How to Knit Cables

Have you seen a beautiful pattern adjourned with intricate cable motifs which you would love to knit one day but don’t feel like you could manage right now? Don’t be afraid! Knitting cables may look daunting due to their complex appearance but they are actually, pretty easy to knit, once you know how! If you have mastered the basic knit and purl stitches, there is no reason why you can’t have a go at cables. 


To put simply cables are created by knitting (or purling) stitches out of their original sequence, to create a pattern. Materials required to knit cables: 

  • A pair of knitting needles 
  • Yarn 
  • Cable needles 


A cable needle is a short double pointed needle which used to hold and knit stitches off the main needle. They often have a ‘kink’ in the middle to stop the stitches falling off whilst they are not being worked on. 

If you are following a pattern, it should tell you exactly how to work the cable. For this blog we will use the “Cable Four (2/2) Front” and “Cable Four (2/2) Back” as examples. You can watch video tutorials here!


How to work a “Cable Four (2/2) Front”: 

Step 1: Knit to where that start of where the cable needs to be placed. 

Step 2: Take the cable needle and insert it into the next two stitches and slip them off of the main needle and onto the cable needle. This is a front leaning cable so make sure that the cable needle and two stitches are sitting to the front of your work. 


Step 3: Now knit two stitches from the left needle.  


Step 4: Now knit the two stitches from the cable needle. 


The cable has been created by swapping the order of the stitches on the needle.


The “Cable Four (2/2) Back” is worked in a very similar way, only when the stitches are placed onto the cable needle, they are held at the back of the work instead. This means that the cable will lean the opposite way. 


If this is your first introduction to knitting cables, then well done! It’s not as bad as you thought, right? When following a pattern, Smart Knit It is super useful in helping you get to grips with exactly what you need to do when knitting cables. When you come to the cable, the app helps with both written instructions and accompanying video resources. With its help you will be creating intricately cabled designs that are sure to wow your friends and family in no time!  

Don’t feel ready to dive straight into a project yet and would like to practice a little more first? Go grab some more yarn and head over to the ‘Technique Guide’ or 'Lessons' to make use the helpful resources before committing to a full project!