Swatch Along No. 1: Cable and Ladder

I know this is knitting heresy, but I’m usually no fan of swatches.  I find the little buggers an inaccurate determinate of guage.  When I knit a four inch square, I inevitably work at a different tension than when knitting a full size piece.  Besides, it just slows you down and keeps you from getting to the fun stuff—starting your project.  However, what I do appreciate swatching for is the creative exploration of learning something new.  It is easy to get into a rut with your knitting, especially for someone like me who is a production knitter.  I’m always in such haste to get the next piece out that it is important for me to remember to slow down, look at a different stitch combination, and expand my horizons.  Besides, it is a great way to use up some remnants, too.  So.  I hauled out my fabulous copy of A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by the Barbara G.  Walker and picked a place to start.

Cable and Ladder

Cable and Ladder

What appealed to me about this pattern is the unusual combination of cables and lace.   I find it striking, actually.  The pattern is a fairly straightforward 14 sts panel by 8 row repeat.  It is easy to learn and memorize.  If you aren’t already familiar with knitting abbreviations, click here to follow along.

For Flat Knitting:  Cast on a multiple of 14 sts, plus 1.  For my first swatch, I used the Fibre Company’s Fingering Canopy Yarn and size four needles.  I cast on 29 sts.

Set-up Row (front side):  Knit

Row 1 (and all other odd rows) :  k1, *p2tog, yo, p11, k1, rep from*

Row 2:  k1, *ssk, yo, sl next 3 sts to dpn and hold to back, k3, k3 from dpn, k6, rep from*

Row 4:  k1, *ssk, yo, k12, rep from*

Row 6:  k1, *ssk, yo, k3, sl 3 sts to dpn and hold to front, k3, k3 from dpn, k3, rep from*

Row 8:  repeat row 4

And there you go.  Repeat rows 1-8 as needed.  What I like best about this pattern is that it lays nice and flat, so it would be wonderful for scarves, shawls, or collars.  It would also make a beautiful insert panel in a sweater or jacket.  I actually want to experiment with combining this knit with some ribbon running through the bits of eyelet.  Hmmm.  We shall see.

Note to you In The Round Knitters out there:  If you want to knit this stitch pattern in the round, cast on a multiple of 14 sts ONLY and join for the round.  Knit one row.  Your first row of the pattern and all other odd numbered rows should be worked as follows:  *k2tog, yo, k11, p1, rep from* .  Even numbered rows are worked as listed above.


Cable and Ladder Variation

This second swatch is knit with the Fibre Company’s Terra on size 9 needles.  Here, I wanted to expand the border sts a bit to mimic the stitch pattern between the cables.  To do this, cast on the desired number of sts (multiple of 14, plus 1) and then add 4 more sts.  This will add 2 sts to the beginning and end of each row.  So, on a right side row, k2, work the stitch pattern to the last 2 sts, k2.  On a wrong side row, k1,p1, work stitch pattern to last 2 sts, p1,k1.

And there you have it.  Your turn!

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