- The first letter will always be c for cable or t for twist. The difference is that c requires the use of a cable needle and t requires just knitting the stitches out of order and then pulling them off at the same time.
- The next is the number. The number always represents the total number of stitches used to make the cable. It must be a 2 or greater. It can be even or odd numbers. If it is an even number, you will put half on the cable needle and leave half on the left needle. If it is an odd number, you will need to refer to the legend to find out how the stitches are divided.
If there is a chart, the chart symbol will describe whether the stitches are to be knit or purled. Usually there is no abbreviation for the type of stitches used, just an instruction in the pattern, either in the legend or the written instructions. Sometimes, not always, you’ll see a designer place a p after the first 3 symbols to indicate that there is a purl stitch in the cable. You will still need to refer to the legend to find out where the purl stitch is in the cable. This is the number one reason it’s easier for a designer to chart a pattern instead of writing it all out.
- The third part of the cable instruction is the letter F or B. This tells you whether to hold the cable needle in the front (F) or the back (B). This also tells you which direction the cable is leaning. F is always a left leaning cable and B is always a right leaning cable. When you see the symbol on a chart, you can see whether it is leaning right or left and then in the written, you can match that up with what you see.