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.

Cables Pin Blog

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 back cross 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 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
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.

7 Slip first 2 sts with yarn in front


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 needle


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

Grab worked sts
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.

13 Admire your handiwork

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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