When I first started knitting, I was in awe of cable sweaters. There’s something about cabling that adds so much flair to a sweater, but it seemed really complicated. When I finally got brave enough to try it, I realized it looks a lot harder than it actually is. If you’re ready to give cabling a shot, check out my cable sweater basics to get started.



In addition to the proper gauge needs for your sweater, you’ll need a cable needle that’s a similar size. Cable needles typically come in small, medium, and large sizes rather than needle gauges, so pick the one that’s closest to the needles you’re using. You may also need stitch markers to help you line up your cabling across rows and a row counter to ensure you keep the number of rows between the cable rows the same.

The Cabling Process

Once you have your yarn, needles and cable needle, you’re ready to begin. As you work your pattern, you will be prompted to slip a number of stitches from your working needle to the cable needle and hold the cable needle either in front or behind the work. This determines which direction the cable curves. You’ll then knit (or purl) the number of stitches indicated on the pattern, move the stiches from the cable needle back to your working needle and knit (or purl) them. Continue to follow your pattern for several rows and you’ll begin to see the cable form.


By changing the number of stitches placed on the cable needle, the number of stitches worked before working the stitches on the cable needle, and the direction of the cable, you can create intricate patterns with this simple process.

Finishing a Cable Sweater

You finish your cable sweater the same way you would any other sweater. Bind off per the pattern instructions and be sure, if it’s a pull-over, that you leave the bind off loose enough to fit the sweater over your head. Whether you give it as a gift or wear it yourself, everyone will be impressed with your cable sweater – and you’ll be surprised how easy it was to make! (But you don’t have to tell your admirers that!)