30+ Free Cable Knitting Patterns


In this blog post, you will see everything about cable knitting and the 30+ free cable knitting patterns you can make. 

Cable knitting is known for creating beautiful textures, making it a popular choice for sweaters, cardigans, scarves, blankets, and other garments or accessories. 

While it may seem intimidating to beginners, with practice and a good set of instructions, cable knitting can become an enjoyable and rewarding knitting technique.

Free cable knitting patterns

30 Free Cable Knitting Patterns

If you are ready to try out cable knitting, check out the free patterns below, and you might find your next knitting project.

Whether you love traditional cables or more modern designs, you will find something that inspires you. 

Everything You Need To Know About Cables

What is the easiest cable knit pattern?   

The easiest cable knit pattern typically involves a simple one or two-stitch cable. 

This basic cable pattern is ideal for beginners looking to dip their toes into cable knitting. 

It usually consists of straightforward cable twists that are easy to understand and execute.

The pattern may include knit and purl stitches along with basic cable techniques like C4F (Cable 4 Front) and C4B (Cable 4 Back). 

As you gain confidence and experience with these simple cable patterns, you can gradually progress to more intricate cable designs. 

Starting with a basic cable pattern allows you to develop the skills and understanding needed for more complex cable knitting projects in the future. 

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cable close up

What is the best yarn for cable knitting?    

The best yarn weight for cable knitting depends on the specific project you’re working on and the desired outcome.

Cable knitting can be done with various yarn weights, and the choice of yarn weight will affect the look and feel of your project. 

  1. Worsted Weight Yarn: Worsted weight yarn is a popular choice for cable knitting. It’s versatile and works well for many projects, including sweaters, scarves, and blankets. It provides a good stitch definition, making cables stand out.
  2. Aran Weight Yarn: Aran weight yarn is slightly heavier than worsted weight and can create bold, chunky cables. It’s great for cozy, warm projects like fisherman sweaters and textured blankets.
  3. Bulky Weight Yarn: Bulky-weight yarns are excellent for creating thick, substantial cables. They work well for quick, warm projects like cowls, hats, and thick blankets.
  4. Sport Weight and DK Weight Yarn: These lighter yarn weights can be used for more delicate or intricate cable patterns. They’re great for lightweight garments, baby items, and accessories with smaller cable details.
  5. Fingering Weight Yarn: Fingering weight yarn is the lightest and is typically used for intricate and delicate cable work. It’s suitable for lightweight shawls, socks, and fine-cabled accessories.

Learn everything about yarn weights here – Yarn Weight Guide {+ Conversion Chart} 

Learn everything about yarn fibers here – Yarn Types Explained: A Guide To Different Fibers 

celtic cable washcloth

What are the best knitting needles for cable knitting? 

The best knitting needles for cable knitting are those that suit your personal preferences and the specifics of your project.

However, there are some general characteristics to consider when choosing knitting needles for cable knitting:

  1. Material: Knitting needles come in various materials, including wood, metal, plastic, and bamboo. Wooden and bamboo needles are often favored for cable knitting because they provide grip and prevent stitches from sliding off easily. They can be helpful when working with intricate cable patterns.
  2. Cable Length: The length of your knitting needles should be suitable for the size of your project. For smaller projects or projects with a limited number of stitches, shorter needles work well. For larger projects, circular needles with longer cables are useful.
  3. Needle Type: You can use straight needles, double-pointed needles, or circular knitting needles for cable knitting, depending on your preference and the type of project. Many knitters find circular needles to be versatile, especially for large or in-the-round cable projects.
  4. Needle Size: Choose the needle size that matches the yarn weight and gauge recommended in your pattern. You can find the recommended needle size on the yarn label or in the pattern instructions.
  5. Cable Needle: While not strictly necessary, some cable knitting patterns may require a cable needle or a spare double-pointed needle to hold stitches for creating cable twists. Ensure you have the appropriate size and style of cable needle if your pattern calls for it.
  6. Smooth Joins: If you’re using circular needles, ensure the joins between the needle tips and the cable are smooth and don’t snag your yarn, as this can be particularly frustrating when working with cables.
  7. Tip Shape: The shape of the needle tips can vary. Some knitters prefer sharp tips for more precise work, while others like blunt tips for smoother knitting. The choice depends on your knitting style and personal preference.
  8. Interchangeable Sets: If you plan to knit many cable projects, you might consider investing in an interchangeable needle set. These sets typically include multiple needle tips and various cable lengths, allowing you to customize your needles based on your project needs.
Celtic cable stitch on the needles

How to cable knit for beginners?

For beginners new to cable knitting, here’s a simplified process explanation. 

Cable knitting involves creating twists in your knitting by crossing groups of stitches over one another. 

