Learn Cable Stitch Knitting: Step-by-Step Guide and Tips

Learn Cable Stitch Knitting: Step-by-Step Guide and Tips

The cable stitch is a beautiful and intricate knitting technique that adds texture and depth to your projects. It creates a stunning woven pattern that looks like twisted cables running through the fabric. If you’re new to knitting or have never tried cables before, don’t worry! This step-by-step guide will teach you everything you need to know to get started.

To begin, you’ll need some basic knitting supplies: yarn, knitting needles, a cable needle, and a pair of scissors. Choose a yarn that is suitable for cables, such as a medium-weight or worsted-weight yarn. Thicker yarns will create more pronounced cables, while finer yarns will result in more delicate-looking cables.

Before you start knitting cables, it’s important to have a good understanding of basic knitting stitches, such as knit and purl. The cable stitch is built upon these foundational stitches, so make sure you’re comfortable with them before moving on to cables. If you’re new to knitting, there are many online tutorials and resources available to help you learn these basic stitches.

Once you’re familiar with the basics, you’re ready to learn the cable stitch! The cable stitch is created by crossing stitches over each other, which gives the appearance of twisted cables. The process involves temporarily holding a few stitches on a cable needle while you work other stitches, and then knitting the held stitches out of order to create the desired cable pattern. The specific instructions for each cable pattern will vary, but the general technique remains the same.

What is Cable Stitch Knitting?

Cable stitch knitting is a technique that creates an intricate and decorative pattern in knitted fabric. It involves crossing stitches over each other to create a twisted rope-like effect, resembling the appearance of a cable. This technique adds texture and visual interest to knitted pieces, making them stand out.

Traditionally, cable stitch knitting was used in Aran and Celtic knitting, which originated in Ireland and Scotland. The intricate cable patterns on sweaters and other garments were not only aesthetically pleasing but also served a practical purpose by providing extra warmth and insulation.

To achieve the cable stitch pattern, specific stitches are rearranged in a specific order. This can be done using a cable needle or by working the stitches out of order. The main characteristic of cable stitch knitting is the crossing of stitches, with some stitches leaning to the left and others leaning to the right.

Cable stitch knitting can be done with various numbers of stitches and widths of cables, allowing for endless creative possibilities. It is often used for knitting scarves, hats, sweaters, and blankets.

Learning the cable stitch knitting technique opens up a world of design possibilities for knitters. With practice and experimentation, one can create stunning patterns and textures that add a unique touch to their knitted projects.

Why Learn the Cable Stitch Technique?

The cable stitch technique is a popular knitting technique that creates intricate and beautiful patterns in your knitting. There are several reasons why you should learn this technique:

  1. Expand Your Knitting Skills: Learning the cable stitch technique will expand your repertoire of knitting skills, allowing you to tackle more advanced knitting projects. It adds depth and complexity to your knitting and opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
  2. Create Textured and Eye-Catching Designs: The cable stitch technique creates textured and eye-catching designs that can elevate any knitting project. Whether you’re knitting a sweater, a scarf, or even a hat, adding cable stitches can take your knitting to the next level.
  3. Add Dimension to Your Knits: Cable stitches create a three-dimensional effect in your knits, making them appear more intricate and interesting. This technique is perfect for adding visual interest to plain stockinette stitch or garter stitch fabrics.
  4. Challenge Yourself: If you’re an experienced knitter looking for a challenge, the cable stitch technique is perfect for you. It requires concentration, attention to detail, and precise needlework, making it a great way to push yourself and improve your knitting skills.
  5. Create Unique and Personalized Gifts: Knitting a project with cable stitches allows you to create unique and personalized gifts for your loved ones. The intricate patterns and textures will make your knitted gifts stand out and show the recipient how much you care.

In conclusion, learning the cable stitch technique is a worthwhile endeavor for any knitter. It offers the opportunity to expand your skills, create beautiful designs, and add depth to your knits. So grab your knitting needles and start exploring the world of cable stitches!

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Supplies

Before you can start learning the cable stitch knitting technique, it is important to gather all the necessary supplies.

