Introduction: Not a Knitter? Not a Problem! Knit a Cable-Knit Scarf

Picture of Not a Knitter? Not a Problem! Knit a Cable-Knit Scarf

Impress your friends and family by spinning out this classic, sexless scarf. This instructable will teach you how to do so. I've put it in video format so that you can watch each step of the process, and follow along with your own set of needles at home.

These instructions are designed to be useful to a range of knitting ability levels.
Somebody who has never picked up a set of needles should be able to follow these steps sequentially to learn every element necessary to complete the scarf.
A more moderately experienced knitter may already know the knit and purl stitches, but wants to learn the cable stitch, for example. They can follow the pattern (as given below) and skip ahead to step five to reference instructions for cables.

The time it takes you to finish the scarf will vary depending on your ability level as well as how long you'd like to make the scarf. Keep in mind that for most, knitting is a hobby to unwind--see it as a marathon, not a sprint!

The first tool you'll need for making this scarf is the following pattern. You may want to copy it down for reference as you watch the following videos.

Cable-Knit Scarf Pattern
     CO: Cast on
     K: Knit
     P: Purl
     CBL: Cable

CO 20
Row 1: [K3, P1, K4, P1, K2, P1, K4, P1, K3]
Row 2: [P3, K1, P4, K1, P2, K1, P4, K1, P3]
Row 3: Repeat Row 1
Row 4: Repeat Row 2
Row 5: [K3, P1, CBL 2, K2, P1, K2, P1, CBL 2, K2, P1, K3]
Rest of Scarf: Repeat Rows 2-5 until end

 The following video briefs the remaining supplies you'll need for this pattern.

Step 1: Cast On

Picture of Cast On


Step 2: Complete Row 1

Picture of Complete Row 1


Step 3: Complete Row 2

Picture of Complete Row 2


Step 4: Complete Rows 3 and 4

Picture of Complete Rows 3 and 4

As the pattern states, rows 3 and 4 are the same as rows 1 and 2, respectively.
You may reference the previous videos for help completing these two rows. 

Step 5: Row Five: Cable Stitch

Picture of Row Five: Cable Stitch

Step 6: Repeat

Picture of Repeat

You now have all the skills necessary to complete the scarf! 
As the pattern states, simply repeat the steps for rows 2-5 until the scarf is to your desired length.

Word of Caution: Be patient. Especially for beginners, knitting can be frustrating when things don't quite look how you want right away. Just take a deep breath and review the instructional videos as necessary for refreshers. Keep the final image in your head and just have fun with it.

Step 7: Cast Off

Picture of Cast Off

 You're almost finished!

Step 8: Troubleshooting

Picture of Troubleshooting

Unfortunately, there are many problems you may encounter when knitting. Luckily, with a bit of practice, they're all relatively simple to fix.

Here are some common problems:
-Holes: often due to either a dropped stitch, or accidentally stitching two stitches at once
-Wrong stitch: simply knitting when the pattern called to purl or vice versa
-Twisted cable: most often occurs when the stitches are replaced on the needle in the wrong order when cabling 

Whatever your dilemma, don't panic! The following video shows you how to rework the blemish.
Remember that mistakes are common when you begin knitting. They can be frustrating, but they'll make you a better knitter in the long run (and maybe give your scarf a bit of unexpected character!)


Mikey D (author)2010-03-02


Thank you for this 'ible.  I teach auto shop and am male so I don't even know if I am allowed to knit,

(however I am pretty darn good with a sewing machine)

(get it ?  Darn - sewing.. I crack myself up!)

but this made me want to try it. 

Everything is clear except step #5 the cable stitch.  I understand that you grab 2 stiches with the giant brass safety pin and then knit right past them...

But then what do you do?  Do you just release them from their brass safety pin imprisonment?  Is there something else that happens at the end of the video that I missed?

Please tell me, the suspense is killing me!

Thanks for the inspiration!


sydneys89 (author)Mikey D2010-03-02

 Hey Mikey,

Thanks for the comment! I'm glad you've found this helpful.
It looks like I accidentally uploaded the incorrect version of the cable-stitch video. 
I'm not able to edit the step to include the correct video at the time, but I think it's okay if I include it in this comment box (I did this project for a class and it hasn't been graded yet, so I can't change anything).
Hopefully the new video is more helpful. If not, here it is:

Pull the two stitches off the safety pin, then (like you said) knit the next two stitches on the needle. 
Next take the two stitches that are on the stitch holder, and replace them on the left needle. So pretty much what you're doing is just flipping the order in which you knit the set of four--instead of knitting stitch 1, 2, 3, 4, think of it as 3,4,1,2.

Then just continue as normal: purl 1, knit 2, purl 1. Here, you reach the second cable, and you'll repeat the cable stitch. 

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll try to get back to you as soon as possible.

