What comes around and around
Friday October 23rd 2015, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life

You slip the next (two, in this case) stitches coming at you onto a short double-pointed needle (aka a dpn, the light-colored one here) and stab it into the knitting, either in back or in front according to the pattern, to hold it out of the way. You knit the next ones on the regular needle, then bring that short needle back up and knit those delayed stitches. Voila: your cable.

When we moved to California it was several years before I knew anybody besides me who knit. It wasn’t till some time after that that I finally learned, after knitting since age ten, why those dpns were sold in sets of four or five.

To me they had always been, and had only been, cable needles. That was their name. I know because that’s what my mom called them. A memorable part of my childhood had involved watching her use them while knitting Aran sweaters for my dad and my next-older sister and an all-over-diamonds one for my grandfather.

On size 2 needles. In endless tiny hanks of tapestry yarn, because that was the only thing available back then if you wanted wool yarn at that fine a gauge. For her father, who treasured it the rest of his life.

Socks? They’re called dpns and they’re for knitting socks? Or even hats? On a kind of a scaffolding arrangement, and that’s why so many, and not because the manufacturers know you’re going to drop one somewhere down the cushions of the doctor’s waiting-area chair and never find it again and they’re just being helpful?

And none of the manufacturers even call them cable needles? Who knew?

4 Comments so far
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Don’t forget my fisherman knit cape, in burnt orange. I wanted tree-of-life cables, we had seen them somewhere and they were a new thing to Mom, and she made them. I still have it, and it was always on my list of things to grab if the house is on fire. I haven’t used it for eons, but…who knows? (It was handy when pregnant because it didn’t need size.)

Comment by Marian 10.24.15 @ 12:49 am

Gorgeous stuff, by the way.

Comment by Marian 10.24.15 @ 12:50 am

An Aran sweater on size 2 needles?!?! Oh my! That must be beautiful and must have taken forever!!!

Comment by Jody 10.24.15 @ 1:48 am

What fun to see that someone else uses the DPNs just the way I do when I use them as cable needles — slip the sts onto the DPN and jab the far end into the fabric vertically (either front or back of the fabric, as needed) consistently so you know to knit off from the top side of the DPN when you need those sts. But I must have known they weren’t solely cable needles, I guess, though I never used anything else as a cable needle until I snapped the US1 wood circ so I used the broken tip of that for fingering weight yarn being cabled, which was convenient, at least, since it’s a good bit shorter than my DPNs.

Comment by Susan (sjanova) 10.25.15 @ 7:15 pm

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