My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Cable Madness

Yesterday the KOARC and I created a short video demonstrating how to knit a 4-stitch cable without a cable needle. Here it is:

Size Matters

In the comments, Tan asked:
Is Cromarty one of the sweaters with only one size given?

Yupperdoodles, it is. One size given: 45″ around.


But it occurs to me that it would not be too difficult to resize it. If you wanted to make it smaller, you could take out one or two of the smaller side motifs. Another cool way would be to reduce the 9-stitch plaited cable to a 6-stitch plaited cable.

To make it larger, add a smaller motif or two. Or make the small 4-stitch cable on each side a 6-stitch cable.

I’ve gotten a couple of questions as to where Lucy’s Cozy Cushions were purchased: I bought online from Drs. Foster & Smith. Here’s a direct link to the kitty Cozy Cushions.

Here is Lucy, excited over the prospect of a second, new Cozy Cushion!



  1. Happy Sunday Wendy! I was wondering if you’ve seen the new Favorite Socks book from Interweave yet. I managed to get a copy yesterday and love it (and not just for the patterns, but it’s in a great spiral bound format). I was surprised to find it since it’s still listed as having an April 1 release date (maybe an April Fool’s joke?). 17 of the patterns are reprints though so this may be a book for new knitters like myself and not such a good bargain for people who have been saving sock patterns from Interweave over the last few years.

  2. What a great video! Thank you for sharing that and Lucy’s new “toy”. Now Linus wants one.

  3. Thanks so much for doing the video. I really appreciate knowing how to do cables this way.

    Do you really knit that way, with dropping the yarn in between each stitch? How do you knit so fast?

  4. It seems like one could purchase a space blanket at a discount sporting goods store, encase it in some nice kitty-friendly flannel with perhaps a layer or two of padding on the underside, and poof! a Cozy Cushion for practically pennies. My three kitties are demanding one per cat per favored napping spot. I’d go broke @ $19.99/each plus shipping.

    Thanks for the video — I’ve watched it five or six times now, I think I’ve got it into my head. So simple once one sees it. As genius often is.

  5. Great Video – thanks. Besides the no cable needle cabling, it was interesting to see how you place your yarn when knitting.

  6. OK, I’m back again. Love the video! Wendy, would you consider doing one showing how you work a knitted on lace border? Sowerby has tons of wonderful info in Victorian Lace Today, but for some reason, the mechanics of doing a knitted on border and how I manage to be knitting one piece and hanging on to the center piece seem to escape logic.

  7. And the rose colored cozy cushion is on sale right now for $12 (vs. $20). I ordered one yesterday in the hopes that Sam, my Tonk, will transfer his affections there from our radiator which I hope to turn off as the weather warms up.

  8. Thanks for posting the video! I’ve heard people talk about cabling without a needle but could never picture it in my head. Makes perfect sense now. My cats also thank you and Lucy for the shameless promotion of the cozy cushion. I couldn’t resist ordering one for them (especially since they were on sale!) I put it on top of the dryer, their favorite perch to watch the birds at the feeder in our yard. They seem to like it very much.

  9. For me the neat thing was seeing how you knit. I am now realizing that there are sooo many ways to do a simple garter stitch as far as hand positioning, holding the yarn etc. I wonder which styles produce the least strain on the wrists, hands???

    Gee, there could be a whole bunch of youtube videos of people showing how they knit.

  10. After watching a few times, I think I’ve got the hang of cabling without a cable-needle. But do you always hold your yarn in your left hand? I hold mine in my right hand so this looks really awkward to me.

    Great to see you “in action” btw! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Would love to see the video, but alas! YouTube says it’s no longer available.

  12. Wendy, thanks for the mini-lesson! It is certainly appreciated amongst the knitting laypersons.
    I love sock knitting…it’s my therapy. But I never love how the “join” looks (if that’s what you call it. When it’s time to pick up and knit… no matter how i slice it… the picked up stitches around the join leave large holes. Am I continually missing the boat? unaware of a trick? or just plain picky?
    Hi Lucy! MEOW

  13. Thanks for the video. It was neat to see how you knit, too.

  14. Bless you (and KOARC) for the non-cable video inservice! I could not have come at a better time for me! I love cables, but have been frustrated at how long it takes me to create one! Of course, I am a notoriously slllloooowwww knitter anyway. In any event, I thank you!

    Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, you gorgeous kitty! What a pose, what a face! Darling cat!

    Several students in one of my Library Science classes are knitters. I’ve told them about your blog/website (“Wow!!” was the reaction of one of them)and we are planning to share knitting patterns, etc.

  15. The video is great. I watched and sent it along to a couple of friends. It should make someone’s life much easier. It’s easier to learn by watching someone else than to try to get it from drawings and written instructions.

    Lucy looks excited? But will she have trouble deciding which cushion to be on at any given time?

  16. Thank you for the video! Maybe I will try this after all.
    Cromarty is gorgeous! Lucy is too, of course!

  17. Thank you for that video! I learn best when I see something done.

  18. My fingers keep twitching to knit cables after reading your posts!

  19. Thanks for the video — I too am mad about cables and think learning how to cable without a needle may help me out greatly! I am also curious about your knitting style. I am left handed (very left hand dominant, I’ve been told) and have an unusual style, but I think my style actually slows me down a bit, so I am always looking for other ways to try out to see what works best for me. Bottom line, though, I still enjoy knitting, even if my progess is slow.
    And, I’m glad Lucy is keeping warm with her cozy cushion.

  20. That video rocks! Big thanks to you and KOARC as well. I will be trying that technique ASAP. Unfortunately, I’m currently in the middle of some Fair Isle instead. Got any video tips for that? ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. I’m pretty sure you’re the person I have to thank for my ability to cable without a cable needle. (and thus cementing my love of cables) When I started my first cabled project I remember thinking… “Hmmm… I think Wendy said I don’t need a cable needle, lets go see…” And there was your lovely tutorial. (the still pictures version that you have linked on your “finished work” page)

    Cables just seemed so fiddly before that. But without that extra needle they’re just FUN!

    So thank you Wendy!!

  22. While I’d already figured out how to cable without a needle, it was really interesting to see how you knit after reading your description of it ages ago. Very unique and just proof that we need to do whatever works for us. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone do what really is a combo of continental and throwing…you don’t seem to “pick” the way true continental works but it’s not an english style of true throwing either. Very cool.

  23. Thanks for the video. I am still not brave enough to try it yet. The sweater is coming along nicely. All those cables are so pretty.

  24. As a new reader, I want to say thanks for such a terrific blog with great info and fun! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also loved your book. Thanks for the video. I appreciate the visual.

  25. Hey! That looks easy and a lot faster than switching to a cable needle. Thanks, Wendy!

  26. Barb Outside Boston says:

    Great video! I would never do another Aran without cabling w/o a cable needle. I’ve even been doing 7-stitch cables that way and have less trouble than when I did use a cn. Spread The Freedom!

  27. So simple, so obvious… but I would never have thought of it in a million years. Thanks very much.

  28. Thanks for the vidoe!
    The lady who taught me to knit successfully (there were two others who tried, but just confused me) taught me to do it the exact same way you did it in your video! I think it was that way that helped it “stick” if that makes sense ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. That was very interesting to watch. I was examining your knit/purl technique in particular (you and I cable without a needle in the same way and I’m self taught). I knit with the yarn in my right hand and everyone says that the left hand is faster. Well I learned to use my left well enough to knit, and I use it for fair isle, but purl is just awkward in the left hand. I see it’s no different for you. It seems to me that you end up using both hands to control the yarn ending up with a total of more movements.

    When I knit, my left hand holds my stitches “loaded up” on my left hand needle and the right manipulates the yarn. This gives me great speed on the straight away. I’m not much slowed down when purling either.

    I wonder what you look like when ribbing? Or when you are going for speed? I wonder if I should try and film myself knitting for kicks. I’ll bet I move both hands more than I think I do.

  30. The Cromarty is coming out GORGEOUS. I just love the color and the detail is amazing. It will be years before I have the guts to try something that involved!

