How to Crochet Cables

How to crochet cables

Easy Crochet Cables

Cables are a great way to add some texture and winter coziness to your project but some of you might find them a little daunting. Don’t worry! Crocheting cables is actually easy to master if you keep a few of the following guidelines in mind. Keep reading to get tips on how to master easy crochet cables.

How to achieve the crochet cables look

There are many different patterns and styles of crochet cables but the principle is usually the same. The cabled look comes from crocheting around the post of the stitch, rather than into the stitch. I will show you below how to make easy crochet cables. With this method you would have a row of double crochets, half double crochet into the stitches you want to leave flat and front post double crochet into the stitches you want to use for your cable design. When working on the wrong side (WS) of your work you would back post double crochet into these stitches. If you are making a hat or working a cabled design in the round you would always front post double crochet around the cables.

Notes on the hat pictured: I made the crochet cable hat using Lion Brands Wool ease in Forest green heather. I will post a detailed pattern for it soon but for now you can use this link as a guide!

An important tip is to always half double crochet into your flat stitches or your work will get wobbly. A lot of patterns don’t call for this but I have found that it works much better for me! The fpdc and bpdc’s are shorter and about the same height as hdc’s.

What yarn is best for crochet cables

Made with Vanna’s Choice acrylic yarn

Unfortunately not all yarns are created equal when you want to achieve cable crochet success. The fluffier or puffier the yarn, the nicer your finished cables come out. If you use a yarn without a lot of spring or give, the holes between the cable and the surrounding stitches will be much more visible and will wreck your cabled illusion. This is especially true for crochet cable newbies. With a lot of cable crochet practice you can learn to make most yarns look good but in the beginning you will make your life much easier with puffy yarns. I recommend wool, wool blends and acrylics that have bounce to them. My favorite are Lion Brands Wool Ease and Vanna’s Choice (Picture above shows a nice cabled look!). Brava Sport weight by Knit Picks is an excellent choice for a less bulky project.

In the beginning, stay away from cottons without bounce like sugar n cream or Hobby lobby’s I love this cotton. Any of the smoother acrylic yarns  will also make the desirable knit look more difficult to achieve. Yarns with a lot of sheen, like bamboo will also not bulk enough to cover the holes.

Left swatch: Lily sugar n' cream cotton; Right swatch: Knit Pick's Mighty Stitch
Left swatch: Lily sugar n’ cream cotton; Right swatch: Knit Pick’s Mighty Stitch

As you can see in the picture above, the cotton and shiny yarn are not ideal if you want to create a flawless cable illusion.

What hook size should you use to crochet cables

When it comes to hook sizes everyone’s tension is a little different. For successful crochet cables I would recommend you go down a hook size (or two!) from what you would usually use for your chosen yarn. Again, minimizing the gaps between the cables and the rest of the work is the goal here. For example, I would usually use a 6.5 mm/ K hook with Vanna’s choice yarn for Afghans, a 6mm / J hook for hats but would use a 5.5mm / I hook for cables. Check out my favorite hook choices here!

Make a swatch

Before you start your crochet cable project it’s a good idea to make a swatch. This way you’ll see if your yarn will look nice and if you are using the right hook size.

See step by step pictures below as a guide!

Start by ch 12

Row 1: dc in third ch from hook, dc to end

Row 2: chi, hdc in first 3 st, bpdc in next 4 st, hdc in last 3 st

Row 3: ch1, hdc in first 3 st, fpdc in next 4 st, hdc in last 3 st

Row 4: work like Row 2

Row 5: ch 1, hdc in first 3 st, skip next 2 st, fpdc around the next 2 st, go bak to skipped st fpdc around 1st and 2nd skipped st, hdc in last 3 st

Row 6: ch1, hdc in first 3 st, bpdc around next 4 st (be careful to work the top 2 st first, then the bottom 2), hdc in last 3 st

Row 7: work same as Row 3

Row 8: Work same as Row 2

Change your hook size or yarn choice if the gaps appear too big.


Easy crochet cablesFurther reading:

This is the newest book by the amazing celtic cable crochet designer Bonnie Barker. Get it on Amazon here!

Be sure to check out her website for some great inspiration and tutorials here!

The crochet Crowd has a really helpful video tutorial. Follow this link!

Why is this method easy crochet cables? Is there a harder technique?

Absolutely! Check out this tutorial by mypicot. The outcome is gorgeous but certainly more tricky!

What are your favorite crochet cable projects? Let me know in the comments!

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