Guidelines to avoid flare and puckering
by Jackie E-S
Knitters ask –
I'm going to put a 6-stitch cable down each side of the socks. How many extra stitches do I need to add to the generic-in-my-head pattern to accommodate the stitches taken up by the cable?
My general rule of thumb is increase by 25% for cables. But that is very general, and the actual number depends heavily on proportion of interlacement of the cable patterns, and therefore take-up. For example, a complex oft-twisted 6-stitch cable can have more take-up than a looser simple 6-stitch cable. Sampling with the yarn and needle size to be used is really the only way to be absolutely sure, since other factors of yarn elasticity, thickness, etc. can enter the picture.
For your example of a 6-stitch cable, I'll venture a jumping off point to at least give you an idea of what to expect — If you are doing a simple cable, increasing from 5 stitches to 6 is probably adequate. If it is a complex, more tightly interlaced cable, increasing from 4 to 6 stitches may be needed.
To avoid flare and puckering between the transitions of non-cabled areas and cabled areas, you may want to consider increasing as you begin your cables, and decreasing as you end them.
In the former example, I might start the foundation of the cable on 5 stitches. Then in the first cable twist, position an increase so that it ends up on the underside of the twist and is hidden.
For the latter example, I would start the cable on a foundation of 4 stitches and make 2 hidden increases in the first cable twist. Likewise, on the last cable twist, I would make inconspicuous decreases back down to the original number of stitches.
Just one of many ways to approach this. Have fun!
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