How to Cable Knit: 10 Free Cable Knitting Patterns You’ll Love

The simple technique of crossing one group of stitches over another is commonly known as cable knitting. With an understanding of the basic components to cable knitting stitches, this technique is easy to do and opens up a whole new world of patterns and design elements.

Standard or rope cables are the most basic variety, involving a single column of stitches crossed over any number of stitches. But you’ll also find cables can also be used to make braid patterns with anywhere from one to as many as seven braids making up a single group.

To get you cabling like a master, we’ve gathered 10 of our favorite cable knitting patterns to share with you. We put patterns for sweaters, pullovers, scarves, cowls, vests and more to provide the best variety of designs showing off cables. If you’re starting your very first cable patterns be sure you check out the cowl and scarf patterns, or for a challenge one of the sweaters. Follow each pattern to knit them up or use them to inspire your own cabled creations. Whether you have been knitting cables for years or are doing your very first pattern, you are sure to love these beautiful collection of designs and instructions for knitting cables.

Learn how to cable knit the right way with these free collections of cable knitting patterns exclusively from Knitting Daily.
You'll love learning how to cable knit with these free cable knitting patterns including a cable knit sweater to a cable knit scarf and more exclusively from Knitting Daily.

Learning how to cable knit is easier than you think with these FREE eBooks

Knitting cables is a fun but challenging technique for many knitters, one that is loved and celebrated around the world. The beautiful textures created are completely unique to cable knitting stitches. Learn how to cable knit with help from the designs in these free downloads.

Learn everything you need to know about cable knitting in this free guide.

How To: A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting Cables

Cables add a wonderful element of texture and design to many knitted projects. In the simplest terms, a cable is the process of changing the order in which the stitches are knit or purled. To create different textures and patterns, the stitches are twisted away from or toward each other. A group of stitches that cross and overlap creates a section of fabric that is both raised and twisted. Stitches that twist away from each other create a pattern with a raised border around a recessed center. Their names are generally derived from their appearance, such as rope, braid, horseshoe, or honeycomb. Practice knitted cables with these 5 knitted swatches.

Learn how to knit cables with this free knitted cardigan pattern for kids.

All Grown Up Cardigan

Designed by Lisa Ellis
Reverse stockinette emphasizes the charming cable detail at the button band, side seams, and sleeves. Complete with “big boy” buttons, this delightful cardigan is all grown up.

Learn how to knit cables with these two knitted cables patterns: His & Hers Alpaca Cabled Sweaters.

His & Hers Alpaca Cabled Sweaters

Designed by Melissa Leapman
This unique cable pattern is ideal for either a man or a woman’s sweater. The “hers” version, knit with a beautiful purple heathered alpaca and accented with gorgeous buttons, achieves a very feminine feel, while the “his” version, in a masculine brown with a zippered collar neck, creates a sweater the man in your life will love.

Cable Knit Sweater Pattern: Anniversary Pullover by Kathy Zimmerman

Cable Knit Sweater Pattern

Anniversary Pullover by Kathy Zimmerman
While Kathy was looking for an anniversary gift for her husband she came up with the design for this manly cable sweater pattern. The cables and checks represent the twists and turns of married life-the texture shifts and changes, but the overall direction is straight ahead. The motifs are intentionally scattered, but the pattern only appears complicated (you’ll have it memorized after just a few repeats).

Cable Shrug Pattern: Five Way Cable Wrap by Lily Chin

Cable Shrug Pattern

Five Way Cable Wrap by Lily Chin
(Originally Published in the book Power Cables)
This versatile pattern is sure to become a staple in your wardrobe as a shrug, wrap, poncho, or stole. Indulge in some soft, touchable yarn and knit up this shrug/wrap in your favorite color. Follow along the detailed cable knitting instructions to whip up your own garment. There are at least five ways to wear this accessory, how will you wear yours?

Cable Sweater Pattern: Interlocking Cables by Shirley Paden

Cable Sweater Pattern

Interlocking Cables by Shirley Paden
This lovely sweater combines a graceful silhouette with a rich textural pattern for a bit of casual elegance. A silk merino yarn beautifully shows off the intricately intertwining cables and allows for the gentle drape.  A narrow rib makes for a smooth edging, while raglan sleeve shaping creates a smooth line at the shoulder. Knitters looking for a texture tour-de-force need look no further than this stunning cable pattern.

Cable Scarf Pattern: Rittenhouse Scarf by Marilyn Murphy

Cable Scarf Pattern

Rittenhouse Scarf by Marilyn Murphy
Worked  in two halves from the center out, this scarf consists of a single rib that transitions into a reversible fabric at each end. The cables are worked to be completely reversible, making it a fantastic grab and go item for your wardrobe. Along with the easy to follow instructions on knitting reversible cables, you will also learn the invisible (provisional) cast-on method.

Cable Vest Pattern: Valkyrie Vest by Lisa Shroyer

Cable Vest Pattern

Valkyrie Vest by Lisa Shroyer
This beautiful pattern was designed to be worn with negative ease at the bust and positive ease over the belly and hips. When you are determining your size, be sure you not only consider bust size but also the hip/hem measurement. They are both equally important to the success of your finished vest. Along with the instructions for this pattern, you will also learn about the backward-loop cast-on and three-needle bind-off.

Cabled Cowl Pattern: Winding River Cowl by Kathleen Cubley

Cabled Cowl Pattern

Winding River Cowl by Kathleen Cubley
Kathleen fell in love with the way this design came together, reminding her of a winding river over a rocky bed. The soft squishiness and cozy warmth of the yarn make this cabled cowl perfect for wearing next to your neck. The cables give the illusion of moving down as you look at them, and the mobius structure also makes the cowl a perfect place to rest your chin!

Cable Pullover Sweater Pattern: Wheat-ear Cable Yoke by Pam Allen

Cable Pullover Sweater Pattern

Wheat-ear Cable Yoke by Pam Allen
This beautiful and elegant design captures Pam’s love for contrasting knit cables and smooth stockinette. In this raglan cable pullover pattern a sleek bodice and sleeves flow into a yoke of delicate cables. The cable types include a two-stitch twist alternating with a seven-stitch wheat-ear. Combined these give the pullover decoration with adding bulk.

Don’t miss these free, exciting cable knitting patterns.

With these 10 free patterns, you’ll find yourself learning about cabling while creating beautiful patterns all at the same time. Knit cables can range from a simple single row to incredibly complex crossings and movements in the cables. But what they all boil down to is a simple set of stitches that knitters of all abilities can master. You can even use a simple technique to knit reversible cables for patterns that you see both sides of, such as a scarf or cowl.

When you work with cables you typically want to use a yarn with a very round cross-section, meaning a yarn with a single ply or a yarn with many plys that is very firm. Using this type of yarn helps cables to pop in the design and get a nice high-relief effect. Cables are also incredibly versatile, you can add them to just about any pattern or find one already made up; from cable knit sweaters to cowls, scarves, vests and more! Learn how to knit cables and enjoy each of these patterns, when you download these exclusive free eBooks.