Cabling without a cable needle

©2007-2009 Information and images contained within this tutorial are copyrighted and cannot be used for any unintended purposes without my explicit permission. My general rules about tutorial usage and distribution can be found here.


First, what makes this tutorial different from the numerous cabling without a cable needle tutorials available on the web? Other tutorials just instruct you how to transpose the cable stitches and then knit them. The method explored here (the invention of which I do not take credit for) is a bit more elegant and involves fewer steps.

Cables become that much more exciting if you don't have to use a cable needle or a double-pointed needle to help you along. This is especially true for a new knitter, who is much more likely to jump into an interesting cabled project if only two needles are involved. Oh, and think about a pretty pair of cabled socks, like these ones, knit with a set of 5 dpns... uh-oh, if you use a cable needle, now you have a total of six needles to juggle!

I first read about making cables without the aid of an additional needle in Annie Modesitt's Confessions of a Knitting Heretic. In this tutorial I expound upon Annie's ideas.


Let's cable! I will use a six-stitch cable as an example. Choose your destiny:

Right-twist cable (same as holding sts in back)

Left-twist cable (same as holding sts in front)


When you reach the cable stitches, move the yarn to the back.

With yarn in back, slip the first three stitches purlwise onto the right-hand needle.

Knit the next three stitches.

Bring the left needle to the front and pick up the three slipped stitches onto the left needle.

Get ready for cable acrobatics by pinching the base of the cable stitches with your left thumb and forefinger. Start to move the right needle out of the stitches.

Pull the right needle out of the six cable stitches: the three slipped ones will remain on the left needle, and the three already-knit ones will be hanging in midair in the back.

Working around the back, pick up the three stitches hanging in midair with your right needle. These three stitches have already been knit.

Straighten out your knitting. The three knit stitches are on the right needle, and the three previously-slipped stitches are on the left. Now knit the three previously-slipped stitches.

Left-twist cable complete!

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial.

Want more? Right-twist cable

E-mail me if you have any questions!

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