Using a J-hook Cable Needle

The J-hook or shepherd's crook cable needle offers a number of advantages for knitting cables. Because it has both a leading and trailing arm of different lengths, the chances of twisting the stitches are minimized, because you can more easily tell if the cable needle has been twisted, when compared to cable needles whose arms are equal in length and symmetrical. In addition the deep U, holds the stitches well, so that they do not slip off easily. The following photographs illustrate these advantages as well as the cable needle in use.

Steps in Using the Cable Needle
Step 1Step 1 Step 2Step 2 Step 3Step 3 Step 4Step 4

Step 5Step 5 Step 6Step 6 Step 7Step 7 Step 8Step 8

  1. 3 sts are transferred from the left hand needle to the cable needle.
  2. Step 2 shows the 3 stitches being held in front of the knitting. The hook could also be held in back to cause a twist in the opposite direction. Your knitting instructions will tell you which way to pass the stitches.
  3. In this 5 stitch pattern the first of 2 sts (stitch #4 of the 5 stitches in the cable) to be passed behind is knitted from the left hand needle, while the 3 sts earlier in sequence park on the cable needle.
  4. Stitch #5 is now knitted, while the 3 prior sts remain parked on the cable needle.
  5. St #3 (a purl stitch) is transferred back to the left hand knitting needle. This is part of the design. The most basic of cables would not have this intermediate step.
  6. St #3 is purled.
  7. St #1 (of the original sequence) is now knitted directly from the long arm (marked "right" in the Step 1 photo), with the right hand needle. Then the last st on the cable needle is knitted. J-hook is blue and the knitting needle tips are silver.
  8. The last photo shows the complete 5 st (k2 p1 k2) cable, illustrating how the first sts pass over the last 2 in a right to left direction.

Tip: Load stitches from the short arm (left) of the J-hook and knit them from the long, straight arm (right) as illlustrated. In the photo for Step 1, loops are loaded on the short arm. The photo in step 7 shows stitches being knitted from the long arm. The J hook is blue and on the left side of the image for step 7.

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