Knitting Cables In The Round {A How To Guide}


In this post, you will see a how-to guide to knitting cables in the round.

Knitting cables in the round may seem complicated, but really it is very similar to knitting them flat.

The main difference is that in the round the right side of the work is always facing you as you work.

This post will explain to you how you can convert a cable knitting pattern from knitting flat on straight needles to knitting in the round.

knitting cables in the round

Cable Knitting Patterns

First, choose a cable knitting pattern that is knit flat like one of these below:

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Get Your Materials

Second, grab the materials you need:

  • Notebook/pen/pencil
  • Yarn weight needed for the pattern
  • Circular knitting needles/DPNs (Double Pointed Needles) the size needed for your pattern
  • Cable needle
  • Scissors
  • Stitch markers
  • Tape measure
knitting cables in the round

Knitting Cables In The Round

  1. Read through your pattern

    Read through your chosen pattern and check the cable repeat pattern.

    See if the pattern includes written instructions or a chart or both.

    Celtic Cabled Fingerless Gloves chart

  2. Change the cable repeat pattern

    When changing the flat knit cable repeat rows you can re-write them in your notebook, so that you can follow it easily when knitting in the round.

    When knitting in the round there are no wrong side rows, every row is the right side.

    This means that all of the right side rows (RS) in the pattern will stay the same.

    You will only need to change the wrong side rows (WS).

    To convert a wrong side row, change all of the knit stitches to purl stitches and all of the purl stitches to knit stitches.

    6-Stitch Cable (To the Right)⁣

  3. Time to cast on and join in the round

    Cast on the number of stitches given in your pattern on your circular needles or DPNs and join the stitches to knit in the round.

    You will work the first row – the RS right side row as it is written in your pattern.

    Work the setup rows that you need to work before the cable, changing any stitches on the WS rows (See step 2 if you need help).

    knitting on circular needles

  4. Knit the cable

    Knit the cable row in your pattern.

    For example, if you are working a C4B – cable 4 back, you would slip 2 sts onto your cable needle, and hold it at the back of the work.

    Then knit the 2 sts on the left-hand needle, with the CN (cable needle) at the back of the work.

    Bring the cable needle to the front of the work and knit the 2 sts on that.

    Complete the rest of the row according to your pattern (this will be a right side row).

    knitting cables in the round on circulars with cable needle

  5. Example – Cable knit flat

    In this example, I will be using Outlander Claire’s Cable Knit Wrist Warmers Pattern.

    This is the first cable pattern knit flat on two needles:

    Cable 1
    1. K2, P2, C24F, K 24
    2. P 24, K2, P2 to end of row
    3. K2, P2 – 28sts, K 24
    4. P 24, K2, P2 to end of row
    5. K2, P2 – 28sts, K 24
    6. P 24, K2, P2 to end of row
    7. K2, P2 – 28sts, K 24
    8. P 24, K2, P2 to end of row

    right cable knit wrist warmer

  6. Example – Cable converted to knit in the round

    This is the first cable pattern converted:

    Cable 1
    1. K2, P2, C24F, K24.
    2. K2, P2 – 28 sts, K 24 sts.
    Rep round 2 – 6 more times.

    knitting cables in the round

  7. Conclusion

    If the pattern is written for knitting cables in the round, just follow the instructions as they are.

    If the pattern you have is for knitting cables flat on straight needles and you want to convert to knitting in the round, then change the wrong side rows – knit stitches become purl stitches and purl stitches become knit stitches.

    If the instructions say that you should knit the knit stitches and purl the purls – then you can follow those pattern instructions without making any changes, for the cable stitches will be knit while the background stitches are pulled.

    bobble cable stitch

Resources and Tutorials

You may find the following resources helpful:

I love seeing your finished projects!

If you enjoyed the tutorial, I’d love to see your converted cables on Instagram, be sure to tag me @handylittleme.

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Happy Knitting!

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  1. Hi. I just need some clarification. In your instructions knitting the cable you say:
    R1: K2-P2-C24F-K24. That is clear but in round 2 you say: K2-P2-28 stitches… are the 28 stitches also purl stitches ?


    1. Hello Uta,
      For the flat knit cable – In round 2 – you will Purl 24 stitches then K2, P2 to the end of the row.
      You will work in 2×2 ribbing for the last part of the row.
      For the cable in the round – in round 2 you will K2, P2 for 28 stitches (this means working in 2×2 ribbing for 28 stitches) then you will knit 24 stitches.
      I hope that helps!