Here is a list of items you will need:

  • Yarn: Choose a yarn that suits your project. Different weights and fibers can be used for different results.
  • Knitting Needles: Select a pair of knitting needles that are appropriate for your chosen yarn. The size of the needles will depend on the project and the desired gauge.
  • Cable Needle: This specialized needle is used to hold stitches while you work on the cable pattern. It is usually shorter and shaped with a curve or groove in the center to prevent stitches from slipping off.
  • Tapestry Needle: Also known as a yarn needle, this needle is used for weaving in the loose ends of yarn after completing the project.
  • Scissors: A pair of sharp scissors is essential for cutting the yarn at various stages of the project.
  • Stitch Markers: These small plastic or metal rings are used to mark specific stitches or sections of your knitting, making it easier to keep track of your progress.
  • Pattern: Choose a cable stitch knitting pattern that you would like to practice. This will help you visualize the cable stitches and understand how they are created.

Having these supplies ready will ensure that you can focus on learning the cable stitch knitting technique without any interruptions. Once you have gathered all the necessary supplies, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Cast on Stitches

Once you have gathered your materials and chosen your yarn and needles, it’s time to cast on stitches for your cable stitch project. Casting on is the process of creating the foundation row of stitches.

To cast on stitches, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the knitting needle with your dominant hand, and leave a tail of yarn approximately 6 inches long.
  2. Make a slipknot by creating a loop with the tail end of the yarn. Pull the working yarn through the loop, and tighten the knot around the needle.
  3. Hold the needle with the slipknot in your dominant hand, and insert the tip of the empty needle into the slipknot from front to back.
  4. With your non-dominant hand, hold the working yarn and the needle together, and create another loop by wrapping the working yarn around the needle in a clockwise direction.
  5. Insert the tip of the empty needle into the new loop, and pull the working yarn gently to tighten the stitch.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have cast on the desired number of stitches. Make sure the stitches are snug but not too tight.

Once you have cast on the stitches, you are ready to move on to the next step of your cable stitch knitting project.

Step 3: Begin the Cable Stitch Pattern

After casting on and knitting the setup rows, it’s time to start working the cable stitch pattern. Follow these steps:

  1. Identify the cable stitch pattern you want to create. This can be a simple 2-stitch cable or a more complex pattern.
  2. Refer to your knitting pattern or chart to determine the cable stitches and their placement.
  3. Work any necessary setup rows or stitches before beginning the cable pattern. This may include knitting or purling a specific number of stitches.
  4. Start the first cable row by knitting or purling the required number of stitches before the first cable stitch. This creates the “background” or non-cabled stitches.
  5. Follow the instructions or chart to create the cable stitch. This typically involves manipulating the order of stitches on the needles to create the desired twist or cross in the knitted fabric.
  6. Work the remaining stitches on the row according to the pattern instructions.
  7. Continue working the cable stitch pattern for the specified number of rows or until the desired length is achieved.

Remember to keep track of your cable pattern by using stitch markers or a row counter, especially if the pattern is complex or involves multiple cable crosses.

Once you have completed the cable stitch pattern, you can continue knitting the rest of your project according to the instructions provided in your pattern.

Step 4: Create the Cable Twist

Once you’ve completed the setup rows and established the cable pattern, it’s time to create the cable twist. This is the step where you’ll actually be crossing the stitches to create the distinctive cable pattern.

Start by working the first few stitches in pattern as established. Look at your knitting pattern to determine the correct stitch placement for the cable twist. It will typically be indicated by a symbol or abbreviation such as “C2F” (cable 2 front) or “C2B” (cable 2 back).

For a C2F:

  1. Slip the first stitch onto a cable needle and hold it in the front of your work.
  2. Knit the next stitch from the left-hand needle.
  3. Now, knit the stitch from the cable needle.

For a C2B:

  1. Slip the first stitch onto a cable needle and hold it in the back of your work.
  2. Knit the next stitch from the left-hand needle.
  3. Now, knit the stitch from the cable needle.

Continue working the stitches in pattern, making sure to cross the designated stitches for each cable twist as you come to them.