Mikey D (author)sydneys892010-03-03

Thanks Sydney!

You can edit you steps by logging into you account, click the "you" link at the top right of the page, then click on your "instructables" tab in the center of the window.  A list of your published instructables will come up and then just click the "edit" link that shows up right after the name.

I would infer that you are taking a teaching methods class of some sort? 

Thanks again for the step by step.  It did clear things up!


Bye bye

GingerC18 (author)2017-02-19

Hi Sydney, I was hoping for a little advice on double knitting this pattern. More like using. 2 strands if worsted weight yarn as one strand either 2 colors or one. Would I need to adjust it if making for a 11 year old boy. How? Bee g a beginner would this be easy to do with this pattern? Thanks, Ginger!

mrklabs_org (author)2016-09-25

Mikey D, darn good comments from you. As an electronics eng I think I will be testing every stage before the big knit, a scarf for winter.

sroberts50 made it! (author)2016-05-04

Great pattern, easy to follow and it turned out really well. thanks for the awesome instructions!

I don't really understand it It so confusing

gc0461 (author)2015-07-19

Would a bulky acrylic or acrylic/wool blend work?

thismansarmybrat made it! (author)2015-07-18

This was a great way to learn how to cable. By the time I got to the end, I could do it in my sleep! Thanks for sharing.

Yaeji (author)2014-12-01

This was easy and fast for me to learn how to knit. Thanks for teaching me so fast.

lilbitsbiz (author)2014-04-02

As a newbie knitter, I found this pattern very easy. Thanks!

lnorooz (author)2012-12-31

Hi there! This is an awesome instructable. :)

One question though: How did you add the fringe to the bottom of your scarf in the first picture? I'd really like to be able to do that with mine.

lilbitsbiz (author)lnorooz2014-04-02

If you haven't learned to add fringe yet, here's how.

1) Cut about 6 lengths of yarn (more if you want really thick fringe and less if you want just a few strands), about 12 inches long. Keep in mind you'll be folding the lengths in half, so measure lengths accordingly.

2) As mentioned, fold your "bunch" of yarn in half so the lengths are as even as possible at the bottom. You can trim a little if you want, but I wait until I put all the fringe on before evening them all out.

You'll need a crotchet hook that's as close to the size of the knitting needles as possible for this next part. If you weave in your ends when you finish your scarf, you should have/get one, especially for use weaving in bulky yarns. But I digress.

3) Starting at one end of the scarf, put your hook through the edge of your scarf.

4) Now that your bunch is folded in half you hold it so you have a loop at the folded end.

5) Take the crochet hook and grab the loop you made and pull it through the edge of the scarf. Just enough so you can put your thumb and index finger through the loop. You'll be making a slip knot with your folded lengths.

6) Now with your fingers through the loop, grab the ends of your bunch of yarn lengths and pull them through the loop, making a slip knot like you did when casting on. Only now your making a slip not with a bunch of yarn, instead of one strand.

7) Pull the ends of your bunch to tighten a bit. No need to pull really hard, because you don't want a pinched look where your fringe connects to your scarf.

8) Trim the ends a little bit so they're even.

You've made a tassel for fringe! Yea! I hope this helps. :)

gmlewis1949 (author)2013-11-19

My first cable knit scarf. I enjoyed doing it. And it is very pretty. One problem I edges rolled. (I used a nine needle and bulky yarn.) On a lot of patterns I have seen the instructions say "knit the knit and purl the purl". However on the edges of this pattern we aren't doing that? Any suggestions?

Lonely Assassin (author)2013-01-29

Great instructable! Now that I've seen this instructable and feel confidant that I can pick up knitting now, I'll be buying my first set of needles and some yarn this weekend to get started. You've done a great job explaining each step. Thank you.

bjones22 (author)2012-02-09

Every instruction you give is so easy to follow! I learnt casting on, knit and purl stitch and cabling just from this! The only thing is, after a few rows, I seem to acquire an extra 2-6 stitches!!! Is there a way to avoid this or rectify it on the project so as to avoid starting over? This is a beautiful scarf and I have promised it as a gift!

sydneys89 (author)bjones222012-02-09

Hi Bjones! I'm glad the instructable worked for you!
Sometimes when I'm knitting I accidentally pick up extra stitches, which I would assume is what you're doing (although I can't be sure). This is an easy mistake to make when you're cabling.
What I usually do to fix this mistake is combine the extra stitches you have with the ones that should be there until you have the right amount of stitches. Do this by knitting two stitches together. The way you do it is the same as when you're casting off: just knit two stitches at a time. Except, until casting off, don't move the gained stitch to the left needle. Just keep on knitting like nothing changed.
This will not fix the mistake in the'll still be able to see the mistake, but it keeps you from having to start over. Honestly, most of my projects have dozens of mistakes in them, but when you give them as gifts, people are so thrilled to get something hand made that they don't notice.
I hope this helps!
Good luck!

