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How to Knit a Cable

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Making cables is like braiding hair, only you're using sections of knitted fabric instead of sections of hair. Once you get the hang of it, you can apply the principle to any number of variations, using different numbers of stitches, different braid directions, or combinations of whole cables to make Aran patterns.

This example uses 8 stitches to make a right direction cable.

The abbreviation for this is CB4 or Cable Back Four.

Tools: Cable Needles

To make it easy to "braid" your sections, some stitches will be slipped to a smaller needle, called a cable needle to hold them out of the way while you work on one section at a time.

Here's a selection of items that can be used to do the above...

Top: Commercial Cable Needle


Middle: Double Pointed Needle


Bottom: Eyeliner Pencil (!) Use whatever you have that is short and similar in circumference to the other main needles you are using.



Ready to Make a Cable

I've knit a cabled band to illustrate how to cross the sections and so that you can see some already made.


Pin the Zipper to the Wrong Side

Using ball-headed pins, I pin the right-side of the zipper to the wrong-side of the garment. The zipper-pulls are facing away from the me and towards the garment.

I place the teeth on the center line of the basted front edges.

Remove the Basting and Un-Zip

Since my zipper is too long for the front of the garment, I trim it and add some safety pins to anchor the edges. This prevents the zipper-pulls from flying off and landing under the couch (don't ask...).

Having the fronts seperated will make the actual sewing easier to handle and allow you to perfectly align the edge of the teeth slightly in from the edge of the front.

You should NOT be able to see the teeth edges from the Right-Side of your garment when the zipper is zipped...

NOTE: if you are going to hand sew your zipper, continue from this point. I like to use a Back Stitch to firmly sew the zipper to the sweater fronts and I use ButtonHole Twist Thread in a matching color.


Baste the Zipper to the Front

I use my fingers to massage and line up the teeth edges and zipper tape slightly away from the edge. Then I use a contrasting color thread to baste the zipper into place.

I find basting the zipper to be the SECRET to a successful, even installation.

It makes it a lot easier to sew the zipper if you are not trying to control pins AND the wiggling tape while you've got the thing under the machine presser foot.

You can see how it looks from the Front-Side on the right side of the picture above.


VOILA! She is done!

Trim the zipper tape to a length slightly less than the neck edge then sew the zipper to the front edges using a sewing maching (go slow!) or by hand, using a even back-stitch.

Remove the basting thread. Tack the top tape securely to form a zipper stop just below the neck edge.

Take the zipper for a test drive and enjoy your efforts...

You can see I used a 2-way zipper, unzipped from the bottom-up (left arrow) and nicely hidden at the neck edge (right arrow).

Zip ON!!!



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