Knitting Blog

Tips for Knitting Cables

Add cables to anything and it’s a guaranteed upgrade. Cables can be fun, classy, elegant — and a real pain to knit sometimes.

Cabling is just twisting stitches and changing the order to add nice little twists to the fabric. You’ll usually do this with a cable needle by slipping stitches onto the cable needle, knitting as you normally would, and then knitting the stitches off the cable needle. You’re just changing the order of the stitches in the row.

Knitting Cables Tips
Cable Needles
The assortment of cable needles can be a little confusing and overwhelming at first. They’re long, they’re short, they’re thick, they’re thin, they bend in different places — ahhhh! But don’t worry; you can generally use whichever type of needle you like best. When I first started cabling, I tried out a lot of different types of cable needles and now I just work with one or two.

Cable Gauge
One thing to remember when you’re choosing cable needles: try to choose a needle that’s about the same diameter around as your knitting needles. Otherwise, you’ll have different gauges in your work. So for example, if you’re knitting with size 6 needles, choose a smaller cable needle. If you choose a larger one, you’re going to have issues getting the tiny stitches onto that larger needle — and your cables are gonna look kind of wonky.

Swatch It
This is a rule across all knitting projects, but it’s especially important for cables. Try out the cable pattern before you jump into a project. It will help you understand all the twists and turns so that when you actually start a larger project, you won’t make as many mistakes.

Abandon the Cable Needle
If you don’t have cable needles on hand, you can substitute with a double-pointed needle. It’s a little bulkier to work around because it’s long, but it will still do the trick. And if you just completely dislike using cable needles, there are plenty of tutorials for cabling without one. (Try this Crazy for Cables (but not the cable needle) tutorial from Creative Knitting Magazine if you want to try it out.)


Cable Patterns
Practice knitting cables with these awesome patterns.

cable wrap
Cable Wrap Some cables are twisty and curvy in ways that make your head spin. These cables create a simple braid pattern that looks just as lovely, not to mention impressive.


cabled gloves
Grayscaled Cables Make sure everyone notices the hard work you put into your cables when you add a contrasting color to highlight the twist.


cabled scarf
Cable Keyhole Scarf There’s a lot of cabling going on in this scarf! Three cables slowly morph into one as you work the pattern.


cabled cushion cover
Chunky-Cable Cushion Cover The best way to admire your perfect cables every day? Make ‘em into a cushion that you can cuddle up to.


cabled bag
Chunky Bag with Cables and Bobbles This cable bag takes its pattern one step further with bobbles.


Cable Classes

Craftsy has a lot of classes to help you learn and develop your cables — further proof of how versatile and complex cables can be! Learn to design your own cables, plus two different methods of working cables without using a cable needle, in Carla Scott’s Custom Cabled Pullover class. Learn how to make cables run around your necklines in a free mini-class Creative Cabled Necklines with Fiona Ellis. And if you want to get Irish with your cables, Carol Feller’s Celtic Cables class is the way to go.

Already skilled in the art of cabling? Stefanie Japel shows you how to fix mis-crossed cables, plus Emily Vanek shows you even more knitted cable patterns you can make.

Have you tried to knit with cables? What’s your favorite type of cable project?

Come back to discover the combined knitting technique on the Craftsy blog tomorrow!



So timely! I’m knitting Carol Feller’s Celtic Cables, full of cables. I just knit a row using this tutorial and I feel liberated! So easy! Thanks a million. By the way, I love the class, and I love the sweater.

Udoba onyinye

Pls can i receive the practical session of these craftsy cables

Patchwork Pony

The best tool I have found for cabling is a crochet hook. It’s easy to get the stitches on and when you let go of it the hook end prevents the stitches from slipping off. As you knit from the hook you slip the stitches off the straight end. It is awesome.


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