Until recently, I thought reversible cables were like the Loch Ness monster: mythical, much-talked-about, but probably non-existent. After making many cabled scarves and always failing to feel satisfied with both sides, I went in quest of this mythical beast.
It turns out that, unlike the Loch Ness monster, reversible cables really do exist! Surprisingly, a ribbed stitch pattern, rather than plain stockinette, is all it takes to bring cables into the three-dimensional world.
Purl Soho’s Alpaca Pure, with its depth of color and clear stitch definition, casts my Reversible Rivulet Scarf in a glowing light. Each beautifully defined cable looks like a spiraling, rippling river, minus the monster! -Gina
- 4 (6, 7) skeins of Purl Soho’s Alpaca Pure, 100% super baby alpaca. This color is Yellow Zest.
- US #9 circular or straight needles, any length
- A cable stitch holder
20 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches x 4 inches in stockinette stitch
Approximately 6 (8, 10) inches wide and 70 inches long
This stitch pattern requires that you knit or purl every stitch through the back loop. Please see the Abbreviations and Tips section, below, for instructions on how to do that.
I used a tubular cast on and bind off for this scarf. Visit our Long Tail Tubular Cast On Tutorial and our Tubular Bind Off Tutorial for all the how-tos. These techniques create stretchier, more forgiving edges than a regular long cast on and bind off, but feel free to use those more common methods if you prefer. Your scarf will be just as beautiful!
Abbreviations + Tips
How to Knit Through the Back Loop (k1 tbl)
To knit through the back loop insert the right needle into the back leg of the next stitch in a regular away-from-you knitting motion, as shown above. Wrap and pull the yarn as you normally would to knit.
How to Purl Through the Back Loop (p1 tbl)
To purl through the back loop insert the right needle into the back leg of the next stitch in a regular toward-you purling motion, as shown above. Wrap and pull the yarn as you normally would to purl.
How To Make a Reversible Cable Cross (rcc)
Slip 4 stitches purlwise to cable stitch holder and hold in front of work, [p1 tbl, k1 tbl] twice from left needle, [p1 tbl, k1 tbl] twice from cable stitch holder.
Here’s how to do that…
Slip 4 stitches purlwise to a cable stitch holder: Insert the cable stitch holder into the next stitch on the left needle as if you were purling it and slide the stitch onto the cable stitch holder. Repeat three more times.
Keep the cable stitch holder at the front of the work: Allow the cables stitch holder to hang on the side of the work that is facing you.
[p1 tbl, k1 tbl] twice from the left needle: Use the right needle to work the next four stitches from the left needle.
Now, slide the slipped stitches to the other end of the cable stitch holder. Do not spin the cable stitch holder or try to knit the stitches from the same end that you used to slip the stitches.
[p1 tbl, k1 tbl] twice from the cable stitch holder: Use the right needle to work the four stitches from the cable stitch holder.
If you use a Long Tail Tubular Cast On
There are a few of changes to make to our Long Tail Tubular Cast On Tutorial in order to suit this pattern:
After you make the slipknot, the next stitch you cast on should be a knit stitch (in the tutorial, it’s a purl stitch). Next, cast on a purl stitch, then a knit, and continue, alternating knits and purls as explained in the tutorial. End with knit stitch.
The Foundation Rows will then be as follows…
Foundation Row 1: *Slip 1 with yarn in front (wyif), k1, repeat from * to end of row.
Foundation Row 2: *Slip 1 wyif, k1 through the back loop, repeat from * to end of row.
Continue on to the Work Ribbing section, below.
If you use a Long Tail Cast On
Continue on to the Work Ribbing section.
Ribbing Row: *P1 tbl, k1 tbl, repeat from * to end of row. (See Abbreviations + Tips, above.)
Repeat the Ribbing Row until piece measures 4 inches from cast on edge.
Begin Cable Pattern
Cable Row 1: [Rcc (see Abbreviations + Tips, above), (p1 tbl, k1 tbl) 4 times] 2 (3, 4) times, rcc.
Rows 2 – 8: Repeat the Ribbing Row.
Cable Row 2: [P1 tbl, k1 tbl] 4 times, [rcc, (p1 tbl, k1 tbl) 4 times] 2 (3, 4) times.
Rows 10 – 16: Repeat the Ribbing Row.
Repeat these 16 rows until scarf measures 66 inches from cast on edge, ending with a Cable Row.
Repeat the Ribbing Row until work measures 70 inches from cast on edge.
If you used a tubular cast on, bind off using a tubular bind off.
If you used a long tail cast on, bind off in p1, k1 pattern.
Weave in the ends. Block gently and enjoy your Reversible Rivulet Scarf!