How to Knit a Cable Stitch


Cable stitching is the process of crossing one stitch over another. This pattern can look challenging at first, but practicing the basic techniques will demystify this stitch. Cable stitching takes one beyond more basic moves to create more interesting designs.

Things You'll Need

  • Two knitting needles
  • Ball or skein of yarn
  • Cable needle

Learn the Six-Stitch, Left-Twisting Cable

  • Cast on 14 stitches.

  • Purl four stitches, knit six (cable stitches), then purl four stitches for the first row.

  • Knit four stitches, purl six and knit four to work the second row.

  • Purl four stitches, knit six and then purl four. This is the third row, the same as row one.

  • Knit four stitches, purl six and knit four to knit the fourth row. This is the same as the second row.

  • Slip three stitches onto the cable needle and hold in front, knit three stitches from the left needle, knit three stitches from the cable needle, then purl four stitches. This is the fifth row, the turning row.

  • Knit four stitches, purl six and knit four. This is row six, the same row as row one.

  • Repeat steps two through seven, and there will eventually be a cable running through the fabric!

Tips & Warnings

  • To make a cable twist to the left, knit from the left needle while holding the suspending stitches in front of the work.
  • To make the cable appear to twist to the right, hold the suspended stitches to the back of the work.
  • When knitting a standard cable, one does not have to cross stitches on every row. After a turning row, a knitter often has to stitch several plain rows before stitching another turning row.
  • As the stitches are being held on the cable needle, allow the cable needle to hang down in front. Give the yarn a gentle tug to keep it properly tight.
  • "Knitting for Dummies," available at the website, has illustrations and explanations of cable stitches (see Resources below).
  • To accomplish a cable stitch, one should be able to cast on, knit, purl, and bind off.
  • Remember to move the yarn where it needs to be to switch from knit to purl, and from purl to knit.
  • Continually check the gauge in your cable pattern. The combinations of cables and ribs (from the knit and purl alternations) can pull the stitches widthwise.
  • Because a fabric worked in a cable pattern will be narrower than one worked in a stockinette stitch, measure out additional yarn for the pattern.

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