Cables Without a Cable Needle Tutorial

I don’t know about you but whenever it comes time for me to knit a cable I can never seem to find my cable needle. Which would mean I’d use a double point (even the smallest ones are really way too big), a paperclip (always snags the yarn), or a toothpick that I’m always poking myself with. None of which make working cables enjoyable. So when I heard about knitting cables without a cable needle I knew I wanted to learn how. There are a few different ways to work it but this is the way that works for me the best. Not only do I no longer need a cable needle, but I’ve found once I got the hang of working them this way, it’s A LOT faster! The first time you might want some chocolate and some wine (wait to drink any though). You’ll also want a sample with both a left-leaning and right-leaning 2×2 cable. More than one of each is fine. A dishcloth is good for practicing on.


Cable Knitting Without a Cable Needle

In this example, I’m first working a front cross or left-leaning 2×2 cable and then a backcross or right-leaning 2×2 cable. All stitches that are slipped purlwise.

Front Cross (Left Leaning) Cable

Work to the cable.

Cable knitting tutorial
Work to the Cable

With the yarn held in the back slip the first 2 stitches.

cable needle without cable needle
Slip 2 stitches

Knit the next 2 stitches being sure you do NOT pull the yarn tight.

Cable knitting
Knit the next 2 sts

From the front, slip the left needle into the first 2 stitches. I usually drop the working yarn at this point so I don’t pull on the stitches.

Knitting titorial
Slip needle into first 2 sts

Slip all 4 stitches off the right needle. Don’t panic! Those 2 stitches you just worked won’t go unraveling. This is why I drop the working yarn.

Cable Tutorial
Slip all sts off right needle

From the back, grab the 2 loose stitches you knitted with the right needle, slipping them back on the needle.

Grab 2 live sts

Now knit the 2 unworked stitches and admire your cable. If having those 2 stitches hanging there made you want to panic, have some chocolate. (Save the wine for after you work the other cable.) Work to the next cable.

Back Cross (Right Leaning) Cable

With the yarn in front, slip the first 2 stitches.


Keeping the yarn in front of first 2 stitches, knit the next 2 stitches. So your yarn is going to cross in front of the first 2 stitches.  (This is because these stitches are in the back part of the cross.)

Neddleless Cable Knitting
Knit next 2

From the back slip the left needle into the first 2 stitches. Again this is where I drop my working yarn.

Cable Knitting Tutorial
Slip needle into first 2 sts

Slip all sts off the right needle… Still, don’t panic, you can do this.

Knitting tutorial
Slip all off the needle

From the front with your right needle, grab the 2 knitted stitches that are waiting for you. If you need to eat some more chocolate.

Grab worked sts

Knit the 2 unworked stitches

Knitting Cables without cable needle
Knit 2 unworked sts

Admire your handiwork and some wine if needed.

See you can do this! You don’t no stinkin’ cable needle!! Keep practicing this and it will be easier and faster.  So what are you going to try this on?

Don’t forget to share so all you knitting friends can work cables without cable needles.

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