Knitting Cables Without Cable Needle

For a long time, I used to avoid knitting projects with too many cables. Don’t get me wrong, I love cables – it’s the cable needle I have a problem with. If I came across a pattern like Sherwood (pictured below) I would have said “Oh, no way!”. So how to knit cables without cable needle?

Knitting cables without cable needle
Sherwood by Angela Hahn. (Source:

I didn’t count the exact number of cables in this pattern but for sure there are a lot. I’d guess there are around 200 of them. For each single cable, I would have to stop knitting, pick up the cable needle, cross the stitches, knit off the left needle then the cable needle.

Why You Will Profit From Learning Cabling Without a Cable Needle

Once I learned how to make cables without the needle I could just knit across my cables with just a very short pause for switching the stitches.

Making cables without a cable needle might feel a little risky at first, but once you learn the technique it will give you a feeling of freedom for sure.

An additional advantage is that you don’t have to purchase another tool so you actually can even save money by learning this technique!

How To Knit Cables Without a Cable Needle

If you think about it, the essence of making a cable is knitting the stitches out of order. Well, what if you could change the order of the stitches on the left needle before you knitted them without the hassle of a cable needle?

(Instructions are for a left leaning cable.)

  • Insert the right needle into the back of third and fourth stitches on the left needle.
  • Slip four stitches off the left needle. (At this point, you should stay calm and carry on.)
  • Quickly insert the left needle into the two stitches that are hanging loose.
  • Now, twisting the needles away from each other to make a bit of room, transfer the two stitches on the right needle back onto the left needle – the order of the stitches have been changed and they are magically crossed.
  • Now all you have to do is knit across the four stitches on the left needle and the cable is complete. No cable needle!

That, my friends, is how you get the power to say “Yes!” to a sweater with 200+ cables.

Was This Article Helpful?

Please let me know if this article helped you to get started to knit cables without cable needle by leaving a comment below – and if it wasn’t, I’d love to hear your opinion even more!

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