Where I write about knitting, crocheting and lace, and, on occasion general comments on other topics

Mirrored Cables – Front Cross & Back Cross Cables

Written by: Lindy

Front Cross and Back Cross Cable Stitches are mirror images of each other. The Front Cross cable twists to the left, while the Back Cross twists to the right. Both cables are done over four stitches.

Mirrored Cables

In the sample – I have knitted a swatch with 3 Front Cross Cables and 3 Back Cross Cables to demonstrate how they mirror each other and also to show how these two cables would look in a ribbing. Remember that cables are usually separated by a few purl stitches in most textured pattern designs. In this swatch, I separated the cables by 2 purl stitches on each side. (I also blocked this swatch and stretched it to separate the cables. If you were using these cables as a ribbing, you would not want to block your garment this way.)

Front Cross Cable Stitches

The Front Cross Cable is often written in patterns as “C4F”. To knit this cable, you slip the first two stitches onto a cable needle and hold them in the front of your knitting while you knit the next two stitches. Then you knit the two stitches off the cable needle. This results in the cable twisting to the left.

Single Front Cross Cable
Tension can be an issue here, as many knitters tend to stretch the last stitch of the four a bit too much and end up with a looser stitch on the left edge of the needle. If you look closely at the left edge of the cable in the picture above, you will see that I do have looser stitches on the left edge.

Montse Stanley, in the “Knitters Handbook”, suggests knitting through the back of this stitch, rather than then front will tighten it up. You must remember to purl through the back loop again on the next row or you will have a twisted stitch if you do this, however.

Back Cross Cable
The Back Cross Cable is often written in patterns as “C4B”. To knit this cable, you slip the first two stitches onto a cable needle and hold them in the back of your knitting while you knit the next two stitches. Then you knit the two stitches of the cable needle. This results in the cable twisting to the right. The same tension issues occur with this cable as with the Front Cross Cable.

In my swatch, I have varied the number of rows between cable stitch repeats to demonstrate how the appearance of the cables changes with the number of rows. The first two cables are based upon a four row repeat (meaning that the cable was done on the fourth row) and the last two cables are based upon a six row repeat.

These two cable patterns are very versatile – uses include: all-over cable patterning in a sweater (the popular “baby cable” sweaters found in stores today), a border for another textured pattern in an Aran style sweater, a decorative ribbing for a pullover sweater, the patterning found in my Cable Rib socks. I’m certain you can find many more examples as you look through sweater and sock patterns.

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