  • To start, you’ll need to identify the cable section in your pattern and understand its instructions. 
  • Generally, a cable needle or a spare double-pointed needle holds a set of stitches while you work the others.
  • Transfer the specified stitches onto the cable needle, either holding them in front or in the back of your regular knitting. 
  • Knit or purl the remaining stitches on your regular needle, and then work the stitches from the cable needle, crossing them over the ones you just knit or purl. 
  • This creates the cable twist.

As a beginner, it’s a good idea to practice with small cable patterns to get comfortable with the technique. 

Over time, you’ll become more proficient in creating various cable designs to add texture and visual interest to your knitting projects.

free cable knitting patterns cable knit wrap

Can you do a cable stitch without a cable needle?

Yes, you can create cable stitches without a cable needle using a technique known as “cabling without a cable needle.” 

To do this, instead of using a separate cable needle, you rearrange your stitches directly on your regular knitting needles.

 For example, for a C4F (Cable 4 Front), you’ll briefly slide the first two stitches as if to purl, let them rest in front of your work, knit the next two stitches from the left needle, and then return to the slipped stitches, purling them before moving on. 

This process creates the cable twist. 

While it may feel a bit more challenging at first, many experienced knitters prefer this method for its efficiency, especially with smaller cables, as it eliminates the need to keep track of an additional needle.

free cable knitting patterns cable knit tea cosy

How hard is cable knitting?    

Cable knitting is generally considered to be a moderate-level knitting technique, but its difficulty can vary depending on the complexity of the cable pattern and your prior knitting experience. 

  1. Beginner-Friendly Cables: Simple cables, such as those involving just a few stitches and basic twists, are quite accessible for beginners. If you can knit and purl, you can learn to create basic cable patterns with some practice.
  2. Learning Curve: Cable knitting introduces an additional step where you move stitches to a cable needle or rearrange them on your regular knitting needle. This may require some dexterity and patience, especially when you’re new to the technique.
  3. Following Instructions: Success in cable knitting depends on your ability to understand and follow written or charted cable patterns. Carefully reading and comprehending the pattern is essential.
  4. Practice Makes Perfect: Like any knitting skill, practice is key to becoming proficient at cable knitting. Start with simple cable patterns to build your confidence before tackling more intricate designs.
  5. Cable Needle vs. No Cable Needle: Some knitters choose to use a cable needle, while others prefer “cabling without a cable needle” for increased speed and efficiency. Learning to cable without a cable needle can take a bit of practice, but many find it worthwhile.
  6. Attention to Detail: Cable knitting requires careful attention to avoid errors, such as dropping stitches or crossing the cables in the wrong direction. Taking your time and staying focused can help prevent mistakes.
free cable knitting patterns men's aran sweater

Does cable knitting use more yarn?    

Cable knitting itself doesn’t inherently use more yarn than regular knitting, but it can give the appearance of using more yarn due to the nature of the cables. 

The reason for this perception is that the cable twists pull the stitches tighter and create more three-dimensional texture in the fabric, making it appear denser and possibly using more yarn to cover the same area.

The amount of yarn required for a cable knitting project should be roughly the same as the amount needed for the equivalent project in plain stockinette or garter stitch. 

The stitches themselves don’t actually consume more yarn; it’s the way they are arranged in the cable pattern that gives the illusion of using more yarn.

However, it’s essential to remember that different cable patterns can vary in complexity, which might affect the amount of yarn needed. 

Elaborate or wide cable patterns may use slightly more yarn than simple, narrow cables because they may have additional stitches or require longer, more intricate cable crossings. 

free cable knitting patterns cable knit arm warmers

What materials do you need for cable knitting?

To get started with cable knitting, you’ll need yarn appropriate for your project in terms of weight, fiber, and color. 

Choose the right knitting needles, either straight, circular, or double-pointed, based on your pattern and personal preference.

You may also require a cable needle or a spare double-pointed needle for holding stitches during cable twists. 

Access to a cable knitting pattern is essential, providing instructions for the specific cables you’ll create. 

Other essential tools include scissors, a tapestry needle for weaving in ends, measuring tools, and optionally, stitch markers, a row counter, blocking materials, and a cable chart for more complex cable patterns. 

Gather these materials, and you’ll be well-equipped to explore the art of cable knitting.

free cable knitting patterns men's chunky knit cable jumper

Cable Stitch Patterns

Knitting Lessons

If you are a new maker and need help with the knitting basics, check out the knitting lessons here – Knitting Lessons (With Video Tutorials).

There, you will find tutorial posts for all the different knitting techniques a newbie needs to know. 

Including how to cast on, the basic knit stitches, the stockinette stitch, the rib stitch, the garter stitch, a list of knitting abbreviations, and more. 

And if you need more video tutorials, check out my YouTube channel here – Handy Little Me – YouTube

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Happy Knitting!

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