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How to Do a Cable Stitch in Knitting

Learn how to do a cable stitch in this knitting tutorial from Howcast.


In this video I'm going to demonstrate how to do some basic cabling techniques.

In my little sample that I've knit up, I've got a basic three over three cable, twisting to the left. I have some traveling cables, and then I have the symmetrical version of this one, three over three, twisting to the right.

So first I'll show you how to cable to the left. So I just purled the little gutter of purl stitches that surround these cables to better show them off. So I've purled three and now it's time to twist three stitches over to the left.

So what I want to do is, I want to get rid of these three stitches for just a minute and get them out of the way. I'm using a double point. You can also use a cable needle, a toothpick, whatever you need to do to get those stitches out of the way. So don't be confused. They're just going to sit down here.

And what I want to do is, I'm going to go ahead and knit the second set of three, because I want those to be brought behind. So now that those are out of the way, I can bring these three back up, and knit them. And what I've just done is, I've twisted them around each other. So I twisted the three on the right over, making a left twist.

And now I'm going to purl the gutter stitch and show you a traveling cable. Traveling means it's not twisting around itself. It's just moving across the background of purl. So I want these two to move one over to the left, to start traveling back towards the center. You can see they've traveled away from the center. Now you want them to go back in.

So I'm going to move these two out of the way and work the next stitch, which happens to be a purl. So I'm going to purl it, which has moved it over to the right, and now I can move my yarn back and knit the next two, which means they've now moved over and I have two purl stitches in between.

I'm going to work my way over to the next set of traveling stitches, just purl all the way across, except for, I'm going to leave one, because remember what we want this traveling cable to do, is to move one place back in towards the center.

So this time I'm going to grab this little purl stitch and get rid of him towards the back. I'm going to hide him. So move my yarn back to the back because I'm going to knit, knit the next two. And now I can put that little one purl stitch where he needs to go.

So I'm going to move the yarn to the front. I'm going to purl from the cable needle, and now those two traveling stitches have traded places with that one purl.

I'm going to finish the purl gutter, and now it's time to cable to the right. So I want these three stitches to be brought in front of these three. So this time I'm going to grab three and instead of leaving them to the front, I'm going to leave them behind, and knit these three.

So all I'm doing in cabling is, I'm reversing the order of stitches as you come to them on the needle. With the help of the cable needle, now I'm ready to knit these three from the cable needle. Two, three. And I can see I lost a purl stitch, which happens. I'm just going to put it back on. So here we are with three twisting to the right, over the three to the back. I'm going to finish out the row by purling the gutter of three, and there you have a basic twist to the left, stitches that travel anywhere you want, and twist to the right.

Now you don't always have to cable three over three. This little mitten cables two over two. So you can see that it's two twisting over two, always twisting to the left in this pattern.

Here we have some traveling stitches that travel away from each other and towards each other and always twist just once to the left.

And then finally on this hot water bottle cozy, we have traveling stitches that travel away from each other, and then back towards each other, and cable a few times in the center. So you can cable as often as you want on the front of your knitting to make a tighter cable, or as infrequently as you want to make a loosely twisted cable with however many stitches as you can handle on the cable needle.

Have fun knitting and designing with cables.

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