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Knitting Cables Without a Cable Needle


Yes, knitting cables without a cable needle is possible. And you may even think knitting cables is easier now that you don’t have to worry about that cable needle. Don’t believe me? Grab your needles and try this with me.

This wonderful cable knitting technique turned me from avoiding knitting cables all together to knitting cables without a second thought.  Just like that.

As you know knitting a cable stitch is simply a matter of rearranging the order that you knit the stitches.  You are crossing a set of stitches in front or behind another set of stitches. And the cable needle is used to hold a set of stitches.

Problem is…a lot of times the stitches will fall off the cable needle leaving you all flustered because the cable needle is just so darn awkward to use.  It was for me.

But as soon as I started knitting cables without a cable needle it all seemed to become a lot easier. While the thought of dropping a couple of stitches off your needle sounds scary, the whole process is really quite quick and barely noticeable.  The nice thing is it can also save a lot of time and frustration.

It makes knitting cables way more fun too.

How To Knit Cables Without A Cable Needle

  1. This is for a 4 stitch right cross cable stitch and these are the 4 stitches I am working with.
cables without a cable needle

2. With your right needle push it through the front of the second set of 2 stitches on the left needle.

cables without a cable needle3. This 3rd photo below is just another view. There are the four stitches in between the arrows. And keep in mind those two stitches you’re putting on the right needle will stay on the right needle for now.

4. With your left needle slide those 4 stitches off the left needle. What will happen is the two stitches that you see on the right needle will stay there on the right needle and you’ll have two live stitches off the needle.  It’s OK stay calm.  The stitches aren’t going anywhere.
cables without cable needle

5. With your left needle quickly slide it through the 2 live stitches.

cables without a cable needle

6. Gently pull the left needle away from the right needle a bit.

cables without a cable needle
7. And then slip the 2 stitches from the right needle over to the left needle Now the stitches are crossed
cables without a cable needle
8.  Now all you do is knit those 4 stitches and there you have it, the cable is done.
cables without a cable needle
And there’s your little cable nicely done.
cables without a cable needle

And that’s how to knit cables without a cable needle. It’s honestly not that difficult (it’s more difficult explaining it than it is doing it…haha) and I actually found it easier than fiddling with the cable needle. The fact is that the cable needle always fell out of the stitches anyways so why bother with it?  And the awkwardness is gone.

What About Left Cross Cables Without a Cable Needle?

If you want to make a left cross cable the only difference is that you will put your right needle into the second 2 stitches at the back of your knitting.

So… for a right cable the right needle goes into the front of the stitches and for the left cable the right needle goes in the back of the stitches.  That’s it. 

Everything else stays the same.

I hope you will try this knitting technique because you may really start to enjoy knitting cables just like I did.

If you are still uncomfortable using this method..

It’s OK. 

What I would suggest is the U cable stitch holder. This is a great cable needle to use without worrying about your stitches sliding off.  It’s my favourite.

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2 thoughts on “Knitting Cables Without a Cable Needle


  1. I am having trouble picking up cables. Easy way to pick up cables and please let me know of easy way to pick up cables thanks from jodie

    1. Hello Jodie. If you’d like to learn how to knit cables I have instructions for how to do that. Here is the link to my cables pages. Hope this helps. 🙂

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