Learn how to cable in knitting step by step

Learn how to cable in knitting step by step

Knitting cables can add beautiful and intricate designs to your projects, giving them a unique and textured look. While the technique may seem intimidating at first, with a little practice and patience, you can master cabling and create stunning knitted pieces. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of cabling in knitting.

Step 1: Set up your stitches

Start by knitting a few rows in your desired stitch pattern to create a foundation for your cables. Make sure to leave enough stitches on either side of the cable for a neat appearance. For example, if you are planning to create a 4-stitch cable, leave 2 stitches on each side for a balanced and symmetrical look.

Step 2: Prepare your cable needle

A cable needle is a short, double-pointed needle that is used to hold stitches temporarily while you work on the cable. Slip the appropriate number of stitches onto the cable needle and place it in front or back of your work, depending on the cable pattern you are following.

Step 3: Cross the stitches

Next, you will be working with the stitches on the cable needle. Insert your knitting needle into the first stitch on the cable needle, either from the front or back, depending on the pattern. Then, knit or purl the stitches from the cable needle onto the knitting needle, following the instructions of your cable pattern.

Step 4: Complete the row

Once you have crossed the stitches, continue knitting or purling the remaining stitches on your knitting needle according to your stitch pattern. Repeat these steps for each cable section in your pattern, following the specific instructions for each cable twist.


Cabling in knitting may take some practice, but with these step-by-step instructions, you can start creating beautiful cable designs on your knitted projects. Experiment with different cable patterns and combinations to add interest and texture to your knitting. Remember to take your time and have fun with the process. Happy knitting!

What are cables in knitting?

Cables are a decorative element in knitting that add texture and visual interest to a project. They are created by crossing stitches over each other, creating a twisted pattern that stands out on the fabric. Cables can be simple or complex, depending on the pattern, and they can be used in a variety of knitting projects, such as sweaters, scarves, hats, and blankets.

To create cables, knitters use a cable needle or a double-pointed needle to temporarily hold stitches off to the side, while working other stitches. This creates the crossing effect and gives the cable its unique appearance. Cables are often combined with other stitch patterns, such as ribbing or stockinette stitch, to further enhance the design.

Cables can be worked over different numbers of stitches, and the crosses can be made in different directions, such as left-leaning or right-leaning. This versatility allows knitters to create various cable patterns and motifs, from simple twists to intricate braids. Cables can also be combined with other techniques, such as lace or colorwork, to create even more complex and visually stunning designs.

Cable patterns are typically written in abbreviations and symbols, which indicate the specific stitches to make and the direction of the crosses. Knitters can follow these patterns to create cables or can experiment with their own variations and combinations. With practice and experience, knitters can become skilled at working cables and use them to personalize their knitting projects.

In summary, cables are a beautiful and versatile element in knitting that add texture and interest to a project. They are created by crossing stitches and can be used in various ways to create different patterns and designs. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced knitter, experimenting with cables can add a new dimension to your knitting repertoire.

Benefits of knitting cables

Knitting cables is not only a fun and creative way to add texture to your knitting projects, but it also offers several benefits. Here are some of the advantages of incorporating cables into your knitting:

  • Enhanced visual interest: Cables create intricate and beautiful patterns that add depth and visual interest to your knitted items. Whether you’re making a sweater, scarf, or hat, cables can transform a simple design into a stunning work of art.
  • Improved warmth and insulation: The twisted stitches in cable knitting create thicker fabric that provides extra warmth and insulation. This makes cable-knit garments perfect for colder climates or cozy winter accessories.
  • Added structural integrity: Cables are not just decorative, they also add structural integrity to your knitted pieces. The crossing of stitches creates a stronger and more robust fabric, making your knitted items more durable and long-lasting.
  • Opportunity for customization: Knitting cables allows you to customize your projects and make them unique. You can choose from a wide variety of cable stitch patterns and combinations to create personalized designs that reflect your style and creativity.
  • Improved knitting skills: If you’re looking to expand your knitting skills, cables are a great way to challenge yourself and learn new techniques. They provide an opportunity to practice working with stitch holders, cable needles, and different stitch manipulations.

