Once you’ve learned to use a cable needle you might find yourself addicted to casting on projects to watch these stitches twist and grow across the fabric. (It really is fascinating to watch and not as scary as you think! Just start slow with basic cables.) Now what do you do if you want to start a cabled project and don’t have a cable needle on hand? Don’t panic! You can cross your stitches without using a separate needle! Here’s how to do it.
We’re looking at the 4 stockinette stitches for our cable. We are going to cross the two right stitches over the two left stitches.
Insert your right-hand needle into the back of the third and fourth stitchs on the left-hand needle. (Note: If you want to cross these stitches in front, insert your right-hand needle into the front of these stitches.)
Carefully slide your cable stitches off of the left-hand needle. Your two leftmost stitches will now be on the right-hand needle, and your rightmost stitches will be dangling. They should stay in place without slipping down, however, you can lightly hold them against your work with your right hand if you’re nervous.
Using your left needle, pick up the two right stitches. This will cross them over in front of the other two stitches.
The right stitches have now been crossed in front to the left.
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.
You’re all finished with your cable!
Cabling without a cable needle works best on smaller cables. If you’re crossing more than 3×3, consider using a needle for more control and stability. It’s also better to use a yarn with more of a grab (such as wool) than one that’s slippery (like bamboo) so that your stitches don’t come undone. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be cabling even faster than with a needle!