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Working from Charts: Cables

Close up of a Chinese American woman in a modern plant store wearing a vegan leather jacket and Portage, a cabled beanie in Kelbourne Woolens Scout in gray heather.

Like most of our patterns, many of the designs in the Little Things collection utilize charts as part of the instructions. There are four types of charts featured in the collection: Knit/Purl patterning, Stranded Colorwork, Cables, and Lace. While most of the basic principles of knitting charts are the same regardless of the type of chart, we’ve broken it down into the four components.

Part 3 of 4: Working from Charts: Cables.

CABLE CHART KEYS:
One of the main differences between Cable Charts versus the Knit/Purl or Stranded Colorwork charts is that cable stitches occupy more than one box in the chart.This applies to Cable Chart Keys as well.

As you can see from the Key above, the cable stitches are larger than the single Knit / Purl square. The two cables represented in the chart are C4R, and C4L, 2-2 cable crosses that utilize 4 stitches, so the box occupies the width of 4 stitches.

WORKED IN THE ROUND / WORKED FLAT:
Much Like Knit/Purl patterning, Cable charts can be worked both in the round and flat. Typically, the cable patterning only occurs on the RS of the work, which makes working the cable stitches much easier. If worked flat, You will most likely see both RS and WS charted. The same principles apply to working WS rows in cable patterning as it does in all charts: When looking at the chart, regardless of whether or not you are working flat or in rounds, the chart is a visual representation of what your knitting looks like from the RIGHT SIDE.

CABLE CHART WORKED FLAT:

Since the chart is in ROWS, you work all odd numbered (RS) rows from right to left and even numbered (WS) rows from left to right as follows:

Row 1 (RS): *P2, k4, p2, k4, p2; rep from * across.
Row 2 (WS): *K2, p4, k2, p4, k2; rep from * across.
Row 3 (RS): *P2, C4L, p2, C4R, p2; rep from * across.
Row 4 (WS): *K2, p4, k2, p4, k2; rep from * across.
Row 5 (RS): *P2, k4, p2, k4, p2; rep from * across.
Row 6 (WS): *K2, p4, k2, p4, k2; rep from * across.
Row 7 (RS): *P2, C4L, p2, C4R, p2; rep from * across.
Row 8 (WS): *K2, p4, k2, p4, k2; rep from * across.
Repeat Rows 1-8 for pattern.

CABLE CHART WORKED IN ROUNDS:

Since the chart is in ROUNDS, you work all rounds from right to left as follows:
Rounds 1-2: *P2, k4, p2, k4, p2; rep from * around.
Round 3: *P2, C4L, p2, C4R, p2; rep from * around.
Rounds 4-6: *P2, k4, p2, k4, p2; rep from * around.
Round 7: *P2, C4L, p2, C4R, p2; rep from * around
Rounds 8: *P2, k4, p2, k4, p2; rep from * around.
Repeat Rounds 1-8 for pattern.

In Part 1: Knit/Purl Patterning, we went over working repeats versus working across the whole chart, so we recommend you reference that post for working Cables as well!

While many of the same principles outlined above apply to knit/purl, colorwork, and lace knitting from charts, each has a few separate key points worth highlighting.

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