Cable Abbreviation Tutorial

There are many, many ways to knit a cable.  There are probably more ways to represent a specific cable in a pattern.  A designer could use one of many abbreviations to indicate what type of cable to make.  There are many abbreviations commonly used to indicate the same cable.  The designer could also use a chart to show visually what should be done.  Even with a chart  there are many ways to visually show the same cable.

Here are some common cables, and common ways they are represented in abbreviations:

C2F

Slip 1 stitch purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Knit 1 stitch from the left needle.  Knit 1 stitch from the cable needle.

C2B

Slip 1 stitch purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 1 stitch from the left needle.  Knit 1 stitch from the cable needle.

T2F

Slip 1 stitch purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Purl 1 stitch from the left needle.  Knit 1 stitch from the cable needle.

T2B

Slip 1 stitch purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 1 stitch from the left needle.  Purl 1 stitch from the cable needle.

C3F *

Slip 2 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Knit 1 stitch from the left needle.  Knit 2 stitches from the cable needle.

C3B *

Slip 1 stitch purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 2 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 1 stitch from the cable needle.

T3F

Slip 2 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Purl 1 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 2 stitches from the cable needle.

T3B

Slip 1 stitch purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 2 stitches from the left needle.  Purl 1 stitch from the cable needle.

C3L

Slip 1 stitch purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Knit 2 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 1 stitch from the cable needle.

C3R

Slip 2 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 1 stitch from the left needle.  Knit 2 stitches from the cable needle.

T3L

Slip 1 stitch purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Purl 2 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 1 stitch from the cable needle.

T3R

Slip 2 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 1 stitch from the left needle.  Purl 2 stitches from the cable needle.

C4F, Cross 2 Left

Slip 2 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Knit 2 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 2 stitches from the cable needle.

C4B, Cross 2 Right

Slip 2 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 2 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 2 stitches from the cable needle.

T4F

Slip 2 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Purl 2 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 2 stitches from the cable needle.

T4B

Slip 2 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 2 stitches from the left needle.  Purl 2 stitches from the cable needle.

C4L

Slip 3 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Knit 1 stitch from the left needle.  Knit 3 stitches from the cable needle.

C4R

Slip 1 stitch purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 3 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 1 stitch from the cable needle.

T4L

Slip 3 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Purl 1 stitch from the left needle.  Knit 3 stitches from the cable needle.

T4R

Slip 1 stitch purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 3 stitches from the left needle.  Purl 1 stitch from the cable needle.

C5F

Slip 2 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Knit 3 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 2 stitches from the cable needle.

C5B

Slip 3 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 2 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 3 stitches from the cable needle.

T5F

Slip 3 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Purl 2 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 3 stitches from the cable needle.

T5B

Slip 2 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 3 stitches from the left needle.  Purl 2 stitches from the cable needle.

C5L

Slip 3 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Knit 2 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 3 stitches from the cable needle.

C5R

Slip 2 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 3 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 2 stitches from the cable needle.

T5L

Slip 3 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Purl 2 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 3 stitches from the cable needle.

T5R

Slip 2 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 3 stitches from the left needle.  Purl 2 stitches from the cable needle.

C6F

Slip 3 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Knit 3 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 3 stitches from the cable needle.

C6B

Slip 3 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 3 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 3 stitches from the cable needle.

T6F

Slip 3 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the front of the work.  Purl 3 stitches from the left needle.  Knit 3 stitches from the cable needle.

T6B

Slip 3 stitches purlwise to a cable needle, and hold to the back of the work.  Knit 3 stitches from the left needle.  Purl 3 stitches from the cable needle.


*  I’ve seen designers use C3F and C3B to represent T3F and T3B.  Always check your pattern for specific instructions.

14 Responses to Cable Abbreviation Tutorial

  1. Maret says:

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank you thousand times!! I just found a mistake in magazine while I was knitting a handbag and I got stuck with it and your great list of abbrevations helped me a lot.

  2. Melanie says:

    Thank you SOOOO much. Just what I was looking for!!

  3. Aranknits3 says:

    I just sent you a PM on Ravelry but you do not seem to be too active there these days.

    Can you please post or send me a stitch key definition for your Triquetra pattern.
    I know others on Ravelry have requested the same thing but could not find where it was posted.

    Thank You.
    Diane

  4. batya says:

    wow, thanks! question for you: i have a cable pattern where i am to purl 3, slip one purl wise, then knit 2. that is, my yarn is in front, then i am to slip one purl wise, then i am to knit one. when do i move the yarn from the front to the back? before or after the slip one purl wise? thanks!

  5. joyce brewin says:

    1have an abbreviation in a pattern book that makes no sense to me at all its a cable stitch W6–WRAP 6—-SLIP NEXT ST ONTO CABLE NEEDLE AND PLACE IN FRONT OF WORK WRAP THE YARN CLOCKWISE 6 TIMES ROUND STS ON CABLE NEEDLE ENDING WITH YARN AT BACK OF WORK THEN KNIT 6STS FROM CABLE NEEDLE i just cant do or understand it please help if you can

  6. Jim says:

    Batya, I suspect this is too late to help you, but I think you should leave the yarn in front when you slip the stitch purlwise, then move it to the back to knit. Without seeing the rest of the pattern, it is difficult to tell.

  7. Jim says:

    Joyce, This is an interesting one. I’ve never worked a pattern quite like this. I did a little searching, and the best I can figure, is that you are supposed to slip the next 6 stitches to the cable needle, wrap, then knot those 6 sts from the cable needle.

    Does that make sense for your pattern?

  8. joyce brewin says:

    thanks jim i will try what you said and let you know joyce

  9. Charlene says:

    I am making a sweater with cables. One row begins as …. T6B.P2. K2. P3. The Cable pattern for T6B states …. slip 4 stitches onto cable needle and leave at back of work. K2, then P2. K2 from cable needle. Please advise if I knit 2 stitches from the left needle then purl 2 and knit 2 from the cable needle.

  10. Jim says:

    Charlene,
    I do believe that you are correct, you should K2 from the left needle, P2 from the cable needle, then K2 from the cable needle. The 6 in T6B indicates there are 6 stitches involved in the cable. If you were to take the P2 from the left needle, instead of the cable needle, there would be 8 stitches involved.

    If you are still unsure, or if you are nervous about having to rip it out, grab some scrap yarn, and cast on 10 stitches and try your cable out. You might need to start something like this:

    P2, K2, P2, K2, P2
    K2, P2, K2, P2, K2
    P2, T6B, P2
    K2, P2, K2, P2, K2
    P2, K2, P2, K2, P2
    K2, P2, K2, P2, K2
    P2, T6B, P2
    etc…

    I’m not sure how often the cable repeats, but I would guess by the width of the cable that it is not less than 4 rows. If it is more rows, than add a few more between the T6B.

    I hope this helps!

  11. Kelly says:

    can’t thank you enough for this – incredibly clarifying!

  12. Brenda Nicholson says:

    Part of my cable tell me to Tw2R.p2 I am not sure how to do this. can you tell me what this means or where I can find pictures that show you this.

  13. Margaret Davies says:

    Your ammazing, fantstic, just started cable work, Your abbreviations have saved my knitting career.Thank youuuuuuuuuuuu sooooooooooooo much .

  14. Debbie Gelowitz says:

    Good morning – I starting knitting last summer and have enjoyed working with the cable stitch . I am stumped on one pattern and can’t seem to find it’s abbreviations and instructions.
    It is asking for cross cable right (CCR), and yet the pattern doesn’t ask for a cable needle.

    Please help

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