Last weekend I made a trip to Weaving Works to pick up a new smaller sized cable needle (the red thing in the picture) and came across Cable Needle Freedom by Carole Wulster. It promises to teach knitters how to knit without a cable needle. I was intrigued and on a whim purchased it along with the cable needle.
This 44-page book describes how to read cable charts; work cables without a cable needle through three exercises; and includes three patterns. The highlighted technique, working cables without a cable needle, is so simple that it is described and illustrated in only 4 pages of the book. Essentially, it shows how to stratigically drop the first half of the cable stitches and pick them up after they have been crossed with the other half of the cable stitches.
While this booklet is cheaper then a class, I’m not quite convinced that I should have spent $15.00 on it. The techinque was easy to do with worsted weight yarn but wasn’t so easy when I tried it on the sport weight blend that I’m using for the Crossing Cables socks. Once the tiny dark stitches were dropped off the needle, it was difficult to find them again. Needless to say, I didn’t dare try this while knitting on the bus.
Although I won’t be throwing out my cable needles, I’ve got to admit this techique might come in handy in a pinch. Since the book starts from square one, it might be more useful for beginning knitters and others that are intimidated by cables. I applaud the author on emphisizing the usefulness of reading stitches. That’s what I do with all my knitting, including the Cable Crossing socks. When I’m working a long stretch of patterned stitches after having worked one repeat of the pattern, I rarely look at the chart. By reading the previous stitches, I can usually figure out what comes next with out looking at the chart.