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Add a Fun Twist to Your Knitting with Mock Cable Ribbing

Introduce two different mock cable ribbing patterns to your knitting repertoire with this easy-to-follow step-by-step tutorial. Forget those cable needles, just add this simple twist to your knitting stitches as you go.
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Swap out your plain-jane Purl2 x Knit2 ribbing for something with a little more pizzazz. I love these two mock cable ribbing patterns for the unexpected ways they bring panache to a simple hat, pair of mittens, or stockinette garment. Or do a whole hat in this rib! The mock cables aren't difficult to do -- no cable hook needed! -- yet they look super fancy.

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For this tutorial, I've created a variation of the traditional mock cable rib pattern. These mock cable patterns are achieved by twisting two stitches as you knit, which simulates the cable without using cable needles. First, the pattern and then below, you can find a more detailed tutorial for the parts that may be a bit more challenging.

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Mini Mock Cable Ribbing

Cast on a multiple of four stitches (if adding to a pattern you may want to add a selvage stitch to each end of ribbing)

Starting with wrong side (this gives you something to work the second row into)
Row 1: *K2, P2, repeat from * to end.
Row 2: *K1 through back loop of second stitch, then knit through first stitch normally and slip both stitches off, P2, repeat from * to end.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for desired length.

For the direction in Row 2, follow the photos below:

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To "K1 through the back loop of the second stitch" as written in the pattern, put your right -and needle through the back of the loop (tbl) of the second stitch on your left-hand needle.

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Knit that second stitch while still keeping the first stitch on the needle. (This is trickier in the beginning, but be patient and know that all subsequent rows will be MUCH easier!)

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Come back in front (keep in mind that second stitch that you already knit is still on your left-hand needle) and knit the first stitch as you normally would.

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Now you've knit the first two stitches (see how the two new stitches are on your right-hand needle and the two old stitches are on your left-hand needle). Now the two old stitches on your left-hand needle both have to come off the needle at this time.

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Here is how it looks after both old stitches are off. The two stitches that you knit out of order have both come off and created a little mock cable over on your right-hand needle. Now, you can go ahead and purl two stitches as you normally would. Repeat the mock cable process, then the two purls, all the way across the row.

The next row is the simple k2, p2. Then repeat those two rows again and again until desired length.

That's all there is to it! Now, here is a very simple variation.

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Mock Cable Ribbing

This is the exact same technique as above, only in this pattern, you create three rows of k2, p2 in between each mock cable row.

Cast on a multiple of four stitches (you may want to add a selvage stitch to each end of ribbing if adding in to a pattern).

Starting with wrong side (this gives you something to work the second row into)
Row 1: *K2, P2, repeat from * until the end.
Row 2: *K2, P2, repeat from * until the end.
Row 3: *K1 through back loop of second stitch, then knit through first stitch normally and slip both stitches off, P2, repeat from * until the end.
Row 4: *K2, P2, repeat from * until the end.
Repeat rows 1 to 4 until desired length.

By adding the extra two rows of K2,P2, the cable twist is drawn out and looks more like a traditional cable. Love them!

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Give it a go in a fave old standard pattern. Swap out that old ribbing for something twisted -- a perfect yet subtle unique detail.

For other great ideas, tutorials, and projects created for MarthaStewart.com, see my contributor profile here.

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About the Author

Anne Weil

Anne Weil is the creative voice behind Flax & Twine. A lover of beautiful things, she designs charming knit and crochet patterns and simple DIY crafts for the modern maker. Her signature style is bright and clean, with gorgeous photography and step-by-step instructions that can be followed with ease. Find Anne's book, "Knitting Without Needles," a Potter Craft title, to immerse...

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