Cable Rebel?

J HookI’ve tried ’em all. The common cable needle (looks like a small DPN with a valley nudged into it), cabling without a needle, and the “J” type cable needle.
I really dislike the first kind. I find it hard to control and I have more trouble keeping the stitches on that type of needle.
I sometimes cable without a needle. Usually when there are 4 or less stitches involved in the cable. But more than 4 and it just seems to be more trouble than it’s worth. I know a lot of knitters swear by this method but it seems to break my rhythm more than increase speed.
By far, my favorite way to cable is with the J hook. I never worry about the stitches slipping off of it, and it’s easy to store it in the project’s yarn without getting lost. I just nudge it midway into the ball and it stays put in my bag.
The other thing I do that I think is different is that I slip the stitches from the cable needle back onto my left hand needle before knitting them. I’ve tried knitting directly from the cable needle but it seems to wiggle and struggle more than it’s worth.
I’ve often thought that this way is not the norm, but I’m curious. Which method do you use?
Phildar Hoodie
I’m closing in on repeat 2 of pHoodie. Progress pics can sometimes be boring, but if you’re curious you can see one here.

19 thoughts on “Cable Rebel?

  1. Great minds think (knit) alike. I also prefer the j cable and tend to slip the stitches back onto the left needle before knitting them. I haven’t mustered up enough courage to try cables without a cable needle though…must try it someday :)

  2. I use the Brittany needle, or any dpn that is handy. But it is a struggle sometimes, so I just go bare cable. But only with 4 or less. More than that is too scary.

  3. I do/use the J-hooks. The straighter ones give me fits and the one and only time I tried to do a cable without a hook, I ended up loosing the stiches…never, ever do that again.

  4. When I use a cable needle, I slip them back to the left needle too, but mostly I cable without a needle. On those crazy cables where you have to cross more than once, I use a short DPN.

  5. I definitely use the j needle as well. I hate those needles with a very slight dip in them. What’s the point?
    And, I’ve never slipped the stitches back to the left needle…that’s a great tip!

  6. Huh, I have never heard of the j needle….I’ll have to check that out. I’m pretty fast using the traditional cable needle. I’ve tried cabling without a needle, but I’ve never quite been able to get the hang of that one.

  7. I’ve used every kind of cable needle except the “j” and even some other things (like a nail, most recently, which worked great because the nailhead kept the stitches from slipping off), and never mastered the without-a-needle thing (I like using tools!). I recently bought a pair of Brittany cable needles and like them a lot. I, too, slip the stitches back to the left needle and then knit them — I don’t feel as fumbly and clumsy, and (usually) the stitches look more even.

  8. I use a candy-cane style needle too. The needle with the bump in the middle is a no-go for me, it almost seems worse than a dpn, because the dpn can be close to the the stitch size and hold the stitches, while that mountain vista style needle is thin and metal (mine is, at least) and just slides out.

  9. I’ve had the smoothest, fastest, most mistakeless experience with a grooved wooden cable needle. I don’t know who makes them (not Brittany, which makes one that is sort of shaved in the middle). They’re like big toothpicks (they come in sets of three sizes for different weights of yarn so your stitches remain on a needle at least similar in size to the ones you’re using), and they have 6-10 small notches or grooves cut into them in the middle so that the stitches don’t slip. Patternworks sells them and has a picture on their site.

  10. I almost always use a hook-shaped cable needle. I have been cabling w/o a needle on the cabled scarf, but it really depends on the # of stitches and the yarn whether that is a good idea. As for putting them back on the left needle first, I don’t usually do that, but I have been sometimes on the DNA scarf I’m currently knitting.

  11. After learning to do needleless cables I haven’t gone back. But I do put the stitches back on the needle if I happen to use a calbe needle. Even when it’s an 8 stitch cable (usually that’s with larger yarn) I still do them without needles. It can cause problems and break the rhythm from time to time but overall it works best for me.

  12. a woman i met uses a large plastic sewing needle for cables. she leaves a long tail when casting on and ties the needles to the tail, pulls the stitches off the knitting needle with the sewing needle, and then knits right off the sewing needle back to the knitting needle. Never loses or drops her cable needle this way.

  13. I learned to cable by using a stitch holder, which necessitated transferring the stitches back to the left needle. I’ve tried cabling without a needle, and it doesn’t work for me; I usually use a dpn or something like it.

  14. The owner of my LYS recently persuaded me to buy a (oh so soft) brittany double pointed cable needle (the one with the groove in the middle) and I am extremely happy with the results: I just put the stitches on to the needle and directly knit from that needle afterwards. I don’t like the no needle cable method (OK I must admit that the hassle of learning it seemed to me more trouble than it was worth).

  15. I’m another vote for the Brittany cable needle. The wood holds onto the stitch very well, and they come in sets of three; three different sizes. Not cheap, but since when do we knit for cheap?

  16. Pony: too long and poked myself alot, don’t like metal feel, sts stayed on dip well, easy geting sts on but akward taking sts off.
    J: easy to get sts on and knit sts off, don’t like metal feel, straight arm seems too long.
    Brittany: purchased but haven’t tried yet, like the wood, shorter length, shaved mid, pointed ends are softer than the metal when poked.
    It hadn’t occured to me to not knit off the CB needle. Maybe manipulating the CB needle forward stretches/sets the yarn creating memory/better stitch definition than if the sts were knitted off the left needle.
    1) Why would cabling be taught front/back, back/front if there were not a benefit?
    2) Does the lack of a CB needle create lessoned cable definition, i.e. flatter?

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