Chapter 1: Basic Cable Techniques

I know I'm wrong about this, but sometimes I wonder whether certain knitting techniques were invented accidentally. Cabling is one of these. Bear with me a minute and indulge me my daydream.

Effectively, knitting a simple cable is swapping over the order in which the stitches are worked. So in dim lighting, it is quite easy to imagine a careless knitter dropping a few stitches off the needle without noticing and working a few more before realising their mistake. Rather than working backwards and putting the dropped stitches back onto the needles, the knitter just worked the dropped stitches and behold, you have a cable. A new technique is developed and the careless knitter is hailed as some kind of creative visionary.

Ok, so that probably never happened, but I guess that the point is that you don't necessarily need a cable needle to cable. Of course, if you are making something with a smooth yarn, or a really complex cable, you will want a cable needle, but this is the basics chapter.

The tutorials in this chapter cover how to cable without a cable needle, something handy to know, even if you are firmly wedded to your cable needle. There are also some nifty two-stitch cable short cuts, and tips for keeping track of your rows or rounds in cable projects.

Rachel Coopey's Areto Hat is then the perfect project on which to practise any of these techniques.

 Featuring two panels using different cable crosses, the Areto hat is a great beginner cable project. Image ©Jesse Wild

Featuring two panels using different cable crosses, the Areto hat is a great beginner cable project. Image ©Jesse Wild

Rachel is probably best known for her sock designing, but she has published beautiful accessory collections too (Coop Knits Toasty volumes 1 and 2). Areto is made in Rachel's Socks Yeah! DK yarn, so it's a quick knit. It features a folded brim and has 2 different cable panels to try, so has enough variation to be of interest to knitters of all levels. There are 3 sizes to make, so you can adjust for fit and style: if you want a slouchier hat, just knit a bigger size.

Here's some sizing and yarn information which you may find helpful:

Small (Medium, Large)
To fit approximate head circumference: 51 (56, 61) cm [20 (22, 24) in]
Unstretched hat circumference at brim: 37.5 (44, 50) cm [14 3/4 (17 1/4, 19 3/4) in]
Unfolded hat from brim to crown: 27cm [10 3/4in]
The hat is designed for a slouchy fit. The body cable and rib patterns are very stretchy.

Coop Knits Socks Yeah! DK (75% superwash merino wool, 25% nylon; 112m [122yds] per 50g skein) Hat shown in Aeacus (210); 2 (2, 3) x 50g skeins

The Areto Hat kit comes in 2 sizes (S/M and L) and a choice of 16 different colours, for pre-order from our shop alongside Something New To Learn About Cables. We will be shipping all orders containing a print book from the 19th March 2018.

In the meantime Jen is casting on an Areto hat in the beautiful pale grey Minos shade as a gift for one of the kids' class teachers. He's an active sporty type, so she's hoping that a grey cabled hat will suit him well.

 Elegant crown shaping draws the cables into a central point. Image © Jesse Wild

Elegant crown shaping draws the cables into a central point. Image © Jesse Wild

The first opportunity to get your hands on a copy of Something New to Learn About Cables will be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival from Thursday 15th March 2018, and we will be shipping all pre-orders containing a print book from Monday 19th March 2018, on our return from EYF. If you purchase an ebook, it will initially contain just a welcome PDF, and the complete ebook will be uploaded by Monday 19th March to coincide with shipping of the print copies.

The print + ebook costs £14.00 plus shipping, kits start from £12.00 and include yarn and a project bag, and the ebook only option is £13.99.

If your local yarn shop is interested in stocking Something New to Learn About Cables (or A Year of Techniques), they can place orders with our distributor, Chester Wool Company.