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.

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 may 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. 


Typically 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 and sometimes 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.

Here's How to Make Cable Stitches Without the Needle

This is for the 4 stitch right cross cable stitch.

These are the 4 stitches I am working with.

knitting without cable needle

With your right needle push it through the front of the second 2 stitches on the left needle.  The 2nd photo is just another view .

cables without cable needle

With your left needle slide those 4 stitches off the left needle.  It's OK stay calm.  The stitches aren't going anywhere.

 Now with your left needle slide it through the 2 live stitches.

cable stitches without cable needle

Gently pull the left needle away from the right needle a bit and then slip the 2 stitches from the right needle over to the left needle.  (Now the stitches are crossed)

Now all you do is knit those 4 stitches (1st photo) and there you have it the cable is done.

And that's how to knit cables without a cable needle.  It's honestly not that difficult 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.


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. 

And 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.  These are my favorites when I don't use this method. 

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