    Wendy–have you ever heard of or used Claudia yarn? I was asking about Koigu today at my LYS and they said that they had some left but were going to be carrying the Claudia yarns instead because it is slightly less expensive and apparently has more colorways? It has the same fiber blend as the Koigu and looks very similar. I felt both and couldn’t tell a difference in the hand. What do you think?

  31. Hi Wendy,

    Thanks for taking the time and effort to do this video. I’ve referred to your photo tutorial in the past to remind myself how to do the technique and feel the video is even better.


  32. Thanks for the great video. I can see it would speed things up once you got used to it! So much better than juggling a cable needle! It’s also interesting to see your knitting style. It’s amazing to me that there are so many different ways of “throwing” the yarn! I’m a right handed yarn holder!

  33. Something to add LOL Your post with your demo video inspired me to shoot a quick video demonstrating my knitting style. How cool would it be for whatever bloggers who can shoot short videos with their digi-cams to shoot quick demos of their knitting styles? I think many of us have been told at some point that we “knit wrong” and I think it would be very fun and validating to see just how many different styles there are that still accomplish the same thing…

  34. Thanks so much for the video! I finally get it!

    Cromarty looks gorgeous!

    Lucy looks very happy (and gorgeous).

  35. Thank you for the video! I tried another version of cabling without a cable needle and it is just too scary (leaving live stitches hanging and sooo vulnerable). You are terrific for sharing.

  36. Your instructions – written – were clear, but this is awesome………seems that KOARC may have a new career: director!

  37. Dear, dear Wendy, you gave me the cable needle-less cable instructions just when I needed them. Thank you, thank you! BTW, Petsmart has a very similar self-heating cushion in a leopard fabric for the same price as Drs. Foster and Smith.

  38. I am going to have to get more serious about Weight Watchers if I want a Cromarty, I guess. No more king cake.

  39. Thanks for the video. I finally see what I was doing wrong. I wasn’t putting the stitches back on the left needle before working the other stitches. No wonder I always lost a few. hehe

  40. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I don’t “not like” cable needles but I don’t “like” them either. That was a great tip and fab. video.

    Off I go to try that with my Arwen sweater!

    tee hee

  41. aHA! Thanks for sharing this video! I finally get it now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Thanks for the video — it’s immensely helpful to my understanding of that method.

    I’m drooling over that colorway of Koigu, so watching this sweater being knit is real treat.

    Oh, and I think I’m going to have to order a Cozy Cushion or two for my girls. You’re such an enabler!

  43. Debra in NC says:

    All I can say is “WOW” at looking at your Cromarty! It’s gorgeous! Can’t wait to see it finished. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sooooooooooo into cables right now!

    I’m glad that dear Lucy is in love with her Cozy Cushion! I knew she would enjoy them. I got mine from PetsMart and all of my kitties (8 of them) love them.

  44. I really appreciate the video. I learned how to make socks by video and now, thanks to you, I can cable without a cable needle.

  45. Loved the video.

    I also knit just like you in the video. Just wonder how you are knitting so fast!!!!

  46. Hi,thanks for your cable video,I wondered how you did that and had a good laugh! I started doing this when I found I had left my cable needle at home one day and was stuck,thanks for sharing though,its great to see techniques in this way when you have to learn by yourself!

  47. Theresa in Italy says:

    I, too, am one of those who learns best by seeing something demonstrated, and I was also darn curious about how your knitting technique really looked, so I’m really enjoying this video. I’ve been terrified of cables up to now, but you make it look like fun! Thanks so much, Wendy!

  48. Another thank you the video. Please reassure me that you didn’t shoot any sound with it?

    Cromarty is beautiful. I would love to knit an aran, but I always end up with loose stitches either side of my cables which bugs me no end.

  49. Hi, Great video lesson. Thank you. I’ve never seen your knitting technique before, it looks very elegant and doesn’t look like it would be hard on the wrists like my left handed purling style. Did you develop this on your own, or was this the way you were taught to knit? I wouldn’t miss a day of your blog. Your photos of Lucy and your knitting, etc. give me great pleasure. Thanks for sharing.

