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April 2016

Cracking the cable code part 2: Cables with knits and purls

As promised a second post on understanding cabling and stopping patterns appearing to be just a jumble of letters and numbers like this:

image from

In the first post, I looked at cables that only involve knit stitches and breaking down what the notation of a C followed by a number and then F or B might mean, eg C4B, C6F. And it is worth reading this before continuing here.

I also reminded you of the most important thing when approaching a cable pattern:

Always read the pattern notes and the abbreviations.

This is because even if you think you understand the code/convention used for a cable in a pattern, you should double check because unfortunately not everyone sticks to the same approach when writing patterns.

Here we are looking at cables using both knit and purl stitches. These most often crop up where a column of knit stitches slope or curve over a background of reverse stocking stitch, as in the cable panel on the Hot Cross Socks (the cross stitch cable will be discussed in part 3)


One conventional way of indicating a cable involving knits and purls is "Tw". So you might see:

Tw4F      slip next 2 stitches onto the cable needle and hold to front, p2, k2 from cable needle

Tw6B     slip next 3 stitches onto the cable needle and hold to back, k3, p3 from cable needle

You will often come across Tw cables using an uneven number of stitches so it is important to check ho many knit and how many purl stitches it breaks down to. Some examples are:

Tw3F      slip next 2 stitches onto the cable needle and hold to front, p1, k2 from cable needle

Tw5B     slip next 2 stitches onto the cable needle and hold to back, k3, p2 from cable needle

In all these cases the knit stitches cross in front of the purl stitches and this in the most common form of this type of cable.

Open chain (uses C and Tw type cables)

Wide chain    Row 1: P3, k4, p3

    Row 2: K3, p4, k3

    Row 3: P3, C4B, k3

    Row 4: as row 2

    Row 5: P2, Tw3B, Tw3F, p2

    Row 6: K2, p2, k2, p2, k2

    Row 7: P1, Tw3B, p2, Tw3F, p1

    Row 8: K1, p2, k4, p2, k1

    Row 9: P1, k2, p4, k2, p1

    Row 10: As row 8

    Row 11: P1, Tw3F, p2, Tw3B, p1

    Row 12: as row 6

    Row 13: P2, Tw3F, Tw3B, p2

    Row 14: as row 2

    Row 15: as row 3

    Row 16: as row 2

    These 16 rows form pattern

Making a new (or several) new starts

This used to be an active blog with plenty of updates about projects, making, yarns etc - and then it wasn't.

Part of the reason might have been the amount of blog content I was writing elsewhere, but the main reason was that life happened.

2015 was a tough year. It is one that I will always associate mainly with grief and physical pain. 

Which isn't to say that there weren't any highs. There were opportunities to take on new projects that draw on a range of my skills, I won two competitions for knitting design, chances to visit new places and great times with family and friends.

image from www.lapurplepenguin.comMy wining design for Knitting magazine

But grieving and dealing with pain used up a lot of energy and as much as I am by nature a battler, I ran out of steam. So much so that for a while I was finding it hard to pursue opportunities and even to set fingers to keyboard. My head was still buzzing with ideas but I wasn't always getting them out there.

As  result I entered 2016 needing some change and the first quarter of the year has been focused on achieving that.

Some of that has been physical. The start of the year featured a lot of physio and rehab exercise which means I'm in less pain and am more active. Last week I attended my first fencing session in nearly a year. Getting back to those particular pointy sticks was energising and gave me a boost for other activities.


But mainly the change is about my work focus. I have stopped working on something that I was no longer enjoying and which was perhaps stopping me chasing other opportunities - and already I'm replacing that lost income from new projects and expanding existing one.

Although I've laughed at the Japanese idea of decluttering by holding each object in your hand and only keeping those that give you a feeling of joy - it would probably take a life time to go through my clutter - I have been doing something similar mentally in terms of work and goals.

Part of this process is giving time to (and keeping that time) for doing what makes me feel positive lifewise as well as workwise, which means:

  1. Setting aside time to blog regularly including:
    - completing the promised set of posts on decoding cable knitting
    image from

    - talking more about the creative projects I'm involved in and why you might like them too
    - sharing the development of designs and patterns
    - reviewing the new yarns I try
    It may also means reviving a second blog for my political and social issue musings

  2. Making part of my working week about my own designs which means:
    - sorting out my sketch book and the assorted other scraps of paper
    - writing up designs I've already made
    - giving myself a kick up the backside about actually submitting designs to magazines etc. I did this in the last few days and have a commission as a result. Just need to do it more
    - taking more pictures
    Sketch book

  3. Teach more. I love helping people develop new or improve their skills whether that be knitting and crochet, business and social media or other crafts such as jewellery or braiding. So I will be developing some new workshop ideas and looking for opportunities to teach. If you are looking for a tutor for an event check out what I can do and get in touch.

  4. Allow myself time for learning and creativity. Some people might think that someone whose working life involves writing and working with knitting patterns might have plenty of creativity going on already. But stimulation beyond work is important to keep you active and fresh.
    Towards the end of last year I took a couple of online photography courses. This meant setting aside time to join online seminars and to do my homework. I found that not only did I learn a lot from the classes but the homework time was stimulating for all my creative projects.
    So the plan for this year is to have some time each week to do more online courses or attend a workshop and also to explore new sewing and jewellery-making techniques. With this in mind I've signed up to a sewing magazine and started an online wire weaving courses, so expect more posts on these topics as well as more experiments in resin.

    Wire weaveEarly wire weaving attempt

Even writing this has made me feel positive so I'm looking forward with new energy and new plans. Roll on the remainder of 2016 and beyond.