Tag Archives: kenkyo

Twisted 3-st Cables, the Japanese Way

So, flipping through a Japanese knitting book of pattern stitches one day, I came across a twisted rib and cable pattern that I thought would make a VERY handsome sock for DH…which it did.

If you’ve never seen a Japanese knitting book, let me tell you — very sensible system they have, those Japanese.  Everything is graphical.  Lots of little symbols for all kinds of stitches.  Easy to understand.

Except that for this one particular pattern stitch, there was a pair of symbols used which I couldn’t find in any of my books.  (Not even the book in which the pattern stitch appeared!)

Of course, engineers don’t give up that easily — nor do knitters, as the Yarn Harlot so rightly declaims.  So, I eventually figured it all out, and made a few socks, and then wrote the pattern for my Kenkyo socks — which is available for sale at my friend Deb’s etsy shop, at fearlessfibers.etsy.com.  These directions are provided as a complement to the stitch chart and directions in the pattern.

The Japanese method of working twisted cables does not require a cable needle, but it does require some needle acrobatics!  Try it on a larger-gauge swatch before you attempt it at sock gauge, and keep your sts loose to facilitate learning the unusual movements.

(Note that you will probably need to tug your completed cables into shape a bit, due to the additional maneuvering.)

To do a twisted 3-st cable, right:

The 3rd st on the LH needle is a K. Insert RH needle into this st kwise, tbl.


Push the first two sts on LH needle toward the needle tip, making a space btw 2nd and 3rd st on needle.


Tip the RH needle to the right to catch the back leg of the 3rd st.


Pull this loop forward under the LH needle, through the space btw 2nd and 3rd sts, out to the front of the work.


Move RH needle around to back of LH needle.


Wrap working yarn around RH needle and K through this loop.


Take yarn to front of work.  The first st on the LH needle is a K.  P it normally and drop off LH needle.


Take yarn to back of work.  The next st on the LH needle is a P.  K it tbl and drop off LH needle.


Drop rem st of cable from LH needle.


To do a twisted 3-st cable left:

The 2nd st on the LH needle is a P. Take the RH needle to the back of the work, and K this st tbl.


Take yarn to front, leaving RH needle at back of work.

The 3rd st on the LH needle is a K.  From behind, insert RH needle pwise into this st.


Push the first two sts on LH needle toward the needle tip, making a space btw 2nd and 3rd st on needle.

Tip the RH needle to the right to catch the front leg of the 3rd st.


Pull this loop back under the LH needle, through the space btw 2nd and 3rd sts, out to the back of the work.


Move RH needle around to front of LH needle and P through this loop. Or, slip the loop to the LH needle tip to make it easier to P it.


Take yarn to back of work. K the first st on LH needle tbl.


Drop all three sts off LH needle.


Kenkyo Socks

OK, once again my lack of recent blogging is due to me having to work on other stuff.  (Lately I’ve really been forced to admit there are only so many hours in a given day, or week.  And some of them are required for sleeping, or else I get even more really cranky.) kenkyo sock But big news today!

The "other stuff" I’ve been working on is a great new Polar Bear Pattern:  "Kenkyo Socks", which was done in conjunction with my pal Deb, who blogs over at fearlessfibers.blogspot.com.

Deb dyes yarns in lovely, scrumptious, and above all, wearable colors.  If you have a husband like mine, who won’t even think about wearing colorful socks — or if you are just tired of what I’ve seen referred to as "clown barf" colorways — take a look over at Deb’s etsy shop:  fearlessfibers.etsy.com.

I once heard Merikke Saarnit refer to these kinds of subtly changing colors as "abrash", so I finally looked it up:

abrash (noun) – any variation or change, typically striation, in the different dyes of an Oriental rug as it ages. 

Well, I’m not sure about that "aging" bit, but she used the word to describe yarns that are not so much different colors, as differing shades of the same or similar colors.  That’s what Deb does, mostly, and quite lovelily, too.  (Yes, that is a word.)

Anyway, she did a series of colorways based on the Seven Deadly Sins, and then another based on Seven Virtues.  The colorway I picked to work with was "Humility".  I did an improved rendition of the hubby’s Japanese twisted rib & cable sock, and as I researched it, I found that the concept of "humility" or "modesty" is very key in Japanese culture.

"Kenkyo" means "modesty" or "being humble", but without the concept of "humiliation".  You don’t put yourself down, but you aren’t supposed to blow your own horn, either.  Kinda like the Midwest, actually, where I grew up.  So you see, it all started coming together!

I’m very pleased with this pattern:  I think it has a lot of good things in it.  It has my new favorite short row heel, about which I promise to blog in detail in the next week or so; it has the Japanese way of doing these cables WITHOUT A CABLE NEEDLE, about which I also plan to blog a bit.

And if you’re wondering why I haven’t included a picture of it already, well — it’s because WordPress doesn’t seem to want to let me insert a picture today.  Obviously, I have at least one more thing to work on.  (OK, I got it fixed!  See picture now included, above.)

So for now, you will have to go see it at Deb’s place; please check it out if you are so inclined:  fearlessfibers.etsy.com.