How to Do a Cable Cast on When Knitting

Woman cast on knitting
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  • 01 of 08

    The Firm Edge of a Cable Cast On

    Slip Knot
    A slip knot on the needle. Sarah White licensed to, Inc.

    One of your many options for casting on a knitting project is a method known as the cable cast on. It is very similar to the knit cast on, the only difference is the needle placement, which gives the cast on a bit of a cable look. It's an extremely easy stitch and one that works up quickly once you get going.

    This is a relatively versatile cast on, yet the edge will not be as flexible or stretchy as others. That means that it may not be the best for hats or sweaters. If your project needs a firm edge, however, this is one of your best options.

    Keep It Loose

    The key to a cable cast-on is to keep your stitches loose. Knitters who tend to knit with a good deal of tension will find it a bit more of a challenge. If you get too tight, you will have problems not only ​in the cast on but while knitting the first row as well.

    If you have to, cast on with a needle that's one size larger and switch to the pattern needle on the first row.

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Starting Your Cable Cast On

    Starting cable cast on is like starting any other cast-on method—you just have to make a slip knot and slide the loop onto a knitting needle, pulling gently and not too tightly.

    In the case of cable cast on, you do not need a long tail, but you should leave around six inches for weaving in later.

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Making the Next Stitch

    Forming the second stitch.
    (c) Sarah White licensed to, Inc.

    The slip knot loop always counts as your first stitch and this is no different with the cable cast on. To begin the second stitch:

    • Use your second needle to slip into the slip knot loop from front to back.
    • Wrap the yarn around the second needle.
    • Pull the new loop back through, just like making a knit stitch.
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  • 04 of 08

    Slipping the Stitch

    The second stitch
    The second stitch is slipped onto the left-hand needle. Sarah White licensed to, Inc.

    Now, the loop that is on the right-hand needle needs to be moved to the left-hand needle.

    • Slip the left-hand needle into the loop from the front.
    • Slide the right-hand needle out of the stitch.

    You now have two stitches on the left-hand needle.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Start the Third Stitch

    The needle between the stitches.
    The right-hand needle between the stitches. Sarah White licensed to, Inc.

    To make the third and subsequent stitches in cable cast on, the procedure is similar. This is where cable cast-on differs from knit cast on.

    • Instead of using the second loop to work a knit stitch, you will insert the right-hand needle between the two stitches on the left-hand needle.

    This is much easier to do if you have loosely worked the previous stitch and the slip stitch loop. If you find your stitches are too tight, slide them toward the tip of the needle, where you have a little more room to work.

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Continuing the Stitch

    Third stitch.
    Forming the third stitch. Sarah White licensed to, Inc.

    To form the stitch, you will do the same as you did before:

    • Wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle as if to make a knit stitch and pull the loop back through. 
    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Finishing the Stitch

    Third stitch
    Finishing the third stitch. Sarah White licensed to, Inc.

    Once again, the stitch needs to move to the left-hand needle:

    • Use the left-hand needle to slip the stitch from the front.
    • Slip the right-hand needle out.

    You should now have three stitches on your left needle.

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Completing the Cast on

    Keep forming stitches in this manner between the previous two stitches until you have as many stitches on your needle as you need. Remember the loop formed by the slip knot counts as a stitch.

    Make an effort to keep the stitches evenly loose as you form them. This will make the jobs of continuing to cast on and knitting the first row a lot easier.