So why not give cables a try? Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced knitter, incorporating cables into your projects can elevate your knitting skills and create beautiful, functional pieces.

Step 1: Choosing the right cable pattern

When it comes to knitting cables, the first step is to select the right cable pattern for your project. Cable patterns vary in difficulty and complexity, so it’s important to choose one that matches your skill level and desired outcome.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a cable pattern:

  • Skill level: If you’re new to cable knitting, it’s best to start with a simple pattern that only involves a few stitches crossing over each other. As you gain experience and confidence, you can move on to more intricate patterns.
  • Type of project: Consider the type of project you’re working on. For example, a smaller accessory like a hat or a scarf may require a simpler cable pattern, while a larger garment like a sweater can accommodate more complex and intricate designs.
  • Yarn thickness: The thickness of the yarn you’re using can also influence your choice of cable pattern. Thicker yarns may not show intricate cable designs as well as finer yarns, so it’s important to select a pattern that complements the yarn weight.
  • Personal preference: Ultimately, your personal preference plays a role in choosing the right cable pattern. Browse through different patterns and select one that appeals to your style and taste.

Once you’ve considered these factors, you can start searching for cable patterns that meet your criteria. There are countless knitting pattern resources available online, in books, and in magazines, so take your time to find the perfect pattern for your project.

Selecting a simple cable pattern

When it comes to selecting a cable pattern for your knitting project, it’s important to start with something simple, especially if you’re new to cables. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • Number of stitches: Look for cable patterns that require a small number of stitches, especially when you’re just starting out. This will make it easier to learn and practice the technique.
  • Repetition: Find a pattern that has a clear repetition of cable stitches. This will help you memorize the pattern and make it easier to keep track of where you are in your knitting.
  • Difficulty level: Pay attention to the difficulty level assigned to the cable pattern. There are typically beginner, intermediate, and advanced level patterns available. Choose a beginner level pattern to start with, and gradually challenge yourself with more complex designs as you gain confidence.

Here are a few examples of simple cable patterns that are great for beginners:

  1. 8-stitch cable: This cable pattern is created by crossing 4 stitches over the next 4 stitches. It’s a basic cable pattern that can be easily incorporated into scarves, hats, or even sweaters.
  2. Twisted rope cable: This cable pattern resembles a twisted rope and usually requires 6 stitches. It’s a classic and versatile cable design that can be used for various knitting projects.
  3. Honeycomb cable: This cable pattern creates a textured honeycomb-like design and typically involves 6 stitches. It’s a popular choice for adding interest and depth to blankets, cardigans, and socks.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to start with simpler cable patterns and then work your way up to more intricate designs. With time and practice, you’ll become more comfortable with cabling and be able to tackle more complex cable patterns.

Exploring more complex cable patterns

Once you’ve mastered the basics of cabling, you may be ready to try more complex cable patterns. These patterns often involve multiple cables crossing over each other, creating intricate and stunning designs in your knitting.

Here are a few examples of popular complex cable patterns you can try:

  1. Horseshoe Cable: This cable pattern creates a beautiful horseshoe shape that repeats across your knitting. It typically involves larger cable twists and may require a cable needle or other tools for managing the multiple cables.

  2. Tree of Life Cable: Inspired by Celtic designs, this cable pattern features a central cable motif that resembles a tree. It often includes smaller, intricate cables branching out from the main motif, creating a stunning visual effect.

  3. Aran Cable Panel: Aran knitting is known for its intricate cable designs. An Aran cable panel usually includes various cable motifs, such as twists, braids, and diamond shapes. These patterns require careful attention to detail and may be more time-consuming, but the end result is truly impressive.

When tackling more complex cable patterns, it’s helpful to have a chart or written instructions to follow. Make sure you understand the symbols and abbreviations used in the pattern before starting.

Remember to take your time and practice on simpler cable patterns before attempting more complex designs. As with any new knitting technique, it’s important to build your skills gradually and not get discouraged if things don’t turn out perfectly on your first try.

