Learn how to knit cable stitch

Learn how to knit cable stitch

Are you looking to enhance your knitting skills and create beautiful textured patterns in your projects? The cable stitch is a classic technique that can add depth and interest to your knitted fabric. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced knitter, learning how to knit the cable stitch can be a fun and rewarding challenge.

The cable stitch creates a twist or “cable” effect by crossing stitches over each other. It may look complicated, but with some practice and guidance, you’ll be able to master this technique and incorporate it into your knitting repertoire. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll break down the process and provide helpful tips to make your cable knitting journey a success.

To get started, you’ll need some basic knitting supplies, including yarn, knitting needles, and a cable needle. It’s important to choose a yarn that is suitable for cables, such as a worsted weight or chunky yarn. Thicker yarn will showcase the cables better and give your project a cozy, textured look.

Once you have your supplies ready, we’ll walk you through the steps of creating a cable stitch. From setting up your stitches to crossing them over and finishing your row, we’ll provide detailed instructions and clear illustrations to guide you along the way. We’ll also share some helpful tips and troubleshooting advice to ensure your cable knitting experience is enjoyable and frustration-free.

So, whether you’re looking to add cables to a hat, sweater, or scarf, or you simply want to explore new knitting techniques, learning how to knit the cable stitch is a valuable skill that will take your knitting projects to the next level. Get ready to create stunning textured patterns and impress your friends and family with your knitting prowess!

What is cable stitch?

The cable stitch is a knitting technique that creates the appearance of twisting or braiding the yarn, resulting in a beautiful textured pattern. It is often used to add interest and dimension to knitted garments such as sweaters, scarves, and blankets.

This stitch pattern is achieved by crossing sections of stitches over one another. The result is a cable that stands out from the surrounding knitted fabric. Cable stitches can be simple with just a few rows or more complex with intricate designs.

To create cable stitches, you’ll need a cable needle or a double-pointed needle. The cable needle is used to hold the stitches while you create the twists. The stitch pattern typically involves a combination of knit and purl stitches, as well as various types of cable crosses.

Cable stitches can range in complexity and design. Some common types include the basic cable, the twisted cable, and the branching cable. Each type creates a unique pattern and requires different techniques to execute.

Cable knitting can be a challenging technique for beginners, but with practice and patience, it can be mastered. It adds a beautiful and classic touch to knitted projects, making them stand out from the crowd.

Why learn cable stitch?

The cable stitch is a popular knitting technique that creates intricate and beautiful patterns in your knitting projects. Learning cable stitch can enhance your knitting skills and open up a whole new world of possibilities for your projects. Here are some reasons why you should consider learning cable stitch:

  • Creating texture: Cable stitch adds rich texture and depth to your knitting. The twisting of stitches creates a raised pattern that can make your knitted items stand out.
  • Design versatility: With cable stitch, you can create a wide variety of patterns, from simple braids to elaborate Celtic designs. This versatility allows you to customize your knitting projects and make them unique.
  • Challenging and rewarding: Cable stitch requires a bit more attention and skill compared to basic knitting stitches. Mastering cable stitch can be a challenge, but the satisfaction of successfully creating intricate patterns is incredibly rewarding.
  • Knitting accessories: Cable stitch is commonly used in knitting accessories such as scarves, hats, and mittens. Learning cable stitch opens up the possibility of creating beautiful and cozy accessories to keep you warm during the colder months.
  • Impressive gift ideas: Cable stitch patterns can make your knitted gifts look impressive and unique. Whether you are knitting for friends or family, a cable stitch project can be a thoughtful and personal gift.

Learning cable stitch opens up a world of knitting possibilities, allowing you to create unique and visually stunning projects. Whether you’re a beginner knitter or an experienced one, mastering cable stitch will bring a new level of creativity and satisfaction to your knitting journey.

Step 1: Gather your supplies

Before you start knitting the cable stitch, you’ll need to gather the necessary supplies. Here are the items you’ll need:

  • Yarn: Choose a yarn that is suitable for the cable stitch pattern you intend to knit. Make sure to check the recommended yarn weight and fiber content for the pattern.
  • Knitting needles: Select knitting needles that are appropriate for the yarn you’ve chosen. The recommended needle size should be stated in the pattern or on the yarn label.
  • Cable needle: This specially designed needle is used to hold stitches while creating the cables. You can choose from various types, such as straight cable needles or cable stitch holders.
  • Tape measure: A tape measure will come in handy for measuring your gauge or checking the length of your project as you go.
  • Scissors: You’ll need a pair of scissors to cut the yarn when you finish your project or need to change colors.
  • Stitch markers: Stitch markers can be used to mark the beginning of a round or denote specific sections of your knitting.
  • Yarn needle: A yarn needle, also known as a tapestry needle, is used for weaving in ends and sewing pieces of your project together.
  • Pattern: Find a cable stitch pattern that you’d like to knit. You can choose from a wide variety of patterns available in books, magazines, or online resources.

