Knitting can create all kinds of textures, but a favorite of many knitters is the knit cable braid. The knit cable braid might look complicated, but we promise it’s not! All you need to make this pretty braid is a cable needle and a little bit of confidence. If you can knit and purl, you can knit a cable braid!
I love knitting cable braids with super-bulky yarn. It adds a squishy, lovely texture that adds a lot of comfort and warmth to anything from a sweater to a headband.
This knit cable braid tutorial will show you how to create one version of this gorgeous texture.
We’ll also include some tips for making your braid wider or narrow, so you can apply it to all kinds of projects.
Knit cable braid pattern
This is a quick rundown of the pattern we’ll be using. For the full step-by-step tutorial with photos, keep scrolling down.
(Worked over a multiple of 10 stitches)
Row 1 (Right Side): P2, k6, p2.
Row 2 (Wrong Side): K2, p6, k2.
Row 3 (Cable Row): P2, place 2 stitches on cable needle and hold to front, k2, k2 from cable needle, k2, p2.
Row 4: K2, p6, k2.
Rows 5 and 6: Repeat Rows 1 and 2.
Row 7 (Cable Row): P2, k2, place 2 stitches on cable needle and hold to back, k2, k2 from cable needle, p2.
Row 8: K2, p6, k2.
Repeat Rows 1-8 to continue the pattern.
Knit cable braid tutorial
Work the first two rows of the pattern above: P2, k6, p2 on the right side, then k2, p6, k2 on the wrong side.
Purl the first two stitches of Row 3.
Grab your cable needle. Slip the next 2 stitches onto the cable needle.
Hold the cable needle to the front of the work. This is what puts the twist in the cable, plus what decides in which direction the twist leans. If your cable needle is shaped like mine, you can pull the needle so that the stitches sit securely in the curve of the needle.
Knit the next two stitches from the left needle, leaving that cable needle dangling in the meantime.
Now knit the two stitches from the cable needle. Make sure you’re not twisting the stitches around when you knit them. I usually just rotate my cable needle to knit the stitches off that short end.
If it’s easier, you can move the stitches back to the left needle first, then knit them. For some knitters, that’s easier than dealing with the cable needle.
Knit 2, then purl 2 to finish up the row. You should be able to see where the stitches cross over to start forming the braid. Sometimes it takes a few pattern repeats for the braid to really become visible, so don’t panic if it’s not obvious right away.
Work Rows 4-6 from the pattern above:
Row 4: K2, p6, k2.
Row 5: P2, k6, p2.
Row 6: K2, p6, k2.
Adding these rows in between the cable rows helps to put some space between the twists and elongates the braid a bit.
Now we’re ready for the second cable row. This row is only a little different than the first cable row we worked. Purl the first 2 stitches of the row, then knit the next 2 stitches.
Slip the next two stitches onto the cable needle, but this time hold the cable to the back of the work. You can see my cable needle peeking out above…
…and here’s what it looks like on the back (wrong) side of the work.
Knit the next two stitches from the left needle, leaving the cable needle dangling in the back.
Knit the two stitches from the cable needle.
Purl 2 to finish up the cable row.
Work Row 8 (K2, p6, k2) to finish the cable braid. Notice how the cable rows are always worked on the right side.
Repeat Rows 1-8 as many times as you’d like to lengthen the braid.
Cable braid variations
The cable braid in this tutorial is a four-stitch cable, but you can play with that number to create a braid that’s either more narrow or wider.
A narrower braid, for example, might just use a two-stitch cable like this:
Cable Row: P2, place 1 stitch on cable needle and hold to front, k1, k1 from cable needle, k1, p2.
A wider braid might look like this:
Cable Row: P2, place 3 stitches on cable needle and hold to front, k3, k3 from cable needle, k3, p2.
In other words, varying the number of stitches you place on the cable needle controls the width of the braid. You can also add purl stitches to both sides of the cable braid to widen the entire panel. Play around with the design!