ginger20037 (author)2011-12-24

Thanks for the great instructable! Thanks to your great videos I'm finally able to purl without problems, the person I first learned from never showed me and my step grandmother tried to show me once but it was pure confusion.

ginger20037 (author)ginger200372011-12-25

After having such good luck with this project began looking for others like it (though I'm not even done with the first xD ) I have found one scarf I would love to know how to knit it is the cable knit in this pic
I was wondering/hoping someone knew how to do a scarf like that and if they happen to have a pattern or something I can use. Any help would be appreciated! :)

sydneys89 (author)ginger200372011-12-25

hi ginger!
i'm so glad you enjoyed the project :)
which scarf are you talking about? the one on the far left? that one is actually crocheted, which I have very little experience in. However, if you are comfortable with knitting, i'd suggest the website Are you part of this? It's free membership, and I LOVE it. You can just search "scarf" and narrow your search to 'knitting' and 'free patterns' and it will come up with thousands of varieties. I'm sure you can find one similar to the one you're looking at if you don't want to learn to crochet.
If you're new with knitting (I apologize if you're experienced), and you are intimidated when you look at a knitting pattern, just google the abbreviations you're confused with. It's literally how I learned.
:) Let me know if you have any specific questions, I'd love to help!

ginger20037 (author)sydneys892011-12-27

lol I just so happened to have stumbled on that site two days ago, gotta love Google! lol That site has so much that if they don't have it nobody does xD Thanks for the info!

Revenwyn (author)2011-11-15

Thanks a lot for this pattern. I am a knitter, but didn't know cable knit. Someone gave me a cable needle recently and I used it like you used your stitch holder. Worked for me. What didn't work was this pattern with the size of needles and yarn I had available; as a scarf it would have been too narrow. However, I worked it through enough so that I knew the basic pattern then altered it a little; Here's what I ended up doing:

CO 28
Row 1: K3, P1, K4, P1, K2, P1, K4, P1, K2, P1, K4, P1, K3
Row 2: P3, K1, P4, K1, P2, K1, P4, K1, P2, K1, P4, K1, P3
Rows 3-4 repeat 1 & 2

Row 5: K3, P1: CBL 2, K2, P1, K2, P1, CBL 2, K2, P1, K2, P1, CBL 2, K2, P1, K3

Repeat rows 2-5 until end of scarf.

It's working out pretty well.

traceylyn (author)Revenwyn2011-12-03

I am trying to follow these directions. I think there is some reason to them, yet I have yet to find it. In row 5 are we CBLing to the front or to the back? then do you follow the pattern without the CBL thing on the back? I am not new to knitting. I have been trying to learn for 4 decades. I began as a teen. sorry if I am a little confused. I tried to follow this pattern last night and kept pulling it out trying to make it work. then shouldn't you end the scarf the same as it began?

sydneys89 (author)Revenwyn2011-11-15

Hi revenwyn!
I'm so glad you tried it out! When I wrote this Instructible I was still fairy new at knitting, so I didn't understand the importance of specific yarn size and needle size. So I'm glad you were able to figure it out despite my ambiguity on the matter :). You should post a pic when you're all done! I'd love to see it!

cbeliel (author)2011-10-07

I loved this instructable and I'm almost at the end of my scarf. Your picture shows the scarf with fringe but doesn't share how to attach it to the scarf. Would you mind sharing either a verbal or video explaination? Thanks!

KungFuChicken (author)2010-05-14

What do you think about the possibility of using kevlar thread to knit with?

caztan (author)KungFuChicken2011-10-03

I don't know specifically, but I think kevlar thread would have little stretch to it. Yarn that doesn't stretch is more difficult to knit with, but the finished item will have some flexibility, due to the shape of the stitches.

porcupinemamma (author)2011-06-27

You are an AMAZING teacher. Your voice is calm, encouraging and your instructions are very easy to follow!! You have done an excellent job of teaching.
Thank you so much! 10/10

sydneys89 (author)porcupinemamma2011-06-28

Wow!! Thanks for such a nice comment! Everybody is so friendly :)

march0fthedeadarmy (author)2011-06-11

love it

kellimaier (author)2010-12-20 late husband was a knitter.
Also if you have never received a hand knit gift from a girlfriend it may be she believes the "sweater curse"...which basically says that if you hand knit something for a boyfriend then the relationship will soon end.

Sydney your scarf looks almost as good on the back side as the front! Nice job.

danyforreal (author)2010-03-03

Wow this is awesome! I'm a guy too, and I could never get my girlfriends to knit me something!! go figure!! I know about 4 that knit all year round and well I just quit asking but now thanks to this tutorial I'm feeling motivated to try it. It's a tad bit late for a scarf but I've favorited it and I'll give it a shot come fall!! Thanks again!

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