Random Thoughts about the meta Cable lace cable design

This is not a complete design process; I just wanted to share a few of the things I thought about in designing meta Cable cable lace.

Turning the code grid into a cable design

Two grids: one asymmetrical, one a mirrored version o f the firs.
Click to enlarge

This is the code grid I started with for this design. On the left is my original grid. For this kind of grid, I graph the numbers. This is cable in base four: 003 001 002 030 011. The columns go from 0-3 because those are the digits available in base four. I have them from right to left because that’s how my knitting goes; it’s all arbitrary anyway, and once it’s mirrored, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, each row of this grid is marked with the digit it represents, and they go in order from top to bottom.

On the right is the mirrored version of the code grid that I used to design the stitch pattern.

The mirrored code grid from above, but with added lines dividing each square in half
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To make it work as cables, I divided each square of the grid into four squares before adding any cable symbols, because each 1/1 cable cross is two stitches wide.

The code grid from above has been converted to a basic cable chart; all the marked squares have been converted into 1/1 right cross cables,
Click to enlarge

I tend to consider the meandering lines of 1/1 cables as being similar to decrease lines in lace. This is in fact how I started occasionally using sporadic 1/1 cable crosses in my lace, so I could make some of my decrease lines work out better. (See Zaftig lace as an example.) Anyway, this means that when I’m presented with a possible cable chart that looks like the above, I want to work with it the way I do my decrease lines in lace. This is why I added all those 1/1 RPCs and LPCs, as well as changing some of the right crosses into left crosses to get the final complex chart.

Photo of the lace sample with white lines drawn in where I decided adding some cable lines.

There were some places I would have liked to have added some more cable lines (I’ve drawn them onto this photo), but to make it look good, I would have had to add some more regular 1/1 RCs and LCs without purls, which would have messed with the code, so I decided to leave those bits out.


One of the challenges of this kind of cable design is figuring out which direction a given cable cross should lean. The principle I use for doing this is to make it look as if a given strand of the cable is braided through the other strands in an over-under-over-under fashion. Sometimes this means that two crosses that look as if they should be mirrored need to go in the same direction.

the final cable chart, but with the lace and texture stitches omitted. The cable lines that cross and intertwine are colored in to emphasize how each line looks like it goes over, under, and over the other lines when they meet.

Here I’ve traced the lines of the cable strands on the chart in a way that I hope illustrates this principle. This only applies when one of the colored lines crosses another. The cables in round 1 are both left-crosses, for instance, though the overall effect is of a mirrored pattern. However, in round 5, the outer two cables are both right crosses (one colored line crossing another) while the inner two are mirrored. The stitches in back at the mirrored crosses are considered to be part of the background texture, and the cable maneuver serves only to move the cable line from one column to another.

In round 21, the center RPC and LPC are part of the lace section; the cable lines in those stitches aren’t interlaced at any point, which is why they aren’t colored.

Adding lace

In any case, I ended with a lot of blank space between the various bits of cable. It looked a bit boring; I could have added moss stitch or similar in those spaces, but I decided to work with lace instead. (This is me, after all.)

The two spaces that looked best for lace turn out to be slightly different shapes, so I couldn’t use the same lace in both sections even if I’d wanted to. I also wanted to make it clear that the two sections were all in the same repeat of the stitch pattern; I thought it might get confusing if they had the same design.

The encoding is based on the number of squares in the chart, so I couldn’t change the stitch count on each row. Because of the even number of stitches, this meant that I had to work with lace that had what I call even parity. This is why there’s honeycomb mesh in one of the sections, and a motif with double yarnovers that appears in lots of my encoded lace in the other.

Bonus image

The Meta Cable knitted sample, but with white lines drawn along the cable lines in two of the three columns, to emphase how the cables cross over, under, and over again.

I was originally going to use this to illustrate the interlacing section, but I felt the chart was clearer. Still, I thought it useful as a way of emphasizing the cable pattern and what the interlacing looks like.

This concludes my random selection of thoughts about this stitch pattern and its design process.