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Cable Needle Complete Guide – Everything You Need To Know

Ever wanted to dive into the world of knitting cables, but struggle to know where to start? They look beautiful but complicated and intimidating! Fear not, a cable needle is designed to help make it easier.

Read on for what they are, how to use them, and the reviews for the best ones.

Plus, you did you know knitting cables without a cable needle is possible? Yes, that’s right. I cover that and more in the post.

Table Of Contents

What Is A Cable Needle?

It’s a small needle that starts off straight and has a bend in the middle to hold the stitches. It’s to help you make cable patterns by holding the stitches you aren’t currently using. They’re usually made of plastic or aluminum.

Later in the post, I’ll review the best ones I could find.

How Do You Use A Cable Needle?

Here is a short tutorial on how to use a cable needle to do cabling knitting.

(Note: These following instructions are for the technique in cabling known as a 2/2 front cross.)

  • This is a technique when you want to cross the two right stitches over the top of the other two left stitches.
  • Slide the stitches you wish to cable with onto the cable needle. Move them across as you would if you were purling the stitch. This keeps them straight and prevents them from twisting.
  • Go back to the knitting needle in your left hand and knit the next two stitches.
  • Now come back to the little cable stitch holder. Depending on the pattern or method you’re working with, slip or knit the stitches to the left needle.
  • After you’ve done that, place the cable needle down and continue with your project.
  • Congratulations, you’ve completed your first step in a cable pattern!

Note: This is just a basic guideline, and there are plenty of great tutorials on how to use them.

This video by HookedOnTilly and this tutorial by theknitwitch are great ones available on Youtube.

The Best Cable Needles

Though there are many different kinds of available options and your favorite brand is sure to sell them, here are some of the best options on the market.

Natural Brittany Cable Needles

Natural Brittany Cable Needles

Made from polished birch wood, these are lovely to use as they are functional.

Combining sustainable, ethical practices and quality materials these are useful and guaranteed to last.

Features

  • Made In – The USA
  • Comes In A Pack Of 3
  • They Are 3.75″ Long
  • Made From – Sustainable Birch Wood

Pros

  • The stitches stay on the cable and don’t slide off accidentally
  • Long enough to hold the stitches, but not so long they become cumbersome
  • Though they’re straight, they have a slight indent
  • Smooth and easy to slide the stitches along

Cons

  • The straight shape may frustrate some users.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Knitter’s Pride Dreamz Cable Needles

Natural Brittany Cable Needles

From the popular Dreamz brand, manufactured by the USA based knitting tools and notions company Knitter’s Pride, these are great quality cable stitch holders.

Perfect for using in conjunction with your knit needles when you make cables.

Features

  • Made In – India
  • Comes In A Pack Of 3
  • They Are 4″ Long
  • Made From – Plastic

Pros

  • Smooth tapered tips make them easier to use
  • Lightweight yet strong
  • Made of durable materials
  • Great for bulky yarns
  • All are different colors to help you differentiate between them.

Cons

  • A bit hard to work with
  • Some found the grooves caught and snagged the yarn.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Clover Cable Stitch Holders

Clover Cable Stitch Holders

Made by the company Clover, these are simple, affordable and no fuss notions to get the job done.

(Note: These are made of plastic, not the Takumi bamboo you may usually expect from the Clover Brand.)

Features

  • Made In – Japan
  • Comes In A Pack Of 3
  • They Are 3.5″ Long
  • Made From – Quality Durable Plastic

Pros

  • Each one is a different color, making it easier to differentiate between them
  • Quality materials, sure to last for a while
  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight and smooth, doesn’t get in the way of the knitting.

Cons

  • Not small enough for lighter yarns like fine or fingering
  • Some users may not like the shape
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

HiyaHiya Knitting Cable Needles

HiyaHiya Knitting Cable Needles

Made with the simple, affordable, and quality materials you can expect from HiyaHiya, these have a dip in the middle to hold the stitches and prevent them from falling off.

They’re in funky colors which might make learning cable knitting a little bit more fun 🙂

Features

  • Made In – China
  • Comes In A Pack Of 3
  • They Are 7.3″ Long 
  • Made From – Hard, Durable Plastic

Pros

  • Range of sizes means it’s suitable for all sorts of different yarns
  • Each is various colors to make it easier
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Easy to knit with but not too slippery
  • Gets the job done well

Cons

  • Might be a bit long for some people
  • Some may not like the long shape.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

How To Cable Knit Without A Cable Needle

Just a warning, you’re either going to love or hate this method. Some knitters swear by using a cable needle, some swear by not using it.

It’s up to your personal preference, but if you’re a beginner, I’d recommend trying out both methods to see which one works for you best.

Though do lots of practice, both methods take time and effort to learn. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

Knitting Help – Cables Without a Cable Needle

Roxanne Richardson has an excellent, quick tutorial on how to create cables without a cable needle.

So, the answer to the question, can you knit cables without a cable needle, is, yes!

What Can You Use Instead Of A Cable Needle?

Here is a list of what you can use instead of a cable needle. There are many household items you may already have lying around you can use instead! Items such as –

  • A smaller paperclip bent slightly.
  • Another straight knitting needle
  • The tip of an interchangeable circular needle
  • A bent safety pin
  • Needle comb
  • Fine or smaller crochet hook
  • Clean bamboo or metal skewer
  • Toothpick

Your Questions Answered

Does Cable Needle Size Matter?

Not really, as mentioned above, people sometimes use paperclips as cable needles. However, make sure the cable needle isn’t too big, as that creates saggy stitches, and you don’t want that.

Hopefully, this post helps you decide whether these tools are useful for you, and which one is right for you!

If you’re returning to cable knitting, do you prefer using a cable needle or making cables without one? Which method was easier for you to learn, and why? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

Something I forgot? Or have a question? Leave a comment at the end.

Cable Needle - What they are, how to use them, and the best available.

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, owner and creator of Knit Like Granny. (Yes, I’m a real person :) ) Thanks for being here.

I created Knit Like Granny to help show 1,000,000 people the benefits of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion.

I love knitting and have met so many other fabulous knitters through this site. I enjoy learning and helping others discover the joys of working with yarn.

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