Crafts & DIY

Knitty Gritty: Cable Knitting Demystified + Pattern

I LOVE to knit! I have been in a good groove where I finish projects instead of starting them and abandoning them after a few days. I have been on a cable knit kick lately. Cable knitting looks impressive and complicated, but it’s really not hard at all!

This technique is a great way to kick your knitting up a notch from basic purl and knit patterns. Cable knitting has many applications from apparel, blankets, and even Christmas ornaments. Cables can be knit flat or in the round (which is ultra convenient because you never work wrong side rows!) making them a go-to for adding texture and flair to socks, which is my personal addiction.

It surprises me how many people are put off or intimidated by cable patterns. Maybe it’s the charts or the addition of a cable needle that seems overwhelming. Reading cable charts is easy once you get a feel for common cable stitches and common symbols used in charts. Additionally, cable patterns can be written out in word form for those of us that prefer text to charts.

My Favorite Cable Knitting Pattern

Let’s check out my favorite beginner’s cable pattern. This pattern is adapted from this blog with corrections made to get the cables right. This pattern is a great starter cable project because it has mirrored cables and repeats throughout. Once you knit the 2 cables a couple of times, you won’t even need to look at the pattern.

Cable Headband Action Shot

While this pattern is made for a headband/ear warmer, it can easily be made into a scarf or even a band for a hat. (My hair is up in a bun or pony tail 99% of the time, so I like the headband style best.) This is a one skein pattern that isn’t yarn or needle specific. Use what you’ve got on hand.

cable headband chart


There are some errors in the chart that are fixed in the following written pattern:
Following the chart as written will probably give you a seed stich border, which is cool if you like that look
The cables are actually 6 stitches, not 5

*I end every row in a K stitch and slip the first stitch of every row to get smooth edges.*

CO 29 st

Row 1: S1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2, K3, C6L (3 st onto cable needle hold front, K3, K3 off cable needle), C6R (3st onto cable needle hold back, K3, K3 off cable needle), P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1.
Row 2 & 4 (back side): S1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K2, P15, K2, P1, K1, P1, K1, K1.
Row 3 (front side): S1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2, K15, P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1.
Row 5: S1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2, C6R (3st onto cable needle hold back, K3, K3 off cable needle), C6L (3 st onto cable needle hold front, K3, K3 off cable needle), K3, P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1.
Rows 6-8: repeat rows 2-4

Up Close Look at the Cable Pattern

Repeat rows 1-8 until desired length. Seam edges together in preferred method. I pick up the CO row and kitchener stich the seam if I’m feeling fancy. Otherwise, I join the edges in whatever method feels easy.

Helpful Tip

For all cables using a cable needle, a left leaning cable brings the stitches to the front of the work. Right leaning cables bring the stitches to the back of the work. Knowing this little tidbit, you’ll be able to replicate cable patterns you like without needing a pattern and you’ll be able to make your oown cable patterns.

Have you tried cable knitting? Do you prefer charts or written patterns? Share any tidbits of wisdom you’ve acquired in the comments!