  50. Cromarty is looking wonderful Wendy!

    Cabling without a cable needle is such a time saver (and thanks for the tutorial on your site). I’m working “Arangenser” for Norsk Strikkedesign, and it makes a HUGE difference, especially when you have a bazillion cables in a row…

  51. On some Rowan kits (old intarsia kits), where the first size given was too big for me, I used a smaller size needles to reduce the total sweater size. Going down one size doesn’t seem to make that much difference in the pattern, and when the yarn is thin enough and there are a lot of stitches, this can cut at least one to two inches. On some occasions, I’ve repositioned the design, but in the sweater you’re showing, cutting one of the side cables would probably be a better bet. It is hard to tell, but if there are two stitches around the vertical column between the cables, you could cut that to one stitch.

    Thanks for the video. I might give that technique a try if I can overcome my need for the “security blanket” of a cable hook. And thanks again for the closeup view of the cables. I’m adapting that idea on my current project.

  52. Wow, great video. But what impressed me the most is watching your hands. I had read in your book of how you are a left handed thrower, but I had never seen another left handed thrower! I am too a left handed thrower and also do not hold the yarn, but pick it up for each stitch. It felt sort of comfortable to watch you knit!

  53. On Lucy’s recommendation, we bought Pumpkin one of those mats. She loves it! I am thinking of getting her a second one, too. But, right now, she hauls it around with her in the living room. I love the Cromarty!

  54. How fascinating to see your throwing technique! I was thinking “what in the world is she doing? I thought we were going to see a cabling demonstration here!” heh We do the cabling part the same way. It make me feel almost famous! ๐Ÿ™‚

  55. You make it look so simple! But I guess that’s what practice does. I’ve tried the method in the past, and will have to try it again.


  56. I knit exactly liek you do. I sort of grab the working yarn with both fingers, rather than wrapping it around one and using only the index. BTW, how is the log cabin blanket going? you haven’t mentioned it in a very long while.

  57. I swear my cats were peeking over my shoulder to make sure I clicked the link to the cat beds. When I turned around, one ran and the other resumed pointless licking.

  58. Oh! Excellent! Thanks! But I where was Lucy’s cameo appearance?

  59. *whew* I read something somewhere a few days ago about how someone learned how to do cabling without a cable needle using a different method than they used that was so much faster and I started to worry that the way I did it was the “slow” way, but what you showed is exactly what I do.

    I have a question though about more complex cable crossings, like some of the center crossings in the Rogue knotwork where the middle stitch stays the middle stitch, but two stitches on either side of it cross (I think, at least; I don’t have the pattern in front of me). I managed to do it with a cable needle in one direction, but it was very futzy. Do you also do these more complex cables without a cable needle and if so, can you shoot another video to show us your technique?

  60. The technique and efficiency of motion that a skilled and quick knitter effortlessly brings to bear, turning fibre into fabric or garment with only the aid of two needles is, for me, the real magic of knitting.

    I have always found efficient knitting captivating to watch and as I follow your blog, have often wondered at how your hands might work since clearly, your knitting, demonstrates great skill and speed!

    It was so fascinating to watch your hands in action! Thank you for the helpful and gratifying tutorial!

  61. Thanks for the video, I have always wanted to learn how to do cables without a cable needle. You make it look so easy.

    Iris In Germany

  62. Awesome video! Thank you, I spent a lot of time cursing the cable needle on my Fetchings (first cables ever), now I won’t have to. I feel much better about casting on for the second of the pair.

  63. Hi Wendy,

    Thanks for the video. I cable without a needle for a few years now, but I think I might try your version. I learned my version from a combination of several internet sources, and put in a bit of just my caution. What I see from you seems faster to me, and maybe even less prone to loosing a stitch. I think I’d never done any cabling if I’d had to stick with the cable needle. Just too much fussing around.

    Just for a clarification of terminology – not criticising your way of knitting, I’d never do so to any knitter – the way you are knitting is *not* continental. I think I remember you mentioning that your way of knitting might be continental, but you weren’t certain.

    I’m from the continent (German), and even if there are non-continental German knitters, what you are doing is not the continental way. In Germany the “normal” way (the one that usually has no adjective) is what English speaking people call continental. Your “normal” or “English” way was called by my Mother “catholic”, but I don’t know whether this can count as a technical term.

    I was always marvelling why you hate to rib – now I know. You are still throwing the yarn, even if you do it with your left hand. A continental knitter will *not* throw the yarn. For continental knitting you are holding your hands and yarn much like in crochet, and you use your right hand knitting needle much like a crochet hook. Actually when I learned how to knit as a child I wondered why knitting needles had no hooks – would have been much easier in my eyes then. (BTW there is portugese knitting, which is done with 2 tunesian crochet hooks – it is available on YouTube, looks funny, and again different from what I do).

    One advantage of Continental knitting is that ribbing is much easier to do than in English knitting. You don’t have to do all those yarn forward/backward moves before you can do the actual stitch. I taught myself how to knit continental as to be bilingual in knitting, too, but stopped when I tried ribbing. It was just too much fuss! So I can do a bit of continental knitting, but I sternly refuse to do ribbing that style. In continental knitting you just put the needle tip behind the yarn when you are doing a purl, and in front when doing a knit stitch. This motion is done together with the motion of poking the tip of the needle into the stitch, so this is much easier to accomplish, and one flowing motion. As I see things in continental you have to pick up the yarn, pull it in front of your work, poke the needle into the stitch, throw the yarn, pull the loop through and get the stitch to the right needle. Some of these moves can be easily combined, but not the part of pulling the yarn in front / to back in ribbing. It is always a seperate movement.

    So all of this is not to criticise anybody for their knitting style – this is something I can’t do, because which ever way people are knitting, most of the time their work will yield wonderful knitted items. What I was saying was just for a friendly discussion of ways of knitting, and the differences there are, and why *I* choose to still prefer Continental over English style.

    If you want to find videos on the mentioned styles just put “knitting continental” or “knitting portuguese” in the search box at YouTube.

    Chris ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  64. It is fascinating to see you knit! Thanks Wendy and KOARC for the video.

  65. Thanks for the link on the Cozy Cushions. I just got the dog version for my pups!

  66. I’ve been reading your blog for a while but have never commented before.

    I was inspired by Lucys love of her Cosy Cushion to purchase a UK equivalent for my chilly cats! They love them! They fight over who will get to sit on the one nearest the radiator and the cushion has replaced the back of my sofa as the favourite coveted snoozing spot. Thank you for the idea. There is a picture of my cats snuggled up together on their cushion on my blog, if you’d like to see.

    Thanks again for the idea,


  67. The video is great- similar to Annie M.’s method. My question to you is this: how do you knit so friggin’ fast?!

  68. Those are some incredible cables on Cromarty! I love celtic knotwork, and love to see it in knitted garments.

  69. Oh My!!! Actual footage of “The Wendy” knitting. I just may have to watch that again!!


  70. Wendy, I’m so glad you mentioned down-sizing Cromarty. I had held off making it for a long time because of the width, and I just bought some yarn figuring it couldn’t be too hard to down-size — and there you go giving me tips on how to do it! Now I can’t wait for my yarn to arrive…

  71. O.K., now I really know that I am a knitting geek when I actually enjoy watching someone’s knitting technique so much that I watch it a second time through just for the pleasure of it! It was fun seeing how you hold your yarn and knit with it in the video. I had already gotten the hang of your wonderful cabling without a cable needle technique a couple of years ago, so I really was watching this just for the joy of seeing it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  72. any way to slow down the video for those of us who have trouble following it – ???/ looks cool, but goes fast for us novices.

  73. any way to slow down the video for those of us who have trouble following it – ???/ looks cool, but goes fast for us novices.

  74. Great video, thank you. I find I can learn much more easily when viewing the process than reading about it. This was very helpful.

  75. Thanks to Lucy’s endorsement, the Ladies are each getting their own Cozy Cushion!

    I’m pretty sure taht “older cats” will be very happy.

  76. Thanks so much for the video. Your non-cable needle method has a little more grace & less risk than mine. Since I’m thinking of doing Shedir again, perfect timing.

  77. Wendy – Thanks for the cable video! Your fingernails are beautiful!

  78. Thanks for the great video. I’m going to try that out tonight on a chemo hat I’m working on.