Inserting a CABLE PANEL
Fiona loves to inspire knitters to be creative and to experiment. In this tutorial, she explains how to insert or modify a cable panel.
Inserting a Cable Panel
Have you ever found a pattern for a cable panel that you love, but it’s shown on a silhouette or garment that either doesn’t appeal to you or won’t work for your body type? Maybe you already have a pattern for a garment that you know fits you really well, and you would like to introduce a cable panel to the project the next time that you make it. How do you do the calculations to make these modifications?
When a cable pattern is worked, the crossing of the stitches causes the fabric to be compressed across the width; it also removes some of the elasticity of the fabric.
The more crosses that take place across the width, the narrower the piece will become. So a piece of cabled fabric will require more stitches (and subsequently more yarn) than a piece of the same width worked in stockinette stitch.
To get an accurate measurement of how much a given cable pattern will compress the fabric, it is necessary to work a large swatch. Any changes to the patterning will affect your gauge, so it is best to work the full panel inset into a small amount of stockinette stitch to see how it will turn out in the finished piece. Measure the full panel to give an accurate measurement.
You will need to make gauge swatches that are worked in the cable pattern (or other modifications) combined with stockinette stitch in order to measure the different gauges of each section of the fabric. Measure both cable pattern and stockinette.
How to Add a Cable Panel
Step 1: Measure your gauge over stockinette stitch. Step 2: Measure your gauge over the cable panel to find the total width of the cable panel. Step 3: Calculate the number of stockinette stitches that will result in the same width as the cable panel. Step 4: From the total stitch count for the garment piece, subtract the number of stitches that would equal the width of the cable panel if they were worked in stockinette; then add back in the number of stitches used in the cable panel. Example: a) Stockinette stitch gauge: 24 sts = 4 inches, or 6 sts per inch. b) 46-st Cable panel = 7¼inches. c) 7¼inches worked in stockinette stitch: 6 sts per inch (in our example) x 7¼=43½. d) Subtract 43½from the total original stitch count, then add 46 to give new overall stitch count.
Of course in this example you will also need to round up or down to the nearest whole number.
In the Cabled Panel Sweater on page 78, I have used a large-scale panel for the back. Only part of this panel is worked for each front and the collar. To add interest, I have also incorporated a trio of simple rope cables at the center back of the collar—a small panel that still relates to the overall patterning because it is taken from the panels on the body.
A great way to spark your own creativity is to experiment with a cable chart and/or instructions. Ask yourself what will happen if you change a repeat, add or remove an element, or make many other possible variations.
There are a few options that you might like to try based on my original chart (see page 82) for the Cabled Panel Sweater.
I began with the original chart and instructions, and selected elements to remove or repeat:
a) Repeating a left-slanting column of rail-track cable (stitches 26–39), with the right-slanting rail-track cable (stitches 6–19) stacked on top creates a zigzag effect vertically.
b) Repeating the columns of rail-track cable with no space between (removing center rope cable, working right-slanted cable followed by left-slanted cable, then working rightslanted cable once more—stitches 6–19, followed by stitches 28–39, followed by stitches 8–21) creates a zigzag effect across the piece.
Once you have decided which stitches or cable patterns to use, you can now adjust the project’s stitch count to account for any changes in gauge using the instructions above. I hope you enjoy the world of cable modification!
TOOLS: You will need gauge swatches, a tape measure or other measuring tool, a calculator, a pencil and paper.
Small elements contained within the overall pattern can be used for details on a garment.
Horizontal zigzag created from original cable pattern.
Vertical zigzag created from original cable pattern.