The basic principle of cable knitting is that after knitting a cable, one or more stitches will be crossed over another one or more stitches. This is done by knitting the stitches out of order.
While my usual 1/1 cable definition in my stitch patterns talks about using a cable needle to do this, it’s not necessary to use one to get the same result, and is not how I do it. Mine might not be the best method for you, but I hope you’ll give it a try and see!
KnitPicks has a useful tutorial for three other methods that should all work for my stitch patterns. Pick whichever method you like best. You are in charge of your own knitting!
I’ve always preferred the 1/1 right and left cross cable notation, but also I’ve been wanting to get away from right and left terminology because there are some left-handed knitters who knit in the opposite direction from right-handed ones. I’m going to have to think hard about how I want to approach cable notation. This set of tutorials is, at least for now, going to retain the right and left cross terminology. If you are a mirror knitter, please swap the words left and right in the instructions below as well as mirroring the images.
In this post I’m going to say “active needle” for the one the new stitches end up on, and “supporting needle” for the needle holding the stitches from the previous row.
There are four 1/1 cable crosses that come up regularly in my stitch patterns. Two of them are right crosses; that is, the second stitch is crossed in front of the first before knitting so that the top of the visible stitch leans to the right. The other two are left crosses; the top of the visible stitch leans to the left because the second stitch from the supporting needle crosses behind the first.
In this post I will describe the right crosses.
[Figure a] Here are two stitches from the previous row sitting on the supporting needle. The stitch closest to the tip of the needle is A; the stitch further from the tip of the needle is B. (I drew this from scratch because I forgot to take a photo of this situation.)
The goal in all true cable stitches is to change the order of the stitches before working them. There are a variety of ways to do this, but the method I’m using in this post is to stretch one side of stitch B so that it makes a loop that sticks out beyond stitch A.
For the right crosses, B will be stretched in front of A. For the left crosses, B will be stretched behind A.
B crosses in front of A and both are knit.
Step 1 (RC)
[figure b] Reach over the front of stitch A with the active needle and pick up the first leg of stitch B purlwise.
Step 2 (RC)
[Figure c] Pull the loop made from stitch B toward the tip of the supporting needle in front of stitch A. (I am a fairly tight knitter, so this technique should work for tight knitters as well as loose ones.)
Step 3 (RC)
[figure d] Gently pinch stitches A & B on the supporting needle with the hand that holds that needle while removing the active needle from stitch B. Stitch B should continue to make a loop pointing toward the tip of the supporting needle. I’ve marked a star in the space made by loop B between A and the supporting needle tip where the next stitch will be knit.
Step 4 (RC)
[figure e] Insert the active needle in the loop from stitch B knitwise and knit it. Let go of the loop from stitch B, but don’t try to pull it off the supporting needle yet.
Step 5 (RC)
[figure f] Knit stitch A. Now that both B and A have been knit, they can be removed from the supporting needle.
Step 6 (RC)
[figure g] The new stitches on the active needle have stitches B and A underneath them, with B crossed in front of A. The top of stitch B is leaning to the right. They look a little uneven here, but they will even out once there’s more knitting above them.
(one knit stitch crosses over one purl stitch and leans right)
It is often the case that a 1/1 RPC will be formed above a purl stitch followed by a knit stitch. Here I’ve drawn what that looks like. The stitch below stitch A is a purl stitch; the stitch below B is a knit stitch. Of course this is not always the context for an RPC, but it often is for mine, so I thought it worth drawing.
Steps 1-5 (RPC)
Follow steps 1-4 from the 1/1 RC instructions, then purl stitch A instead of knitting it. I didn’t manage an illustration for this; please let me know if you would find one useful.
Step 6 (RPC)
[figure i] Here’s how the 1/1 RPC looks when finished: stitch B has been pulled across stitch A and knit. Stitch A is purled, and sits behind stitch B.