Remember to keep track of your rows and follow the cable pattern chart or written instructions provided in your knitting pattern.

Repeat these steps for each cable twist required in your pattern, and continue knitting until you reach the desired length or complete the specified number of rows for your project.

With practice, you’ll become more comfortable with creating cable twists and be able to knit beautiful cable patterns with ease!

Step 5: Continue Knitting the Cable Stitch

Once you have completed the first set of cable stitches, it’s time to continue knitting to create the overall cable pattern. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Work the next row in the pattern as established. This could be a row of knit or purl stitches, depending on the pattern.
  2. When you reach the cable stitches, you’ll notice that the stitches with the cable needle are now out of order. To correct this, carefully transfer the stitches from the cable needle back onto the left-hand needle in the correct order.
  3. Continue working the cable stitches according to the pattern instructions. This may involve knitting or purling the stitches in a specific order.
  4. Once the cable stitches have been completed, continue working the rest of the row in the established pattern.
  5. Repeat these steps for each row of the cable pattern until you have completed the desired length.

Remember to always follow the pattern instructions carefully, as different cable patterns may have different instructions for each row. Pay attention to any specific stitch counts and any additional stitches or decreases that may be required.

As you become more comfortable with the cable stitch technique, you can experiment with different cable patterns and create unique and intricate designs in your knitting projects.

Step 6: Finish the Cable Stitch Pattern

Once you have completed the desired number of cable stitch repeats, it’s time to finish the pattern. Here’s how:

  1. Continue knitting in the chosen pattern for the remaining rows until the desired length is reached.
  2. When you are ready to bind off, work the last row of the pattern stitch as usual.
  3. Next, you will start the bind off process. To do this, knit 2 stitches (or perform the first step of the cable stitch pattern) as usual.
  4. Insert the left-hand needle into the front of the first 2 stitches on the right-hand needle.
  5. Lift the first stitch over the second stitch and off the right-hand needle using the left-hand needle.
  6. Knit 1 stitch (or perform the second step of the cable stitch pattern).
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 until all stitches have been bound off.

Once all stitches have been bound off, cut the yarn, leaving a tail of a few inches. Thread the yarn through the last stitch and pull tight to secure.

And there you have it! You’ve successfully completed the cable stitch knitting technique. Now you can incorporate this beautiful stitch pattern into your knitting projects, creating stunning cables that add texture and interest.


What is a cable stitch in knitting?

A cable stitch in knitting is a technique used to create a twisted or braided pattern in the fabric. It involves crossing stitches over each other in a specific order to form the desired design.

How do you do a cable stitch in knitting?

To do a cable stitch in knitting, you will need a cable needle. First, slip a certain number of stitches onto the cable needle and hold it to the front or back of your work. Then, knit the same number of stitches from the left-hand needle and transfer them back to the left-hand needle. Finally, knit the stitches from the cable needle, completing the cable twist.

What are the different types of cable stitches in knitting?

There are several different types of cable stitches in knitting, including 2-stitch cables, 4-stitch cables, 6-stitch cables, and more. Each type of cable stitch creates a different pattern and texture in the fabric.

What is a cable needle?

A cable needle is a short, double-pointed needle used in knitting to hold stitches when creating a cable twist. It is typically smaller in diameter than the knitting needles and may be straight or curved.

Can you do a cable stitch without a cable needle?

Yes, it is possible to do a cable stitch without a cable needle. This technique, known as “cabling without a cable needle,” involves rearranging the stitches on the left-hand needle and knitting them in the desired order to create the cable twist.

Are cable stitches difficult to learn?

Cable stitches can be a bit more challenging for beginner knitters, but with practice, they can be mastered. It is important to take your time and follow the instructions carefully when learning the cable stitch technique.

What projects are cable stitches commonly used in?

Cable stitches are commonly used in various knitting projects, such as sweaters, scarves, hats, and blankets. They add dimension and texture to the fabric, making the finished piece more visually appealing.


Learn to Knit: Knitting Cables

How to Knit a Cable

How to Knit: Basic Braid Cable | Simple Pattern for the 3/3/3 Plait | Cabling Tutorial

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *