Now, cables is not something I do too often in machine knitting. I've never been that keen on them, and when you're sturdily-built like me, cables tend to make you look bigger. Anyway, Steve asked for some advice on doing cables, so here's mine.
(1) Single bed cables
There are three methods of dealing with the stitches at the side of a cable:
- Transfer a stitch either side of the cable, but leave the needles in work. Every 20 rows, drop these stitches all the way back down, and latch up to create a knit stitch on the purl side.
- Transfer a stitch either side of the cable, and put the empty needles into NWP.
- Transfer two stitches either side of the cable, and leave the 4 empty needles out of work. Every 20 rows, latch up to create a knit stitch on the purl side
(2) is quickest, but I quite like (1). You could also vary this, by marking those stitches before starting, with a bit of waste yarn, instead of transferring them. Then drop down and re-knit as before. Transferring creates a small hole, of course, it also being the method of creating lace.
When it comes to the actual transferring, you need these side stitches or gaps, to allow yourself enough "give" in the knitting to be able to complete the transfer.
For a 2x2 cable, I would use the two double transfer tools. Get all four stitches onto the tools, then move both tools left (or right). Replace the right hand pair of stitches onto the left hand empty needles, and then cross the remaining stitches to the right (or left) and replace them on the remaining empty needles. Knit at least four rows before the next cable cross. Important: whichever groups of stitches are replaced on the needles FIRST are on the top of the cable; the second set will appear underneath the first set.
(2) Double bed cables
When cables are worked using a double bed, the cable stitches are held on the ribber bed, and the background on the main or back bed. This is one instance when your knitting comes out with the right side facing towards you.
Knit to the start of the first cable(s), and using the double-eyed bodkin, transfer the cable stitches from the main bed to the ribber bed. Only the needles for the cable are in WP on the ribber, all the other needles are out of work. Leave the empty needles on the main bed out of work. K an even number of rows. Move the ribber stitches left or right, using a transfer tool, as required, putting any empty needles back into non-working position. Repeat as necessary!
(3) Garter carriage cables
You can use the stitch cams to create blank sections in your pattern. The cables are made as for (1)