Anatomy of Cable Abbreviations, part two

I seriously had to resist naming this post “part Deaux” or  “Abbreviations Reloaded” or “The Cable Strikes Back” … I am just full of the silly.

Onward and upward!

Learn how to decipher a written cable abbreviation in a knitting pattern, part Two. -TumpedDuck

Cable/cross two right

Diving right back into crossing cables – we are now looking at Right and Left cables.

To start off with, these are 100%, absolutely identical to the Front and Back cables in execution, we are just looking at different nomenclature. Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe as one says. Now for the break down

  1. C – once again letting you know you are fixin’ to cable or “cross” your stitches. This is the same as understanding that ‘k’ is telling you to knit and ‘p’ is telling you to purl.
  2. A Number – nothing new here. This is letting you know how many stitches are involved in your upcoming cable. In this case you will be crossing 2 stitches, but how? (As usual, if the number is even it is assumed that you will split the stitches evenly.)
  3. Direction – here is where things are changed up. With Front and Back you are being told what to do with the stitches. Left and Right lets you know what the end appearance of the cable will be after you have completed the stitch swap. Yeah. I know. It is time for a picture
Understanding how a Right Cable moves - TumpedDuck

A Right Cable



What you see to the right is a Right crossing cable. The black arrow represents the stitches moving to the front and the brown arrow is the stitches moving to the back. Right is referring to the direction of movement of the stitches that are held to the front of the work. The arrows show the directionality of the stitches. When considering the constituent stitches of the cable (here there are a total of two stitches) you are moving the left-most stitch to the front and over the right-most stitch.

Try to remember: in a Right cable the front stitches move from left to Right.

Learn how to decipher a written cable abbreviation in a knitting pattern, part Two. -TumpedDuck

Cable One over Two Left

Understanding how a Right Cross Cable (CL) moves. - TumpedDuck

A left Cable

As in the Back/Front cables, you can also have an uneven number of stitches and the abbreviation works pretty much the same way.

  1. C – I think you might have this by now. C = this is a cable. You, dear knitter will be cabling before you know it!
  2. A Number – remember, this is not a fraction. The / symbol should be read as “over”, so this tells you that it is a one over two cable. If you were passing two stitches over one then the number would be written 2/1.
  3. Direction – this is a Left cable so you know that your end result is a cable where the front stitch(es) appear to twist to the Left. In the case of this stitch you already know from the number that your single stitch is passing over the other two stitches. Because this is a Left cable that means that the first stitch is held to the front, you knit the next two stitches and then the held stitch. The single stitch is passing from the right to the Left. If you follow the diagram to the right you can see the black arrow representing the direction the front stitches move.

For a Left cable try to remember that the front stitches mover from the right to the Left.

Now, I find the Left/Right naming convention to be considerably more confusing than the Front/Back, but to each their own. Whatever clicks the best in your brain you just go for it! If you need to draw parallels between the two styles of naming you can try to remember that Right = Back and Left = Front. My mnemonic for that is R&B. For some reason my musical nature always associates R&B together (Rhythm and Blues anyone?) so I can remember that R(ight) goes with B(ack).

Incidentally, this is the same way I remember how to work a Right leaning increase. When you want your M1 to lean right you pick the strand up from the back. R&B just go together (in my crazy brain). Do you have any knitting mnemonics?

One thought on “Anatomy of Cable Abbreviations, part two

  1. When I commented the other day and got the mnemonic backwards, I was forgetting the key part: It’s cables, and the definitions cross each other, so that the 5-letter word goes with the 4-letter word and vice versa. It’s been so long since I worked cables that I forgot that part. 😉

    I’ve always been more verbal than musical. Left is 4 letters; port (on a boat) is 4 letters. That’s how I remember which direction is which. And it worked for page numbers when I worked in the printing industry: Even-number page numbers go on the left page (both words have an even number of letters); odd page numbers go on the right page (both words have an odd number of letters).

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