you your prize.

Kathy Kathy Kathy said...

Cable Reassignment Surgery

Sarah said...

Oy, I've had to do that before!

I love the lapis necklace! I need to try that wire knitting...

Jennifer said...

That's so funny...your cat looks almost exactly like mine! WTG on the cable surgery, isn't it great that almost any knitting mistake can be fixed?

Lara said...

You have just saved my knitting! 6 rows tricky and long rows below I found a crossed cable..aaaarrrggghhhh! I was just about to frog the 6 rows but googled knitting cable correcting and there you were...thank you (and your cute cat)so so much

Sue, aka seiding said...

Lara, I'm glad you found it useful! It's really not so scary once you decide to do it, is it?

Jess said...

I am so glad I found your blog. I some how completely missed a cable in a sweater I was making and didn't notice for awhile, I didn't want to rip it all out and no book could help me so I looked online and thankfully there was your blog. I redid the cable and it looks great, no one can even tell I had to redo a huge portion of this cable. Thanks alot.

Sue, aka seiding said...

I'm glad I could help, Jess. Isn't the Internet a wonderful tool for us knitters?