Knitting Cables - 4-Stitch Cable Stitch Pattern

I really enjoy knitting cables and surprisingly, basic cable stitch patterns are really quite simple to knit. That's why I chose the 4-stitch cable pattern to show you. It's basic and easy to do. 

Cable knitting is done by crossing stitches over other stitches.  You will just knit them out of sequence that's all. 

Note:  Please don't be afraid to try knitting cables. I totally understand the fear because I avoided them for a long time myself.  When I finally tried them I was so surprised at how simple they really were and I just know you will be too. 

Plus if you use some scrap yarn to practice with it really won't matter if you make mistakes. 

A  4-stitch cable will be made with 4 stitches, a 6-stitch cable with 6 stitches and so on.  Most of the time these sets of stitches are divided equally. 


So on a 4-stitch cable the first 2 stitches are slipped purlwise onto a cable needle. Then you knit the next two stitches on your left needle, and then knit the two stitches from the cable needle. 

The knitting stitches are crossed and you have created a nice little cable stitch

knitting cables left cross cable stitch


When you hold the cable needle in the front you will make cable stitches that slant to the left. 

Common abbreviations for the left cross cable stitch: 

C4F or C4L:   C for cable of course, 4 is the set of stitches used in making the cable, F means it is to be held in the front.  Sometimes it will be L meaning a left slanting cable that is held in the front.  It just depends on the knitting pattern.



knitting cables


When you hold the cable stitches in the back you will create cable stitches that slant to the right.


Common abbreviations for the right cross cable stitch:

C4B or C4R:  C for cable, 4 is the set of stitches used in making the cable.  B means it is to be held in the back of work.  Or sometimes it will be R meaning a right slanting cable.



Notes for knitting cables:

  • The cable row is also known as the turning row
  • Adding cable stitches to your pattern causes the fabric to pull in just like ribbing does so make sure to add extra stitches.  And make sure to knit a gauge swatch too.
  • Knitting cables can be worked with a cable needle or there is a technique for knitting cables without a cable needle and that's really cool.
  • The cable stitches are usually knit on the right side of your work
  • Cables are not usually made on every row.  Usually there are a few rows of plain knitting before you work another turning row.  For instance a 4-stitch cable will have 4 plain rows of knitting before the cable row, a 6-stitch cable will have 6 rows of plain knitting before the cable row and so on. 
  • Cable stitches are usually knit on a stockinette stitch background so that the cable will stand out more.  There are always exceptions of course but this is the standard basic method.

Are you ready?

Get your yarn and needles ready and let's start knitting cables.  Don't forget the cable needle too.  Oh and you may find that a bamboo cable needle or DPN works better.  The stitches won't slip off. Even better? A U cable holder holds the stitches nicely.

4-Stitch Cable  (Slanting to the Right)

When you knit cables you usually need to knit a few preparatory rows.

Cast on 14 stitches

Row 1 (RS):  P2, *k4, p2, repeat from * across row

Row 2 (WS):  K2, *p4, k2, repeat from * across row

Row 3 (Cable or turning row):  P2, *Slip first 2 stitches purlwise to cable needle and place in back of work.  Knit 2 stitches from left needle.  Then knit stitches from the cable needle.  Purl 2, repeat from * to the end of row. (See images 1 - 3 below)

Row 4:  Repeat row 2


knitting cables

Image 1:  Place cable needle at the back of your knitting.

4stitch cable

Image 2:  Knit 2 stitches from left needle.

4-stitch cable

Image 3:  Then knit the stitches from the cable needle.

These 4 rows create the 4 stitch cable slanting to the right.

4-Stitch Cable (Slanting to the Left)

Cast on 14 stitches

Row 1 (RS):  P2, *k4, p2, repeat from * across row

Row 2 (WS):  K2, *p4, k2, repeat from * across row

Row 3 (Cable or turning row):  P2, *Slip first 2 stitches purlwise to cable needle and hold in front of work.  Knit 2 stitches from left needle.  Then knit stitches from the cable needle.  Purl 2, repeat from * to the end of row. (See images 1 - 3 below)

Row 4:  Repeat row 2


knitting cables

Image 1:  Place cable needle in front of knitting.

4-stitch cable

Image 2:  Knit 2 stitches from left needle.

4-stitch cable

Image 3:  Then knit stitches from cable needle.


You can make the cables longer if you want too, by knitting more plain rows in between turning rows.  For something different try making a cable row on the 4th row and then on the 6th or 8th row.

There are many ways to create your own style so play around and have fun knitting cables. 

Knitting Cables Tip

Are there holes on the sides of your cables? 

There were with mine too.  Loosen up the yarn a bit.  All it means is that you are knitting the cable stitches too tightly.  And the more you try to tighten up the hole the bigger it will get. You see when you are knitting cables the yarn gets really stretched and because it's being stretched it actually needs more yarn. So again just loosen up your tension and the holes will go away.

Worsted Weight Yarns from knitpicks.com

Knitting stitch patterns

Knitting instructions


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