Adding a Cable to a Baby Sweater

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Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm not sure what's happening in the world lately, but it feels like I learn of another friend's pregnancy every week! As the owner of a knit shop, I'm pretty sure I could be arrested if I didn't personally hand knit something for each of these new babies. But in between filling orders, making holiday dinners, and shoveling snow (ok, I don't really shovel, but it is time-consuming to watch Doug do it!), I haven't had a ton of time to knit. Thank goodness for Knitting Pure & Simple patterns. Even with a minimal amount of time on my hands, I'm able to get a baby sweater done in just a few evenings... and they couldn't turn out any cuter. After a number of straightforward creations, however, I was itching to try something new with my needles. This is what makes me just love Diane's patterns... the fact that I can use the exact same pattern, the same needles, even the same yarn - and create something completely unique.

As such, the focus of today's "discussion" is adding a cable to an otherwise simple sweater. My example is quite specific, but I hope you are able to extrapolate these instructions to other patterns that you love.

To create an infant-sized sweater, I used 2 hanks of Karabella Superyak, a machine washable, natural yarn made from 100% Yak. As you can see from this page, the pattern I used is Knitting Pure and Simple - 214 - Baby Pullover & is knit from the top down (we'll have a lesson on that later!).

Karabella Baby Sweater Kit

Of course, the width of the cable is up to you, but I aimed for something that was nicely centered and not quite as wide as the neck opening. Specifically, my cable covered about 25% of the total width of the sweater. In this case, the width of the sweater (under the arms) is 10.5." Including the cable border, the cable is 2.5" wide.

The cable on front and back is P2, K8, P2. You'll want these 12 sts to be the center of the front and the back. Every 8 rows, you'll do a cable: put the front 4 K sts on a cable needle and hold to front. K the next 4 sts, then K the sts on the cable needle.

Baby Sweater Example

Question: How did I know how many stitches to use for the cable?

Answer: Math. If I want my cable to be 25% of the total width, then I needed to allocate 25% of the total stitches to the cable. In this case, the number of stitches for the front was 48... and we used 12 of those stitches for the cable.

Also optional are the number of cables you'll add to the sweater. For this baby, I chose to add 4 cables: 1 cable on each arm, as well as 1 each on the front and back. Because the arms are much smaller than the front and back, I used a different cable for those.

The cable on sleeves is P2, K4, P2. You'll want these 8 sts to be the center sts on the sleeves. Every 6 rows, you'll do a cable: put the front 2 K sts on a cable needle and hold to front. K the next 2 sts, then K the sts on the cable needle.

Question: How did I know how often to cable the stitches?

Answer: I'm not sure if this approach is foolproof, but I decided that the frequency (6, for the sleeves) would equal 75% of the total number of cable stitches (8, in this case).

So, give it a try & let us know if you have other suggestions or tips ... I think you'll find yourself having a ton of fun - and impressing your newly pregnant friends!

Posted by Jimmy (Laura) of Jimmy Beans Wool

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