Beyond stockinette: fool ’em with texture

Martingale's Knit and Crochet Friday

From Cable ConfidenceWhen I was learning how to knit (and I mean just a few months in), I discovered something that was simple to learn, even for someone of my limited skills. But it rocketed my knitting to the next level. I impressed everyone with my “complex” patterns—even though I’d really only mastered two basic things: knit and purl.

The trick I learned was this: texture.

Texture adds interest by varying the pattern of knit and purl stitches, and one obvious way to create texture is with cables.

Before you get your stitches in a wad, I promise that cables are so, so easy—whatever your skill level. And once you try them, you’ve got a beautiful and elegant way to add texture to your projects. No lace-knitting required!

Sara Louise Harper expresses the same sentiment in her book Cable Confidence:

Textured knitting opens up a whole world of creativity and design. You may feel that your skills are not advanced enough to begin textured, or cable, knitting—but you really can do it! Don’t be hesitant to try. Cables are not difficult to do once you understand that they are merely stitches worked out of order. Grab a cable needle and see what you can create!

In Cable Confidence, Sara covers the basics of cable knitting as well as other ways to vary stitch order to create texture. The first few patterns will give you a chance to practice reading and knitting basic cable patterns. What’s a basic cable pattern? A stitch pattern with just one twist, as in these designs:

Projects from Cable Confidence

Once you’ve mastered the single cable twist (and it won’t take long at all!), Sara will guide you through more advanced twists and textured patterns, as in these designs:

Projects from Cable Confidence

By then, you’ll have the “confidence” part down—and with that momentum built, there will be no stopping you!

Even if you’re just a beginner, I really believe it’s never too soon to learn cables. When I first learned how to knit a cable, I hadn’t even been knitting long enough to know I should be scared of them—and now I think that’s why I found them to be so easy. I never saw that cable through the stigma of perceived complexity. Why not reject the stigma and give it a whirl? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

What is one skill or technique you thought would be hard before you tried it? Tell us in the comments!

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