Make sure you have all your supplies ready and organized before you begin knitting your cable stitch project. Having everything within reach will save you time and frustration during the knitting process.

What you’ll need

To get started with knitting cable stitch, you’ll need a few basic supplies:

  • Knitting needles: Choose a pair of knitting needles that are appropriate for your chosen yarn weight. For cable stitch, a needle with a length of at least 14 inches is recommended to accommodate the width of the stitches and the cable needle.
  • Yarn: Select a yarn that is suitable for your project and provides good stitch definition. For beginners, a medium-weight yarn in a light color is often easier to work with.
  • Cable needle: A cable needle is a short, pointed needle used to hold stitches while you work the cable pattern. It usually has a bend in the middle to prevent stitches from slipping off.
  • Tapestry needle: A tapestry needle is used for weaving in loose ends and sewing seams. Choose a needle with a large eye that is smooth and blunt.
  • Scissors: A pair of sharp scissors is essential for cutting yarn and trimming loose ends.
  • Stitch markers: Stitch markers are helpful for marking specific sections or patterns in your knitting. They can be simple loops of yarn or store-bought markers.
  • Measuring tape: A measuring tape is useful for checking your gauge and measuring your progress.

Once you have these supplies, you’ll be ready to start learning cable stitch and create beautiful textured knits!

Choosing the right yarn and needles

When it comes to knitting cable stitches, choosing the right yarn and needles is important to ensure the final result is as desired. Here are some tips to consider:


1. Weight: For cable stitches, it is recommended to use a medium to heavy weight yarn. Light weight yarn may not provide enough structure for the cables to stand out, while bulky yarn can make the cables appear too chunky and overwhelm the overall design.

2. Fiber Content: The fiber content of the yarn can affect both the appearance and durability of the cables. Natural fibers, such as wool or wool blends, tend to be more elastic and show off the cables beautifully. However, synthetic fibers can also work well, especially if you prefer a more structured or drapey look.

3. Texture: Yarns with a tighter twist or smoother texture tend to showcase cable stitches more prominently, as they allow the cables to stand out without getting lost in a fuzzy or textured yarn.


1. Material: The material of your knitting needles can affect the overall feel and drape of your cables. Some knitters prefer metal or wood needles for their smoothness, while others like the grip of bamboo or plastic needles. It is mostly a matter of personal preference.

2. Size: The size of the needles will depend on the weight of the yarn you choose, as well as your personal tension. It is always a good idea to swatch your cables before starting the project to ensure you are using the correct needle size to achieve the desired gauge.

3. Cable needles: Cable stitches require the use of cable needles to hold the stitches while crossing them over one another. These cable needles can be either straight or curved, and you may find that you prefer one over the other depending on your knitting style and comfort.


Choosing the right yarn and needles for knitting cable stitches is essential to create beautiful and well-defined cables. Consider the weight, fiber content, and texture of the yarn, as well as the material, size, and type of needles. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you and your knitting style.

Step 2: Cast on

Before you can start knitting the cable stitch, you need to cast on the required number of stitches. Casting on refers to adding the initial stitches to your knitting needle.

There are several methods to cast on stitches, but the Long-Tail Cast-On is commonly used for cable knitting. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Hold the yarn: Hold the yarn in your right hand, with the tail end of the yarn over your thumb and the working end of the yarn over your index finger.
  2. Create a slip knot: Cross the tail end of the yarn over the working end to form a loop. Slip your needle through the loop, tighten it around the needle, and slide it towards the end of the needle.
  3. Make the first stitch: Insert your needle into the loop on your thumb from front to back, scoop the working end of the yarn with the needle, and bring it through the loop.
  4. Continue casting on: Repeat step 3, making sure to keep the tension of each stitch consistent. Keep casting on until you have the required number of stitches for your cable pattern.

Once you have cast on the desired number of stitches, you are ready to start knitting the cable stitch. Make sure to leave a long enough tail at the end for weaving in later.

Tip: If you are new to knitting, casting on can be a bit tricky at first. Practice the Long-Tail Cast-On method before attempting to knit the cable stitch.

Starting your knitting project

Before you get started with knitting cable stitch, there are a few things you need to consider and have in place. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth and successful knitting project:

  • Choose your knitting pattern: Decide on the cable stitch pattern you want to use for your project. There are various cable stitch patterns available, ranging from simple to complex designs. Select a pattern that matches your skill level and desired outcome.

  • Select the right knitting needles and yarn: Depending on the pattern you choose, you will need to determine the correct size of knitting needles and the type of yarn to use. Refer to the pattern instructions for guidance on needle size and yarn weight.

  • Get familiar with the cable stitch technique: If you’re new to knitting cables, it’s recommended to practice on a swatch before diving into your main project. Familiarize yourself with the cable stitch technique by following tutorials or watching videos online.

