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How to Cable Without a Cable Needle

November 7th, 2011

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Now that you’ve learned to use a cable needle, what do you do if you want to start a cabled project and don’t have a cable needle on hand? Don’t fret; you can cross your stitches without using a separate needle! Here’s how to do it.

Step 1 I’m going to cross the two right stitches over the two left stitches.
Step 2 Insert your righthand needle into the back of the third and fourth stitches on the lefthand needle. (Note: If you want to cross these stitches in front, insert your righthand needle into the front of these stitches.)
Step 3 Carefully slide your cable stitches off of the lefthand needle. Your two leftmost stitches will now be on the righthand needle, and your rightmost stitches will be dangling. They should stay in place without laddering down.
Step 4a Using your left needle, pick up the two right stitches. This will cross them over in front of the other two stitches.
Step 4b The right stitches have now been crossed in front to the left.
Step 5 Return the two stitches on your right needle back to the left. Your stitches are now in the correct order to cable! Knit as normal.
Step 6 You’re all finished with your cable!

Now, a few notes on this technique. Cabling without a cable needle works best on smaller cables. If you’re crossing more than 3×3, consider using a needle for stability. It’s also better to use a yarn with more of a grab (such as wool) than one that’s slippery (like alpaca) so that your stitches don’t ladder down. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be cabling even faster than with a needle!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FAQLSPXNTE6GFRYS27A3NYDJGQ Elise Baker

    I’ve used a spare needle, a chopstick, a sewing needle – all you need is something to keep the stitches from popping out.

  • Snoozen

    A paperclip that has been straightened and then bent into a hook shape works for smaller threads too!.

  • Kdick

    A large safety pin works well, too!

  • chris

    I’ve used ink pens, pencils, pick up sticks, lol….

  • Jane Reinard

    I just use a paper clip bent to the shape I need.

  • Grandmax2

    Doesn’t everybody have a cocktail stirrer/pick nearby?  I usually do LOL

  • Gabriele

    I use the same method as shown, but to keep from accidentally dropping any stitches, press together just below the stitches with your thumb in front and index finger in back before you pull out the needle.  This method goes so much faster than transferring stitches to another needle.

    • Anonymous

      I often utilize this technique when I’m doing a cross larger than 1×1. Thanks for sharing!

  • Aggie

    A crochet hook works well too!

  • Judi9954

    Looks good, but I will stick to the cable needle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=580960201 Leenie Smith

    I use a dpn and knit right off of it.

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  • Vedette

    I used pens to take out the knits

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  • demelzabunny

    Yeah, don’t attempt this w/a slippery yarn, like alpaca. It won’t work, trust me.

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  • Mary

    I use a big diaper pin – the old kind with the plastic end.

  • jburke

    Nice to know in case of an emergency – I tend to keep a cable needle with me in my knitting kit at all times.