Durrow cable


A more complex Celtic cable in a lengthy panel, suitable for blankets and coats. Foundation row requires 15 stitches (pattern increases to 23); minimum 132 rows, with a 64-row repeat.



This is an interpretation of a knotwork design from the Book of Durrow, folio 124V. It is reproduced schematically and in a photographic plate in Celtic Knotwork by Iain Bain (Sterling, 1992, ISBN 0-8069-8638-7; originally published Constable, 1986). Once again, loops are open and closed using the technique taught by Starmore.

The design has a beginning and an end, with an optional repeat. With a single repeat, the pattern is 132 rows long (the repeat is 64 rows). My swatch was knitted with aran-weight yarn and 5 mm (US 8) needles for a length of about 23″ and a width of 3 1/4″, excluding the reverse stockinette borders. Each additional repeat should add about 11.5″ to the length.

Like the Simple Celtic cable, there is an open-loop formation directly above a close-loop formation, separated by only one WS row. Therefore, slight pulling is evident between the rows, but not as severe as in the Simple Celtic, because the open-loop is offset from the close-loop below by one stitch.

This sample was knitted in Dunnose Head Farm’s Falkland Pioneer Aran Wool on 5 mm (US 8) needles.

Note: unless the WS (even-numbered) row is indicated on the chart, simply knit the WS row as the stitches lie. All the WS rows where the stitches are simply knit and purl were omitted to reduce the size of the chart.

There is also a graphic version of a chart for a mirror image, if you wish to create a symmetric design.

The Durrow charts include old symbols that have been replaced in newer charts. You can find most of the symbols in the table below, but the old ones you’ll need are:

  no stitch: if you are knitting a row with one or more of these symbols, this stitch does not physically exist on your needles; don’t do anything about this symbol (the symbol is just a placeholder so that the chart has a consistent width)

  make 2 (right side): k1, k1b into the same stitch; then pick up the vertical strand running downwards between these two stitches just made, twist and knit

  make 2 (wrong side): p1, k1, p1 into the same stitch

  decrease 4: slip next three sts to right needle; pass second slipped st over first slipped st and off needle; pass one slipped st from right needle back to left needle; slip second st on left needle over first st on left needle and off left needle; slip one st from left needle to right needle; pass first slipped st on right needle over newly slipped st and off needle; pass remaining slipped st on right needle back to left needle; slip second st on left needle over first st on left needle and off left needle; knit the remaining st on left needle

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