With practice and perseverance, you’ll be able to create stunning cable patterns that will impress everyone who sees your knitting projects!

Step 2: Gathering the necessary supplies

Before you start cabling in knitting, you’ll need to gather the following supplies:

  • Knitting needles: Choose a pair of knitting needles suitable for the weight of yarn you’ll be using. The size of the needles will depend on the pattern you’re following.
  • Yarn: Select a yarn that matches the gauge and texture required for your project. Make sure to have enough yarn to complete the entire cable pattern.
  • Cable needle or double-pointed needle: You’ll need a cable needle or a spare double-pointed needle to hold the stitches while creating the cable crosses.
  • Tape measure: Use a tape measure to ensure accurate gauge and measurements throughout your project.
  • Tapestry needle: A tapestry needle is essential for weaving in loose ends and finishing your project.
  • Stitch markers: Stitch markers can be useful for marking the beginning of a cable pattern or other important points in your knitting.
  • Scissors: Keep a pair of scissors handy for cutting yarn and trimming loose ends.
  • Pattern: Find a knitting pattern that includes cable stitches and follow the instructions carefully. The pattern will guide you through the process of creating beautiful cable designs.

Having all these supplies ready will ensure that you can start cabling in knitting with ease and complete your project successfully.

Choosing the right yarn and needles

When it comes to knitting, choosing the right yarn and needles can make a big difference in the final outcome of your project. The choice of yarn depends on the texture, color, and weight you desire, while the choice of needles will determine the size and tension of your stitches.

  • Yarn weight: The weight of the yarn refers to its thickness and is categorized by a numbering system. The most common yarn weights include fingering, sport, worsted, and bulky. The weight you choose will depend on the type of project you are working on and the desired drape and warmth. Lighter weight yarns are suitable for delicate projects, while thicker yarns are great for cozy blankets and winter accessories.
  • Yarn fiber: Yarn is available in various fibers, such as wool, cotton, acrylic, alpaca, and silk. Each fiber has its own characteristics, including softness, warmth, durability, and breathability. Consider the qualities you want in your finished piece when selecting a yarn fiber. For example, wool is known for its warmth and elasticity, while cotton is light and breathable.
  • Needle size: The size of your needles will determine the size and tension of your stitches. Needles are available in different sizes and materials, such as metal, wood, and plastic. The size of the needles should match the recommended gauge listed on the yarn label. If you want a tighter stitch, use smaller needles, and if you want a looser stitch, use larger needles.
  • Needle type: There are various types of knitting needles available, including straight needles, circular needles, and double-pointed needles. Straight needles are perfect for flat projects, like scarves and dishcloths, while circular needles are ideal for knitting in the round, such as hats and sweaters. Double-pointed needles are used for small circumference projects, like socks and gloves.

It’s important to experiment with different yarns and needle sizes to find what works best for you and your desired outcome. By choosing the right yarn and needles, you’ll be on your way to creating beautiful knitted pieces.

Optional tools for cable knitting

While you can certainly knit cables without any special tools, there are a few optional tools that can make the process easier and more enjoyable:

  • Cable needle: A cable needle is a short double-pointed needle that allows you to hold stitches to the front or back while you work the cable. It’s especially helpful for larger or more complex cable patterns.
  • Stitch markers: Stitch markers can be used to mark the beginning or end of a cable repeat, as well as to keep track of other important stitch locations in the pattern. They can help prevent mistakes and make it easier to follow the cable instructions.
  • Row counter: A row counter is a small tool that helps you keep track of the number of rows you have worked. This can be especially helpful when working on long and intricate cable patterns, as it can be easy to lose count.
  • Cable chart: Some cable patterns are written out row by row, while others are charted using symbols. If you prefer visual instructions, a cable chart can be a helpful tool to have. It provides a visual representation of the cable pattern, making it easier to see how the stitches cross over each other.
  • Tapestry needle: A tapestry needle is a large, blunt needle that is used for sewing in loose ends and finishing projects. It can be helpful for tidying up any loose yarn strands that may result from cabling.

