These cables take a bit of extra work, but they’re worth it! Both the 3/1/3 (just called 3) and 4/1/4 (just called 4) LC are worked the same way, so we give you 3 (4) in our instructions below.
You can do these in several different ways, but we prefer to do them using a combination of cabling without a cable needle AND with a cable needle. I know, it’s not my preference either, but IMO this is a good reason to break out a cable needle (or one of our listed alternatives below).
A cable needle (cn), or even a locking stitch marker or a short DPN. It’s just for 1 stitch.
How to work a 3/1/3 LC
And also, how to work a 4/1/4 LC (but we’ll show you a 3/1/3).
Step 1: Work up to the cables, leaving the working yarn to the back. Slip the first 3 (4) stitches to the RN.
Step 2: Slip the next stitch from the LN onto a cn and hold it to the back.
The next stitches on your LN are for the right-half of the cable.
Step 3: Knit the next 3 (4) stitches on the LN so they’re now on the RN.
Step 4: Knit the center knit stitch from the CN onto the RN.
You now have all the stitches on the RN in this order (going from left to right) center stitch, 3 (4) for the right-half of the cable, 3 (4) for the left-half of the cable.
Step 5: Temporarily remove the first 4 (5) stitches from the RN and hold them in the back.
Step 6: Slip the next 3 (4) stitches from the RN to the LN.
Step 7: Replace the 4 (5) stitches from Step 5 onto the RN.
Step 8: Knit the next 3 (4) stitches on the LN so they’re now on the RN.
You’re done! You’ve now done a 3/1/3 LC! (or a 4/1/4 LC)
Practice makes perfect
I suggest trying this out on a swatch. Start with some knitting that has at least 7 (9) knit stitches. Work a few rows after the cable so that you can really assess what it looks like.
You may feel that your yarn isn’t taut-enough, but given the twisting of the cables, there’s a good chance that it might be. Regardless, work up a swatch first by using our Practice Makes Perfect above.