I’m no knitting mastermind, but I do feel I have a solid grasp of the craft, moreso than sewing. I’ve been knitting since I was 14 years old, and am confident that I can interpret most patterns in a way that suits me. So when I come across a knitting conundrum I’m always eager to learn more.
My latest knit is a cabled jumper. The cable chart and general idea are adapted from Calista Yoo’s Ashwood (Knitty Winter ’16), and I’ve worked out a pattern base to suit my preference for working top-down in the round in 8ply yarn* (the original pattern called for 12ply). Eventually, it should be a long sleeve, drop shoulder jumper with straight body and plain ribbed neckband.
Right now, I’m working the bodice to the underarm (first back, then pick up front shoulders and work down), and the neckline is posing a challenge. When I cast on the neck then worked down, the neckline flared out from the cable pattern, creating a wobbly edge from which it would be impossible to knit a neat neckband.
The knitting brains trust on Instagram informed me this was due to cable splay. I’ve included some articles about it below, but essentially the fabric of a cabled knit draws in and out. The flared neckline is the fabric stretching out after a drawn-in cable twist.
I was offered two suggestions for a fix:
1. Calculate the number of neck cast on stitches in the cabled gauge, then stockinette gauge. Cast on the number required in stockinette, then rapidly increase to the number required in the cable gauge. For me, this would mean 36 cable sts – 23 stockinette sts = 13 sts difference by gauge.
2. A simpler alternative is to cast on 1 fewer stitch for every stitch crossed in a cable. Eg, if you have 2 of 2×2 cables, you cast on 4 fewer stitches. I have 3 of 3×3 cables, so would cast on 9 fewer stitches.
I think I might start with option 2., Just because it requires less drastic increases. I assume the increases need to be in the knit sections to become cable twists, so will increase 3 sets of 3 knit stitches to 3 sets of 6 knit stitches. If it doesn’t work out, I can always rip back and try option 1.
Have you had any experience with cable splay? Or any suggestions for my cable conundrum?
Cable Splay Demystified, from Impeccable Knits
Combating Knitted Cable Flare, from Interweave Knits
*I actually quite enjoy working with 12ply yarn, but 8ply was what I had on hand.