  • Gather your knitting tools and supplies: Make sure you have all the necessary knitting tools and supplies before starting your project. This may include knitting needles, stitch markers, cable needles, scissors, and a tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

  • Read and understand the pattern instructions: Carefully read through the cable stitch pattern instructions before you begin. Make sure you understand the abbreviations, stitches, and techniques used in the pattern. This will help prevent mistakes and ensure a smoother knitting process.

  • Create a project timeline: If you have a deadline or want to stay organized, it can be helpful to create a project timeline. Break down the steps of your knitting project and set realistic goals for yourself. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you complete your project in a timely manner.

By following these steps and preparing yourself properly, you’ll be ready to embark on your cable stitch knitting project with confidence and enthusiasm. Remember to enjoy the process and have fun exploring the beautiful world of cable stitching!

Making a slipknot

A slipknot is the first step in starting any knitting project. It creates a loop that can be easily adjusted. Here is how you can make a slipknot:

  1. Hold the end of your yarn in your right hand and make a loop towards the top.
  2. With your left hand, reach through the loop and grab the working yarn, pulling it through the loop.
  3. Tighten the loop by pulling the working yarn gently.

You now have a slipknot, ready to start your knitting project!

Step 3: Knit the first row

Now that you have cast on your stitches and set up the cable pattern, it’s time to knit the first row.

To begin, hold your knitting needle with the cast-on stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand. Make sure the working yarn is coming from the back of the needle.

1. Insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle, from left to right.

2. Bring the yarn over the right needle, from the back to the front, creating a loop.

3. Insert the right needle with the yarn over into the next stitch on the left needle, from left to right.

4. Bring the yarn over the right needle, from the back to the front, creating a loop.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have worked all the stitches on the left needle, transferring them to the right needle as you go.

6. Congratulations! You have completed your first row of cable stitches. The pattern should begin to emerge.

Basic knitting stitches

Knitting is a versatile craft that allows you to create beautiful, textured fabrics using a variety of stitches. While there are countless knitting stitches to learn, mastering a few basic stitches is essential for beginners. Here are some of the most commonly used basic knitting stitches:

Garter stitch

The garter stitch is the simplest and most basic stitch in knitting. It is created by knitting every row, resulting in a fabric with ridges on both sides. It is often used for scarves, blankets, and dishcloths.

Stockinette stitch

The stockinette stitch is another essential stitch in knitting. It is created by alternating rows of knitting and purling. The right side of the fabric features smooth, “V” shaped stitches, while the wrong side has a bumpy texture. Stockinette stitch is commonly used for sweaters, hats, and socks.

Rib stitch

Rib stitch is a versatile stitch that creates a stretchy, textured fabric. It is achieved by alternating knit and purl stitches in a repeating pattern. The most common rib stitch patterns are 1×1 rib (alternating knit and purl stitches) and 2×2 rib (alternating two knit stitches and two purl stitches). Rib stitch is often used for cuffs, collars, and borders.

Seed stitch

Seed stitch is a simple stitch that creates a highly textured fabric. It is created by alternating knit and purl stitches in a checkerboard pattern. The result is a fabric with seeds or bumps on both sides. Seed stitch is commonly used for scarves, hats, and baby blankets.

Cable stitch

Cable stitch is a more advanced stitch that creates intricate, braided patterns in the fabric. It involves crossing stitches over each other to create twists and cables. Cable stitch is often used for sweaters, scarves, and other garments that require a decorative touch.

Increasing and decreasing stitches

Increasing and decreasing stitches

In addition to these basic stitches, it is important to learn how to increase and decrease stitches. Increasing stitches allows you to add width or shape to your knitting, while decreasing stitches helps you decrease the width or taper your knitting. Common methods for increasing and decreasing stitches include yarn over, knit two together, and slip slip knit.

These are just a few of the basic knitting stitches that every beginner should learn. By mastering these stitches, you’ll have a solid foundation to explore more complex and intricate patterns in the future. Happy knitting!


What is cable stitch?

Cable stitch is a knitting technique that creates a twisted or braided pattern in your knitting. It involves crossing a set of stitches over or under another set of stitches, which creates the cable effect.

How do I knit a cable stitch?

To knit a cable stitch, you will need a cable needle. Slip a certain number of stitches onto the cable needle, hold it in front or back of your work, and knit the next set of stitches from the left-hand needle. Then, knit the stitches from the cable needle. The specific pattern will depend on the cable design you are following.

What is the purpose of cable stitches?

Cable stitches are used to create decorative patterns and textures in knitting. They add depth and visual interest to your projects, making them appear more intricate and sophisticated.

Are cable stitches difficult to learn?

Cable stitches may seem intimidating at first, but with practice and patience, they can be mastered. It’s important to understand the basic steps of the technique and start with simple cable designs before moving on to more complex ones. Following a step-by-step guide and watching video tutorials can also be helpful.

Can cable stitches be used in any knitting project?

Yes, cable stitches can be used in a wide variety of knitting projects, such as scarves, hats, sweaters, and blankets. They can be incorporated as a focal point or as a subtle detail, depending on your design preference.


How to Knit Cables For Beginners

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