I love the way cables look. They add a texture to knitting that make life, I mean, knitting, exciting. But I haven't always liked making cables in my knitting projects. I tried the standard cable needles, but never got past the fiddly-ness of it. You slide the stitches onto the needle then position those stitches in the middle of the needle, knit the next stitches off the left-hand needle, then slide the stitches out of the middle of the cable needle to the other end and knit the stitches off the cable needle, while holding onto the other needles at the same time.
Not a fan.
Then I read somewhere that you don't HAVE to do it that way. You could move the stitches from the cable needle back to the left-hand needle before you knit them! It sounds so simple, and it is, but it made such a difference in how I knit cables. It was so much easier.
Then I knit with a lady from Ireland who was making...wait for it...an Aran jumper. She didn't muck about with a separate kind of fancy needle for cabling. She just used a spare double-pointed needle. She said it was easier than using cable needles, and well, you know me; I like EASY!
So I gave it a go. In knitting up a horse shoe cable afghan block (look for the pattern in June!), I used a double pointed needle that was near to the size of knitting needles I was using for the block (I could have used one that matched the size, but frankly, I just grabbed what was handy). After I had knit the stitches off the left needle and was ready to knit the stitches that had been transferred to the dpn, I slipped the stitches back to the left needle to knit them. It was life-changing.
Here was the answer to the awkwardness. Here was the answer to keeping up with a wee little cable needle in between cable rows (my dpns are longer and somehow that makes life easier). Here was the answer to my (slight) aversion to doing the work of cabling.
It is true what they say: sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference. These little changes have made cable knitting SO much more enjoyable for me. How about you? Do you love cable knitting or just tolerate the process to achieve the look? Do you have tricks that make it more fun for you?