How to Knit Standard Cable Stitch (Rope Cable)

2 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Knitting Cables

Standard cable stitch (or rope cable) is a basic knitting stitch that looks like twisted rope. The cables have the same number of plain rows between turning rows as there are stitches in the cable. If the rope cable is 6 stitches wide, for example, you work the turning row every 6 rows. These cable patterns generally cross stitches predictably up a single column of stitches.

You can make a rope cable over almost any even number of stitches, but this pattern creates a 6-stitch left-twisting cable, where the first and last 4 stitches make up the background and the 6 central stitches form your cable:

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  1. Cast on 14 sts.

  2. Follow this stitch pattern:

    Rows 1 and 3 (RS): P4, k6, p4.

    Rows 2, 4, and 6: K4, p6, k4.

    Row 5, the turning row: P4, sl next 3 sts to cn and hold in front, k3 from LH needle, k3 from cn, p4.

  3. Repeat Rows 1–6.

    Watch your stockinette stitches become a cabled rope!

Keep these tips in mind as you work cables:

  • When you suspend stitches on the cable needle, let the cable needle dangle down in front of your work, giving the yarn a slight tug to keep it taut (you don’t need to close the gap).

  • Instead of knitting stitches directly from the cable needle, you may prefer to return the suspended stitches to the LH needle before you knit them. Try both ways and use the technique that’s more comfortable for you.

  • When you work cables, you go back and forth from purl stitches to knit stitches. To switch from a knit to a purl stitch, bring your yarn to the front before you make the next stitch. From a purl to a knit stitch, bring your yarn to the back before you make the next stitch.

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The Essentials of Knitting Cables

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