Monthly Archives: May 2015

Sunday Stitch – Making Cables Without a Cable Needle

If you’ve ever seen a knitter work cables without a cable needle it probably looked like a magic trick. Magicians are never supposed to reveal their secrets… but I always do. I can’t help myself.

knit cables make without a cable needle

These cables look like regular 2×2 cables, and that’s just what they are. Except I made them without a cable needle and I demonstrate how in the video below.

But I want to confess something first. I almost always use a cable needle myself. When I’m making a cabled knit, and I usually want the cables to be very prominent and defined and so I use the cable needle. I need to! Usually I’m working my cables very tight and with lots of tension to make them pop out.

Personally, I only cable without a needle under the following conditions:

  1. I took my knitting on-the-go and left my cable needle at home. That happens quite frequently!
  2. Bad little cats stole with my cable needle and now its under the refrigerator. (That really shouldn’t be a problem because I should have 3 other cable needles but I can never seem to find them until after I’ve gone out and bought more.)
  3. I’m making cables that aren’t supposed to be tight at all but soft and smooshy (like slouchy hats or puffy blankets or sometimes shawls). These can be made the traditional way with cable needles of course. But you don’t have to. Those projects are perfect for the magic trick of cabling without a cable needle.

Here is how!

Give it a try the next time your cable needle is at home (or under your fridge). Some knitters really take to this method and use it all the time. Cabling is much faster when you don’t have to fiddle with that extra cable needle.


P.S. Here is The Bad One trying to find, and steal, my cable needle. Ha! There isn’t one!

cats always photobomb knitting


P.S.S. The general wisdom is that a designer should never show a design before its published because people will steal it. I don’t think that’s true but if it is I’m willing to risk it. Here are two designs I’m working on that have soft, squishy cables (which I’m working without a cable needle). The blue hat is done and I should have it ready to share soon. The multicolor shawl is far from done and I need to get off my butt and make some progress on that. What do you think? Feedback is love!

two knit projects with cables that I work without a cable needle


If you liked this video tutorial, you  might also like Making Right-twists and Left-twists, aka mock cables.




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Weekly Rec – Patterns That Teach

Today I’ve got three patterns I’d like to show you. I like them because each author takes the time to explain or demonstrate exactly how the item was made. They take the time to teach the technique(s) a crafter needs to make it. Too many patterns (and their writers) make assumptions about our skills. But these don’t. And these patterns are free!

Three free patterns that teach

Continue reading Weekly Rec – Patterns That Teach

Are They Worthy???

Today I attempt to combat a problem that not very many people care about in the least. But I care! From the response to yesterday’s post about heirlooms, it seems at least few readers out there care too. I must take advantage of that! So in order to strike while the iron is hot, I’ve thrown together a rigorous screening method to determine who is truly worthy of your next big knit (or crochet, or quilt, or what have you). If you decide to use this to also determine who is worth cooking dinner for, or whose laundry you will do this week, that is of course, entirely up to you.

Continue reading Are They Worthy???

An Heirloom in Red Heart

About a zillion years ago I got married and the people in my life were forced to give me presents. I got wine, more wine, lots of towels, and other stuff I can’t really remember. I also go this blanket from my grandmother.

king-sized crochet blanket in Red Heart

Its a king-sized masterpiece of ripple crochet in Red Heart yarn.

Continue reading An Heirloom in Red Heart

Spinning in Cowgirl Boots – The Tale of the Three Spinners

Today I’m plying two strands of undyed polwarth wool and telling The Tale of The Three Spinners (Die drei Spinnerinnen). The wool is from last year’s Yellow Rose Fiber Fiesta in Sequin, Texas and the tale from from the Brothers Grimm. When I was buying it (the wool, not the fairy tale) I got swept up in the excitement of being at a fiber show and I did this: “I need 6 ounces of that polwarth. No 8 ounces. No ten!”

Now I have to spin up all ten ounces of it. This is me at my wheel. I look exactly like that.

The Sleeping Embroiderer by Gustave Courbet (1853)

Continue reading Spinning in Cowgirl Boots – The Tale of the Three Spinners

Weekly Rec – You Need Some Fabulous in Your Life

So… have you met Eddie and Patsy?

screen capture from Absolutely Fabulous

You should. They are Absolutely Fabulous. And by fabulous I mean offensive, lazy, worthless, vain, shallow, cruel, vapid, and usually hung over. These are my favorite characters on one of my favorite TV shows of all time and more people need to be watching them.

Continue reading Weekly Rec – You Need Some Fabulous in Your Life