While these tools are not necessary, having them on hand can make your cable knitting experience more enjoyable and efficient. Experiment with different tools to see what works best for you!

Step 3: Understanding cable symbols and charts

Once you have mastered the basics of knitting cables and have practiced a few simple cable patterns, you may want to move on to more complex cable designs. To do this, you will need to understand cable symbols and charts.

Cable symbols and charts are graphical representations of cable patterns. They provide a visual guide for knitting cables and help you understand how the stitches are manipulated to create the desired cable design.

The cable symbols used in cable charts may vary depending on the knitting pattern, but they generally consist of simple shapes and lines. Here are the most common cable symbols:

  • Cable forward (CF): This symbol resembles a forward slash (/) and indicates that you need to hold a certain number of stitches to the front of your work while you knit the next set of stitches.
  • Cable back (CB): This symbol resembles a backward slash (\) and indicates that you need to hold a certain number of stitches to the back of your work while you knit the next set of stitches.
  • Right-leaning cable (C4F): This symbol represents a cable twist to the right. It is usually indicated by a diagonal line with a number next to it, indicating the number of stitches involved in the cable twist.
  • Left-leaning cable (C4B): This symbol represents a cable twist to the left. It is similar to the right-leaning cable symbol, but the diagonal line is facing the opposite direction.

When reading a cable chart, you will usually see a grid that represents your knitting stitches. Each box in the grid corresponds to one stitch on your needles. The cable symbols are then placed in the appropriate boxes to indicate where and how the cables should be worked.

To interpret the cable chart, start at the bottom right corner and work your way across each row from right to left. Follow the symbols and their corresponding instructions to create the cable pattern.

Symbol Description
/ Cable forward (CF)
\ Cable back (CB)
/2 Right-leaning cable (C2F)
\2 Left-leaning cable (C2B)

Understanding cable symbols and charts can be a bit overwhelming at first, but with practice, it will become easier. Take the time to study the symbols and practice with simple cable patterns to build your confidence.

Common cable symbols in knitting patterns

Common cable symbols in knitting patterns

When working with cable knitting patterns, it is important to understand the various symbols that are used to represent different cable stitches. These symbols help knitters visualize the pattern and create the desired cable design. Here are some of the most common cable symbols you may come across in knitting patterns:

Symbol Description
C A right-leaning cable stitch where stitches are crossed to the right over a given number of stitches. The number next to the symbol indicates the number of stitches involved in the cable.
6/2 RC A right-cross cable stitch where the next 6 stitches are held to the back, 2 stitches are knitted, and then the held stitches are knitted. This creates a twisted cable effect.
6/2 LC A left-cross cable stitch where the next 6 stitches are held to the front, 2 stitches are knitted, and then the held stitches are knitted. This also creates a twisted cable effect, but in the opposite direction of the 6/2 RC cable.
K2tog Knit two stitches together. This decrease stitch is often used to create a decrease cable stitch.
Sl1-K2tog-PSSO Slip one stitch, knit two stitches together, pass the slipped stitch over the knitted stitches. This is a common decrease used in more complex cable patterns.
/ The forward slash symbol is used to indicate a twist in the cable stitch. It often appears between two sets of stitches that need to be crossed over each other.

These are just a few examples of the many cable symbols you may encounter in knitting patterns. It is important to refer to the specific instructions and key provided in the pattern you are working with to ensure you execute the cable stitches correctly.


What is cabling in knitting?

Cabling in knitting is a technique used to create decorative patterns by crossing stitches over each other. It adds texture and visual interest to your knitting projects.

Can I cable without a cable needle?

Yes, it is possible to cable without a cable needle. This technique is called “cabling without a cable needle” or “cabling without a needle”. It involves temporarily slipping the stitches onto the right-hand needle, crossing them over, and then knitting or purling them. Although it requires a bit more practice and dexterity, it can save you time and eliminate the need for an extra tool.


How to Knit a Scarf for the Absolute Beginner

Cable Knitting: How to Cable Knit For Beginners

Leave a Reply

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