Those who enjoy working cable designs know quite well how easy it is to lose these little tools; I have heard rumors that they can be found in the same place as lost socks.
-June Hemmons Hiatt, The Principles of Knitting
The Cable Needle
A selection of cable needles
From top to bottom, left to right: Knit Picks, LeslieWind silver ring needle, KnitPro Symphonie wood needles,
a variety from Craftsy, RebbeltjesTouch's cable needle necklace, and Boye curved and ridged plastic needles.
What is it?
A cable needle is generally a short needle that can have a curve, bend, or notch, that is used to temporarily hold live stitches when completing a knitted cable.
- searching out the history of cable needles is a bit of a challenge; the closest I could get was to do a bit of reading on the history of cable knitting in general
- the very famous Aran style sweater was "invented" in the 20th century
- in her excellent knitting tome The Principles of Knitting, June Hemmons Hiatt notes that cable needles come in "three different sizes, for fine, medium, and heavy-weight yarns..." (pg 574)
- her book was originally published in the late 1980s, and described there being only four different designs for cable needles on the market: a short and straight needle, a short straight needle with a dip in the centre, a fish hook shaped needle (which she notes stays put much better than the first two!), and a cable tool that looks like a "lethal weapon" and consists of a very short needle mounted on a ring that is worn on one finger
- Maggie Righetti notes that there are various special "gadgets" made solely for the purpose of cableing, but personally prefers using a dpn one size larger than her working needle as this doesn't tend to slow her work down
- do YOU use cable needles? what's your preferred shape or substitute device for cables? Please comment on this post and share!
Ethnic Knitting Adventures: Aran Sweaters in America by Donna Druchunas, Knitty Winter 2012
The Principles of Knitting, June Hemmons Hiatt
Knitting in Plain English, Maggie Righetti
Tips for Knitting Cables
Crazy for Cables (but not the cable needle)
Knit Kit (the curved crochet hook on this kit is my personal favourite cable needle)
Lantern Moon straight needles with grooves
Boye curved plastic needles with ridges
Knit Picks' variety of cable needles
LeslieWind's Ring cable needle and experimental needle
RebbeltjesTouch's cable needle necklace
1 Read the first profile on needle gauges.